Batwoman has been at the center of controversy for the last few months, but the time has come to look ahead — and we begin by looking back! Marc Andreyko joins the Bat-Family next week with his first issue of Batwoman: #25, a Zero Year tie-in issue depicting Kate Kane’s status six years ago amid the disaster of Gotham City. Andreyko took some time out on the run to talk all things Batwoman, and announce an upcoming Annual as well!
Matt Santori-Griffith: Marc, congratulations on the new series and for returning to the streets of Gotham! Kate’s been somewhat isolated from the extended Bat-Family to date. What do you see is Batwoman’s role in relation to the rest of the heroes that occupy Gotham City, and how do you plan to manifest those differences or connections?
Marc Andreyko: Thanks! I’m very excited to be handed the reins of such a great character and follow in the incredibly intimidating footsteps of the talented creators who have woven such a rich tapestry for Batwoman.
Kate is very similar to Bruce in a lot of ways: shaped by tragedy, a strong sense of justice and helping those who can’t help themselves, duty, but the biggest difference is Bruce is more of a loner, isolated, and does not seem to need intimate relationships, whereas Kate would like nothing more than to have a soulmate. Kate wants to overcome her tragedies while Bruce’s seem to give him purpose.
MSG: Of course, not unlike Batman himself, Kate Kane has her own extended cast of characters, some you know very well in fact! How does it feel to return to Cameron Chase and Mr. Bones after all this time?
MA: Well, I haven’t written them yet! I will be finishing up the cliffhanger from #24 in the Batwoman Annual out this spring and I am greatly looking forward to revisiting my old friends in the New 52!
MSG: The balance for Batwoman and her supporting cast, particularly her family, seems to fall somewhere between antagonists to and partners in her overall mission. How do you feel about Bette and Jake’s part in her life currently and how do you see their individual stories evolving in relation to Kate’s?
MA: As you know from my work on Manhunter, I love big supporting casts! So, Jake and Bette will play big roles in my Batwoman stories. In fact, in my first post-Zero Year issue, Bette makes a big change!
MSG: We can’t talk about Kate Kane these days without bringing up another of DC’s strong female characters, Kate’s fiancee Maggie Sawyer. Will their engagement continue under your pen, and how do you think each of them view the concept of their status going forward, given their romantic (and in Maggie’s case, matrimonial) histories?
MA: The engagement will continue, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Both women have many complications and extenuating circumstances in their lives that make “happily ever after” difficult, to say the least. But, “the course of true love ne’er did run smooth.”
They both want to make it work, but it isn’t simply up to them. Can love prevail? Well, we’ll see…
MSG: A lot of Batwoman’s story so far has been embroiled in the telling of her history (up to and including her upcoming Zero Year crossover issue) as one would expect for a relatively newer hero, but her rogue’s gallery to date seems to be somewhat undefined. What can readers expect as you begin your run in terms of villains and other antagonists Batwoman will encounter?
MA: My first arc introduces a new, and major, rogue to Batwoman’s world: the Wolf Spider. His motivations aren’t the traditional “take over the world” or “psychopathic” ones that seem to power most bad guys. And I hope to introduce some classic villains who haven’t yet appeared in the New 52. So, it will be a mix of Gotham’s storied bad guys and some new blood.
MSG: Your track record for developing deeply compelling LGBT characters in the Manhunter series is well known [Andreyko was a 2007 nominee for GLAAD Award for Best Comic Series], so the pairing of your writing with ostensibly the comic market’s highest profile lesbian is a truly unique opportunity. How do you think the narrative landscape has changed, if it has, in the last 6 years, and in your opinion, what place does Batwoman occupy going forward as a cultural icon?
MA: It has been amazing watching gay civil rights come so far, so quickly in the past decade. The progress and acceptance and support has grown at an astronomical rate, so that has been gratifying to watch. DC has always been a leader in this area, whether with LGBT characters or the number of gay creators in their employ, so getting to write arguably the highest profile gay character in mainstream comics is a privilege and a thrill. I think Batwoman serves as a touchstone because being gay is part of who she is, but by no means, is that her singular defining trait. She is a superhero who happens to be gay, not simply a “gay superhero”.
MSG: I won’t make the inevitable comparison between the two kick-ass female leads named Kate, but I have to ask: any thoughts or plans for the re-introduction of [Manhunter] Kate Spencer to DC’s New 52?
MA: You’ll just have to keep reading…
MSG: Any special teases or shout-outs you’d like to give to the Comicosity audience?
MA: Well… we have lots of cool stuff in the works, so I hope readers will stay with us, or jump on, for the ride. I am having the most fun since Manhunter and hope my enthusiasm is infectious! And, I have to say thanks to all the fans on the internet. Their overwhelming support and excitement has only made me more focused on adding to Batwoman’s already rich history.
Marc Andreyko’s first issue of Batwoman, a Zero Year tie-in, hits comic shops next week.