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Batman's Rafael Grampá on "bringing in ugliness when trying to make something beautiful"

Ugly can be beautiful, and beauty can be ugly: Rafael Grampá sits down to talk with Popverse

Rafael Grampa
Image credit: Rafael Grampa

It’s no secret that Rafael Grampá brings the goods when it comes to delivering stories with action and message—  and that goes double when it comes to his Batman (as evidenced by his work on Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child). But personally, as someone whose curiosity is piqued by subversive approaches to art and is even more spoiled when the direct idea of “ugliness as beauty” comes into conversation, Grampá is someone whose work rides the line between the grotesque, textured mayhem of the underground comix and the palatable grace of the mainstream – a line that few have managed to tread successfully over the years, and line that leaves me always asking for more in ways I rarely experience when reading a comic from one of the Big Two publishers.

So luckily for, well, anyone with a lick of sense, the same off-kilter taste, and an appreciation for the famous caped Crusader, Grampá’s name finds itself on Batman: Gargoyle of Gotham — a new project involving the Dark Knight; this time with Grampá behind the pen on both writing and illustration. While I was excited to hear more about the project itself, what really interested me was how Grampá felt under the pressure of the Batman title, a staple of mainstream superhero comics, while maintaining his voice and the possibility of a legacy of his own. Popverse  was fortunate enough to grab Grampá for a chat about his relationship with Batman and the potential legacy of creating comics under the Batman name during Comic Con International San Diego 2023.

Popverse: This is one of those times where it feels like I could ask you things for ages but I’m under the gun for time! So in that case let’s jump right in. You’ve had a hell of a show already when it comes to your name being tied once again to Batman. Talk to me a little bit about your relationship with the character.

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Chloe Maveal avatar
Chloe Maveal: Chloe Maveal is the Editor-In-Chief of the guerilla website The Gutter Review, and is a freelance essayist who specializes in British comics, pop culture history, and the subversive qualities of “trashy” media. Their work has been featured all over the internet with bylines in 2000 AD, The Treasury of British Comics, Publishers Weekly, Polygon, Comics Beat, and many others.
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