This week saw the print release of Legends of the Dark Knight #8, the digital-first Batman anthology series featuring short stories starring the caped crusader from a wide array of creators. Among the stories included in this week’s issue is “Healing,” the first DC Comics work from writer and comedian Yedoye Travis. Travis teams with artist Nina Vakueva, colorist Ivan Plascencia, and letterer Ariana Maher for a story that revisits the night Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered and examines the present-day Dark Knight’s relationship with those events after the Scarecrow ‘removes’ the trauma from Batman’s mind.
The Beat chatted with Travis via email about his comics-reading history, making his writing debut on a character as iconic as Batman, and why The Scarecrow was his ideal choice for a villain. Check that out, along with a preview of “Healing,” below.
Joe Grunenwald: How long have you been reading comics? What drew you to superheroes in particular?
Yedoye Travis: Honestly I grew up on manga, which I’ve been reading since I was a teenager. I always felt like I had to justify my interests to my parents and it was always easier to convince my mom I was actually reading a book if I picked up a volume of Naruto as opposed to a single issue comic. So I was one of (I hope) a lot of kids who got into comics through things like Batman: The Animated Series.
Grunenwald: How does it feel to make your comic-writing debut on one of the most iconic characters of all-time?
Travis: A little nerve wracking and a little freeing. It’s helped me kill the part of my brain that idolizes institutional properties. I had to remind myself that after 70+ years of this character, literally everything is fan fiction, so I wrote my story like what I believe it is.
Grunenwald: Batman’s up against the Scarecrow in this story. What makes him an ideal foe for the dark knight?
Travis: Scarecrow is the easiest vehicle to unpack the psychology of Batman. There have been entire books written about the subject, so I’m really surprised more writers don’t use him in that way. I think the fear element is what people know Scarecrow for, but he is also an actual doctor, so I think a perverse part of him has to think he’s helping. He’s just more nuanced than he’s made out to be.
Grunenwald: The story deals with Bruce losing the trauma of his parents’ death. Is the Scarecrow right? Does Batman just need to go to therapy?
Travis: I think in a world where public opinion of the wealthy is slipping into hell, Batman has a lot. more work to do than just on himself, but I do think therapy–when he’s ready for it–is an important place to start. I think my reason for focusing on this part of him is that I didn’t want to pretend I don’t have those reservations about the character myself. I wanted to explore the parts of him that would exist with or without his money and I think trauma is absolutely one of those things.
Grunenwald: What other Bat-villains do you hope to try your hand at next?
Travis: I think Penguin or Catwoman could offer a pretty interesting backdrop to unpack Batman’s wealth a little more in depth, but I also think Mr. Freeze is just cool (no pun intended at first but I accept what I’ve done).
The Yedoye Travis-written “Healing” is available in print in Legends of the Dark Knight #8, in stores now, as well as digitally as issue #16 of the series.