Interview with Chip Zdarsky on Tim Drake and his backup story in Batman

I recently had the chance to ask Chip Zdarsky some questions regarding is current run on Batman, and more specifically, Tim Drake’s Toybox backup story. A lot of exciting events are happening over on Batman, and Tim is being thrust into the center of the mystery. He’s always been one of the brightest minds in the Bat family, so it’s up to him to figure out what’s happened to Batman after the events of Batman #130.

What do you consider to be the most important aspects of a Batman run? Are there any key elements that you feel you need to incorporate?

I mean, the answer is the same for most characters and series: they need adversity. Of course, Batman being the best at everything means you have to work harder to create that adversity!

The best Batman runs drive home why we love the character, enhance his mythology, and stays true to what makes him Batman.

With the inclusion of Zur-En-Arrh and now Bruce being transported to a mysterious location by a villain while Tim tracks him down, it seems that Grant Morrison’s run on Batman is a big influence on yours. Tim even mentions “we’ve been through this before.” What about their run calls out to you? 

Ha! Yeah, I love their run, clearly. It just had so many great moments. Morrison was able to give us stories that could feel dark and grounded one moment and then bigger than life and wild the next.

Between Arkham Asylum, JLA, Final Crisis and their Batman run, Morrison showed so many ways of writing that character while never losing sight of who they are.

Ever since Damian became Robin, some would say that Tim has had some difficulty finding his niche. What do you see as Tim’s role in the bat family?

Tim is the best Robin, but Damian is probably more fun to write. I’d say that Tim’s role is partner to Batman while Damian’s role is that of a son who needs guidance, and the role of Robin is a way of doing that. Tim no longer needs Batman’s guidance, he’s just a damned good partner.

Will there be a lot of Tim’s detective side in the Toy Box backup?

A little? Not as much this time out, but he’s definitely investigating Batman’s disappearance.

What are your favorite Tim Drake stories?

His first appearances in Batman, “A Lonely Place of Dying,” was great, as were the first couple of miniseries. I especially enjoyed the Grant/Breyfogle run whenever he would show up! I’m an old-school Tim Drake guy.

Can we expect to see more allies teaming up with Tim in future issues? Any you want to give some hints about for fans?

There are some terrific guest stars in this backup story, but I can’t say much more about that!

Finally, what about writing Tim Drake are you most excited about?

I love where he’s at in his life right now. He’s got a classic superhero conundrum with his relationship with Bernard and getting to explore that a bit has been fun.

A big thank you to Chip for giving me the opportunity to ask him some questions. Tim Drake’s Toybox story can be found in the backup pages of Batman #132, on sale February 7th.