Note: We’ve been fortunate to have many talented artists come thru P:R over the years from then-unknowns like Jamie McKelvie and Joe Quinones down to more recent breakout stars like Kris Anka and Dennis Medri. One of our most favorite P:R alums has been Annie Wu, and she’s currently tearing up both the comics and animation world. In addition to working on Marvel’s Hawkeye series, Wu is doing a stint on DC’s Batman Beyond series with writer Scott Peterson introducing an all-new Batgirl. And given Wu’s previous redesigns we’ve featured here, I couldn’t imagine a better artist to take on this challenge. With the first chapter of Wu’s Batman Beyond coming this weekend digitally, we talked to her about redesigning Batgirl for Neo Gotham. Thanks to Annie and DC for giving us the exclusive on these design sketches. – Chris Arrant
Project: Rooftop: Thanks for agreeing to do this, Annie. First thing’s first – how did you and Scott develop this new Batgirl and this new look?
Annie Wu: Scott Peterson broke down some of the main points for me to keep in mind, but apart from that, I had a nearly blank canvas. A lot of her attitude and look came down to what kind of character I wanted to see when I was a teen. So after hitting those ideas hard in initial scribbles, I presented a refined sketch to Scott and our editor at the time Jim Chadwick. The only big note I got was about adding a splash of color somewhere because, being as I am, I sent in this, like, all dark-grey and black uniform. I think that was the only thing, actually. So from there I refined things and messed around with some details on my own.
P:R: Since it takes place in the time period of Batman Beyond, how did you accommodate trying to make it look futuristic without being cliché?
Wu: Of course, the immediate thought when given the task to create a costume for Batgirl Beyond is to do a girl version of Terry McGinnis’ awesome suit, but you can’t! First of all, that’s no fun and, secondly, it doesn’t make sense because she’s not coming from the same place as Terry. So I guess I was addressing it more with the focus of “What are the needs of this particular individual who lives in Neo Gotham” rather than “Holy crap, it’s the future, I need to make it look futuristic.” With the former approach, any futuristic vibes are inherent, whereas the latter is kind of a slippery slope for clichés. Not that I don’t love a little bit of future-campiness sometimes. Actually, now that I think about it, I realize I’ve completely squandered an opportunity to put a Bat-character in one of those Back to the Future II hats.