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Joshua Williamson goes behind the scenes on 'Dark Crisis'

Comic Books

Joshua Williamson goes behind the scenes on ‘Dark Crisis’

Another deep dive into DC’s big summer event.

If you can’t tell, we’re pretty excited for DC Comics’ upcoming Dark Crisis event. In recent weeks, we’ve spoken with writer-mastermind Joshua Williamson on several occasions, touching on both the event proper as well as the lead up, Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis. With a little less than a month from Dark Crisis #1, Williamson was kind enough to touch base with us once more. This time around, we tackled the scripting process, character development, Williamson’s favorite tidbits, and much, much more.

And for even more don’t miss our interview with Williamson around “The Death of the Justice League” — then read his spoiler-takes on the special as well.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

AIPT: We got a checklist last week and I’m like, holy crap, this event is going through December. For those interested in the process, how many issues are scripted? Do you have the whole series already scripted out?

Joshua Williamson: It’s not all scripted out, but it’s mapped out pretty tight. Like I can tell you what happens on certain pages and like [issues] six and seven. I have it pretty tightly plotted and tightly outlined out. We’re pretty far into scripting, by the time issue one comes out, we’ll have four issues drawn. So we’re pretty ahead. We’re doing really well. But there’s times every once in a while something will come up as we’re working and I’m like, “Oh, I wanna change that. I wanna add this character.” Especially as the issues are coming in. Then I have to go back and look at it and figure out a couple of things.

I could easily tell you what happens on the last page of every issue. I can tell you the first page, the last page like it’s pretty tightly there. Sometimes like certain characters kind of step up in a way, as you’re working on it. “Oh, well this character’s actually kind of taking over these things and you know, what does that impact the story down the line?”

Josh Williamson goes behind the scenes on 'Dark Crisis'

A preview page from Dark Crisis #1. Courtesy of DC Comics.

AIPT: What’s the emotion you want readers to feel when they put down Dark Crisis #1?

JW: Oh man. What emotion do I want them to feel? Is engaged in emotion? I guess I want you to care. I don’t think anyone’s gonna feel one emotion. I think there’s gonna definitely be some, tense feelings and I’m sure there are people that are gonna be worried. I know those things are gonna happen, but I think at the end of the day I just want you to care and be really engaged by the story and want to know what happens next.

I definitely thought about that with each issue. Issue two of Dark Crisis is a little meaner. It’s a little meaner, but then by the time you get to the ending of issue two, it’s a lot more uplifting. I try to find that balance in here. I think when people read issue one, I just want them to feel very engaged and interested and feel like they need to read the next issue. I know that’s gonna come with a range of emotions. You know, some people are gonna be really pissed off. People might be excited…

AIPT: They’re gonna tear it in half!

JW: I mean, it is called Dark Crisis, you know? Things need to happen so you’ll be like, “oh no danger is coming.” Cause if you don’t think danger coming, then…

AIPT: What’s the point?

JW: I always joke around other people. If I called this Happy Crisis, nobody would’ve bought it. <laugh>

Josh Williamson goes behind the scenes on 'Dark Crisis'

A preview page from Dark Crisis #1. Courtesy of DC Comics.

AIPT: Does Dark Crisis afford you the chance to write any characters you’ve never been able to write and which one is your favorite?

JW: Oh yeah. I’ve always wanted to write Dr. Light. I like writing her. I like writing Harley. I like writing the Titans. There is a particular group of characters that show up later that I’m really excited about that I don’t want to spoil, but they’re a group of characters that I really like writing. I’ve always wanted to write. Actually, I’ve never been able to write all of them before. I’ve written a couple of them. And so there’s a group of characters that show up later that I’m really, really excited about and it gave me an opportunity to write them finally.

Even with “Death of the Justice League,” I finally got to write Green Arrow after wanting to write him for years. There are a few, I’d have to go through issue one and look at it again. I also get to write a lot of Green Lantern stuff. There’s Hal, and there are a couple of other surprises with other Green Lanterns that people will be excited about showing up.

I think when people look at this thing as a whole, if you are a Green Lantern fan, if you are a Titans fan. There’s a couple of other groups that I think people really like that are in the DC that I don’t wanna reveal just yet. If you’re a fan of these groups and these characters, I think by the ending, you’ll be really happy. Issue one is definitely a bit of a beginning of a rough ride for some people, but as we go, I think people will be happy with what we do.

Josh Williamson goes behind the scenes on 'Dark Crisis'

A preview page from Dark Crisis #1. Courtesy of DC Comics.

AIPT: Having a hand in events and of course, your epic run on Flash, what has been the most fun writing Dark Crisis? Has there been anything new that came up that has been a joy to do and what has been the biggest headache?

JW: Oh, the biggest headache. The only thing that’s a headache with working on events is just how big they get. I have to read a lot of scripts. You gotta talk to a lot of people.

This is part of why I think writing Robin was so fun was that Robin was literally taken out of Gotham and he was put on this island away from everything. Figuratively and literally right. We ended up putting him on an island away from everything. And so I was able to just kind of tell that story by itself, when it comes to doing events, there are so many moving pieces that that sometimes can be challenging to take care of.

The stuff I get joy from. I think as people go and you start seeing some of these really big emotional moments between the characters and the relationships with them, that is the stuff that I am the most excited about. I think there are really big moments that come with the characters to me, getting to write some of the characters together.

Like there’s a scene with the Bat-family and the Titans in issue three. We rarely get to see those characters together. I think just seeing some of the characters, you don’t get to see them interact very much, but there are also a lot of reunions. And I think there’s some characters that come back into the spotlight that I really like. And I know there are a lot of fans, so getting to write those characters without getting too deep into spoilers.

There’s one Green Lantern, in particular, that’s like one of my favorite Green Lantern’s that we get to kind of bring back and put back into the spotlight. And that is super fun for me. Yeah. So a lot of stuff like that, those are the kinds of things as we go that I think people will love.

Joshua Williamson goes behind the scenes on 'Dark Crisis'

A preview page from Dark Crisis #1. Courtesy of DC Comics.

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