Next week will see the release of Batgirls #1, the long-awaited ongoing series surrounding some of the Batfamily's most beloved female characters. The book, which has been teased through a series of backup stories, will revolve around the new adventures of Stephanie Brown / Spoiler and Cassandra Cain / Orphan, who are being mentored as Batgirls by Barbara Gordon. Fans have been treated to Stephanie and Cassandra's rapport across a number of stories as of late — and according to the Batgirls creative team, their new series will take things to even more entertaining heights. During a recent virtual roundtable attended by ComicBook.com, Batgirls writers Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad, as well as series artist Jorge Corona, shared what fans can expect from Steph and Cass in the series — particularly with a balance between superheroics and slice-of-life content.
"We are keeping them pretty busy at the beginning, so they don't have too much time to settle into their new place," Cloonan explained. "But there is a lot of fun seeing their dynamic as they hang out together and as they kind of grow into this new team. That's a big thing, is figuring out how to strike that balance when they've got so much to do."
"I've always been the kind of comic book reader that loves seeing these people that are like gods, they're unattainably cool and perfect at everything," Conrad added. "And I loved, back in the day, when you would see the X-Men play baseball or basketball. But these are things you have to earn, you have to show, 'Oh yeah, they're out there. They're fighting, they're kicking and punching and doing stuff like that.' When you earn that with trust with the readership, then they might allow you to explore quieter moments more often. As the book comes out, I would really love it if readers enjoyed those quieter moments and make a lot of noise about that. The companies are listening, and we would love to provide the types of stories that allow room where you don't necessarily need a slobber knocker every page. You can just have these moments where it's a slice of life and it's fun, and it's good. I think, particularly, American comics are kind of lacking in that department, at least in mainstream comics. It's something that we have a real big interest in incorporating. We never want to lose that part, as the girls are jumping off of buildings and doing impossible, cool things. That's going to be a big part of the story moving forward. We'll do it even more, if you get out there and bang the drum. It's so much fun. Like, I could just write those girls grabbing coffees together. Five issue arc, 'The Girls Get Coffee.'"
During the roundtable, the team also spoke about what makes the Batgirls stand out in the DC landscape.
"I love that they didn't get Bruce's permission to do any of this stuff," Cloonan revealed. "They just kind of, they're like, 'Well, we're Batgirls.' Barbara's the same way, whereas I think a lot of the Robins were like 'You're being mentored by Batman himself.' These Batgirls just have the wherewithal to put on the suit, and do what they need to do. To me, that's really cool."
"Yeah, you get the sense that, if something terrible went on with Bruce — if Bruce went off the rails and became a bad guy — we might turn to the Batgirls," Conrad echoed. "We might. It's beyond standing in the shadow of the Dark Knight and it's become, 'Now we are fully realized characters.' And hopefully, with the series, we're going to continue to build that."
"That's the goal for all the characters in the Bat-Family, I think," Conrad continued. "They might all come from the same beautiful tree, all these different, interesting branches coming off of it. But ultimately, you want them to become validated characters with their own agency, and their own reason to continue to navigate the mean streets of Gotham. The Batgirls, they're there, and now it's our job to show you why they're there. I don't know how old Batman is, 80 years, 85 years? Hopefully the girls will be around 80 or 85 years from now, and we'll be seen as some of the weird dusty people that 'didn't really get them.' But hopefully, we set things up for the future."
"I love that while remaining two characters that definitely work in the shadows and take advantage of Gotham, Steph reflects everything that is bright and superhero-y about Batman and the Bat-Family as heroes," Corona added. "There's that contrast that you usually see either with a very lighthearted version of Batman, or with the Robins. With Cass, you have, in my opinion, one of the most badass characters in the Bat-Family. I remember the first time that I saw Cass with her suit. And I was like, 'Oh my God, that's just peak Batman aesthetic. That's just everything I want Batman to concentrate into.' She reflects that part. I kind of like that very dark aspect of Batman."
"Everyone in the Batman Family is the broken person inside that kind of turns into the best version of themselves once they suit up and they go out... They took the symbol, but they didn't necessarily need it. They just kind of did whatever they wanted. Time and time again, we see these characters — whatever code name they have at the moment — just being themselves and then applying everything to their vision of being a hero."
Batgirls #1 is set to be released on Tuesday, December 14th, wherever comics are sold.