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Talking Comics with Tim | Laura Morley on Womanthology

Pretty much since the Womanthology initiative began, Robot 6 has done its best to cover it. A few weeks back, some questions came about how the money raised for the Womanthology project was to be spent and further questions resulted based on the response to the concerns. Rather than stand on the sidelines as the discussion played out, I contacted Womanthology organizers to see if an email interview was possible. Laura Morley, Womanthology’s project administrator, was willing to take my questions. Thanks to Morley for her time, as well as to Michael May, Sean T. Collins and Graeme McMillan for interview prep support.

Tim O’Shea: Laura, how did you come to be involved with Womanthology?

Laura Morley: I’m an aspiring comics writer, and saw the original tweet Renae De Liz sent out in May, seeking women to contribute comics to an anthology for charity. I hadn’t actually crossed paths with Renae back then, and saw the message via someone else’s retweet – I wish I could remember whose, so I could thank them! It’s been an amazing experience for me. Then, since I’m one of those perverse people who gets a kick out of wrangling spreadsheets, I sent an email offering to help out with admin for the project – from that I wound up coordinating the admin effort, which has meant acting as a first point of contact for our contributors and our Kickstarter backers. You can also hear me sounding British on the Womanthology Kickstarter video.

O’Shea: Can you explain how it came to be that there is a hardback anthology and a sketchbook associated with Womanthology?

Morley: Publishing a hardcover volume was the plan from the beginning. The book is going to be pretty hefty – it’s over 300 pages long, on a 9×12 inch format, and we wanted to make something truly elegant that would serve as a good vehicle for the beautiful work inside. The sketchbook came about, I believe, as an opportunity to showcase some more of the work by our creators. Some contributors preferred to draw pinups than full stories, and some wanted to do both; some writers wanted to share samples from their scripts – we thought this would be a good way to get more of it out to the audience it deserves.

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J.H. Williams III talks Batwoman, writing and ambitions

J.H. Williams III self-portrait

With his artwork on the Batwoman feature in Detective Comics, longtime artist J.H. Williams III cemented his position as one of the most forward-thinking illustrators in comics today. Following healthy attention this year at various awards ceremonies, DC Comics greenlit an ongoing Batwoman series and the chance for Williams to step up as both an artist and a writer. For Williams, it’s a longtime dream come true after furtive previous writing work on anthologies and miniseries, and a chance to fully embrace the process of creating comics — from the ground up.

Chris Arrant: Let’s start with an easy one – what are you working on today?

J.H. Williams III: I’m working on the tale end of Issue 1 of Batwoman, on the art side specifically. Then I’m going to put the finishing touches on a couple other scripts for the series.

Arrant: After [writer Greg Rucka’s] departure, you were the natural choice to continue Kate’s story – especially given the intense nature of the creation of the character, as well as your own writing background. But this is undoubtedly your biggest writing gig yet – so what did you do to freshen up your skills on plotting and dialogue?

Williams: Well , the first thing I did was examine the direction of the series so far. There were certain plot elements Greg planned on following up on that I’m going to avoid in case he plans on returning and pursuing those. But besides that, it was just a matter of taking a look at the material and seeing what sort of angle we could take that might not be expected. At the same time, it needs to feel natural as to what came before it. It was a matter of doing brainstorming, figuring out what the series needed, a lot of invention, and plans for a creating a rogue’s gallery that Batwoman can call her own.

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