This was the first Tale to be posted featuring art by someone other than me. I decided early on in the development of this project that I’d have to collaborate with other artists on it. Not only was the scope of it too big for me to draw it all myself (before the story was over, if you catch my drift), but I really wasn’t going to be the best artist for many of the episodes.
I was already familiar with Rick Worley’s comix, but we “met” on the message board for BleedingCool.com (you will not find a more wretched hive of fanboys and zombies). It was in a discussion about the perennial question of just how gay Batman and Robin are, and Rick expressed the opinion that “Dick is like the third sexiest Robin.” I countered that he had never seen me in my Dick Grayson costume. Rick responded, “Yellow cape, green underwear, and domino mask? I have to admit, I saw a really cute guy wearing that at a convention once, and I kind of wanted to do filthy things to him.” I knew immediately that Rick was the perfect artist to illustrate this particular story. It turned out to be an easy pitch. So to speak.
By inviting another person to do it with you, you’re giving them a degree of control. And it’s not always clear how that’s going to play out. Many people talk about “tops” and “bottoms” in sex, which was originally just a description of physical position, but morphed into an implication of who was in control, and that required the invention of terms like “power bottom” to clarify …. and it’s really even more complicated than that.
As the writer, I would seem to be “in charge”, especially since the art would come back to me to color and add the dialog. Hell, I was even paying Rick, which would make me the john and him the hustler. Ah, but the word “hustler” tells us that that’s not a simple employer/employee relationship. A hustler is a freelancer; he works for himself on his own terms. And believe me: a hustler does not simply follow orders. By giving Rick a script to draw – especially this script – I was giving a whole lot of control to him.
So that’s what this story is about here, presenting that who’s-in-control-here dynamic literally on the page. But any time you read any comic with both a writer and an artist, some of that same sexual subtext went into making it.
Page 10 here is obviously not the end of the story. But Batman-fucks-Robin is the story Rick wanted to draw, so that’s where I ended it for him. I’ve written Scene 2 – “Dance with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight” – and I know what Scene 3 is too. “Dance” would require a different artist, because it’s a whole different scene. Same with Scene 3. Will they ever see the light of day? Maybe.