What do you get when you drop Batman and Wonder Woman into the land of fairies and Celtic lore? Well, according to writer and artist Liam Sharp, you get one hell of a fascinating adventure.

Liam Sharp took the time to discuss his new six-issue miniseries, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN, with ComicsVerse. He not only got into his inspiration for this series and the challenges and excitement of creating it but also delved into the creative process in general.

So why did Liam Sharp want to dive into Celtic mythology? And does impostor syndrome ever really go away? Listen/read along to find out.

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

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ComicsVerse: Hey, welcome to another ComicsVerse Podcast. I’m Nicole Herviou, you might know me from my other podcast, Nerd Jersey, or for my comics reporting for Mashable. But now, I’m writing for ComicsVerse, doing a bunch of reviews, interviews, other cool stuff! Which reminds me, you can find a ton of great interviews just like this one at ComicsVerse.com. Today, I’m talking to Liam Sharp, who just wrote, and drew, and did all the stuff for THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: BATMAN AND WONDERWOMAN.

ComicsVerse: Liam, how are you doing today?

Liam Sharp: I’m good, thank you. I’m just having the best time. I’m halfway through issue four, now, and it’s getting to the real meat of the story, so I’m having a lot of fun.

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ComicsVerse: Amazing. No, that sounds awesome. Can you just tell us real quick what the concept is for this story?

Liam Sharp: I have a big passion for Irish mythology. It’s something I shared with my late father-in-law, but it goes way back to when I was a kid. I used to be really into myths, Greek mythology, and Roman mythology, and pretty much everything like that. And I kind of thought, “What about more local, like, Celtic mythology?” I didn’t know much about it. I realized that a lot of people didn’t either. So, I started looking into that. It became a sort of passion as I grew older.

Liam Sharp: So I’ve always wanted to tell a story that was based in the sort of fairy realm with the Fomorians and the … , and all of this great Irish mythology. When I finished my run on Wonder Woman, and Gregg stepped away to concentrate on … he had so much work going on.

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Liam Sharp: Something had to give, and he was so proud of the run, so he stepped away and left me going, “Oh, I’m not ready to finish. I need to do some more.” So I spoke to the editorial team and said, “I want to do something more with Diana.” And they said, “Well, pitch something top down.” And I said, “Well, I’ve always wanted to do something with this Celtic mythology. What do you think?” And they said, “It sounds great. We haven’t got anything like that, so pitch it and let’s see what happens.”

Liam Sharp: So, the premise is seeing Minerva goes to the fairy realm. Diana has been brought in by the horned god Kinoose because everything is getting a little bit out of hand there. They need help, they need an ambassador of peace, they need somebody to help calm everything down and figure out the best way to move forward. And when the time Kanoonis is coming to get Diana, by the time they get back, one of the main kings of the Fomorians has seemingly been killed, and she’s stuck with the situation of like, “Okay, well, I’m an ambassador, a peacemaker, and all of these things, but I’m not a detective. So I need a detective.” And of course, who’s the first detective she’s going to go to? It’s got to be Batman.

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ComicsVerse: Yeah. It sounds like it’s an interesting story. I was just talking to Justin about how there’s like a genre bend almost because of the nature of Celtic mythology. It’s almost like where fantasy comes from. It’s rooted in that with fairies and everything. Do you find that? Do you feel you’re exploring a genre that maybe comics haven’t explored yet and probably should?

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Liam Sharp: Well, it would be nice to think so, wouldn’t it? It would be great. I mean, I’m leaving the doors open for more opportunities to explore this world and this kind of material. So, it’s got a fantasy element. A few people have said, “You can understand Diana being in that world, but it seems weird having Batman in there.” But then he’s regarded as a knight so often, and actually, he’s appropriate to it. And ultimately, they are both about truth, so they have that in common. This story is very much about getting to the truth of the matter.

