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MAKING A LIST OF EVIL – JOSHUA WILLIAMSON TALKS BATMAN / SUPERMAN

Interview conducted by James Ferguson

I've followed Joshua Williamson's comics career for some time. He came on my radar with Nailbiter, his series with Mike Henderson, which I named the top horror comic for two years in a row. Since then he's done more horror, fantasy, super heroes, and now, horror in super heroes with Batman / Superman. I had a chance to speak to him about this book, spinning out of The Batman Who Laughs, where six heroes of the DC Universe have been infected with a serum that will turn them into the worst versions of themselves.

James Ferguson: How were the six Infected chosen?

Joshua Williamson: A couple of them were decided ahead of time. They were characters that were part of the story we needed. We sat down and made a list for the rest of them. It started with characters we thought would be cool, fun, and interesting, then we took a step back. Who would the Batman Who Laughs pick? Who would he strategically go after to corrupt the DCU and make a statement, causing impact? He would go after characters you'd underestimate.

The Batman Who Laughs wants [Commissioner] Gordon because he knows that would hurt Bruce. Everyone underestimates Blue Beetle. Jaime is this great character that's extremely powerful. He has this alien technology that not everyone understands. Donna Troy has real reasons to be angry. She's an amazing hero who's gone through a lot of darkness already. Shazam is the most pure hero and he's one of the most powerful in the DCU. If he can be corrupted, anyone can. That would be a warning sign to everybody. This is real. I can't get into Supergirl because of spoilers. Hawkman is the greatest warrior in the DCU and he's already tied in because of some of the Barbatos stuff and the history of the world forge. He's lived all these lives and seen all these things, so he has this perfect warrior. Here is this great assassin that he didn't have before. When we started thinking about it like that, it really took shape.

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JF: I was creeped out before, but having you explain the methodology behind it is freaky.

JW: Yeah, we had to get into the Batman Who Laughs' head.

JF: How scary is it to get into a character's head like that? Then again, you do have some experience with that.

JW: It's interesting. With Warren in Nailbiter and working on things like Ghosted where I was writing all these mean characters, I had a lot of experiences that were like that. Scott [Snyder] did such a great job establishing The Batman Who Laughs' voice and history. When we first started working on Metal, other people would be working with the character, but the thing we noticed was that everyone was writing him as the Joker. They didn't get it. He's not the Joker. He's Bruce. He's just a twisted version of Bruce. Once we started having that conversation with them, we just knew how to write him. When you read some of this stuff, you can hear Scott's voice. I was able to put all of that into this book. I like writing characters that are like that. I'm a big believer that your hero is only as good as your villain and I've got a great villain. It's going to make our heroes look better. Heroes shine the most when they're in darkness.

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JF: How did the designs for some of the Infected come about?

JW: Greg Capullo designed the first round of Dark Knights. He was working on Last Knight on Earth and there's some stuff for next year that he's putting together. With this one, we went to Ricardo Federici and he did the designs for these. He's doing a new Vertigo book called The Last God. He has a great sense of dark fantasy so they asked him to do it. We gave him some of the prompts and the worlds. The first one that came in was Shazam and he nailed it. There were a couple small things that we changed. You'll notice they all have metal on them since they're tied into the Dark Multiverse. That was something we made sure to add in there. We talked it through with editorial and developed these characters.

JF: There are six that were chosen. Was there a second draft? If you had seven, eight, or nine, who would you have pulled in?

JW: ...Yes and no. It's kind of a complicated question that I can't get into for spoiler reasons. There were characters we had talked about for different reasons but we all realized this was the best group. There might be some other stuff coming down the line. That's the most I can say. [Laughs]

JF: While I have you, is there any chance of any more Nailbiter?

JW: ...Yes.

Horror DNA would like to thank Joshua Williamson for taking the time to speak with us. The first three issues of Batman / Superman are currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

 

About The Author
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Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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