That Dragon’s Gonna Come Out – Talking Birthright With Joshua Williamson
by James Ferguson
Birthright from Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment has been an emotional journey in and out of fantasy lands. The series is entering its final phase with only ten issues left. Judging from issue #40, things are going to get insane. I had a chance to speak to writer Joshua Williamson about the comic as it heads into the final leg of its epic story.
JF: Birthright #40 made me cry.
JW: Were you surprised?
JF: I was! That moment when Mikey and his dad hugged was beautiful. It was so earned. I was bawling, then I read in the letters column that there are only ten issues left and that hit me. How do you prepare to end something that has spanned multiple worlds like this?
JW: I’ve always had a plan from the beginning. I know the story really well. I know every beat and every major thing. I was talking to Andrei [Bressan] over coffee about Birthright and everything that’s coming. He knows some of it, so it was like a refresher for him in some places. It’s all building to that ending. Because I know it and it’s all building towards it, I’m good. I know what I have to do to get there.
I don’t know if you noticed, but that issue is actually 22 pages long. Birthright is normally a 20 page comic. The reason why was because of that scene with Mikey and Aaron. Originally it was one page. I was talking to my editor, Sean Mackiewicz about it and I said I feel like this page isn’t working, so I asked to add two pages. What I wanted to do was add a page at the very end to make that splash page a two page spread. He made me make a choice. I could either have two pages for the emotional scene or I could have the last page be a two page spread. I went with the emotional scene.
If you thought that was good, there are a lot more emotional scenes coming. There’s a lot going down. Sean has had different assistant editors. For the majority of the book we had one that was great. She kept me on the straight when it came to continuity. She would email me if I got something wrong, like “actually in issue #7 you said this so it doesn’t line up” so I’d fix that. When we got a new editor on the book since she got promoted, she’s only been on for about a year if that. She’s never been in any of the meetings about the story so she was reading each issue raw as they’re coming in. She got to that ending of issue #40 and was totally surprised. She was in Sean’s office when she read it and said “What?” Oh, you don’t know! That’s right! This is what happens next. They go to war!
JF: When it hit, I was very much surprised, but then I realized that of course, this has to happen.
JW: If you say that no matter what happens, the dragon can’t get out…that dragon’s gotta get out. One of my favorite things of a third act twist. If someone says “No matter what you do, you do not cross the streams” at some point you have to cross the streams. It’s a favorite fiction trope.
JF: Aside from all out war and more emotional moments, what else can we look forward to in the final issues of Birthright?
JW: There’s a lot coming down. I think the ending for issue #45 will be really surprising for some people. Andrei and I were just talking about #50 and how meaningful that will be. There’s some really cool stuff coming. #41 has some really amazing art. #43 is going to be a very special issue. It’s a lot of Andrei showing off in terms of crazy art stuff.
Birthright from Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment is entering its final ten issues. Comicon would like to thank Joshua Williamson for taking the time to speak with us.