Out this week!

Tuesday February 19th 2013, 1:57 pm

This week sees the release of Batwoman 17. It’s a bittersweet thing for me. I’ve been living with Batwoman for a good 3+ years, maybe 4. I’ve been heavily immersed in her world visually for this entire time.

Back when we (Haden and I) were offered to take over Batwoman’s direction after Greg Rucka’s departure, there was a certain sense of elation and trepidation in saying yes, and a certain kind of responsibility. Batwoman is an important character, and a socially important one that has meaning that extends well beyond the printed pages of the world she lives in, reaching out into ours possibly affecting those who encounter her story. At the time, we quickly said yes to telling her story, but then had the arduous task of putting that puzzle together, while having it be an expansion from what Greg and I had already set in motion.

After weeks of planning and plotting, figuring out just how those pieces moved and fit into a bigger construct, we knew where we were going with her, where the bigger fantastical story interacted with more personal aspects of Kate Kane’s life. So the current few issues of the tale have all been set up since the beginning, since Batwoman’s first Issue 0 (yes, there has been more than one). And it’s all culminating now, into issue 17 that is out now. It’s an important issue in many respects, not just to Kate’s story, but to ours as well. But this is really only phase 1, while this new chapter brings lots of things to a head, it’s also the beginning of phase 2.

So back to why this is bittersweet. Although this issue is a culmination of many things that we had set out to do at the very beginning, it is also the marking of a change creatively. It serves as my final duties on Batwoman interior art for quite sometime to come as I move over to handle Sandman with Neil Gaiman for awhile. But it’s not the end of my love affair with these characters that inhabit Batwoman’s world by any stretch. I’m remaining as writer along with Haden, so we will still be her voice, telling more of the bigger picture. And I’m still doing art for the covers beginning with issue 20. Joining us starting with issue 18 will be Trevor McCarthy, we would like to give him a big warm welcome to our team, visually chronicling her story starting with issue 18. Trevor is no stranger to Batwoman’s world, having brought scenes to life during arc 2 and 3, To Drown The World, and issue 15’s Interlude 2. So we’re happy to have him on board.

And that said, I felt the cover to this issue needed to be in answer some way visually to the cover of issue 1, acting as it’s companion, but thematically opposite in some ways. Issue 1 was water, this new one is fire. Giving it all a sense of change, an ending of an arc, while setting up drama and presence, that Batwoman more firmly than ever before, stands her ground.

Here is the rough for editorial approval…
Batwoman 17 cover rough
Here is the black and white…
Batwoman 17 cover- black and white
Here is the color version. This is where I needed to add and enhance a lot of the elements. Bring in more snake bones, paint colors over the black backgrounds, add intensity and detail to fire effects, and add flecks of floating burning embers…
Batwoman 17 cover- color
Here is the logo version. I needed it to mimic the logo position of issue 1 as well, to further sell the idea of them being companion pieces…
Batwoman 17 cover-logo

28 Comments so far
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You know, given the love affair I’ve had with your art (most especially on Batwoman), it feels incredibly odd to be saying this…but I’m more comforted by knowing that you’re staying on as writer than artist. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss the unmatchable beauty and scope you bring to the book…but as an English major, I firmly believe that a book (and characters’) soul are in the writing. It doesn’t matter how Kate is drawn, as long as her mind and heart are intact–and with you and Mr. B staying on, it will be. I can deal with the visual change, knowing that Kate is still safe in your hands.

Also, since Sandman narrowly edges out Batwoman as my favorite comic series of all time, I can’t tell you how excited I am that you’re working on it. If you had asked me a year ago what my ideal fantasy for a comic book was, I would have said, “Neil Gaiman writing, ideally Sandman, with J.H. Williams on artwork.”

Looks like I’ll need a new holy grail. You and Mr. G are in the process of giving me mine. 🙂

Comment by SoldierHawk 02.19.13 @ 6:28 pm

Yay! Take a bow, JH! reat ending in EVERY respect!


