Monkeys Fighting Robots

If you have seen The Dark Knight Rises then you have, at some point in your life, talked like Tom Hardy’s Bane. Admit it. He portrayed the villain perfectly as a hulking figure with incredible intelligence. However, it wasn’t the DC Comics character’s first appearance on the silver screen, as some of us shutter to remember Batman & Robin from 1997, which featured Bane as merely an absolute monster, but also as essentially just a throw-in for the film. Comic book movies have come a long way since, but can sometimes wreck a character. However, when it comes to flipping pages, these heroes and villains are constant for the fans.

Enter Graham Nolan, the co-creator of said iconic Batman villain.

We were lucky enough to catch up with him at the Daytona Beach Comic Con this past weekend and he filled us in on the process of creating Bane and touched on some exciting new projects he has coming up.

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MFR: What went into the process of bringing Bane to life?

GN: “He was one of those characters that was designed specifically for a story. Batman wasn’t really that punishing, vicious type of character that fans had been asking for, so we decided that we would create someone that would allow him to become that. So we decided to give fans the Batman they wanted, but we had to first break him down and Bane was the right one to do it.”

How did Bane get his signature look?

Chuck (Dixon) decided the character of Bane had to not only be super strong, but really smart, kind of like a Doc Savage. We came up with the backstory that he was going to be raised in a prison in Santa Prisca, so I wanted to give him a look based on what he might have seen while there. That’s how I came up with the mask, like a Mexican luchador. I also threw in the wrestling singlet and gave him Cuban-inspired paramilitary pants and boots, to kind of continue that evil and militant-type motif.”

When did the decision come to do away with his Luchador mask?

“My original design was heavily inspired by the Luchador mask where, obviously, the eyes, mouth and nose were all exposed. The editors just decided that they wanted him to be a little more mysterious, so we blocked it all up and reddened the eyes.”

Was Bane initially supposed to be the end-all character for Batman?

“Yes. He was designed specifically to be the ‘guy who broke the Batman’.”

Care to tease your fans with any upcoming projects?

“Yeah, I’ve paired with Ominous Press and we’re going to be doing a hardcover, 20th-anniversary edition of my Monster Island book. It’s comprised of all the original artwork, so that when you’re looking through the book, you will see the whiteout and blue lines from crafted board and other materials that I used. Essentially, you will be able to read it as original artwork, as if you were in my studio. The follow-up project to that will be a prologue book, Return to Monster Island. It will be a full-color hardcover book as well. I’m super excited about it because it’s been like 20 years in the making. Fans are always asking me when I’ll do another Monster Island project and I finally got someone to pair up with and do it.”

Michael Stagno
Michael is a New England native and fluent in Italian. He graduated with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism (RTVF) from Auburn University. He is a BIG fan of the Boston sports scene, X-Men and X-Force. He loves his black lab (named Yaz), pop culture, science, space and gaming. He's also a crossfitter, paddleboarder and marathoner.