DC All Access: An Interview with New Batwoman Writer Marc Andreyko
Tomorrow, we get a glimpse into Batwoman’s past with BATWOMAN #25, a special Zero Year tie-in issue that also introduces new series writer Marc Andreyko. In today’s new episode of “DC All Access,” Marc discussed the new villain he’ll be introducing to the title, as well as his fascination with the name “Kate.” However, we had a few additional questions for the man who will be writing one of the Bat-universe’s most complex and interesting characters.
Let’s start with the basics. How would you describe Batwoman as a character to someone who’s unfamiliar with Kate Kane?
I think she’s a nice amalgamation of many of the different personalities within the Bat-universe. She’s inspired and driven by tragedy—the murder of her mother and sister. She’s seen a lot of bad things in her life, much like Bruce Wayne has. But unlike Bruce, whose life seems to be entirely driven by that tragedy, Kate also wants a personal life. She wants to be happy and have the normal, everyday things that most people have. So there are these two parts of her that are in conflict because having a family and a normal life tends to be counterintuitive to putting on a costume at night and risking your life going out and fighting crime.
So I think she’s a very human character in the Bat-universe, who’s very relatable. It’s easy to understand why she does what she does.
Of course, as most people know, she’s also a lesbian. What does it mean to you to work on a character like that? Also, were you a Batwoman fan before you got this gig?
I was a huge fan! I’ve been following her since Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III started doing their Detective Comics stories, and J.H. and W. Haden Blackman’s work on her ongoing title has all been really inspired. I’ve been really enjoying writing her.
I think what’s fascinating about Kate Kane and why it’s fun to write her is that even though she’s a character who happens to be gay, and being gay is a huge facet of who she is and her personality, but it’s not the only facet. I try not to write characters whose trait comes before their name because if you define a character by one trait, you run the risk of becoming really heavy handed and didactic, and making them much less than a three dimensional character. When you get right down to it, every facet of who we are could be used to describe us, but that would eliminate so much more of who we are.
So actually, the part about her being a lesbian is probably the third or fourth most exciting part for me to write because there are so many other complications in her persona and personal life—those are the really interesting things.
Batwoman’s also the second high-profile female character you’ve written for DC Comics. Are you drawn to female characters?
Well, I’m glad you consider Manhunter a high-profile character! That’s nice to hear!
I enjoy writing strong female characters. I’ve always been fascinated by women who are just as complex, damaged or flawed as the male characters. There tends to be two kinds of women in entertainment. They tend to be hyper-sexualized or very maternal, and there’s so much more to women and to people. There’s so much more we could be doing. I’m a huge fan of Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect because she smokes, she drinks, she’s never been married, she’s not good with people… She’s basically Wolverine, but she’s a woman. It was considered controversial and groundbreaking when they created the character because she’s a woman, but women are just as complicated and interesting as men, so it was actually very reductive.
So yes, writing comic book characters who happen to be female, but who have all of the depth and complexity of comic’s male characters is really interesting and important to me.
So what can we expect to see in future issues of Batwoman?
Well, there will be lots of complications in her personal life. The engagement is by no means a happily ever after situation. That comes with its own set of complications. We’ll open up the supporting cast some more. We’ll see some more of Maggie’s personal life. Maggie does have a daughter with her ex-husband in Metropolis that we haven’t yet seen. There will also be some new villains introduced. My first arc after the Zero Year issue introduces a new villain. We’ll also hopefully reintroduce some characters and villains that we haven’t seen yet in The New 52.
So it’ll be a nice mix. We’ll also be folding Kate more into the Bat-universe proper. After all, while Gotham’s big, it’s still only so big. These people have got to cross paths every now and then. But in an organic way! I’ve never been a guy who does crossovers for crossovers’ sake. You need them to be special.
Kate’s also Bruce’s cousin, so there’s that as well. There’s just so much to play with when it comes to this character, that’s it’s really just figuring out what we want to tackle first.
Are you excited about working with Jeremy Haun?
Oh yeah, I love Jeremy! Jeremy drew a number of the Manhunter backups in Streets of Gotham a couple of years back. I think Jeremy’s got a really great sense of storytelling. I just got his designs for the new villain from the first arc and they’re super. I’m very excited to be working with Jeremy again.
For readers who haven’t been reading Batwoman, why is now the time to start?
I try to write the books to be accessible to people who are just picking up the book for the first time. They should be able to figure out what’s happening just be reading it. But I also acknowledge the continuity for people who have been reading it for a long time.
But really, she’s just an amazing character. Kate’s a fascinating, really vibrant character that I think is just a little bit off-center from traditional superheroes. If you’ve never read her book before, she may just defy your expectations!