ComicsVerse: Yeah, it sounds like it. I am excited to see Batman in that world. They are both amazing characters and seeing them explore different worlds is always fun. I had a question about the title because THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD is usually a Batman title, but I’ve heard that this is more of a Wonder Woman story. If that is so, why the title?

Liam Sharp: Back in the day, it wasn’t a Batman thing. It did become that. When I pitched it, it wasn’t THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD; it was standalone. It was primarily for me to do another Diana story, but let’s bring Batman in because of the nature of the investigation. So, in that sense, it was Diana. It’s Diana centric. It feels, to me, very much like it comes off the back of my Wonder Woman run, so in my mind, it’s directly after I finished. They go into this story.

I guess in that sense, it’s Wonder Woman first, but they both have their roles within the story, and they both have a purpose, and they work together as a team. One to calm, and the other to investigate. Yeah, so it’s a two-hander. And why not? It’s about time Wonder Woman was leading these kinds of stories. You know?

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ComicsVerse: Yeah, and I did want to talk about them as a team because Batman and Wonder Woman are explored a lot both as just platonic team members and as romantic partners. So, what do you think it is that makes these two such a great team, whether they’re playing whichever role they are? But what is it in these characters, like their characters, that makes them go together so well?

Liam Sharp: She’s a sort of princes of light, and he’s a knight of darkness. But ultimately, they’re both about truth, and they’re both about discovering — There’s an ethical basis to both the characters. Neither of them will kill unless it’s necessary. You can’t imagine either of this not in their ethics to do that. So they both have this solid moral core. Batman’s almost created his island with the Batcave. He’s cut off from reality in some ways. So there’s … He’s got … It’s not the same as Themyscira, but there’s an essence of that fish out of water that he’s alone in the world in a similar way that she is. He has to do things through a whole different set of … He has to have tools to help him survive in this crazy super-powered world that he finds himself part of.

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Liam Sharp: She doesn’t have to worry about that so much. But he has skills that none of the rest of the Justice League have, and that is his analytical mind, and his genius there. So, within this story it’s quite interesting because the question then is like, “How does a person who’s used to our world, which has without magic?” which is … the rules are very sort of straightforward if you know how physics and chemistry work and everything like that, then you can figure stuff out using your brain and using tools that work in our world.

Liam Sharp: In a fairy world where there’s magic, and there are all sorts of other problems, then he has to find a whole different set of tools and think in a slightly different way about how he is going to approach things. So, I think they’re a perfect complement to each other. They have known each other for a long time, so it was … she doesn’t spend time sort of thinking of, “Who else could it be?” For a while actually, early on I thought maybe it would be nice to have Barbara Minerva come in, and have Cheetah in there. Ultimately, it was like she needed a detective, not an archeologist, so it ended up being Batman for practical reasons as much as anything else.

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ComicsVerse: You got to do what the story is asking you to do, right? As much as I would love to see Cheetah in there, that absolutely makes a ton of sense to me.

ComicsVerse: I always like to hear what writers think the heart or the kernel of the story is, not only to them but each of the main characters. Like, at the end of the day, if Diana were retelling the story, or Bruce was retelling the story, what is the heartbeat of the story? What makes us want to hear more about it? You know what I mean?

Liam Sharp: I think what it is, is there’s a parallel between what the Amazons experience on Themyscira and that cut off existence, and what these people have experienced in Tin and Oak, the fairy realm. The concept is that this realm has been cut off from the world for a very long time. And time also passes slower there, so they’ve been trapped for just eons in this very kind of confined environment. You get a big tour around it actually in issue three.

So, they go on a … they jump on a couple of horses and Diana takes him around this realm, and they get to see that it is … They get to see the edges of it. And so, she has enormous empathy for these people who are getting stir crazy and need to get out and want to get out. She has to try and figure out what the best way for them to move forward is. Before she can even do that, she’s trying to solve the crime, so that she can calm things down a little bit and get them to think a bit more clearly. But, really, at the end of it, she just has enormous empathy to their situation.

