Fan Expo Boston 2019: Brian Azzarello On Birds Of Prey And The Joys Of Seeing Batman Hit By The Batmobile
by Tito W. James
While attending FanExpo Boston, I had the opportunity to chat with comic writer, Brian Azzarello. He’s notoriously sarcastic, so take everything he says with a grain of salt.
Tito W. James: I think the last time we met was right after you were wrapping up your run on Wonder Woman. A lot has happened since then. What are you working on right now?
Brian Azzarello: I’m working on getting out of comics.
TWJ: Well this is a scoop.
BA: I’m kidding. I’m working on Birds of Prey right now.
TWJ: Oh yeah, I heard about that! What attracts you to those characters and why should fans of your previous work be excited?
BA: Well fans should be excited because it’s me. [Dramatic pause] I’m exciting.
I’d never really done anything with these characters before. I worked a little with Harley Quinn while doing Joker. I’ve found that Harley is surprisingly the most well-adjusted character out of the group.
TWJ: Really? You think the other women are crazier than Harley?
BA: I think the other characters are damaged. I think Huntress, Black Canary and Montoya are damaged women.
TWJ: What’s the tone of this series? Is it teen-plus or DC’s Black Label?
BA: We’re pushing teen-plus. It’s going to be in line with the upcoming film. If people see the film and say “Wow, I want to read more about these characters,” they should pick up our book.
TWJ: Your work on Batman Damned has received much attention and has been the subject of controversy. Is there a line for you as to how far you can push a pre-established character into dark territory?
BA: Well that’s something that I’ve always done. Even with Wonder Woman. We pushed her into a different world than she’s ever been in before.
I don’t want to do something somebody else has done before. You can read that stuff because it already exists. I don’t want to be just making stuff for no reason. If I don’t have anything to say about these characters, I won’t say it.
TWJ: Many of these characters have existed for so long that a lot has been said about them. How do you find something new to say that gets the audience’s attention?
BA: I don’t know… but it happens.
I’m not really a fan of a lot of these characters. I think that really helps.
TWJ: That way you’re able to see the character in a different way with out being too precious with the source material?
BA: Yeah. I look at the characters and just think about how we would tell a story with them. How would these four characters interact with each other?
It’s not like I think to myself, “I want to tell a Wonder Woman story with these old-ass characters because I liked Dr. Psycho when I was a kid.
TWJ: Do you become a fan of the characters by the time you are done with the story?
BA: I’m still not a fan of Batman.
TWJ: [Laughs] Yet, you’ve worked on Batman a lot and you’ve done many inventive things with the character. So that’s a very interesting statement for you to make.
BA: I’d say I have a fondness for Wonder Woman. I’m kind of protective of her. But, Batman, I’m not a fan.
TWJ: So you’d be fine with it if he got hit by the Batmobile and died?
BA: That’d be great.
TWJ: Ok, I’m making that the headline.
I’d like to thank Brian Azzarello for this fun and unusual interview. Look for Birds of Prey from DC Comics this Fall.