Comment by Ralph mathieu 02.20.13 @ 8:17 am

Thanks J3 for ruining my life!!!

I have the entire run of Promethe(bookend variants included as well as about 10 copies of #12 to enter Mick’s Tarot contest that you held in your newsletter at the time), all but one of the HC’s(2 is a monster to find!!) and all 3 of the Absolutes…

Now….There is an OMNIBUS coming out!! AAAARGHHHH!! you know I will be getting this, right?

Drat, drat and triple drat!



Comment by Alex 02.20.13 @ 11:04 am

Hey there SoldierHawk
Thank you so very much for the very kind words. You humble me. Haden and I have a lot of exciting things in our minds for the future of Kate Kane.

Comment by jhw3 02.20.13 @ 4:18 pm

Hey there Ralph
Thank you! Haden and I are very proud of this.

Comment by jhw3 02.20.13 @ 4:18 pm

Hi Alex
I know I know… But we are working very hard to do something with this to make it beyond special. I hope it all works. And I’m excited to see your excitement over the book.

Comment by jhw3 02.20.13 @ 4:20 pm

does that mean you can get me one for free…:p

From the description, it looks like the 2-page spreads are gonna finally be presented n horizontal format – like 300?

One thing I have to say, is the only let down I had with the 3rd Absolute, is that it did not contain the whole story where Promethea crossed over into the other ABC comics and would be nice to include those issue in this so we have EVERYTHING needed to read Promethea in one book!



Comment by Alex 02.20.13 @ 4:38 pm

… Holy epic conclusion, Batman! O.o
As broken hearted as I am over losing you on artwork, I gotta say: What a run! I’ve got enough material to keep me entertained/educated/in awe for quite awhile. (My poor elegy book… the binding broke on the poor thing)

Overall, thanks for everything you’ve done visually on this series and may the Gaiman adventure bring about treasure for us all, especially you.

Btw, favorite frame: Batwoman coming out of the fog on the right of spread 9. It’s everything I ever wanted that moment to be. Oh, and I’m glad they stopped overlaying that damned Arrow banner on your covers.

Godspeed, J3! 😀

Comment by Ash 02.20.13 @ 5:51 pm

I’ll continue reading Batwoman so long as there is a good creative team involved. I’m glad you and Haden are staying on as writers because I think you have a good handle on the character and her world, but much like Batman I think that Kate Kane is a strong enough character that she can continue on even after you guys (eventually) leave the title behind. I think you (and Rucka and Haden) have helped position Batwoman as a longstanding DC character with potential for a lot of stories.

Also, while I’ll miss seeing your artwork in Batwoman I’m very excited for Sandman: Zero or whatever it will be called.

Comment by CraigM 02.20.13 @ 8:36 pm

[…] Here’s some of what the writer said about this week’s issue on his blog: […]

Pingback by Batwoman’s Gay Marriage Proposal 02.20.13 @ 11:14 pm

It’s soooooo annoying waiting all this time for the HC’s of Batwoman, but worth it in the end!

I have however, bought the WTF copy as well as the MAD cover(Damn those chase covers!!!) as I’m a massive MAD fan!

Shame you never did the cover to #19 as I would have loved to have seen the breakdowns for that!

Comment by Alex 02.21.13 @ 8:43 am

Hi just finished Batwoman 17 great issue and a great crossover i like the fact that Kate has been allowed to grow out of the shadow of the Batman and make her own place in the DC universe, i’ve rarely seen a superhero be more human than Kate and that is refreshing in today’s comics.

Your artwork will be missed on the book but judging from Trevor’s issues the book is in very good hands artwise and with you and Haden on writing the book will continue to be one of the best reads out there.
Thank you for putting out a great comic.

Comment by Pat Starnes 02.21.13 @ 10:47 am

OK, I just have to say this… you are AMAZING.

