"Gotham Academy" rounds out the so-called "Young Gotham" group of DC Comics titles. The series has received praise for its unique style and storytelling. Writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher and artist Karl Kerschl discuss what they see of themselves in the characters, as well as upcoming plans for the series.
When you were in school, were you a Goody Two-shoes, a bit of rebel or did you fall somewhere in between?
BECKY CLOONAN: I fell squarely in between the two. I still do! It's a good place to be. You don't want to be too good! Be just bad enough to keep people on their toes, but you don't want to burn bridges either. It's a tricky balancing act!
BRENDEN FLETCHER: I thought I was a Goody Two-shoes, but always managed to raise the ire of those in charge. Seems I didn't really take well to figures of authority. Go figure.
KARL KERSCHL: Super Goody Two-shoes until grade eleven, and then I got seriously into comics and developed a problem with authority.
What’s it like writing such young characters? Did you have to do any all-ages research to get in the mindsets of the students at Gotham Academy?
BECKY: A lot of Maps and Olive's relationship is based on me and my best friend growing up! Memories and friendships and people I knew, all this informs Gotham Academy. A lot of the characters and relationships come from real places, even if in the end they don't resemble any one particular person. I try not to make the book too topical either, so that in ten years it still reads like it was written yesterday.
BRENDEN: My niece was seven when Becky, Karl and I began imagining the world and characters of GOTHAM ACADEMY. Between spending time with my niece and investigating my own interests (aka "regressing back to my childhood") the characters emerged naturally. Writing Maps is positively the most fun one can possibly have working in comics. I highly recommend it to any writer who can pry the character from my hands!
Will we be getting any looks into the backgrounds of fan-favorite characters like Pomeline Fritch, Colton Rivera and the Mizoguchi siblings in the future?
BECKY: Yes! Fans of Maps will be happy to know she is teaming up with the one and only Damian Wayne for Gotham Academy issue 7! And fans of Kyle will really enjoy issue 8—we get to know these characters a lot more in this next series. I can't wait for people to read these issues!
BRENDEN: We're so excited to dig into the backgrounds of all the characters of GOTHAM ACADEMY but at only 20 pages a month in which to tell our story we're barely able to cram in all the mystery and action the book requires! Maybe if we're lucky Maps will get her own miniseries one day!
KARL: We have backstories for all of the characters, and issue 8 is pretty much ALL Mizoguchi. I would draw a whole series about the Mizoguchi family! They’re the best.
Karl, You have such a beautiful and unique art style—what’s inspired and informed it?
KARL: Thank you! I try to draw differently depending on the story I’m drawing. Gotham Academy is inspired by a lifelong interest in animation—I’m trying to approximate the feeling of traditional cel animation over painted backgrounds, which would be impossible without the fantastic team of colorists on our book. Stylistically, my sense of design owes a lot to Studio Ghibli, Macross and Street Fighter.
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