‘Batgirl’ To Become Best Possible DC Comic With New Creators Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr And Brenden Fletcher
The past few weeks have brought some truly surprising and exciting announcements from the Batman corner of the DC Universe, but this one tops them all. Today it was announced that Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher will take over as new writers on Batgirl, with Stewart providing covers and layouts for new comics artist Babs Tarr.
Any one of those creators alone would be a pretty big deal deal, but while Stewart and Fletcher are intriguing choices for the adventures of Barbara Gordon, the biggest news by far is Tarr, an illustrator and video game artist best known to ComicsAlliance readers for her incredible cosplay-inspiring art and frequent appearances in the Best Art Ever (This Week) feature. This is a move that we never saw coming, but one we're completely in favor of.
Oddly enough, Stewart is the most unsurprising choice of the bunch, and that's actually saying something. He's worked on the Batman books relatively recently as an artist, collaborating with Grant Morrison on Batman and Robin, and he's written comics that include an Assassin's Creed tie-in with Karl Kerschl, BPRD: Exorcism, and his Eisner-nominated webcomic Sin Titulo, but Batgirl is his highest profile superhero writing gig at DC.
Given DC's recent push for books helmed by writer/artists (or, in the case of creators like David Finch and Francis Manapul, writers known primarily for their art) and his knack for fluid designs and engaging, lifelike characters, Stewart makes a lot of sense to spearhead the aesthetic revitalization of one of DC's most iconic heroines.
It's Fletcher's presence on the writing side that's actually a little more intriguing, given that he was also announced as the co-writer of the upcoming Gotham Academy, alongside Becky Cloonan -- another writer-artist -- with art by Karl Kerschl. Given Fletcher's presence on both books, and the claim that Academy will feature "new characters and old," it's almost impossible not to think Batgirl's new direction will tie into events at Gotham Academy, forging an entirely new corner of the Bat-books based around young women -- something that's a hugely welcome change from the New 52 tradition.
Tarr is the hammer of this particular announcement, and possibly the biggest mic-drop moment that DC's had in the past few years. It was only a few months ago that ComicsAlliance published an editorial about the idea of a "House Style" for DC and what that unified aesthetic for an entire universe -- where Superman didn't look that different from Batman -- meant for the readers.
It was mentioned in that piece that there are a few exceptions to that rule, but Tarr's not just an exception, she's the diametric opposite of DC house style. There are some absolutely beautiful DC Comics coming out right now, but I'm pretty sure none of them look like Tarr's bosozoku Sailor Scouts. There's a fashion design-heavy style to what she does that doesn't look like anything else on the stands, let alone anything else that DC's publishing.
And again, it's worth noting that Tarr was announced as the regular artist of a relatively high-profile book. For a company that hasn't been taking a whole lot of risks lately with the visual style of their titles, this suggests a commitment to a new kind of aesthetic that can appeal to an audience outside the core that the New 52 has been pursuing thus far. And that's a very good thing, even if you're not already a fan of Babs Tarr -- which I most definitely am.
More importantly, DC's investment in Tarr is a clear signal that they're finally reaching out to the contemporary female reader, and it's something that the Batgirl title should have been doing all along.
The new creative team say they plan to relocate Barbara Gordon to Burnside, the hipster corner of Gotham. Fletcher told MTV News, "Barbara allows herself to be immersed in youth culture for the first time, exploring the social side of life in Burnside. That’s not to say there isn't mystery, of course! Try as she might to live a 'normal' life, Barbara very quickly finds herself drawn back into the world of crime fighting. Our take on Batgirl mixes the best elements of Veronica Mars and Girls, with a dash of Sherlock thrown in for good measure."
The story also features a costume redesign by Stewart and Tarr -- a look that Stewart says was pieced together by Barbara from Burnside's boutiques and vintage stores.
Speaking about joining the Batgirl team, Tarr told MTV, "The whole thing has been pretty surreal! I was surprised, as a newcomer, at how super welcoming and collaborative everyone has been! Being approached to do Batgirl and being met with such open arms toward my art style and ideas has just been beyond my wildest imagination. Batgirl will be my first comic, and I could not be more honored and excited about the challenge!"
Batgirl's new creative team takes over this October.