Batman saves Barcelona in new comic book

MADRID: He has fought Japanese gangs, battled a huge lizard and defeated an alien invasion of earth -- and now Batman can be seen probing a series of mysterious murders in Barcelona in a new comic book.

"Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight", which went on sale at a four-day comics fair that wraps up Monday in Barcelona, is the first to depict the superhero in the Spanish coastal city instead of his usual home, the fictional Gotham City in the United States.

"We tried to faithfully depict the city although with some slight artistic licences," Barcelona native Marta Martinez, the colourist for the new 48-page comic book, told AFP.

"The appearance of famous Barcelona sights was indispensable and we tried to make sure the reader could easily recognise them but also create an atmosphere that is appropriate for the character, with light and much shadow," she added.

The cover of the book was designed by best-selling Korean-American comic book artist Jim Lee and it shows Batman standing with his black cape billowing in the wind with the spires of the Sagrada Familia cathedral in the backdrop.

"I wanted to pose Batman more upright, almost in parallel to the spires of the magnificent Sagrada Familia," Lee told a news conference in the city on Thursday before the start of the comic book fair.

"Batman can not be bigger nor more imposing than the cathedral but reflective of its power and majesty."

The plot of the book, written by veteran US comic book writer Mark Waid, sees Batman doing battle in the medieval streets of Barcelona with longtime enemy Killer Croc who has been drugged to believe he is the mythic un-slayable dragon from the story of St. George.

"I love this city and a character so gothic as Batman fits right in here," said Waid, who has also written Superman and Captain America comics.

In Spain over 10,000 copies of "Batman in Barcelona" were published in Spanish and Catalan. The comic book was also released over the weekend in the United States in English and in Italy in Italian.