Beginning tomorrow, the New 52 title Batwoman will be tweaking its distinctive look as artist Amy Reeder takes over interior artwork.
For the first five issues, the comic was co-written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, with the artwork provided by Williams. Now, in order to give Williams enough time to work ahead, the second arc by the two writers will be drawn by Reeder.
In preparation for the beginning of this week's second arc, Newsarama is running three stories about Batwoman today. After hearing from J.H. Williams earlier today about his work on the series, this second installment takes a look at what Reeder is hoping to bring to Batwoman.
After writing and drawing the acclaimed TokyoPop series Fool's Gold (under her former married name, Amy Hadley), Reeder got the attention of DC editors. She worked on the Vertigo series Madame Xanadu, then provided pencils alongside Williams for the 2010 release, Batwoman #0.
Now, Reeder is providing ongoing art for Batwoman as a rotating artist with Williams. While Williams drew issues #1-#5, Reeder is penciling this week's issue #6 through issue #11. Williams is drawing the third arc, and then Reeder is presumably going to work on the fourth arc, working ahead so the monthly schedule stays consistent.
As Reeder debuts her artwork this week, Newsarama talked with her to find out more about what she's getting to draw and what it's been like working on the story by Williams and Blackman.Newsarama: Amy, we talked before the series began, but now that you've gotten to sink your teeth into the material, have you adjusted your style at all to fit with the scripts?
Amy Reeder: You know, that's a good question. I always wonder when people talk about adjusting style, like what that entails. In a way, I like to think that I'm pretty much always me and always sticking with that, but the mood has definitely changed in my art for Batwoman, which I thought was important for the character and the Bat-family. So yeah, I've been adjusting to that. It's definitely not the easiest thing for me to do, to be honest.
But I've been getting used to the characters and have started to internalize them. When I got to about the third issue in, I felt like I knew their faces and the way they are.
It's been really cool, and I've gotten to draw a lot of really neat things.
Nrama: When you say the mood has changed, do you mean it's darker?Reeder: Yeah. Batwoman is supposed to be a bit scary and vampiric, and so I had to portray her in those terms. And also, with her fighting style, I had to draw things in a way that would make her look tougher. And lighting changes things, changes the mood.
A big adjustment I made, which I was really happy to do, is that I really liked the fact that J.H. has established Batwoman as this really separate look when she was in costume. I'm not like him in that I can draw a million different styles, but I did add gray scale to Batwoman's figure anytime that she's in costume. It helped keep the character with that film noir look that had been established. So that definitely adds to the spookiness of it.
So I've just added some gray on Batwoman, and sometimes I'm adding some other effects here and there.
Nrama: I know there are some new villains. J.H. said Maro is playing a big role?Layouts Pencils Reeder: Yeah, there are a few villains. J.H. has been really keen on creating a rogues gallery. He introduced one of those characters in his arc, the Hook. So there's him, there's Maro, and there's the Weeping Woman, and there are a couple other villains, like Falchion.
So there are all these new villains. I had guidelines from J.H. on what he was looking for, but I got to design them.
But we also have a couple older, more established Batman villains who're going to show up in this arc, and I'm getting to kind of do a little bit of a new take on them. They experience some changes that I designed.
It was really fun to have the freedom to design them, within the guidelines they gave me. I think some things I felt a little self-conscious about, because a couple of these were villains people knew. I think I can say that one of them is supposed to look a little Victorian-esque, and I enjoy that era and drew some of it in Madame Xanadu, so it was fun to return to that, in a sense.Inks I really enjoyed working on Maro in particular. It was a smart move for J.H. and Haden to come up with the character. I don't want to spoil it, but when you read the story and find out more about Maro, you'll see that he's a very appropriate villain for the Batwoman title.
Nrama: For people who are familiar with your art in Madame Xanadu, how would you describe your art now? Do you think you've grown as an artist since then?
Reeder: Yeah, I definitely think I've grown. I feel like Batwoman is going to feel a lot more grounded in reality. So that's probably the biggest difference. But yeah, I'm always trying to improve. I assume that's what every artist is trying to do. If I haven't improved, I've failed. And I tend to think that, even if it ends up creating some inconsistency in my overall art, it's still a good thing if things get better, even within the same arc. It's better for it to get better than for it to completely stay consistent. So yeah, I'm really big on improvement, so hopefully people will see that in the book.
Nrama: When Batwoman isn't in costume, one of the things I talked with J.H. about is that it feels like she's not the traditional buxom heroine. She has the look of being a woman that you would see in the real world. Did you keep that look, and was that at all important to you, to portray her in a more realistic way?Reeder: Oh, totally! And that's what I always do. And it's part of why I liked the fact that I was going to be drawing Batwoman, because I felt that J.H. captured her so well. I'm definitely into realistic women, and it's been really fun playing with various female characters in this, because there are quite a few, and giving them all their different builds and everything. Because women come in such different shapes.
So yeah, I definitely care about realistically shaped women. Although I will say that Batwoman definitely has a '50s pin-up body type, but it's just that she doesn't flaunt it. That's something I picked up from J.H.'s work when she's in costume. But when she's not, she wears things differently. I think that's a good way to treat her.
Nrama: She seems to have a strength that says she's been in the military.
Reeder: I definitely agree. I think a lot of that is just in the mannerisms, and the body language. Hopefully you'll see that in my art. I'm really enjoying getting to know the character and drawing her with all those things in mind.
Nrama: It sounds like you're enjoying a lot about drawing Batwoman. Do you intend to return for another arc, or has that been decided yet?
Reeder: I would love it. I don't know that we've confirmed that it will happen. But the original plan was for me to rotate with J.H.
Nrama: You're working with Rich Friend as your inker, and there's a different colorist from the one J.H. had used, right?
Reeder: Yeah, I'm working with Guy Major, and he's doing a really phenomenal job on it. He's really rocking it.
Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell people about your work on Batwoman?
Reeder: I'm just really excited for people to see it. I think J.H. and Haden have come up with something that's really entertaining. Things happen. There are a lot of really cool locations, a lot of cool ways to do things, and I just think people are going to be incredibly entertained. That makes me proud to be on the book. And it's definitely made it a lot of fun.