By Jorge Solis (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Oct 11, 2014 01:48 PM EDT
During New York Comic Con 2014, MStars News had the pleasure of speaking with the new creative team of Batgirl, which includes artist Babs Tarr, writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher. Barbara Gordon will be going through major changes, must just with her Batgirl costume change, in the must-read issue, Batgirl #35.
According to the latest DC Comics story arc, Barbara has just moved to the hip border district of Burnside. Living on her own for the first time, she seeks to build a new life for herself. Gotham’s young adults are about to face a deadly threat that could ruin it all.
MStars spoke with the creative team about how they came onboard with the project, their throwbacks to Yvonne Craig, and what readers should expect from upcoming issues.
MStars: How did you become involved in the project?
Cameron Stewart: I was contacted by the former editor, she’s not there anymore, but she sent me an email and said that they were coming up for a change in creative team and possibly direction. Would I be interested in taking over the book and taking over as solo creative person, like just being a writer and artist? Unfortunately, my schedule was too busy to do that, so I asked if I would be able to choose some people to work with, so that I could still be involved with the book and be able to execute the kind of vision that I had for it, but not have the burden of doing it all on my own.
Brenden [Fetcher] is a really good friend of mine, I’ve know him for about 15 years, and he was the only person I thought of to work with on the writing. And Babs [Tarr], I contacted because I’ve been a fan of hers for a few years, just seeing her work around on the internet and thinking that she would be a perfect addition to the team. It was amazing that DC approved both of them.
Babs Tarr: When I first got pulled on, Cameron emailed me and was asking if I’d be interested. “Uh, of course I’d be interested, but, ya know, just a couple problems.” I had never done a comic book page before, and my style doesn’t really fit their house style. Would I have to change?
Cameron emailed me back and he’s like, “No, we want exactly your style.” DC was in a state where they would be open to it. He was like, “Let’s go for it?” And I was like “Let’s go for it!” Yeah, that’s how it happened.
MS: Tell me about the costume change, because it feels like you’re harkening back to the Batman ’66 series with Adam West and the original Batgirl, Yvonne Craig.
CS: That’s exactly correct, that’s very perceptive. That is what I wanted to do. I think that version of Batgirl is the one that even people that are not familiar with comics, that’s the iconic Batgirl that resonates with the public at large.
And so, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to do that costume. If that costume had never existed, but that approach was taken, how would a contemporary costume designer come up with that outfit?
It was just based on looking on fashion trends of the day, and looking through a lot of like street fashion blogs and coming up with stuff that I felt could be adapted into a superhero costume. I did a first pass at it that I was pretty satisfied with. I showed it to Babs to get her reaction because I knew that one of the reason why I wanted to work with her in the first place is because through her artwork, she has a really amazing sense of style and fashion. That’s what I wanted for the book. So I was like “What do you think of this?”
BT: I thought it was great. He already had the snaps, the boots, and the tuxedo stripe down the pant leg. She had this great leather jacket. I love leather jackets! When I saw it I was like “Oooh, this could be really cool!”
So I just ripped off of what Cameron already had, which was amazing, and added some streamlines to the jacket, some hardware. I added a button to match on the collar, to match the snaps, some zippers for pockets to have more things to wear. She had like the old school Batgirl belt, and I was like, “Oh, let’s like update that a little bit.”
I made it kind of like that Tomb Raider, like a side pouch and added a couple of little side pouches on the side. It just turned out really well. It kind of like sung, like the two of us together. We really knocked it out of the park!
MS: I liked how the story focuses on what’s going on in social media and modern technology. Through an app, the villain takes away bank data, which feels like it’s based on a true story. Tell me how those ideas came up while touching upon pop culture.
Brenden Fletcher: The origins from just trying to be honest about what a 20-year-old girl would be like today. We moved Barbara out to a place where she’s surrounded by people of a similar age and lifestyle. It was natural to let the villain sort of grow out of that.
Technology plays a really large part in all of our lives. I mean this is being recorded on your phone. You use your phone for everything. I’m sure you’re using it while walking around here to keep in touch with people. This is what we do, so to have a hero whose primary abilities are based on her intelligence, her photographic memory, and her ability to use technology, it was just natural to make the villain sort of grow out of that and also be using technology in a way to corrupt instances.
MS: Tell me what direction you would like to take Batgirl in the upcoming issues.
CS: Are you looking for spoilers? [Laughs]
BF: I think what we’re trying to do is help Barbara find her true north again. She’s really been beaten down. She’s really had been mired in darkness for a number of years. She’s pulled herself out of that as best she can. But, she doesn’t know how to be herself anymore.
This first arc we’re writing is really about helping her find that place again where she’s comfortable and happy and can be the best Barbara Gordon, while being the most incredible Batgirl that she can be. And then from there, it’s all surprises.
MS: What other projects are you working on now?
BF: I’m co-writing Gotham Academy as well, and I got some other things in the pipeline.
CS: I’m illustrating Fight Club 2.
BT: I’m mostly doing Batgirl, but I still do freelance for Hasbro, doing tour design every once in awhile.
Definitely worth picking up, Batgirl #35 is out in stores now.