I am sad to see Duane Swierczynski go since I’ve been loving his take on this series and especially love Starling, but this interview with Jim Zubkavich with CBR makes me hopeful it’ll still be a good series:
Before we get into the specifics of your story, I wondered what impression you have of the “Birds” as a team and a franchise from the outside. We’re at the point now where the team has a lot of history under its belt as well as a few different incarnations. What’s the strongest hook for you in working on a (usually) all-female team in the DCU? Any previous runs that will influence what you do here?
I know I’m not a writer people would have expected to pick up the torch on “Birds of Prey,” but that’s part of what makes it such an exciting challenge. I know I have a lot to prove.
I read through the older “Birds of Prey” issues quite extensively as I was tightening up my pitch and what struck me most wasn’t a particular plotline as much as it was the quality of characterization that’s punctuated “Birds of Prey.” The series really sings when readers care about the cast and root for them, issue after issue.
Gail Simone and Chuck Dixon’s best “Birds of Prey” issues had a wonderful sense of personality and camaraderie that went hand-in-hand with top-notch action and drama. I’m not here to retread stories that have been told before and there are distinct differences between the past and this new incarnation of the team, but I‘m looking to keep that character/action balance at the core of the series because I feel that’s what makes it such a special series.
When it comes to the cast of the book, I’m sure there are a few things that are under wraps as Duane Swierczynski ties up the many threads of his run in the coming months. But I’m betting one assumption we can make is that Black Canary and Batgirl will play a central role in the series. Since Barbara and Dinah have formed the backbone of “Birds” since its inception, what’s your take on their relationship today, and how do they share a role in the book overall?
Black Canary and Batgirl are definitely a big part of my plans and character relationships as a whole are crucial to me in “Birds of Prey.” Before I started generating specific story threads for the series, I put together a character “matrix” for the cast – who they are, how they feel about each other and what could change as the story moves forward. Going through that process and digging into each character’s personality gave me a lot more confidence. It acts as a baseline to build from so that no matter what scenario I throw the team into I can gauge their reactions based on where things are in each character’s development.
Dinah’s an optimist who keeps ending up on the wrong side of conflict. She’s a fighter who doesn’t know how to stop even when, by all rights, she should give up. In the New 52 she’s the glue that holds the “Birds of Prey” together. That leadership role is at the core of Dinah’s personality, whether she wants it or not.
Batgirl in the New 52 wants to be a part of the Birds and support Dinah’s vision for a team that looks out for each other, but she’s quite used to “going it alone”, especially since she has her own solo series. Barbara will struggle with that “individual vs. team” dynamic and the choices she makes, especially after bringing Strix to the team, will affect everyone.
I hope Duane finds more work and Birds won’t be the last we’ll see of him. Nevertheless I am looking forward to Jim’s take on the Birds and am positive it’s going to be great.