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 Home > Wizard > Features
HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL STAR
Geoff Johns and J.G. Jones team up for DC’s new All Star Batgirl title in 2007

By Ben Morse

Posted September 4, 2006  12:30 PM

Geoff Johns made his debut in comics back in 1999 writing Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E., featuring the protagonist of the Star-Spangled Kid—now Stargirl—a sassy and immediately endearing teenage girl based in large part on his own sister.

Now with quite a few more comics under his belt and a reputation as one of the industry’s top writers, Johns gets his chance to tackle the premiere teenage girl in superhero comics: Batgirl.

Johns and artist J.G. Jones (52 covers) will team for All Star Batgirl coming in 2007, featuring a new adventure of the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, set outside the continuity of the classic DC Universe.

Wizard Universe caught up with Johns shortly after the announcement to get his thoughts.

WIZARD: When do you and J.G. begin your run on All Star Batgirl and what are you two setting out to do for this character?

GEOFF JOHNS: We’re doing the first six issues, the first of which will hit in late 2007 well after J.G. and I are done with 52, so it’s monthly. It’s a mystery revolving around Barbara Gordon and Arkham Asylum, why she’s become Batgirl and more importantly why she remains Batgirl. It’s essentially our Batman: Long Halloween or Superman: For All Seasons for Batgirl. [Writer] Jeph [Loeb] managed to do wonderful character-centric super-hero epics in those books, standing away from “continuity” and just telling a damn good story. That’s what we’re setting out to do.

Has Batgirl always been a favorite character?

JOHNS: Ever since I read my uncle’s copy of Barbara Gordon’s first appearance in Detective Comics she grabbed me. I fell in love with her costume and her attitude. I loved the red hair and the yellow bat and boots. The confused look on Robin’s face on the television show every time they got together. Batgirl reminded Batman and Robin that the world was bigger than the both of them, in more ways than one. She broke up the “boys club” with a smile and a batarang.

From a character standpoint, what is at the core of your story?

JOHNS: Barbara Gordon’s motivations and connection to Batman, her reasons why she puts on the uniform, why she’s decided to enter this world, is something J.G. and I are going to explore. The book will probably be in tone with Ultimate Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, All Star Superman and [mine and artist Amanda Conner’s] run on JSA Classified with Power Girl. The main focus will be her relationships with Batman, Robin and her father.

Is this series set in the same “world” as All Star Batman & Robin?

JOHNS: It’s set apart as much as Superman is different in All Star Superman and All Star Batman & Robin, so our Batgirl won’t have any ties to the one showing up in ASB&R.

How did you end up on this book?

JOHNS: I’d been in talks on a lot of All Star books, at one point I was going to do an arc on All Star Batman & Robin and I wanted to introduce Barbara Gordon as Batgirl but eventually they took the book a different way. So this was a few years ago now and I’ve had the entire story outlined. Joker, Commissioner Gordon, a new look into Harvey Bullock, a different take on Robin’s place in Wayne Manor, and a detective mystery story that only Batgirl could solve. She’s vital to the world of Batman and we’re out to prove why.

How did J.G. Jones end up as the artist on this book?

JOHNS: J.G. and I have been talking for years about doing a project together, and we started seeing each other at the 52 summits every few months. Mostly, we’d go on about how much we love Black Adam and his ever expanding Black Marvel Family, but we also threw ideas of what we wanted to do back and forth.

Is this the “ultimate” Batgirl story in your eyes?

JOHNS: I won’t shy away from the fact that this really is my and J.G.’s “ultimate” Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. What [the Ultimate Marvel Universe] has done is allowed a lot of creators, Mark [Millar] and Brian [Bendis] specifically, to do modern takes on the characters without having to worry about fitting in, say, Killer Moth into Batgirl’s origin just because he was in the original comic. Killer Moth is fine, but this is Barbara Gordon Batgirl and she’s going to hold her own against the top Batman villains, as well as have a few of her own.

Why do you think Batgirl warrants being the first character outside of the big three—Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman—to receive the “All Star treatment?”

JOHNS: She’s one of the most prominent female superheroes in the world. She’s on lunchboxes, there’s a Barbie of her, cartoons—even after she’s been Oracle in the DC Universe for 15 years now, people, us included, love this character as Batgirl. That’s why J.G. and I wanted to do this: to focus on the first and best Batgirl—and no offense to all of you Cassandra Cain fans. We will be addressing in Teen Titans exactly what the deal is with her. Is she a bad guy? How? Why? She was a completely different character before “One Year Later,” so let’s find out what happened.

How do you think working in the “All Star Universe” will differ from working in the DCU?

JOHNS: We don’t have to worry about the other books around us. Or the books that came before us. That’s pretty amazing. It’s perfect for the kind of story we want to tell.

What villains and guest stars do you want to use?

JOHNS: You’ll see a lot of characters from the Batman Universe, and maybe a few “All Star” versions of other DCU characters that you haven’t seen yet.

Having started in comics on Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E., is writing another teenage female protagonist like “going home?”

JOHNS: Completely.

How has your approach to writing this type of character evolved?

JOHNS: I loved working on Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Back then I wanted to create a series for readers like my sister. I hope now I’m a much better writer to pull it of.

You've got one sentence left to sell this book and why people should give it a shot: Go.

JOHNS: J.G. Jones illustrating Batgirl should be enough, but I’ll throw this at you: Batgirl vs. Joker turns out very differently in our world.
 
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