Join DC Comics Executive Editor, Ben Abernathy, and Dark Crisis writer Joshua Williamson as they dive into all of your burning questions! The pair discuss Josh’s approach to writing, his favorite books and characters, and some exciting teases for what’s to come in the Dark Crisis saga. Tune in to this fantastic interview, and read along with the transcript below!
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Audio Interview Transcript
Ben Abernathy: Welcome to the first edition of the DC community audio interview series. My name is Ben Abernathy. I’m the Executive Editor here at DC. And I’m here talking with superstar writer Joshua Williamson. How’s it going, Joshua?
Joshua Williamson: It’s good! It’s good. Yeah, so my name is Joshua Williamson. I am the writer of dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, one of the architects of the DCU, and I’m writing a bunch of stuff that hasn’t been announced yet. But things are good. Things are good!
BA: You’re busy, man. Thank you for taking the time to chat today. And we have some cool questions that we would like to answer. So if you’re ready to rock and roll, let’s do this.
JW: Dude. I’m totally ready. Yeah, let’s rock it!
BA: ManofSteel2Please writes–It was so great to see how and Kyle together for what felt like the first time in ages. I agree. I was very excited as a fan as well. How do you feel they complement one another, both as characters and as members of the Green Lantern Corps?
JW: Yeah, it was pretty cool to see them together! I love writing Hal and I’ve been a big fan of Kyle for a really long time. I feel like you know, Kyle always represents an important part of like my fandom the same way that like Tim and Connor and Bart do and just having these characters that kind of came in early 90s that were cool new POVs to these mythologies, right? Like, when I was a kid reading Green Lantern, and there was like so many Green Lanterns and but just I liked Hal in John and Guy there was always like crazy stuff going on. And so, when everything kind of boiled down, and it was just Kyle for a little bit, it was really cool to be able to like, because he was coming into the Green Lantern Corps, completely blind, right? Like, he didn’t know anything about Green Lanterns. He just, you know, Ganthet just gave him the ring in an alley and was like, go be a Green Lantern, he didn’t know anything. So through him, I was able to like learn more and more about the Greenland Corp. I think that’s where, you know, it kind of plays into him and Hal’s relationship. I have us a little bit in Dark Crisis, where it’s like, you know, Hal is the fearless leader, and I always see Kyle is more of like, the artists of the group? I mean, he is an artist, but I always just saw him as the artist of the group. And I think that dynamic between the two of them, of being this, like, you know, I don’t want to call how the veteran but that’s sort of what it is. And Kyle’s still always going to be a little bit of the, a little bit of a new guy, a little bit of a chip on his shoulder even though he’s gone through a lot. But like, that dynamic between the two of them. And I think this kind of weird friendship that they have? The idea that like Kyle only has a ring, because, you know, I’m gonna say Hal went crazy we know now is because of Parallax. But just that kind of interesting dynamic between the two of them how they first met versus now is always really interesting, and how they’ve changed over the last 30 years. Because it’s been almost 30 years since Kyle right, like next year is Hal’s 30th I think, so just how their relationships changed so much, but it’s just fun to write those characters together again.
BA: Yeah, I’d say as a fan as well, I’m a big Kyle fan as well. And I know a lot of people are and online, people really got excited to see him appear Dark Crisis and sort of be a part of the events and hopefully, you know–can’t reveal anything, but any sort of plans for the future that we might have for him which is, I think pretty exciting times.
JW: Oh, yeah. And I think that was, you know Dark Crisis #2 was all a fight issue, and I knew that was gonna be a little bit of a bummer. You know, like everyone, the Titans, you know, they lose that issue. I wanted a triumphant moment at the end of #2. So having it be that like, oh, Kyle’s back and that Hal was giving him his ring back was the ending, but not just him, but the rest of the corps with him. I just wanted that big, that really big moment. And, you know, again as a fan of Kyle and Hal, it’s just cool. The Green Lantern Corps is really cool. And yeah, there’s cool stuff coming with them.
BA: I have to give a shout out. Daniel Sampere’s art on this series has been phenomenal. And you can tell that he really loves the Green Lantern Corps and you know, the detail in the effort he puts in.
