Yes, it already feels as though San Diego Comic-Con was months ago, but we’re still serving up some SDCC goodness! During SDCC, I had the privilege of speaking with Batwoman and Bombshells writer, Marguerite Bennett! Below you’ll find a transcription of our conversation, but to set the mood (just trust me, it adds to the dynamic of the interview), I have to describe Bennett herself. Everything about is glowing and warm. Her appearance, her presence, even the sound and tone of her voice. Think of the nicest person you’ve ever met, and that’s the vibe Bennett exudes. Now, keep that in mind as you read our interview!
Josh McDonald: Hey! You are beautiful!
Marguerite Bennett: Oh my gosh! (Laughs.) Wow. Thank you.
JM: You’re welcome. How’s Comic-Con going for you?
MB: This is my first year to have the honor to come as an invited guest with DC, so they put me up-
MB: Yeah! It’s splendid!
(Scott Snyder walks upstairs in the DC Booth.)
MB: Oh my God!
(Bennett runs over to hug Scott… They talk for a second, then Snyder turns to me.)
Scott Snyder: Hey, buddy.
(I wave for an extended amount of time like an idiot, then realize I should probably speak.)
JM: Hey Scott!
MB: I’m so sorry. That was… Sorry.
JM: It’s perfectly ok. I’d probably run and hug him if I knew him on a personal level as well.
MB: He’s great! You have no idea!
JM: I can only imagine. And I only hear amazing things about him from others in the industry.
MB: Oh yeah!
JM: Well I’m Josh McDonald, and I write for Batman-News.com. And you are the wonderfully talented Marguerite Bennett!
MB: Oh gosh. Yes. Hello!
JM: I’m here to talk about Batwoman with you.
JM: First off, I just want to say that I’m a fan of Bombshells, and I’m also a fan of Batwoman. They’re both great books, and I think your writing is beautiful-
MB: Oh, thank you!
JM: And it has beautiful art to go with it, so it only makes it better. But I love that you have the privilege of writing a female team book, as well as Batwoman, who is not only female, but a LGBT character. As a gay man, I appreciate your commitment to diversity, and applaud you for covering it so well. So, thank you.
MB: Thank you!
JM: Alright, Batwoman. Coming into it, I know you partnered with (James) Tynion. Did you have a specific audience that the two of you were hoping to target for Batwoman, or was there a specific genre you were hoping to fill?
MB: Well, Batwoman is my favorite character, bar none, so this was a huge dream come true. And James knows so much of the continuity and the structure, and all of the mythos of the DCU, while I’m way more spotty. I love comics, you know, but I’ve had somewhat of a checkered past where I couldn’t afford them-
JM: I know what that’s like.
MB: Right? Couldn’t keep up with the habit. But James is splendid in his knowledge of story and structure, and how to piece things out. And then I have the lyrical embroidery, of like intimacy and emotion, you know? Not to say that the two things are mutually exclusive, but he makes my work so much better, and I love, love working with him.
JM: Awesome! One of the things I was excited to see in Batwoman was Julia Pennyworth. Who’s decision was that?
MB: Well, James had brought her in during Batman Eternal I believe-
MB: And she’s a great character, and I fell in love with her! And he was like- Our process for writing involves going to Mediterranean restaurants and having a few drinks… Umm, so – oh God – a year ago? We were hanging out, and having these conversations about, “Who do you want to bring in?” And “how do you want to bring them in?” So we threw all of these ideas on the table – no dumb ideas – and he suggested Julia. I thought it was an amazing idea, and thought, “Oh man, if we get her, we have to throw her in a tux!” You know? As sort of a James Bond vibe!
JM: It’s fitting.
MB: Yeah, she’s so cool!
JM: You just wrapped up “The Many Arms of Death,” and I feel like it’s created a new, separate foundation for Batwoman… But despite it’s conclusion, I feel as though we haven’t seen the end of that world or those characters.
MB: Oh no. No, no. In Batwoman #5, digitally painted by the magnificent Stephanie Hans, and it is all of the missing pieces of the Coriana “Many Arms of Death” arc. And so it’s like, we’ve been hinting at this relationship, and this lost year that Batwoman had. And then in we answered a ton of the questions about the sinister, intriguing, summer romance during the blackout year… And yeah, answers are in that issue, but the past is still alive.
JM: Great! Batwoman, she came back into continuity with 52, and since then, she’s been steeped in this mystical atmosphere. Are we going to delve into that any?
MB: I’m really more focused on the military aspect, actually. Because I didn’t want to… I mean, Rucka, and Blackman and Williams did a phenomenal job with the mystical edge that I didn’t want to re-tread territory that they had illustrated so beautifully. So, you know, I wanted to lean much further into her military background, and take her to a place – well, firs off by going into her past and dealing with her past, her mistakes, then consequences; then next go into this military, scientific threat. You know? Really bring her into an original place that was hers to define.
