The post-Rebirth landscape of the DC Universe has been rife with the potential for revivals of old favorites in all new ways -- some more unexpected than others. Writer/artist Liam Sharp is set to revive the classic team-up title The Brave and The Bold from an all new angle, focusing on Batman and Wonder Woman as they try and uncover a mysterious murder in the faerie realm of Tir Na Nog.
CBR sat down with Sharp (who illustrated the main Wonder Woman series early in the Rebirth era) to discuss DC Comics' new six-issue The Brave and The Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman miniseries, his vision for these characters and his take on the Irish folklore he's pulling from for inspiration.
CBR: So when we're dealing with Bruce and Diana, that's obviously a much much different dynamic than say Bruce and Clark, or Clark and Diana -- what makes them special? What brings them together in this story?
Liam Sharp: Well, in this story Diana was called in to be a peacekeeper. There's unrest in the fairy realm, and they've been trapped in there for a long, long time. Cernunnos, who is the caretaker of the realm of sorts, has sought out all this advice from all these other Gods and Goddesses, and all these signs have pointed towards Diana, that they should be looking to her to help them. So he reaches out to her and brings her in to help him keep peace.
And while he's bringing her there, one of the high kings of Tir Na Nog is murdered -- so, she realized quite quickly that things are going to get really out of hand and that what they need is a detective, someone to actually solve the murder. The people of the fairy realm are so fiery and they're so pent up and geared to start a war within the realm that they need to find some sort of solution here -- so Diana is quick to see that perhaps there's more going on here than meets the eye. So she brings in Bruce from a very practical point of view -- and the two of them are very companionable. They're old friends.
In my mind, it was never anything more than a friendship between them, you know? The way they interact, just as two people serving very specific purposes because there's an urgent need that they do that. [Laughs] There hasn't been much time for anything else.
Is this a story that's going to be folded into the main continuity of the DCU, or is this intended to be read as something more free-floating or even Elseworlds flavored?
It certainly has the opportunity to be part of the main continuity! It's got an open end. The premise is that Tir Na Nog has been cut off from the rest of the world -- almost like Themyscira in that regard -- and all the causeways have been closed for a long time as the faeries became diminished over many centuries. And really, this is all sort of popular Irish folklore and myth -- so at this point, it's almost as though they're all entirely forgotten and there's really no way in or out for them. So it's very much a magical environment we don't tend to see in mainstream comic imagery.
When you're designing a place like that, and populating it with these characters who come from folklore, what process do you go through? How do you take the mythological and make it fit into a superheroic world?
There's lots of bits of knot work and everything is moldering and ancient -- the idea being that in Tir Na Nog, time is passing differently, a little bit slower. So they really have been trapped in there for eons and eons. So a lot of the story is dealing with why that happened and what the reason for it was. But because you're dealing with a lot of moving parts, what I've done in one of the cases is taken what were three Tuatha De Danann kings and made them one, and I've given him the name of one of the more famous Irish legendary kings. So there are things like that -- and then there's the Silver Arm, which is a very big and famous Irish myth. I was really inspired by Jim Fitzpatrick on that, he did a beautifully illustrated book that I read when I was a teenager that I still look at now, which was all about Irish mythology and that particular story.
And of course, it's comics, so you're dealing with Wonder Woman and Batman so I've had be flexible with it -- it's not like a straight retelling. It's got kernels of those traditional stories, but it's comics.
So this is your first time writing these characters who, Diana especially, you've been working with on the art side of things for quite some time. What was that transition like? Were there any influences you looked at to help you nail down your voice for them?
Bruce is a man of few words but he's also a detective so finding that balance was a challenge, it was interesting. I wanted to have him going through a thought process as this was all happening -- there's a bit particularly in issue #3 where they basically go on a horse ride through Tir Na Nog to try and investigate what's going on and find out a little more about the realm and the history of the place is, and we learn a little bit about Bruce's story. Batman needed to have some lore from Ireland just to make sense of it, because the science of the outside, non-magical realm is different. The rules are different here, so he's going to need different tools to be able to get to the truth.
So, he talks about an Irish nanny he had when he was young who told him stories about things like the girl who'd been stolen away from the village and came back without any toes because she'd danced them all off -- things like that. So there' a little bit of Irish folklore in Bruce's story here too.
For Diana, I just tried to keep her true to the work that Greg [Rucka] and I did. I really wanted her to feel like the same character. It's always hard when new writers come on to maintain that sort of continuity but I think that since we worked so closely together that -- to me, she's the same, you know? Hopefully, I've been respectful to Greg's take.
The Brave and The Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman #1 is on sale this Wednesday, Feb. 21.