Imagine Going to Hogwarts in Gotham!
Becky Cloonan is a comic book writer and artist. She co-writes Gotham Academy with Brenden Fletcher and artist Karl Kerschl. Volume one collecting comics 1-6 was recently released in paperback and kindle.
Sisters In Geek: Everyone should be reading Gotham Academy. It’s character-driven, mystery-solving fun with loot. You’ve listed Harry Potter as an influence. I’d add early Harry Potter when they still talked about every flavor jellybeans, and had fun adventures. Please give us your best sales pitch, in case we have some holdouts.
Becky Cloonan: Imagine going to Hogwarts in Gotham! I think like so many people I was left with a big Potter shaped hole in my heart when the series ended, and I wouldn’t go as far as to say Gotham Academy will fill that hole, but that series is certainly one of our touchtones. As is Batman the Animated Series, Nancy Drew mysteries, even Scooby-Doo. The book is a lot of fun, and perfect for new comic readers and long-time Batman fans alike! It really is our love letter to Gotham, folded up into a little square: Gotham City, do you like us? Y/N.
SIG: I feel that you, Brenden, and Karl have somehow won the comic book lottery. How great is it to be doing something completely NEW in the batman universe?
Becky Cloonan: Oh, it’s the best!! DC has been so supportive of this book too! It’s really hard to get people excited about new characters sometimes, but I’m very happy that people respond and love the kids of Gotham Academy just as much as we do. It’s also really exciting to be adding to Batman history! We are all huge fans so the book is a ton of fun, but the responsibility of making it the best we can is not lost on us!
SIG: Maps is a young girl who gleefully talks about lessons learned during role-playing campaigns, and how she needs to loot everything. Are you ever worried about Maps being so cute that she’ll steal every scene?
Becky Cloonan: Wait, you mean she doesn’t steal every scene? We’ll just have to make her cuter! Haha Maps is one of my favorite characters. She is an absolute delight to write, because she is so comfortable with herself. She knows exactly who she is and makes no apologies for it! And she likes RPG’s, so yeah. I definitely relate to her on a lot of levels.
SIG: You had a career in comics already as an artist. What made you take on writing too? Are you showing off?
Becky Cloonan: *Puts on sunglasses* Actually, I’ve always written– but I think most of my more well-known books have been with writers. I’ve been lucky to work with some of the best in the business too. This is the first comic I’m writing for somebody else to draw, and working with Karl Kerschl has been just incredible. We lucked out!
SIG: Olive and team have already found a lot of secrets at Gotham Academy. I’m hoping it is a big place? Lots more secrets, and lots more comic book issues?
SIG: You’ve collaborated on great comics, and created your own. What has been your biggest revelation on how to imagine and create great work?
Becky Cloonan: Every comic is different. They start differently, they end differently, and each process is unique to that book. I never want to repeat myself either, so I think it’s important to give enough thought and time for each new comic to develop properly. Sometimes you have a great idea, but the timing isn’t quite right— just put it on the back burner to simmer. Maybe one day you’ll get to it, maybe one day you won’t! It’s important not to be too precious about ideas, because tomorrow you will always have another one!
Check out Becky’s website! She has award winning stand-alone comics, a hilarious about page, and a lot of comic collections and series you should start.
Art by Becky Cloonan and Karl Kerschl