Birds of Prey: Empty Nest, my latest commission from Mike Kevan
(inspired by Gail Simone)
Dang, actually made me cry a little. WAAAAAAAH!
You should have a warning!
The thing about the Birds at that time was, I think the relationships were almost singular in comics…there just weren’t many female friendships among superheroes, and so many that existed were more about guys. It would be, two women want the same guy, or two women had the same ex-boyfriend or whatever. Two women want to fit in in a group of dudes. I wanted a book where the female relationships had nothing to do with that, so the only real romance element in almost the entire run was Creote and Savant, really. I didn’t want the Birds talking about chocolate or guys’ butts.
And in a way, I think that was a bit of a problem. The people who loved the book, loved it HARD, and there were a lot of imitators, I think. But as is often the case, I felt people, even some people who worked on the book in some capacity, often had no idea what the specific appeal of that era of stories was. They looked and saw sexy women in sexy outfits kicking ass and being smartasses, and they thought that was what made the book successful (and it WAS successful and hopefully will remain so). So we had all these books about those things and they tanked, one after another.
But I think the engine of the book was what you guys have captured on the panels in the original post—it was a female team that was together because they cared about each other, even loved each other. It’s hard to explain how rare something like that is in all media, where the default lead characters in most genre fiction are almost always male. It was about friendship, even friendship at a cost. That’s why I loved writing it.
I sometimes think that the real wish fulfillment in comics isn’t about powers at all, it’s about other things entirely. Who wouldn’t want to have a dad like Bane, who will punch the face off someone who insults you? Who wouldn’t want to have a circle of friends who would die for you without even thinking about it?
That’s something I’m always looking for in comics, the relationships that ought to exist, but all too often do not. That’s what Birds of Prey was about for me.