JM: Since you want to explore her military background… This is potentially a controversial question: When you think of Batman, you tend to think of the “no guns” rule. But with Kate having such a strong military background, I’ve always wondered and felt that it would be natural for her to use guns. Are you going to explore that dynamic?
MB: Umm, one of Kate’s big strengths as a character that I love, and that happens a lot in the series, is that she’s very resourceful. I mean, there’s a part where she gets into a bar fight and rips down the rod iron chandelier and uses it as a morning star. So it’s more her ability to turn anything into a weapon just by rage alone, let alone discipline… So while that is a debate that is worthy of having, I’m not sure if it’s one we necessarily get to in our story, given her unstoppable wrath can be honed in such a way that she can turn anything to be used as a weapon.
JM: In addition to her military background playing a large role in Kate’s identity, her family has also played a large role in her identity. And while her father has had a good role in Detective Comics, I’m curious about the rest of her family.
MB: Well, we’re going to see family drama! It’s going to be one of the – actually the major piece of momentum in this upcoming arc. So where #5 was a flashback arc, #6 is going to be a flashforward issue. The last image that you saw in Batwoman: Rebirth of Commander Kane in his dark future, under the rule of the Pax Batmana, essentially.
JM: I’m intrigued.
MB: And then #7 is going to launch this brand new story that’s got this sinister, scientific edge, and is all about family. It’s all about family issues, family drama, you know, skeletons in the closet. All that.
JM: Awesome! That’s exciting! It sounds good.
MB: Yeah! I hope so!
JM: I think that’s what-
MB: It’s going to be… I think a seven-issue arc.
JM: Hey, you’re speaking my language. I love when stories and characters are able to breathe.
JM: Now… Relationships…
MB: Mmm… Oh goodness!
JM: Uh, oh!
(We both laugh.)
MB: Does #5 answer this?
MB: Oh gosh…
JM: Are you team Montoya, or are you team Sawyer?
MB: I… You know, I have a major problem where I lived as a fan for so long that I was team everyone.
MB: I loved Batwoman so much that I went through periods where I was all about her and Renee. Then I would go through periods where I was all about her and Maggie. I think it’s the kind of thing where you’re trying to choose one of your lungs. You know? You need both of these things, and even if you don’t need both of them in this moment, they are part of who you are, and you can never disavow one or the other. They both complete you. And they both make you and define you. So, yeah… I don’t have a smack, gavel sound.
JM: I think that answer is what makes your writing so good though.
MB: Oh, thank you!
JM: No, really. It’s because it’s so complex emotionally, but very real. As an adult, and having previous relationships, it hits home.
JM: I’m being told to wrap up, so I’m going to quickly close this out. I follow you on Twitter.
MB: Oh no…
JM: I know… Stalker status, right? But, well, for one, you appear to cook a lot of amazing meals and it often makes me jealous-
MB: Oh, jeez! (Bennett laughs)
JM: But the point of this is that I know you have a love for cats, so… When is Kate going to get a cat?
MB: Unfortunately, I think she knows she’s not responsible enough to care for one. Like, I mean, that’s the defining thing… And the only reason.
JM: I guess.
MB: Also, I can’t take any credit for the food on there. I know how to cook, but I resent cooking.
JM: It’s time consuming too!
MB: Yes! It’s too many years of doing it. Fortunately, my sweetheart loves to cook, so I’m spoiled rotten.
JM: Nice. It’s ok, I am too.
MB: (Laughs) Yeah?
JM: Oh yeah. I’m spoiled as well. Uh, final question: As a person, what inspires you to write, and got you into writing?
MB: Oh God… That’s… Rage? (Laughs.) I’m sorry, that’s not a good answer!
JM: That’s a great answer!
JM: I completely connect with that. I consider myself a writer, and everything I did early on was just… angry.
JM: You know, and coming to terms with that anger.
MB: Yeah! You know! It’s kind of like the “be the good you want to see in the world.” Well, I guess I’m the “anger I want to see in the world.”
(We both laugh.)
JM: But you’re so sweet!
MB: Oh, jeez! You’re very kind.
JM: Alright, well, my time is up, but thank you for speaking with us, and to close out, I’d love to hear anything else you want to add.
MB: Honestly, I’m just so freaking grateful! I never dreamed I’d be able to write this character! She is literally my favorite, bar none. It is such an honor!
MB: And it’s the readers who put me here!
JM: Definitely! Well, I’m excited for the future of Batwoman, and we’re looking forward to covering your work on Batman-News! Thank you, and have a wonderful day!
MB: You too! Take care!
JM: Bye, dear!
Batwoman #6 is available today! Go check it out, and pre-order your copy of Batwoman Vol. 1: The Many Arms of Death, available November 21, 2017!