JW: Yeah, yeah, that was his favorite last page. I think of all seven issues was that one.
BA: So Jurisdiction writes–What will set dark Crisis on Infinite Earths apart from many other DC events?
JW: Well, I think this one being a bit more about legacy and there isn’t any kind of, you know, there’s no reboot at the end. There’s no, like, time shifting, rewriting at the ending. There’s no crazy death at the end, you know, like we started with death with Death of the Justice League, and so I wanted to flip it and make this one a bit more about light and triumph. And that’s the stuff we’re kind of going into about like, you know, it’s always darkest before the dawn, and now we’re getting into this like Dawn of the DCU and I think that’s what separates it–but also is more about the sidekick characters. You know, I think a lot of the events that have gone on over the last you know, 40 years there they are usually about Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman usually, you know, and you know, we don’t have Batman in this, like Batman doesn’t really appear in this until issue five, you know, like you don’t really have Have a lot of the Justice League characters playing major roles in this one. When you go back and look at the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, that was always interesting how it’s like it’s much more about kind of the…I don’t want to call them minor characters, but you know, they’re not the big seven. With this one, I really want it to be about the sidekicks and the legacy characters. And I think it’s how it’d be different from the rest of all these events is that it’s much more about the new generation of heroes that have come around in the last 40 years, versus it being about Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman. That was from the very beginning, I was like, all these events are usually about Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman in some form or another. And so let’s not do that. And so that’s why those characters are barely in it until the ending.
BA: Well, they did die in Justice League 75.
JW: They did die, yes, we killed them at the beginning. So you know, that kind of took them off the board. But that was it–I wanted to see how characters react to a crisis that hadn’t really been in the crisis before. And that’s characters like Jason John, and Yara, but even some of the Titans characters too, you know, we haven’t really seen them involved in a story at this kind of scale. They’re around but they’re always secondary. So here I was at the flip it, what if they’re the primaries? So that’s how I that’s how I think it’d be different from all the other events that we’ve done.
BA: Right. Also, I know Dick Grayson fans have rejoiced to see Dick to step up and just lead in in such a like a grand fashion, and the battle Deathstroke is going to be one of the all time greats.
JW: Yeah, yeah, and Dick has a bunch of cool stuff coming to in the book and has some really big moments. I mean, that was definitely it, was like finding moments for characters we haven’t seen get these big moments on this kind of stage before. You know, again, like seeing characters like Kyle but then also having like Ravager player role or even like Black Adam and Black Adam has been bumped up against major events, I think some JSA story’s really close and you have 52 He was your major part of 52. And he was an Infinite Crisis as a villain in that storyline. But to see him play this role of kind of like the emotional arc of the story is so different–usually emotional arc, again is always Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. And so with this one, I was like, let’s give other characters emotional arcs, like dig in John, and Black Adam and Yara, like let’s try to find some places to give different characters a moment to shine on like a major event stage.
BA: You’ve done a great job with it. And speaking of non-trinity characters, HubCityQuestion has a multi-tiered question, so I’ll just ask them in order, so feel free to answer as you go: Hi, Josh. Welcome back to the community. My questions are about the directions of Damian and Talia, specifically after their solo series and Shadow War, respectively. First question: you’re running Robin ends with Damien ultimately choosing not to resurrect Alfred with his prize of Lazarus resin for careful consideration of the spiritual cost. However, in Batman Versus Robin, we see Damian making a new Devil’s bargain for the same results with the devil Nezha. Quite similarly, Shadow War ends with Talia choosing to face the sins of her past by following her father’s wishes to turn herself into the authorities. And yet, it’s not even a month later that we see Talia has broken, free her debt to society seemingly forgotten. Both of these character arcs seemed carefully built, and the decisions of mother and son heavy, only for them to immediately reverse course what exactly happened?
