Dipped in the pulpy pages of vintage dime-store romance paperbacks and heart-tugging tales of love gone wrong, DC Comics is saluting Cupid's favorite holiday in an oversized Valentine's Day special anthology sure to warm the blood of readers worldwide.
The 80-page giant issue, titled Crimes of Passion #1, slides in just before the calendar's most romantic spot on Feb. 5, featuring titillating stories delivered by an all-star roster of talent including names like Steve Orlando, James Tynion IV, Ram V, Sina Grace, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Jay Baruchel, Paul Fry, Andie Tong, Jordan Clark, John Paul Leon, and many more.
Each of these sweet valentines to iconic DC characters spotlights an emotionally troubled hero or villain such as Batman, Green Arrow, Catwoman, Nightwing, Black Canary, Pied Piper, or Wildcat — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive look at the Dark Knight nugget, "More Than Maybe."
The kickoff story is written by Steve Orlando (JLA, Midnighter) and married to pitch-perfect artwork from Greg Smallwood (Moon Knight).
It examines the stormy romance between alluring Gotham socialite Linda Page and billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne — as a hypnotic threat in the form of disgraced doctor Tito Daka infiltrates a nursing home to take advantage of its innocent elderly residents. Orlando chose to utilize a pair of classic characters first seen in the original 1943 Batman serial for this harrowing little gem, and it's an ideal match for the lovesick material.
For Orlando, DC’s Crimes of Passion felt like a chance, with its lovingly melodramatic title, to return to the sweeping yarns of comics' early days.
"For us, that meant serials," he tells SYFY WIRE. "And it made sense, when I thought about it — the anthologies we're alluding to, put out both by DC and other companies, were largely romance books. In their heyday, they were a huge genre, and that was the '40s and '50s. So with this story we set about making a modern homage to the storytelling conventions of the time when these romance anthologies were newsstand leaders. We hoped to make a Batman story that could've been from the period of those books, the same period of the serials, that somehow had time-traveled into the present day."
"Just like with Andrea Beaumont in Mask of the Phantasm, in Linda Page, Bruce sees someone that's aspirational, even to him. He sees someone who cares just as much as he does, but didn't need a personal tragedy to do so. He sees that fighting to help those in need doesn’t have to be a shadow crusade, fought in alleyways. It can be one battled in the hallways of soup kitchens, on the front lines of charity. But the tragedy for him, as it will always be, is that Batman is the living symbol of his anger."
Orlando admits that this story wouldn't exist without artist Greg Smallwood, and they crafted the plot with him in mind, knowing that this was a story demanding classic tropes, designs, and storytelling.
"What I didn't expect is just how much of a grand slam he would hit, taking the plot and innovating pages that are so elegant in their storytelling," Orlando adds. "The pages are so clean, so clear, and the emotions all get time to sing. Greg was beyond an asset here. He took our idea of a world and gave it vivid, timeless life."
Open your heart and soak in the sentimental story in our exclusive look at DC's Crimes of Passion #1 in the gallery below, then tell us if there's someone close who might love this holiday one-shot as a geeky Valentine's Day gift!