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How Tom King & Mitch Gerads fought for years to get Gerads on Batman (despite DC management saying 'no')

DC wasn’t sure if Mitch Gerards was ready for primetime – until his Batman pages came in.

Batman: One Bad Day: The Riddler excerpt by Mitch Gerads
Image credit: Mitch Gerads (DC)

Tom King and Mitch Gerads are one of the hottest creative teams in the DC Universe. The writer and artist duo won a Hugo Award for their series Strange Adventures, and three Eisner Awards for Mister Miracle (which is funny, considering DC briefly forgot that they ordered the series). ‘

However, those accolades almost didn’t happen, because DC wasn’t sure if Gerads was the best fit for King’s scripts. Speaking to a crowd at Megacon 2024, the creative duo shared the unusual story of how DC tried to keep them apart.

King had finished the scripts for Batman #14 and #15 and needed an artist. “Our artist dropped out, so we needed someone that could breathe,” King joked. The writer suggested Gerards, which seemed like an obvious choice after their run on the Vertigo series The Sheriff of Babylon. Editorial was lukewarm.

“I wouldn’t say that he was the last choice on the list, but he was way below,” King admitted. “Well according to [then DC co-publisher Dan DiDio], at the time I was last on the list,” Gerads added.

Ultimately, DC agreed to bring Gerads on board as a fill-in artist. “We did these two very romantic sexy Batman issues together, and it was super fun,” King recalled. “I wanted him on every issue of Batman. Very famously, I wanted to bring Mitch onto Batman, and the head of DC at the time said he wasn’t ready, he couldn’t handle it, and that his art would not appeal to mass people.”

According to Gerads, Didio’s opinion of his art quickly flipped. “I remember Dan telling you that, and you told me everything. ‘Dan doesn’t think you’re ready for the big show.’ And then they got to the point where they needed an artist for these two issues. I did both of those issues in six weeks! I remember the first issue came out, and Tom calls me up and says, ‘You’ll never believe what just happened.’”

Didio was wowed by Gerads’ work. “Why didn’t you bring Mitch on sooner? What took so long,” King recalled Didio saying.

While they found the anecdote amusing, the duo made it clear that they have no hard feelings towards Didio.

Editors take note. The next time Tom King tells you an artist is perfect, listen to him. If there’s any doubt, just look at the awards.

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Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.


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