Batman comes to Prague for first time to fight “Bolshevik wizard”
For the first time in history, Batman will be fighting criminals in the Czech lands, specifically in 1980s Prague, where the masked vigilante will try to thwart the plans of a group of Communist mystics. The story is part of the Batman: The World anthology, which is being released by DC Comics this Tuesday.
The character of Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, is celebrating its 82 anniversary this Saturday and DC Comics has decided to send the dark knight out of Gotham City into the wider world to mark the occasion. In Batman: The World, the character will be dealing with villains in altogether 14 countries. Native authors and artists have been selected to write and draw the stories that the caped crusader undertakes in each state.
For the Czech Republic, DC Comics selected artist Michal Suchánek and writer Štěpán Kopřiva to come up with a 10-page-long story. The latter says he ended up choosing Prague during the 1980s as the stage.
“The story takes place during the Cold War. As a prologue I wanted to put an episode featuring the court of Emperor Rudolph II [Bohemia’s sixteenth century ruler known for his affinity for alchemy and mysticism]. However, we had to cut that out because we just didn’t have the space.
“We chose the 1980s, because we thought that the villains that Batman could encounter would be particularly interesting. We actually based our villains on a real project where, under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, an institute focused on paranormal activities tried to develop psychokinetic weapons.”
The main villain, Štěpán Kopřiva says, is also loosely inspired by a real Communist Party functionary who was nicknamed “The Bolshevik Wizard”.
“They were trying to develop some sort of psychokinetic generators. Of course, the ones we feature in our story are different. We exaggerated the whole thing and made it more macabre to give Batman a hard challenge.”
Asked about how he depicted Batman, the Czech writer says he focused on staying true to the established character and giving the dark knight a chance to use both his physical prowess and capabilities as a detective.
Batman: The World launches worldwide this Tuesday, September 14 —just in time for Batman Day 2021 which is celebrated on September 18. The almanac, which chronicles Batman’s past and present, features stories taking place in countries across four continents, including Russia, Japan, Brazil and Mexico.
Each international version of Batman: The World also features its own unique cover art by the local creative team. In the Czech Republic the cover was developed by CREW – one of the country’s most successful comic publishing houses, which Štěpán Kopřiva co-founded during the 1990s.
“Batman certainly belongs to one of the most popular comic book characters in the Czech Republic. While I am no longer part of CREW, I know from the guys there that manga and The Witcher comic books also sell a lot in this country.”
He says that the placing of Batman in Prague as part of the newly released anthology is also a good sign of how the domestic comic book market is developing.