Tom King, Tim Seeley Talk New 52’s ‘Grayson Vol. 1: Agents Of Spyral’ & Batman’s Robin! EXCLUSIVE

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By Jorge Solis ( | Jun 03, 2015 02:00 PM EDT

DC Entertainment has put together Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral. In an exclusive interview with MStars News, Grayson writers Tim Seeley and Tom King discuss turning Dick Grayson, Batman’s former Robin into a globe-trotting 007 agent in the New 52 Universe, while teasing a scarier and deadlier DC Comics super villain than Lex Luthor.

As we previously mentioned, Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral, follows Batman’s boy wonder all grown up and left on his own. Due to the fallout of Forever Evil, Nightwing has been unmasked and Dick Grayson is presumed dead to the rest of the world. No longer the crime-fighter, Grayson finds himself infiltrating the shadowy underbelly of the mysterious spy agency, known as Spyral.

With volume one arriving in stores on June 3, the Grayson co-writers discuss the early beginnings of the spy thriller, the illustrations of artist Mikel Janín, and Grayson’s relationship with the New 52’s reboot of Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress.

MStarsNews: Grayson is such a really cool twist on the spy genre with costumed superheroes. Tell me how the concept came about?

Tom Kring: Basically DC Comics came up with the idea of Dick Grayson, super

spy. And Tim and I had done some research.

Tim Seeley: I think it was Dan DiDio.

TK: You think it was Dan? He came up with the “You don’t know Dick.” We know that much. We’ll let’s pretend it was from heaven! Tim and I both pitched for it and they combined our two pitches into what became the series. Although they published your pitch in the back of the book! What the hell buddy? I think Tim had pitched Sypral, I had pitched evil spy organization, and they combined that.

MS: Grayson’s only connection to the outside world is Bruce Wayne. Their conversations have this sense of loneliness. Tell me more about Grayson being isolated from the rest of the Batman family.

TK: Yeah this is a very tough place for Dick Grayson that he’s made the right decision. He’s doing something great. He’s saving the world, but in order to do that he has to make a huge sacrifice. He has his lie to his friends and family. He had to lie to Barbara and that puts him in an uncomfortable situation.

But because he’s Dick Grayson, he’s willing to take on that burden. He’s the oldest brother. He’s the one who has to do it. And that’s what makes him great as a character.

TS: Yeah, I think the thing that we really wanted to take advantage of was the fact that Dick was the only one that could do it. Because the world believed he was dead and his identity was revealed. When the burden came up, he realized that he was the one that had to take it. I think is very important to his character. He’s always been that guy. He’s always been the one who takes the weight. I think he did a lot for Batman when he was Robin too.

MS: Tell me about the relationship between Grayson and Helena Bertinelli. At times, they’re playing with each other, and yet there’s an attraction between each other.

TK: Helena’s a very interesting character because ultimately she derives from the Wayne family pre-crisis and she’s always been sort of this broken reflection of Batman. She went through what Batman did. She has the same obsession as Batman, but she didn’t learn the same lesson as Batman in terms of not killing and always serving on the good guys side. So to have Dick Grayson who was raised as Batman, his ideal father, and to have a sexy girl in that role creates very interesting tension.

TS: Yeah I think Helena also, in the way we sort of re-imagine her, she’s someone who is also taking on a burden. She relates to Dick about a lot of the things that they deal with, but she’s always going through a sort of softness. It bothers her I think. But it also maybe attracts her, so I

think it’s that classic will they/won’t they relationship. But in this genre of like a superhero spy thing, we can really up the danger and the action associated with it.

MS: Tell me about Mr. Minos, you’re always wondering if he’s one step ahead of Grayson and Helena.

TK: Yeah, if you’re wondering that you’re wondering the exact right thing! But Mr. Minos, he represents sort of that idea that nothing should be secret. But he works for an organization that keeps secrets. And in order to do what he wants to do, in order to reveal the world’s secrets, he has to keep his own identity secret. So he’s the ultimate contradiction!

We sort of drew that from classic Batman villains. Joker’s the least funniest person in the DCU but his gag is all about funny. So we wanted to create a villain as cool as the Joker but for Dick.

TS: I think his motivations may be pure but the way he needs to do it is, in a lot of the ways that real life intelligence agents have to deal with doing the best thing, often means that people get hurt. And I think he represents that.

MS: The funniest part in the book was the dialogue for the teenage girls, like Brice, Jenny, and Lottie Tell me about writing for those characters.

TK: It’s crazy fun! Tim invented them and he drew up a little cheat sheet of each of them. And they have these insanely cool background stories of how they sort of became; how they ended up at an assassin school instead of going to college. And Tim gave each of them this distinct personality. So I got to write them for issue #8. I literally put his cheat sheet up by my board! I had so much fun! I can’t wait to write them again!

TS: The cool thing about Dick is he’s a young guy. He’s always been a young guy, but he was a teenager for much of his comic book career. It was sort of fun to write what I think the perception of Dick Grayson always has been. That’s he’s like the “Gee golly Batman!” And to put these very modern teenagers, women to boot, and have them be very cynical and the way that teenagers are, which is pretty self-centered and just a little bit malevolent; I think was really fun to do! And I hope that it plays as a good parallel to Dick Grayson.

TK: Did you just insult all teenagers? We’re trying to sell this book! We love teenagers!

TS: No, they are. Hey I was a teenager once I totally remember being a total d*ckbag.

TK: But I think by you associating with teenagers you’ve insulted them

again. [Laughs]

MS: Tell me about working with Mikel Janín and his artwork.

TK: I can’t speak highly enough of the guy! He’s going to be a legend someday. I feel like Chris Claremont when he got Jim Lee on a book in like ’89 or something! It makes it so easy to write because I know whatever plan I have for the page, he’s going to make it better! And he’s going

to make it more fluid! We ask him to draw insane things and he hits them every single time!

TS: When he was first announced as our artist in the book, I was excited but then since we’ve been getting issue after issue, I’ve started to realize that I should’ve just been insanely elated because this guy’s like the modern George Perez, even though George Perez is still making comics.

Mikel is doing a very modern take, which is very detailed, very fluid, and really distinct style. And he’s killing it! There’s some stuff coming up I think is some of the best superhero art I’ve seen in a long time!

TK: Plus, he draws the definitive Dick a**. I’m sorry but yes!

MS: With Lex Luthor coming up in issue #10, is there any other villain you would like to write about in Grayson?

TK: That’s a fantastic question! Yes what I very much want to do, what we’re building towards and is a 50-issue plan is to build up to create Dick’s arch-nemesis. And that’s still on the table and still going! I still want to do that, to create someone that will be around for the next 50 years that will stand against Dick Grayson. I want that to be one of the legacies of this series to have Dick Grayson’s Joker, Lex Luthor, or Cheetah.

TS: I totally want to put him against Deathstroke. That’s just one of those things I want to do.

TK: Yeah we’ve got to do Brother Bloody! Yeah there’s a lot of cool stuff!

MS: What other projects are you working on now?

TL: I have a big launch this week which is Omega Men., hich is this brutal space odyssey that takes the concept of rebels against the Empire and twists it, corrupts it; where you have rebels who will do anything to fight the Empire and the Empire will do anything to fight the

rebels. And it’s my baby,it’s my tribute to my favorite DC comics, Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, and Year One. I love it! I hope everyone loves it!

TS: I’ve got my Revival book, which comes out every month from Image Comics. And then I’m doing Deadpool vs. Thanos, which comes out for Marvel in September.

Highly recommended reading, Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral arrives in stores on June 3.