“There is a reason that so many horrible things happen in Gotham.” – J.H. Williams
(The cover for BATWOMAN #1 by J.H. Williams III)
On September 14th, the eagerly anticipated BATWOMAN #1 will fly onto stands. Co-writers J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman talked to us about what’s in store for Kate Kane including the reveal of new villains and where issue one begins.
THE SOURCE: What about DC's new 52 titles excites you the most?
J.H. WILLIAMS III: There's seems to be the possibility of re-grounding things, and some surprising entries for new titles.
W. HADEN BLACKMAN: I'm really fascinated by how each of the creative teams is going to tackle the notion of a "New #1," especially with some of the characters who have had complex histories or been portrayed in different ways over the years -- characters like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Hawkman. I'm also very happy that BATWOMAN is part of this -- we've been working on the series for quite some time already, and it'll be fantastic to finally see Issue #1 on stands.
How and why are you shaking up the series' status quo?
JHW: It's hard to say how much we're shaking up the status quo for Batwoman because there is still so much to explore. However, this series will be the place to see more otherworldly aspects of the DCU. But don't think we'll be settling for just that. The series is going to be a wild ride over the first 3 arcs.
WHB: A big mantra for us with BATWOMAN is "There Is No Status Quo." Since this is a new ongoing, we wanted to make sure that Kate Kane/Batwoman is always moving forward, always changing and evolving as the series progresses. We never want you to read an issue and feel like it doesn't matter to the characters or that things can just easily "reset" after each arc. When we open, Kate is estranged from her father, embarking on a new romance, and trying to figure out if she's mentor material. But by the end of the first arc, all of these relationships will have changed in some meaningful way.
What new characters will debut in the series?
JHW: Well first off we'll be focused on developing a rogue's gallery for Batwoman, and leading that charge will be The Weeping Woman. It's very important for heroes to have strong villains. This is what helps define a hero's character. Right now Batwoman only has Alice for the most part. We're going to change that in a very big way. By the time the second arc wraps we'll have established no less than 5 new villains. We're excited over the impact this will have in the life of Batwoman, Kate Kane and the rest of the cast.
WHB: We really want to create a strong Rogue's Gallery for Batwoman, so we're using the first arc to introduce a new (and very creepy) villain called the Weeping Woman, based on a figure from Mexican folklore. She's one of my favorite types of monsters - someone who does horrifying things, but is also tragic and sympathetic in many ways. The second arc features even more new villains, and a new take on a Gotham local.
Will we see new character designs?
JHW: Well, any new designs pertain to what I said above. But for Batwoman herself? No. But there will be some interesting things to develop for some of the cast over the first year of the series that will lead to bigger things.
WHB: We'll definitely see one new uniform in the first art, but not necessarily for Batwoman …
What's the first line of dialogue in the first issue?
JHW & WHB: "She is a terrible thing..."
What's the biggest surprise you've had working on this character/book?
JHW: Just how invigorated I am over the results. We're developing something multilayered and nuanced that, if readers stick with us, will see it pay off in some very surprising ways. We're very gratified in seeing how much we can twist the superhero genre as we move from arc to arc, but yet retain this clear momentum that all makes sense by the end of our third arc.
WHB: That my favorite scenes to write are actually the "quiet moments" between Kate and her significant other.
What secret has been the hardest to keep?
JHW: Well, this is a trick question isn't it. I mean if something is supposed to be secret until revealed in the story, then I really can't give you an answer without spoiling things can I?
WHB: The release date. And details about the new villains.
What’s the unofficial tagline for this series, in your own words?
JHW: There is a reason that so many horrible things happen in Gotham.
WHB: "It's not a costume; it's a uniform." We keep coming back to this notion that Kate was trained as a soldier, and still views herself in that light. She dons the uniform to do a job, complete a mission. But under the mask, she's always still Kate Kane -- there aren't two identities that she shifts between. What happens to Kate in her "civilian" life affects Kate as Batwoman, and vice versa.
What were your thoughts about the day-and-date digital announcement?
WHB: I think it's a really important step for the industry as a whole to stay relevant and evolve. Whether people like it or not, digital distribution is here, for everything from movies to games. For me personally, nothing is going to replace going into my local shop and getting my stack of comics every Wednesday, but digital distribution provides more choices to readers, and hopefully opens the door to new readers.