JW: I think the answer to that is you have to keep reading those books because you’re talking about Batman versus Robin, And then Detective Comics. If you read Robin #15 through #17, those three issues, we sort of set up a little bit what’s going on with both characters because again, I don’t want to ruin too much of other people’s plans for their books. But you know, when we left Robin, he was hearing a voice on the island. And then we left Talia, you learn that she was asked to go undercover for the DEO and for Cameron Chase. So I would say like what those two pieces, let those stories play out a little bit more, and you’ll start to see how they connect back to those beats. So again, to Talia working with the DEO, and then what’s going on with Robin…without giving away too much of Batman Versus Robin. I think once those stories play out a little bit more, you’ll start to see how they connect backwards.
BA: Time will tell! Batman versus Robin #2 is going on sale here soon. So here’s a couple questions from Don-El_52*: I really liked the cosmic storylines you come up with! I think it’s pretty apparent you have to have all worlds possible for all kinds of stories here at DC. So my question is, what are your top three favorite superhero universes or Earth’s at DC?*
JW: Well, I’m always a sucker for Earth 3, I always find that Earth 3 to be really, really fascinating. I’ve had all kinds of ideas about how like if the dynamic is that, you know, Earth Zero is the good one and that one is the bad one. It’s like if you started saving people on that world and that world started becoming the good one, would we start being the bad one? You know, like, I’ve always been fascinated on these weird like multiverse dynamics and these multiverse like, balances. Like if you look at Grant’s map, like some of the worlds are built to complement each other. And I always find that to be interesting. Another Earth that I really like is Earth 13. I mean, come on, Earth 13 sounds cool and it’s the horror world? And you look at all the people in that world it’s just really cool. We went to Earth 13 During Justice League Incarnate, and it was one of my favorite sequences because it Kyle Holtz drew it. And he’s amazing like I’ve been a fan of his for a really long time and we’ve we found he was going to do that issue I was like, this is this is perfect, you can’t beat this! Like the guy who does really great like crazy horror stuff is gonna do the horror world? And then it was a matter of just finding all the easter eggs we could slam into those few pages and he was doing but yeah, I love Earth 13. And yeah, I’m kind of torn like I really like Earth 9 that’s the tangent world I was always a sucker for like weird specials and five week events in the 90s, like whenever anyone did anything like that I was always I buy all of them. So the tangent worlds are really cool, I like those. Earth 38 which is the Generations world, John Byrne’s Generations, I just really like that book, I actually got the omnibus of it came out a few months ago. I find that to be really interesting, considering like, it’s a world where everything age in real time. I just think that’s it’s a cool story. I think I’d almost have to go with Earth 21, which is the New Frontier world. I love Darwin Cook, and that book is amazing. So I think I would have to go with that one. If I had to say those are my top three, aside from I guess, the other ones are, right? Like aside from the regular universe, like aside from, you know, Earth 0. I also feel like I should probably say Earth Prime, since we’re Earth Prime. Outside of that, those are the three that I like,
BA: What about Earth 50, Josh? C’mon! I believe that’s the Wildstorm Earth, haha.
JW: Oh, you’re just trying to get me…hahaha. That’s a whole nerdy conversation want to have about did the Wildstorm universe merge during Flashpoint or not? Because like it did merge, and we have those characters, but we still have that world too. So that means there’s like two Grifters running around the multiverse and there’s the Earth Zero grifter and there’s Earth 50 Grifter. That’s, uh, I’m curious to see how that would ever play out. Like, we don’t get to see a lot of Wildstorm characters. It’s interesting, once a world merges, you know, when Charlton merged, it’s rare that you get that version of the multiverse again, or that character never gets to meet their other version. So it’s like…dude, this is super nerdy, I’m sorry to everybody listening…but the idea of the Wildstorm universe and the DC Universe merged during Flashpoint, that’s what we had it during New 52 and we still have it today. But there’s still a Wildstorm Earth out there. Like, I’m surprised no one’s ever explored that idea, because is that is that just straight up those books? Is that what happened? Is that what happened to those stories? Are they all on that world? Like everything from 1992? all the way till 2011? Are they just still on that world? Are those stories continuing? Like Ben, you were the editor of those books during that time period? So like, are the stories you’re working on pre 2010 I think? Like, are they just still operating on Earth 50 this whole time?