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ComicsVerse: Yeah, I see the parallels there. And she’s an empathetic person as it is. Yeah, there’s that added layer, for sure. So, stepping back a little bit into just what you’ve done in the industry, and you’ve done a lot of amazing work with both of these characters before. So, what is it that you get excited about? I know you spoke on this a little bit for this particular, but for stories in general and to do art for something, what makes you excited to sit down and make a thing?

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Liam Sharp: The fun, for me, is the world building and creating something new. Particularly, in issue three and somewhat in issue four you get to see a lot of these vast buildings, and this environment that’s very, very unlike our world. And it has got a kind of Iron Age feel to it, but it’s also got a magical feel to it. And there’s kind of … if you look at it you’ll see lots of little things in the background to give you a hint of otherworldliness, I guess.

There might be in the rocks, a giant crab kind of hiding quietly away in the background, or in trees. You might see some little pixie or some fairy being of some kind there. So it’s populated with lots of fun little creatures looking on and watching what’s unfolding. It’s got some humor to it, it isn’t all moody. There’s a group of Fomors that are … I found entertaining to write.

Liam Sharp: Again, they appear for the first time in issue three, and there are accusations flying, and there’s a little bit of a rumble. But I’ve tried to give it space and enjoy the environment. The place itself, Tin and Oak, is as much a character as any of the characters, and I wanted to give it as much scope and scale as I possibly could. And do epic, but in the real sense of the word, epic, as in just size, volume. That kind of stuff excites me and just creating a look.

This kind of moldering stone that’s everywhere, and Celtic knotwork, and kind of a hint of Iron Age culture that’s vanishing into the past in those parts of this world. That stuff excites me a lot, but I would say that that’s true for science fiction, too, if you get to create new worlds and new creatures and new cultures. That’s the real fun stuff for me.

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ComicsVerse: It’s kind of like exploring the unknown, right?

Liam Sharp: Yeah. I mean, that’s what makes it … When I read a new book, a great science fiction book, or a great fantasy book, or anything, what it is is being shown something you’re not familiar with. Being taken to a place that you don’t know and becoming familiar with it and falling in love with it, and feeling like you know it. And if I can impart a little bit of that when I’m telling a story then that’s great. I want people to want to go back and to feel that they’ve had a good exploration too.

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ComicsVerse: Yeah, I mean, that’s always the sign of a good story and a good tale. You speak a lot about the visual elements in there. So, do those images come first and you kind of build a story around it, or how exactly does that work? Because you’re taking care of both sides of it. So, yeah, which medium kind of comes first?

Liam Sharp: You’ve got to have the plot beats first. Escalate. It’s an escalating story, but because Batman’s there and because he can’t compete with these guys physically or even … he hasn’t got the power to be able to deal with it. His role is to help them figure out what’s going on. It gets very, very epic by the time we get to issue six. It all ramps up, so I knew going in.

When I pitched it, I pretty much plotted the whole thing out beat by beat so that people would be able to see where the story goes because there is definitely … it’s a build that it gets. It’s quite sedating. There’s a lot of arguing, and a lot of infighting, and a lot of tension, but it doesn’t explode until we get to sort of issue five. There are those little rumbles along the way.

Liam Sharp: Yeah, stories are … often they tell themselves particularly if it’s like an investigation. When you’re writing it, you create the situation, and part of your process is unearthing what the answer is and how you get there. Just trying different ideas until you come up with the solution that works is not unlike the process of going through the investigation yourself. You are exploring. I felt like I was also on a tour of the place with the characters.

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Liam Sharp: It revealed itself to me as I was telling, and as I’ve been drawing it. But it’s all come quite sort of naturally, and it’s been … I don’t know. It’s been a delight for me to find this place, and for it to reveal itself. That’s an odd thing. I found that because I’ve written a couple of novels, too, and both of them when I wrote them were … they revealed themselves to me as I wrote. I know some people are very … down when they create a plot, and they will draw maps, and mind maps, and figure the whole thing out in some map at the beginning. But I tend to delight in letting the stories sort of channel themselves. Not wishing to sound to sort of New Agey, but it does a feel a bit like that sometimes.

