In a legendary career, comics writer Chuck Dixon is best known for writing acclaimed runs of "Batman" and his "family" of titles, including "Robin" and "Birds of Prey." Dixon's written an astounding 472 comics starring Batman, his friends and foes - and co-creating a character that has become one of the Dark Knight's most deadly and popular foes: Bane.
Unfortunately, Dixon has not written for DC in almost a decade after a public falling out.
Dixon, however, will be coming back to DC and his most famous creation in an epic 12-issue limited series, titled "Bane: Conquest," which will also reunite him with artist Graham Nolan, who also helped (along with writer Doug Moenech) create Batman's formidable foe.
So how did this story and Dixon's return to his most famous creation come about?
"I guess it was part of DC’s return to some of the signature talents who brought them so much success in the past," Dixon said in an exclusive interview, referring to DC's move to bring back fan-favorite creators for "classic" takes on their characters, leading to their biggest market success in decades.
"I mean, how great is it to see Dan Jurgens back on Superman? Honestly, I didn’t ask ‘why?’" Dixon made it clear that he was happy to reunite with Nolan - and that he likely would not have signed onto the project without him. "Not without Graham! This is a very personal project for both of us and one we’ve been itching to get at for a long time," Dixon exclaimed. "It was both of us or none of us."
"Graham and I have always wanted to do a lengthy, standalone crime epic with Bane as the central figure," Dixon said. "I mean, we helped raise him to the place he holds in the DCU. (So) we wanted to do a story that cements him there (and) makes him a serious global threat to the order represented by DC’s heroes. This is that story!"
So why would Dixon come back for this tale - and not another epic Batman story?
"Well, I’ve done a lot of epic Batman stories and might do so again," Dixon said. "But Bane needed this kind of story told about him - and the association of Graham and I back on the character does about 90% of the marketing department's work for them!"
"I’m always grateful for the following I’ve had all these years," Dixon said humbly. "I mean, I’m having a hell of a lot of fun when I write these stories. That so many people share that fun both justifies my work and humbles me all at the same time."
So he is back chronicling his most famous creation - and said he feels he has a good idea why that is.
"Well, Graham and I worked damned hard to make sure that the central figure of the Knightfall saga (in which Bane famously broke Batman's back) would be memorable, interesting and have a life after the event," he recalled. "We would have been happy if he fell into the backbenches of Batman’s rogues gallery as an occasional foe. That he has become a permanent member of the Batman rogues gallery is more than we ever dreamed off. See kids, hard work pays off!"
Many fans thought they may never see Dixon writing for DC again after his split with the company in 2008 seemed to be acrimonious, with Dixon seeming to take shots at Dan Didio - who was and still is the "big dog" on the publishing side of the company.
So how did Dixon and the Powers That Be come together to make this project happen? "That is a story for which fandom is not yet prepared to hear," he said cryptically.
As for the story itself, Dixon explained why it will be a gigantic 12 issues, rather than the 4 to 6 most limited series contain.
"We wanted it to be a real event not a quickie mini created solely for a single trade," Dixon said. "We wanted an epic story and we needed the room to tell it."
While Dixon said that "Batman puts in a few appearances" in the miniseries, the real focus is on the reunion of Bane with his henchmen Bird, Trogg and Zombie, who have not been seen in nearly a quarter-century since "Knightfall."
"Bane has always needed his gang. These three are the only people in the world he can trust with his life and vice-versa," Dixon said. "They’re the most famous henchmen in comics and we’ll be exploring the special relationship he has with each of them." So, with the first issue of "Bane: Conquest" ready to hit shelves May 3, how does Dixon feel about writing these characters again and the whole Bat-world?
"Like putting on a favorite pair of sneakers or visiting an old friend."
"I never dreamed I’d ever work on Batman and I did," Dixon said."But I damn sure never dreamed I’d be part of adding an indelible contribution to the franchise. I mean, crazy, right?"