BA: I’m not gonna speak as any sort of authority on the subject. I have my own fandom and thoughts. But I would like to think that yes, it is. They are sort of still functioning where we left everything with World’s End, and that sort of future to some degree. I mean, we do have, you know—again, no spoilers—but we do have a new Wildcat series coming this year, and sort of an exploration of the Wildstorm characters in the DCU. And I guess the question will be, which Earth are they from? Mwaahahaha!
JW: Yeah that’s really interesting, I’ll have to ask Matt!
BA: So, CassTheStreet asks: For Dark Crisis, was there any character that you wanted to use in the story that you didn’t get to or were not allowed to for some reason? Which, I can say as Executive Editor, if you don’t want to answer that one, you don’t have to haha.
JW: I will say there was one piece from a long time ago that didn’t work out. But, then once we actually got going into the story, it became unnecessary. Once we started really getting into it, I never felt like there was anything I wasn’t allowed to. I definitely wanted to make sure I was respectful of other people’s stories and what they were doing, so I tried to balance that out. There was still a get to like, there’s a big piece with green arrow that I wasn’t able to resolve by the time we were done.
BA: Yes, we have plans for all our cool characters!
JW: I mean, that’s really what it comes down to–we always have plans for everything.
BA: And so the second part of CassTheStreet’s question was: Which was your favorite character to write for this event? And did any moments surprise even you?
JW: Black Adam surprised me. Black Adam having the emotional arc was not planned originally. I think it was planned once I like started writing. I think early on, I didn’t realize how much of an important character he was going to be. And now he has some of the biggest moments and, especially towards the end to the ending, I think he has some of the more emotional moments toward the end, which that kind of surprised me. You know, I liked writing Hal and Barry together for the first time in a long time actually, I’ve only been able to write them together once before during Flash and that was a long time ago. So getting to write Barry and Hal together was really great. I liked writing John. I really liked writing Dick Grayson, Pariah at times was fun to write. Like, he’s slowly losing his mind because of how much time he spent alone. I always thought it was interesting that in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, they talked about how Pariah spent millions of years in the dark by himself. And then we’re supposed to just be like, “that person is totally well adjusted, he’ll be fine!” And so I liked I liked finally being able to write him, just getting to write him the way I felt in my head the way he was.
BA: Next question…from Morro: Hello Josh, and thank you for answering our questions. You’ve been a central figure in steering/shaping the DC Universe for the past few years. Dark Crisis has been a great read, and so have Justice League Incarnate and Infinite Frontier before that–thank you! Having said that, I have a question about Superman (Clark Kent) and his importance in the DCU. Given your central role in DC, are you aware of plans to bring the character back to the prominence he enjoyed before everything became so Bat-centric? If yes, can you tease any of those plans with us?
JW: You know, the most I can say there is that, you know, the plans that Philip and Tom have for the future are really, really awesome. You know, I would definitely pay attention to Action 1050 that comes out in December. I think that’s the first comic that is firmly post-Dark Crisis. So I’d pay attention to that, you know, I mean, with Superman, we have a lot of really cool, big, big plans for Superman, and some of that stuff will be announced very soon. You know, I mean, all the DC characters right now, we have a lot of really, really cool plans for the future for them right now, especially as it goes into 2023. And you’ll start to see as those plants are getting gradually revealed, we have a lot of stuff planned for the outside the Bat-group, you know, I think the Bat-group, the stuff that Chip is doing for next year is really, really cool. There’s some awesome stuff in there. And there’s a couple of things that will kind of connect in with some of the bigger plans we have. And on the other side on the not Bat-group, we just really do have a lot of really cool plans that are coming and some awesome books–without getting too into spoilers and ruining other people’s plans and announcements. There’s some really cool stuff coming that’s outside of that group. And I think the Superman plans are particularly awesome.
BA: I can confirm that across the board. And what Philip’s been doing in Action and Tom on John Kent is just terrific.
JW: I mean, we, you and I, you and I just met up with Paul Kaminsky on Friday to talk about some of the 2023 plans. And I think all three of us were just like, Yeah, this is sounding really, really cool. Like, I think the ideas that we were talking about and the different books, it’s really it’s really exciting. There’s some cool stuff that I think will surprise people and I think will make people who are fans with DC are really happy.
