Chris Sotomayor Interview: Coloring Neo Gotham for Batman Beyond

A wholly original character to animation, Batman Beyond is often famed as one of the few major Bat characters not born in comics. The OG Batman Beyond animated series ended in 2001 after three short seasons, but our Bat of the future has continued to live on strong in retconned comic form, now 20 years into the present.

I interviewed DC’s Chris Sotomayor this year at NY Comic Con, live from the legendary Artists Alley (along with my cast/crew interviews from the Batman Beyond animated series, including Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman!). Sotomayor is the current colorist of Batman Beyond comics at DC. My interview was for C506, as well as my Above and Batman Beyond podcast/YouTube channel. 

On Neo Gotham:

Chris Sotomayor: In the show and in the book, Neo Gotham is so important. It’s so much the flavor of the book. I think, because it derives from Akira and New York, and all the stuff I love (especially Akira and New York), and if you take Batman in the Batman Beyond book out of Neo Gotham, it kind of loses half of its essence, I think.

CS (continued): So, that’s why I chose this image, ‘cause you need Neo Gotham. Neo Gotham is just as much a character in the book as Batman is.

The image Sotomayor refers to above, from DC’s “Batman Beyond” #34

Benjamin David: Ugh, so agreed. Yeah, we talk about that on the podcast a lot, about the characterization of the city where Batman is. That goes back to OG Batman, “Batman Standard,” as I call it. In all Batman stuff, Gotham is a character unto itself, and I love that all  of that emphasis was brought into Beyond. I mean, there are just like 30 second shots, just cityscapes, on the animated series, what is a cartoon for kids ostensibly. So, talk about that in your art, since you’re obviously a Neo Gotham fan. What do you do in your coloring to bring out exactly what you just said, about the importance of Neo Gotham?

CS: Gotham City is very dreary, dark, very moody, brooding. You kind of live there and you’re like really depressed. Which kind of makes sense. You got Batman, Gotham, he’s trying to clean up the streets.

BD: Not a happy guy.

CS: No, not really. But, in Neo Gotham, it’s still dark, it’s still very gritty, but it’s also 1970s and 1980s Times Square. But, it’s a whole city of that. It’s trash and glitz and neon and crime and dirt and glints and gleams. It’s such a crazy juxtaposition of those elements. I can’t think of any other show that relies on that so much, or any other series that relies so much on that dichotomy so much.

BD: To have an environment that so split, juxtaposed like that. That’s such a good point.

CS: And, you got the character itself. He’s in all black, but he’s got these crazy super tech accents, and I think that’s bad ass. Just like Neo Gotham: it’s all dark and black, but Neo Gotham has all these  crazy, brightly lit accents.

Stay tuned here at C506 as well as my  Above and Batman Beyond podcast/YouTube channel for more live coverage of NY Comic Con. Beside Sotomayor, I also interviewed cast/crew of the Batman Beyond animated series, including Kevin Conroy, Will Friedle, Andrea Romano, Lauren Tom, James Tucker, and Alan Burnett.

Follow us on Instagram @batmanbeyondpodcast. Pod available on iTunes, the Anchor app, and many more pod places.

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