Batwoman Series on the Way with J.H. Williams III as Co-Writer
Batwoman is back. After Greg Rucka announced during Wondercon that he would be stepping down from the planned “Batwoman” ongoing series — and DC Comics — there was a great deal of speculation from fans about what the future held for the character of Kate Kane, and now we know the answer. DC has officially announced not only that a “Batwoman” series is still in the works, but that “Detective Comics” artist J.H. Williams III — whose acclaimed run with Batwoman was recently nominated for multiple Eisners — will step up as a co-writer of the series.
For the first arc of the series, Williams will work as both artist and co-writer, along with writing partner W. Haden Blackman, and later hand off the art duties to Amy Reeder (“Madame Xanadu”) for the second arc. ComicsAlliance spoke to Williams about his changing creative role, and his plans for bringing the character of Batwoman into her first ongoing series.
ComicsAlliance: I know you and Greg Rucka had worked very collaboratively on “Detective Comics,” so how different does this new role feel? How will it change the way you deal with the character and the story What’s your approach to expanding your role in terms of dealing with the character?
J.H. Williams III: I’m going to have a lot more say over character development and story direction, because when I worked with Greg he pretty much already knew the story he wanted to tell but wanted to get my take on ways to tell it. He was very much in charge of the direction, where essentially that’s now going to be my role. But fortunately, I have a writing partner that I’ve been working with for several years now that no one has been aware of. He works for LucasArts and his name is Hayden Blackman. We’ve worked as co-writers on lots of stuff on the side; our first work together was a short story for “Hellboy: Weird Tales” and ever since then we just have kept at it just no one has seen it. He and I will both be working on this together.CA: Are the stories that you’re going to tell in the series coming out of plans you’d initially made for the series or are you going in a totally new direction now?
JW: We’re taking an interesting approach. We want it to be a continuation without necessarily directly continuing the story that Greg wanted to tell. I really wanted to leave that alone in case he decided to come back and tell that story — I don’t want to step on his toes. We’ll be addressing a lot of the plot developments and there will be some subtler continuations in terms of her relationship with her father and the revelations she had, and how she starts to deal with her own life. Our main goal is to create an extension of what came before and bring a lot of new characters to the table, flesh out her rogues gallery, and build her role as a larger role in the DC Universe, in terms of viewing her as a major hero, while at the same time making sure she keeps that mysterious, autonomous aspect to her.
The basic plan right now is for me to do the first arc for the art as well as the writing, and then keep on writing for the next art which would be Amy [Reeder] Hadley stepping in — who I think is fantastic — and then trading arcs back and forth with he so that we can get a lot of things accomplished on the production side in a short amount of time… We’re going to have to kick things into high gear rather rapidly because it’s all been happening rather rapidly. There aren’t actual pages drawn yet or anything of the sort; it’s basically starting brand new and fresh right out of the gate.
CA: You’ve obviously been working with the character for a while in a different capacity — have you had ideas during that process that you’re excited to execute now that you’re taking on some of the writing duties?
JW: Yeah, there definitely are. There are lots of things that Greg and I talked about in terms of what Kate’s personality was like, and who she is as a person outside of being Batwoman, but in terms of the way the story moved forward in the first seven issues, we didn’t get a lot of who Kate is in the here and now. There was a lot of dealing with where she came from but not a lot about who she is now. That’s something I’d definitely like to explore a little bit without losing the grandiose superhero storytelling aspects that people expect from their hero titles. So it’s going to be a trick finding that balance and making sure the character development is there, because all that stuff informs how she acts when she’s got the mask on, too.
CA: I don’t want to say her father has been her Alfred, because obviously their relationship is different, but he has been this supporting character that enabled her crimefighting, so how do you do all that without somebody there to help you?
JW: Exactly, exactly. It’s going to be really interesting in terms of figuring out how to deal with her cousin as well who wants to step in and join the fun, per se. And we’re going to be exploring how that will all play out. And now she’s estranged from her father what does that mean? How does that feel? What sense of isolation would that create, and how does that affect her decisions in terms of her night-time activities? We don’t want to ignore the fact that he exists as a major character and a major force in her life, and some interesting plot developments will take place involving coming to terms both with being Batwoman and being Kate.