BA: Next question from D4rk5tarz: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Everything in Infinite Frontier has lead us to Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths, how much planning was involved and now that we are nearing the end of this event, is there anything you would have done differently?
JW: There was a lot of planning. I mean, I have multiple, multiple whiteboards in my office. And I think if anyone came along, obviously would think I was a nut because THEY do look a little…they look a little crazy.
BA: I can confirm that–I’ve seen them.
JW: Yeah, it’s, you know, I’m a big DC nerd. And I know a lot of the history and so I always try and find ways of utilizing that while we were working on Dark Crisis. And it was a lot of planning. Like a lot of me figuring some stuff out and talking with editorial talking to the creators. And you know, with this event, I really didn’t want to derail anyone’s book, that was a big, big piece of this. And so that added an extra level of planning and extra level of me try to figure out a couple pieces….Anything I would have done differently? I mean, Ben is gonna kill me when I say this, but there’s two things I might have done differently. I wish we had done it double ship. Just because I’m a sucker for events moving faster, but that would have killed Daniel, there was no way and I think the trade off is that Daniel’s drawing every issue and it all looks amazing. You know, it’s pretty rare that we get to have an event all drawn by one artist and the fact that it’s seven issues that you know, knock on wood, are coming out on time, or just kind of the trade off with with that. And then on the same thing, it’s like there are times where I wish it could have been 12 issues, but it’s the same thing. You know, it’s like it’s only because when you’re doing a crisis event, like crisis events are different other events because crisis events like every page has to be so packed. Again, I couldn’t have done this with anyone else other than Daniel, like Daniel is what makes it work in the seven issues that we have. But otherwise, like storyline-wise, I don’t think so. Like I think storyline-wise, especially knowing what’s coming after the event, I don’t think is anything I would change.
BA: Great answer. Like every week we talk about the structure of events and you know, like the length of them and you know referring back to Shadow War which was a pretty tight you know, basically a bi-weekly event. But you’re right I mean as far as sort of the evergreen appeal having and having Danny draw the entire book is significant. And almost an anomaly. You know, these days as far as these sort of events go. So we have a question from FelixLeiter: As someone that has not begun reading Dark Crisis yet is I am waiting to read it on DC Universe Infinite. And I still have about two months before they start landing here. Since I have two months left, what books events titles would you say I absolutely 100% must read before I begin dark crisis? Feel free to load me up–I have the time and interest to go deep in the archives and be as prepared as possible.
JW: I would say the one that is 100% must read is you have to read Justice League #75. Like that’s the that’s the one that’s the most, like you absolutely have to I think read that one. You know, other than, you know, reading Infinite Frontier, reading Justice League Incarnate–those are two really important ones. Another huge one was Shadow War, which the Shadow War collection is coming out soon, but oh, you’re an Infinite reader, so I think most of Shadow Wars up on there now. I would definitely read those. So like Shadow War, Justice League Incarnate and Infinite Frontier are really, really crucial. There’s a lot of stuff we’ve been doing in the DCU this last year that I ended up using a lot of stuff with Yara, with Chase, and with John’s book, I did talk to Tom Taylor about stuff with Nightwing. There was pieces of I think my Batman book that I did with Jorge Molina, there are pieces of that, because some of the stuff with Lex, we ended up feeding in. But I would say Justice League #75 is the one you like, absolutely have to read. Swamp Thing #50 that Alan Moore did–I think that ties into some of the great darkness stuff that we’re doing. But I think with a lot of these, you know, we really tried to make it so you can read Dark Crisis without reading all of that. Like, I mean, you could still read Dark Crisis #1, having read nothing, that was always the goal. We also did like a Road to Dark Crisis Special. You can read some of that. and there was a Free Comic Book Day book. But I would say like, if you are in a position where all this stuff is available to you, you know, because you’re reading on Infinite, you should definitely just check out Justice League #75, Infinite Frontier zero, #1-#6, Shadow War, Justice League Incarnate those are the ones I think are like definitely required reading for this.
BA: Exactly–we need to make a checklist…Paving the road to Dark Crisis! All right, so our last question comes from Jihaehae: What is your writing process in regards to coordinating with artists and letterers, and how do you adjust based on who you’re working with? Anyway, I’m a huge fan of your Robin run in particular and I hope to see more of your work soon!
