knight terrors superman green arrow batman wonder woman

INTERVIEW: Joshua Williamson is Currently Carrying DC Comics on His Back

Multiverse of Color sat down with the incredibly booked and busy Joshua Williamson on top of the DC Booth at San Diego Comic-Con. He’s currently got Knight Terrors (crossover event), Superman (2023) and Green Arrow (2023) in the rotation, a Batman and Robin adventure series coming this fall; this on top of just coming out of Dark Crisis and Infinite Frontier

Slight spoilers ahead. Interview edited for clarity.

knight terrors superman green arrow batman wonder woman
Credit: DC Comics

“Energy and power” from people talking about comics.

The man’s shoulders must hurt carrying the weight of DC Comics on his back. “I do get strength from the fact that I love it. I really love the characters. I love the universe. I’m really thankful I get to work with other people who love it. That’s one thing about coming here, right? Coming to San Diego, getting to talk to people. I live in a bubble. I very much try to keep my head on straight. I get to see people talk about loving comics. I get energy and power from that. I definitely feel the weight sometimes, it’s there, but being here definitely helps me get that strength back,” Williamson shared.

He’s not carrying the weight alone, he’s got numerous co-creators and artists across various projects he partners with, including another DC heavyweight, Jamal Campbell. Williamson and I spent some time gushing about the “genius.”

“I have trust in him, because he’s so smart. He’s so creative. He’s just a great storyteller. It makes my life a lot easier. He’s so smart, clever, and he’s really thoughtful. I always look for that in everything I’m working on, or things I read,” Williamson gushed.

Credit: DC Comics. Art by Jamal Campbell.

“How do you do something new with Superman?”

Working with Campbell on Superman (2023) sounds like a dream team. “What we’ll do is, I’ll tell him what’s coming before I write it. He’s not getting a script that he’s surprised by. He reads it and we talk about it. He’s really thinking about the story. There was a scene in issue five where I wrote Clark and Lois were walking across Metropolis on date night. He literally went in there and he made it like date night. There was more to it; it sounds silly, but he had them walking across a bridge, where the moonlight was in the water and I was like ‘he just he gets it.’”

Credit: DC Comics. Art by Jamal Campbell.

It’s always a pleasure when the creative team working on your favorite superheroes and characters are as enthusiastic about them as you are. Williamson’s respect for the past comes through in this new Superman story, which is hard to do considering the dude’s been around for decades. 

“I want to honor the past, but I have to make something new. I gotta do new stuff. That was the biggest challenge of this book was trying to find things that had never been done before,” Williamson said, adding that his many “long walks” helped him get in tune with the character’s rich history.

“Ollie having to deal with Ollie; sometimes you gotta answer to yourself.”

Another legacy hero Williamson has taken on this year is the revival of Green Arrow’s solo series, featuring the entirety of the Arrow Family. We last left Oliver Queen running from his problems because of warnings from a future version of himself. We dive into Ollie’s rash decision-making, which often leaves the reader with whiplash. 

Credit: DC Comics. Art by Sean Izaakse.

“A lot of this is about Ollie having to deal with Ollie, that’s really what the story is about, sometimes you gotta answer to yourself,” Williamson said. “He’s done some stuff. One of the biggest things with him, I think about a lot, is the fact that he knew about Connor [Hawke] and lied about it, you know? There are times he’s said and done things that he’s never really dealt with. I need him to deal with it. I always talk about taking these characters to therapy.”

Every single character in the DC universe could do with consistent therapy, but none more than Oliver himself. He’s always ending up stranded somewhere or some…time and at some point, this starts to feel like he’s running away. Reconnecting him with his family is a big part of his healing and journey.

“There’s a lot to unpack with that, so those are things that I always love to dive into. On top of fun, cool superhero stuff, let’s get back to family. I’ve been tempted to post- on the actual script pages, that splash page, it’s all in caps. It says ‘Roy hugs Lian,’ then it says F*CKIN’ FINALLY, like no joking,” Williamson said, laughing.

He also shared some excellent behind-the-scenes tidbits featuring Green Arrow teammate, Sean Izaakse. “Sean is a huge Green Arrow fan with a lot of thoughts on it. One of the really funny things is one of the original Roy designs he did: Roy had a mustache and we were like, uh I don’t know,” Williamson revealed. “It’s really funny. It’s like a Burt Reynolds mustache.”

Knight Terrors and Beyond…

Another Williamon-led event is currently going on, the nightmarish Knight Terrors, which features heroes and villains across the DC universe being menaced by a new villain called Insomnia. Things kick off with quite the bang showing Doctor Destiny, a well-established dream villain, found dead in the Hall of Justice. 

“I’ve always liked Doctor Destiny, he’s one of my favorite villains. When we started talking about the book, I was like I need to do something big. You gotta have real stakes, right? We had this whole conversation about horror movies. What do all horror movies have in common? Someone dies in the beginning. Who am I gonna kill? Somebody on the call was like, why doesn’t he kill Doc Destiny first?” Williamson said. 

“I was like, damn it, but then all the pieces came together. Why wouldn’t he go to him first? I just wanted to create a new villain that’s really powerful. That was awesome. You’ll get to see his real origin and why he’s doing what he’s doing, why he’s so angry,” Williamson continued.

Knight Terrors (2023) is a special event mini-series on sale right now, with a series of one-shots featuring various characters from Batman to Wonder Woman to Ravager. What’s next for the hardworking writer? More Batman and Robin adventures!

“I’m doing Batman and Robin in September, continuing those stories, and picking up some pieces from Lazarus Planet. They [Damian and Bruce Wayne] know how to be Batman and Robin. They don’t know how to be father and son right now. Before they had Alfred and he was that buffer, he was that person between them, but he’s not there. Damian is also seeing that Bruce needs Alfred too. Damian was trained by Talia and the League. Bruce was trained by Alfred, so I want to explore those ideas,” Williamson revealed. 

But there will be some cuteness involved. “He’s [Damian’s] gonna play soccer.” Let kids be kids, we always say!
Read more about Knight Terrors here.