Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why Batwoman?

To be honest, it all comes down to JH Williams III. Batwoman is a character I haven’t read much of but I’ve seen some gorgeous page grabs. The way Williams III draws Kate Kane on the page is a sight to behold. I have no idea how to write the good lady (and perhaps that will show) but I think I know how to set up an artist to cut loose on a page. And hopefully that page will have some semblance of coherent words on it, maybe even a story.

I’ve found the more I’ve written comics the more I love writing for an artist. I think you have to have an artist work on your words before you can truly understand what the collaborative process is like. I haven’t worked with JH Williams III before but I’m going to give it a go this week.

Oh, there’s also another reason I’ve picked Batwoman this week. Her name is Kelly Thompson. I’ve long been a fan of Kelly’s online writing. She has a column with Comics Should Be Good on CBR, she’s a voice on the 3 Chicks Review Comics Podcast (which is awesome and I urge you all to check it out), she’s a fellow CBR reviewer, and she’s just had a story approved for the media sensation, and monetary titan, Womanthology. It was through discussion with Kelly that I decided to choose Kate Kane. Now, up in a moment is Kelly’s one page script. She’s a special guest star so go make her welcome and enjoy the week.


  1. by: zu

    Following directly in the Rucka/Williams III style is like trying to follow the Clash after they play London Calling: Ill-advised.

    Instead, this one's good old fashioned flirting.

    Kate Kane is wearing a dress at the Wayne Charity Ball (XXth annual, pick a number between 1 and 30) that is mostly red and black and should contrast nicely with her vibrant red hair.

    Important thing about this dress: It is conservative. No cleavage. I've looked through the Greg Rucka Detective issues and when she's not acting out, she's wearing stuff that's maybe midriff baring, if she wants, but nothing with exposed cleavage. Elegant is your watchword here. I'm intentionally vague on the second and third panels. Go with whatever layout fits the mood best.

    As Kate is not here to piss anyone off, we begin. It's a Wayne charity ball benefitting the GCPD. People are there. Lots of people. Dressed quite posh, as, this is an opportunity to be around Bruce Wayne, who, gossip has it, actually sticks around for longer than an hour at this ball in particular. A handful of outfits are more profitable than others. The majority of the people in the background should be dressed to the nines. Gotham goes big for Wayne parties.

    Nine panel grid, with one big panel (1/2-2/3rds, ish, go with your gut) from full left to full right is Kate Kane in the dress, with an off panel word balloon. After that, three smaller panels at the bottom, comprising the rest of the page.

    1.1, Kate Kane in the dress, while the ball swirles without her.
    MAGGIE SAWYER, off panel: Did you lose a bet?

    1.2 A suit clad Maggie.
    KATE: Margaret! I wore a suit to the family portrait today and thought I'd pick my battles.

    1.3 Maggie looks mischievous.
    MAGGIE SAWYER: My lucky day. I've always wanted to dance with a lady in red…

    1.4 The Batwoman smile. Tight on the lips. Nothing but the smile.
    NO TEXT.

  2. Batwoman – The Hero In Her - Shaun Richens

    One page. Splash page.

    On the left hand side of the page is Kate Kane, she is wearing a standard get up, jeans tank top and leather jacket her lips have a dark red lipstick on. On the right hand side is Batwoman in full costume. The figures meet perfectly in the centre of the page forming one whole figure. Kate is walking down a street in Gotham late at night. A street lamp is on the Kate side of the page casting her in light whilst leaving the Batwoman side more in shadow.

    (Kate Kane’s Captions appear on Kate’s side of the page. Batwoman’s captions on her side of the page.)

    The Captions start in the top left of the page and cascade down the page as they go.

    CAPTION KATE KANE: I guess I have always led a double life.

    CAPTION KATE KANE: Until I finally found the courage to tell my dad I was, well into women, I’d hidden who I was for so long. It felt nice for him to finally know me. I thought I’d never have to hide who I was from him again…

    CAPTION BATWOMAN: But telling him this, revealing who I really am, I don’t think either of us could take it.

    CAPTION BATWOMAN: I mean crime fighter is a slightly more unusually revelation to take on board, even in two thousand eleven.

    CAPTION KATE KANE: This secret identity is my burden to bear. It’s the thing that keeps me safe from those who wish Batwoman harm.

    CAPTION BATWOMAN: I’m not Kate Kane. I am just Batwoman. That’s the way it is and has to be. For me to me hero this city needs.


    @Zu lovely one page story. Its nice to see the lighter more human side of heroes sometimes and I feel you captured Kate's voice really well.

  3. @Zu: Ahh, the Batwoman smile. I used it in my script too, as it's such a lovely visual.

  4. Zu - I love the planning and thought which you put into what might otherwise have been a deceptively simple page. Great work.

    Shaun - I like the idea behind this and the layout of the page, but I think the script can probably do with a little trimming.

  5. Thanks for the feedback Rol. Glad you liked the layout, I feel with the right artist it would look awesome. However you are right I couldn't find quite the right feel or flow for the wording though. :/

  6. Strangely I attended a con Saturday just gone and one of the things I bought was the first Rucka/Williams Batwoman trade.

    Just coming back off holiday I'm up against it time-wise but I'll try and post something later on today or tomorrow.

    That said, I didn't want to not leave feedback for those playing at home.

    @Zu A simple page/scene with a lot of thought gone into how it will look and read which elevates it and changes it into something much stronger. As such my only niggle would be that I wanted to see MORE of this scene.

    @Shaun Good concept using duality as a theme for the page and how it connects to both aspects of Kate's life. Splitting the page effectively in half helps sell the concept you're trying to get across. Good work.

  7. @Zu - There isn't much I can add to the previous comments. This is a great page. Simple is often the hardest thing to get right, and you nail it. The Batwoman smile to end was perfect.

    @Shaun - I like the concept, but I agree that the script could have used a bit more time. The theme you're going for is a good one, but it comes off a little clunky as is. Kudos for trying something different though. We at thoughtballoons very rarely bust out the single page splash.

  8. I went with an action orientated page as I was up against it time wise. I tried to give it a bit more flavour though and a quick google for USMC combat manuals and I had my through-line:

    PAGE 1


    We OPEN ON Gotham docks, somewhere past midnight. BATWOMAN kicks a NAMELESS THUG square in the stomach. The thug doubles over as he flies backwards with the impact.



    CAPTION: It's a fundamental physiological principle--


    ZOOM IN tighter on Batwoman as ANOTHER THUG tries to catch her unaware. Alert as ever, she launches her fist backwards, smashing his nose.


    SFX: Crunch!

    CAPTION: --That Marine's should warm up gradually--


    Batwoman turns to face YET ANOTHER THUG, bringing her hands crashing into his ears, discombobulating him.

    CAPTION: --Before taking strenuous exercise.


    Batwoman delivers the coupe de grace to the thug, delivering a devastating upper cut.

    CAPTION: Such action--


    Batwoman turns to face CAMERA as a large shadow falls across her.

    CAPTION: --Speeds up circulation--


    LARGE PANEL. Batwoman has turned around fully, her back to CAMERA. She faces KILLER CROC who towers over her-- a monstrous sight.

    CAPTION: --To prepare the body for an overload of physical activity.



    BATWOMAN: Shall we?


Feedback is what every good writer wants and needs, so please provide it in the white box below
If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.