JW: You’ll be seeing a lot of my work soon. And thank you! I really loved working on Robin…that one you know, with Gleb…it’s always different, just depends on the artist. With Gleb, Gleb and I would talk mostly via Twitter DMs. And we would throw ideas back and forth in that you know, Riley Rossmo is an artists I’ve worked with a few different times and he and I will just get on a call and talk out a issue before I even write it. Same thing with like Howard Porter, like Howard Porter is one of my favorite people to work with Howard is amazing…Howard is somebody who I know you can give like very little to, and they will just run with it, like Howard will knock it out of the park every time. Howard and I will talk on the phone usually before I write or as I’m writing just so it’s not like they’re reading the script without having read anything else…It’s not like they’re getting surprised by anything. With Danny, same thing like Danny, like I tell Danny, you know, we’ll do a Zoom and I go, this is what the issue is. And Danny knows the whole story from #1 all the way to the end of #7. So, like I walked Danny through all of it. And so again, there’s not really any surprises to Danny, like, I prefer to do that. And that way, you can actually you can tell if the artist is engaged by the story you’re telling, because if you’re talking to them, and they’re just not really feeling it…that’s your first reader, right? Like, a lot of times when you’re working on these books, the first audience you have as a writer is the editor and then the artist. If your artist is just not engaged in what you’re writing, that’s always difficult, like it’s not the best situation. So it’s good to like talk ahead of time. You know, like recently, I’m doing a short in the Wildstorm 30th Anniversary Special with Johnboy, we went back and forth via Instagram DM and then we finally got the phone, and we just talked it out. And so that was really easy to write, like I wrote that mostly plot for it, which I don’t normally do, but with someone like Johnboy that was easy to do. You know, with Danny, Danny prefers a full script. And that’s actually how I prefer it too, I prefer to do full scripts, because I always feel like I’m being lazy if I don’t, that’s my personal about it. Because I feel like if I have ideas, I might as well put them on the paper, and then we’ll talk with the artists and be like, this is a partnership. We are friends with each other. We’re doing this together. So I’m gonna give you all my ideas, and then you let me talk about it and you run with it. And I think if you have that level of trust with the artists, they’ll come back with awesome stuff. With lettering, I used to letter all my own books back when I was like self publishing. Anything I made from about…I’m gonna say 2001 all the way to 2011. So about 10 years, maybe even a little bit deeper into that, I was usually lettering a lot of it. You know, once I started working for like Marvel and DC, I started to tone down, a lot of my books were still lettered by me up until about 2011, 2013, like, somewhere in there. So I have a pretty good handle on lettering. So I really appreciate it when I’m working with like, a good letterer, I understand what you know, the back and forth is like with them, and I can communicate with them…You know, it’s like if I know who the letterer is, then I tried to talk with them. Like see Juan’s lettered I think every single issue of Flash and then went on to do Deathstroke with me, Deathstroke Inc–so I knew how to work with Steve. Troy did Robin and Troy and I worked on Future State as well, I think that was the really the earliest that I’d done with them. But they really understood what we were trying to do with Robin. And like I gave, I gave Troy a bunch of reference of what I was looking for, in terms of lettering, I was really looking at like 90s books like 90s, early X Men, a little bit ComiCraft. Gleb and I were both big time fans of cliffhangers, so we gave a bunch of Cliffhanger books to look at. And then Troy was like, again, I’m going with it. And then Tom who does Dark Crisis, he really just understands the kind of epic scale we were going for…So once I know them, I put them in the script directly to them because they know what they’re capable of. And then like on Rogues, when I was doing Rogues with Hoss, like Hoss totally nailed, it just really nailed it, like knew exactly what they were doing. So it just depends on again, depends on the artist depends on the letterer, but I definitely change up how I’m writing depending on who the artist is. So like, you know, if I’m doing a creator owned book, or if I’m working with someone like Mike Henderson, who I work with a lot, or Andre Busan, who I work with a lot like I made a lot of comics with those guys. My scripts are probably a little more sparse in some places, because I just know them really well. And they also know me, I think the best thing you can get is when you’re working with an artist, and you start to challenge each other. If I’m working with the artists, and I can feel like I put them on the page. And they take that and they make it way better. And they take it to the next level. And you get like, oh, I see how it is! All right. All right. So now I gotta come back with something even stronger. And then once you start having that back and forth, we are trying to like, not necessarily one up each other…might not be the best way to put it, but that’s kind of how it is like you’re having that back and forth. It really makes it…I dunno, it’s just this is stronger.
