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Adam Beechen on writing ‘Batman Beyond’ comics and that Lovecraftian ‘Scooby-Doo’ episode

Adam Beechen is a comic book and television writer whose credits include DC’s miniseries Batman Beyond, a futuristic take on the Dark Knight based on the Emmy-winning Warner Bros. TV series that ran from 1999-2001. (An ongoing comic book series beings in January.)

Beechen also has written several episodes of Cartoon Network’s Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated, including a recent installment that riffs on the mindbending works of legendary horror author H.P. Lovecraft. He took a few minutes to answer some questions about his wide-ranging work for Nerdvana readers — and you can confront him yourself when he appears at a signing noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 24 at Atomic Comics’ Chandler location, 3155 W. Chandler Blvd.

Nerdvana: Batman Beyond was a radical re-imagining and moving forward of the Batman mythos into the future from what had been established in the comics. You got to take that and bring it back to the original medium – comics. What were your challenges in doing this? What were the rewards?

Adam Beechen: The challenge, really, was taking a property that’s still well-loved by the fans that got to see the show when it originally aired, and turning it into a comic they’d appreciate as much as the show. That combined with another challenge coming the opposite direction … Creating a book that features characters Bat-fans who only read Bat-comics might not be familiar with, and making the comic accessible to them. As far as rewards, Batman Beyond was an amazing show with well thought-out characters and a cool world around them, and it was just a treat to get to play in that sandbox…and to bring in some nods to the Bat-comics that hadn’t been done in the BB universe before.

Scooby-Doo: Mystery IncorporatedNerdvana: Speaking of mythos … How in the world did you become involved with Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated — and what was the genesis of the H.P. Lovecraft-themed episode “Shrieking Madness”?

Beechen: The story editor of the cartoon at the time, Mitch Watson, contacted me about writing a freelance episode (“Revenge of the Man-Crab”), and it went so well, he asked me back to do another. The story was already in place — the producers wanted to do something Lovecraftian — so all I had to do was write it up. Lucky me! And I got to meet Harlan Ellison and Jeffrey Combs and the regulars in the voice cast. Luckier me! I’ve written one more episode that has yet to air in this first season, and I’m hoping to do more as the show continues. It’s a blast to work on.

Nerdvana: What was it like bringing the Pink Panther back to animated television?

Beechen: It looks really terrific and it’s very true to the spirit of the original cartoons. We even had one of the original show’s animators, the legendary Art Leonardi, on board to keep us on the right track!

Nerdvana: What other projects do you want to plug?

Beechen: The show I’ve been working on for the last year, a pre-school cartoon for a new network called the Hub (where you can also find re-runs of the original Batman Beyond cartoons, incidentally), just started airing last month! It’s called The Adventures of Chuck and Friends, and it’s come out very well, so if your readers have toddlers or just enjoy cartoons in general, I hope they’ll check it out.

On the comics side, I’m heading to my old home state of Arizona this month for a signing to commemorate the end of the Batman Beyond miniseries. I’ll be at Atomic Comics out in Chandler on Wednesday, November 24, the day before Thanksgiving. But if you’re looking for something to read before then, two books I wrote, Zatanna #7 and the Nightmaster: Monsters of Rock one-shot, hit the stands on November 17!

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