The cover for this month’s POPCulture Online is none other than Batgirl and Cameron Stewart is the man behind the new design. Having snagged up the Eisner award, Shuster Award, Eagle award and Harvey award, Kenneth Choong had the privilege to catch up with the man himself to find out more about Batgirl and his upcoming projects including the much anticipated sequel to the cult classic Fight Club series.
POPCulture Online: How do you go about re-designing an iconic character from the comic books?
Cameron: Looking back at the history of the character. Batgirl has been around for almost 50 years and you had probably seen her in the TV shows in the 60’s. When I look at a character, I try to find out what is the essential thing that makes them so iconic about them. It was a matter of going back in time and thinking if I were to re-create a character in 2014, take the elements which made them so successful back in time and updating it making it a modern contemporary version.
POPCulture Online: Bat Girl is the talk of town and is on the cover of PCO this month. The new batgirl costume looks absolutely stunning. What were your main design considerations when coming up with the design?
Cameron: Yeah! I was offered the book and DC asked me if I was interested to take up the role as writer and artist of the batgirl series. The very first question I asked them was if I could re-design Batgirl’s costume. The very idea of taking over the project hinged on whether they were willing to give me the full creative freedom in the creation process.
The new black and gold armored costumes were not really my taste although there wasn’t anything wrong with it but that wasn’t the direction I wanted to go with for Batgirl. Instead I wanted to bring out the fun size, light heartedness of Batgirl contrary to the dark, grim, violent side of what we come to know of Gotham and Batman. I wanted it to be positive, happy and fun and so the costume had to reflect that. I wanted to make something convincing that a 21 year old girl would wear and make herself and so I went through a bunch of fashion blogs looking for those elements that related to the Batgirl costume so there were leather jackets and leggings and Dr Martens had already made yellow boots at that time. That was perfect!
POPCulture Online: Is there any reason as to why her cape and gloves are snap on?
Cameron: I don’t think that anyone’s done snaps up to this point. In the story, Batgirl loses everything she has in a fire and moves to a new part of town, a more hip and trendy area of Gotham to start over. She’s building the costume herself and she uses elements that are more real world. To have the cape she could put on immediately and to wear the jacket without the cape.
Once I had the first design out and upcoming projects, I had to pass the Batgirl series to someone else. Along with it was all my previous work and I said to her (the one taking over) what do you think of this?
She added the snaps on the gloves to mirror the ones on the shoulders. She added seams to the jackets and the belt around the collar and put snaps on those as well. Because she was a lady, she knew better what a woman would wear. This little details were added on and her contributions to the designs were invaluable to the design.
POPCulture Online: Can you tell us more on your upcoming projects? How exciting is it to be working on the 2015 fight club comic series?
Cameron: Fight club has a history of being mis-interpreted by people, some thinking Tyler Durden is the good guy. We can only make the most of the source material and hope that people would interpret it the right way and hope that the message gets through.
I saw the film first and loved it in 99 and was blown away. I read the novel and the book and that paved the way for me to be a Chuck Palahniuk fan. I’ve read most of his work and when fight club 2 was announced as a comic. I thought that it was interesting and never imagined myself working on it. When I got word that it might be published through dark horse and I had a history with them. I started to then actively pursue it and felt that this was something I wanted to do. When I found out that this project was a Chuck and Cameron project only, I had to do it. Also considering that fight club was such a huge phenomenon to pop culture, I just wanted to be a part of it and it would have been a good thing to have on my resume. Looking at my other pieces of work, Batgirl and within the comics platform have a slim chance of crossing over onto main stream pop culture but with Fight club, it would be everywhere in book stores and the number of people who would see it would be far greater.
We look forward to Cameron’s new project and we’re very excited to have caught up with him.
Photo credits: Ken Koh
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