BA: You know, it’s interesting Josh, as you were talking about all this–you can’t see me because obviously we’re not on camera, but I’m just like nodding along because, honestly, I mean, what you’re describing, you know, for me as an editor, and I’ve been editing comics for probably way too long at this point is always my ideal—it’s like a collaborative, you know, creative team. I love that you flagged that, you know, you ask your artists like what do you want to draw? Like, what do you want to do? Like what can I do to help make this a more engaging, you know, relationship, which always like, well, I will say almost definitively doesn’t delivers a better product and better book, better pages.
JW: There’s a book that you and I are working on, it’s way too early to talk about, but I think we can at least say this: there’s a book you and I are putting together and we’re gonna meet up with the artist in person, just so we can all chat about it before I write. And I think just having that kind of like, yeah, “what do you want to draw? What do I want to write?”, and having that back and forth? Before we get started…that way, you’re a team. That’s it.
BA: Exactly. It’s a creative team. And you know, there’s a lot of discourse online about writers and, you know, artists and everything along those lines, especially on like, media level and things along those lines, but you’re right, at the end of the day, it’s a team, you know. The writer and the artist are the are executing this visual story and idea, you know, and every step of the way builds out this product. But like I said, you can definitely see in the relationship and in the work, you know, when everything is clicking, which is amazing.
JW: I mean, look at Tom Taylor and Bruno, you know. They’ve worked with each other for a really long time. And now they know each other really well. And I think you can see the culmination of that with Nightwing.
BA: Right! I was gonna say, you and Howard on Flash Year One is a great example too.
JW: Yeah, he and I, like, I think there’s a trust there back and forth. And it’s the same with Daniel, I think that they know, I’m not trying to hurt them. By making crazy pages and stuff, I try to balance things out. And then I know that they’re gonna try to…there’s not gonna be any cheats, you know, like, they’re really going to try to go for it. The thing I always look for in comics, and there’s a lot of stuff I look for in comics, but I really look for like thoughtfulness. When I can tell you thought about it. Right? And you weren’t just burning through to get it done. Because sometimes, we all fall into this, and sometimes you’re just like, done is beautiful. You want to get done. I’m not sure everybody knows this, but comics are pretty much weekly, haha. It’s a lot of work!
BA: I know this! Haha!
JW: I can’t remember who the editor was, I believe it was an editor one time who said this, that “every comic that comes out is a miracle”. But when I’m looking at books, and I can tell it’s thoughtful…and I think, like one of my favorite stages of comics is, just as a writer like, personally is when the roughs come in, because the first time it starts to become a real. Right, it’s not just an idea in my head. It’s just words on paper, it’s becoming a comic book–it is the first step to actually becoming a comic book is when you start to see roughs and layouts. It’s just, it’s really, it’s really awesome. As you see that stuff, start coming in and looking at that, and it’s very cool.
BA: It’s an amazing process. And I hope everyone checks out Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, as well as Shadow War, Justice League 75, the whole road…Justice League Incarnate, and Infinite Frontier.
JW: Yeah! And I hope people are excited about this stuff that we have coming. I mean, you know, Ben as Executive Editor has his hands in pretty much everything, and you’re doin’ a really great job, and I think the books that are coming are gonna be really really cool.
BA: I appreciate that! And right back atcha! As we noted at the top: Architect! So, we’ll see what we’re building here over the next few years—very exciting. And with that, I guess we can wrap up our first edition of the DC Community Audio Interview Series! Thank you, Dark Crisis Scribe Joshua Williamson for joining us today and answering some questions, and we’re lookin forward to doing this again sometime down the line.