2010 was a big year for Batwoman, with the publication of the beautiful hardcover of BATWOMAN: ELEGY and issue #0 of generating flat out rave reviews in the press. 2011 promises even bigger and better things with the launch of the eagerly anticipated BATWOMAN ongoing series. For insight into what’s in store for Kate Kane, we reached out to J.H. Williams:
“We're very excited over the things we've come up with for Batwoman. Many layers to the story will unfold as the series progresses, and we'll be going for a genre bending approach to things. We're starting things off very much in a gothic horror type of story, and this will dovetail into more of a classic spy espionage plot with a touch Tarantino like structure, that in turn dovetails into more of a fantasy epic. The interesting thing about this genre bending plot movement is that these stories will be interconnected by an overall arcing plot. And while doing so, some of our main goals are dealing with the fall out between Kate Kane and her father Colonel Jacob Kane over the lies about her twin sister's death from when they were children. This is stemming from events in the BATWOMAN: ELEGY book. We are also going to be creating a rogues gallery for Batwoman. Right now she really only has Alice and the Religion Of Crime. While those elements are great, we feel that Batwoman's longevity as a strong character will be greatly enhanced by building her a mythos of villains that she can call her own, and we've got some very mean gruesome ones on the way. Detective Maggie Sawyer will also have a major role in the series as we explore the possibilities in Kate's personal life and how they relate to her being Batwoman. We're going to explore Batwoman's relationship with Flamebird (Bette Kane, Kate's cousin) in some very interesting ways. And while all of this is going on, a very powerful governmental agency is going to be breathing down her neck. As the series rolls out you can expect horror, action, intrigue, fantasy, heroism, and a whole lot of villainy.”The collaborative process on comic books is always notable and never more so than with the new series. J.H. and W. Haden Blackman are co-writing the series and J.H. and Amy Reeder are re-defining the very concept of artistic collaboration with amazing visuals, along with award winning colorist Dave Stewart. What’s that writing process like? Take it away, Mr. Blackman.
“The writing process is pretty organic. We usually start with a bunch of disconnected ideas – scenes, snippets of dialogue, a villain, a big set-piece, the fate of a specific character – and work together to put those into a coherent structure with an actual character arc. We go back and forth between being very freeform and creative, and then knuckling down and focusing on nuts-and bolts structure; I’ve actually been really pleasantly surprised that as a team, we’ve been able to transition back and forth so easily. Then for any given issue, we both write first drafts of different scenes – but again, it’s a very organic process. If one of us has a strong vision for how a panel or sequence plays out, or can hear a particular conversation in our head, then we run with that scene. We then compile these scenes into a draft for the entire issue and spend hours on the phone hashing out choreography, rewriting dialogue, and smoothing out all the little details. “When we first starting working on this title, I thought I’d be most excited about writing all the big superhero moments. And those are certainly a lot of fun to write, but the more I get to know these characters, the more I enjoy the quieter, more personal moments – the complexities of Kate’s relationships with her father, Bette, and Maggie all allow for a lot of great scenes and exchanges.”And here’s what Amy Reeder had to say about the art for the series:
“JH had the idea to collaborate on the interiors of the 0 issue, something to involve me in the tease of the sort of art that's to come on the series. Starting with issue 1, we will be trading off arcs as you might usually expect. He will be drawing issues 1-5 and I'll be drawing 6-11. In addition, we'll each be doing a cover for the issues. I'll be drawing the variants for JH's issues, and he'll be drawing the variants for mine! I'm so happy to be involved to this degree and hope that the end product is a seamless collaboration.”Readers who picked up BATWOMAN #0 got an early sneak peak at JH Williams’ uncolored art from the first issue of the ongoing series. In case you missed it, here are those amazing pages, along with another page of art by JH and Amy Reeder’s stunning variant cover to issue 1.