Comment by Lara 02.22.13 @ 2:27 am

Like the series as a whole, #17 was an absolute treat from start to finish; thanks very much JH.

Comment by David Rand 02.23.13 @ 11:08 am

That is a gorgeous cover to bring us full circle to an epic ending to a properly epic story.

And now onto Sandman, can it get any better ?

Onwards and upwards!

Comment by Karl 02.26.13 @ 3:28 pm

You are now, and always will be – my hero.

I have always said, and felt deeply, that Kate/Batwoman was in great hands with you and I’m glad that’s continuing. I will miss your artwork, of course, but it’s good to know you’re a voice we can all rely on.

~ Pam

Comment by Pam 02.27.13 @ 1:23 pm

mr wiliams – i, too, like some others posting above, have avidly followed your work since Promethea (or before?), where i wondered often: “why can’t all comics be this damned amazing to look at?” i’m sorry to learn that you won’t be providing the interiors for Batwoman any longer, very sorry indeed.
the cover for issue 17 is breathtaking; the week i picked it up at my local shop all i could do when i first saw it was exclaim “WOW!” easily my favorite comic cover of the year, and one of the best i can remember from the last 5 years, easily. i’m in appreciative awe of your talent, sir, and hope you’ll keep up the exceptional work, even away from these pages. -dave

Comment by dave 03.07.13 @ 7:27 pm

Hey there Ash
Sorry for late replies, been running silent. Thanks so much for the kind words. Yeah, that shot you mention, it symbolizes to me the mental fog the nation is in over the marriage issue, that we all need to understand it’s an equal rights issue, step out of that fog.

Comment by jhw3 03.14.13 @ 1:12 pm

Hello CraigM
Thanks for all of your support this whole time. Batwoman deserves to be around forever.

Comment by jhw3 03.14.13 @ 1:13 pm

Hey Alex
People seem to really dig variant covers these days.

Comment by jhw3 03.14.13 @ 1:14 pm

Hey Pat
Thanks so much for the kind comments on the series and the last chapter of the third arc.

Comment by jhw3 03.14.13 @ 1:16 pm

Hey Lara
Thanks, but no, you are amazing ;^)

Comment by jhw3 03.14.13 @ 1:16 pm

Hello David Rand
Thanks so very much!

Comment by jhw3 03.14.13 @ 1:17 pm

Hey Karl
Hope you’ve been well. Thanks for riding along with us for this adventure.

Comment by jhw3 03.14.13 @ 1:18 pm

Hey there Pam
Thanks for sticking with us this whole time. You’ve been an amazing loyal reader.

Comment by jhw3 03.14.13 @ 1:19 pm

Hi dave
Thanks for the very nice things you’ve said about my efforts. I will always do my best to do my best.

Comment by jhw3 03.14.13 @ 1:23 pm

[…] Heureux événement en vue dans la vie de Batwoman? L’héroïne, qui veille sur Gotham City en l’absence de Batman, a demandé en mariage sa petite amie, Maggie Sawyer, dans le dernier numéro du comic qui lui est consacré. Créé pour introduire plus de diversité dans les personnages de comics de la maison DC, le personnage de Batwoman joue un rôle «important» selon son dessinateur, J.H. Williams III. Son histoire «s’étend bien au-delà des pages imprimées du monde dans lequel elle vit, nous atteignant dans le nôtre avec la possibilité de toucher ceux qui ont affaire à son histoire», a-t-il indiqué sur son site internet. […]

Pingback by L’héroïne lesbienne Batwoman fait sa demande en mariage « Yagg 03.20.13 @ 4:48 am

[…] #17 was released today and J.H. Williams III had a few things to say about it on his blog. He also posted the process for his ethereal cover, so here is the initial rough version for […]

Pingback by It’s a Process: Batwoman #17 cover by J.H. Williams III | GeekDraw 08.24.13 @ 12:28 pm

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