ComicsVerse: Yeah. No, that’s fascinating. So it feels like the thing already exists, and it’s just working it through you, yeah?

Liam Sharp: Yeah, it does definitely. You know when you’ve got it right. It’s weird it’s like Canoonis is the horned god, I drew him several times early on, and I’ve wanted to tell a story with this character forever, and I thought I had a real strong sense of him in my head. And when I first was sketching him, I just couldn’t get him right. And then just one day it clicked, and I was like, “That’s him. That’s him.” I knew he was there, but I couldn’t quite get it right, and I wasn’t prepared to go with a prior version because of it just …

There’s something in my idea of what he embodies and his size and his presence and his scariness, but also his warmth because he’s not an evil god. He’s kind of like Pan, and he’s kind of like Bacchus and that very kind of faun like creatures. He’s a god of nature and fertility and of that kind of things, so you don’t want him to be too scary. I think at the end he had almost a sense of like the ghost of Christmas present. The big old … that bearded … year long. Yeah, he’s got that sort vibe. I love him. He’s become … I just think he’s great, so it’s fun.

ComicsVerse: What a satisfying process to have this thing or this person to be so real to you, and then like finally see it on a page. That must be like so exciting for other people to see. Like, do you get excited? Because this book, the first issue is coming out next week, so do you like get excited for people to see it and to share it with people and be like, “Look at this thing. Like, it’s real, it’s been in my brain, and it’s real.”?


Liam Sharp: I think, yeah, I am. I’m extremely excited about this coming out. I’m terrified, too, because it’s … I’ve written stuff that’s gone under the radar a bit, so playing with characters as big as these, just the iconic characters, you know there’s people invest a lot into them, and they have a lot of expectations. I don’t know what they’ll think of this. It is an unusual book. I think as long as you tell it with integrity, which I have. And you put your heart and soul into it, which I have, then that’s the best that you can do. I think you’re right. It’s okay to be excited about it. I think it’s fine.  I want all the issues to come out at once because I can’t wait for people to see the pages I’m doing now because even though I’m proud of issue one, it’s like, I felt like I’ve grown in the process of it. To me, it’s getting better and better and better as it goes along. So issue one is just like a taste of what’s coming I think.

ComicsVerse: I think that’s what a good issue one is though. Like, it should get you excited. It’s like, “Okay, I want more of this. I want more of this, and I want it better, and I want more of it.” You know what I mean? So I think that’s a good sign. I do.

ComicsVerse: And it’s funny that you’re talking about being nervous. You’re quite and have accomplished a lot in this business. So, as someone who loves comics and writes comics and reads comics, like, I know it’s a thing for writers to be like, “Oh, I think my thing is great, but I wonder if other people are going to.” And I’ve always thought of that as something that writers and artists who are just starting out feel. Does that feeling ever go away, or do you say, “Hey, I’m standing on my own two feet. I know I’m good at this.” You know what I mean?

Liam Sharp: I’ve never met an artist who felt like he was any good. It’s like we’re all … You can always see the distance you’ve got to go, and you can always see what’s wrong before you see what’s right. So, it is a funny thing. I think if we were that confident and that self-assured, it would stop us reaching and stop us getting better. I think there’s an element of … you need not to think you’re so great because that is what keeps you reaching. The second you think you’re amazing is the second you stop improving, the second the magic goes I think, and the light goes out a little bit. The most amazing artists I’ve ever known are some of the timidest and like self-doubting and paranoid people you could meet, but I get it. I get why they are, and I’m the same.

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ComicsVerse: I mean, I wonder if it’s the hunger to be better that makes us make stuff.

Liam Sharp: Yeah, I think so. I think that’s definitely … The joy of creating is … if that diminishes and it just becomes a kind of by numbers thing that you do, then I don’t know how joyful it is. The act of reaching is such a big part of it, and if you surround yourself with great material, and that’s across all mediums, you don’t … Most comic creators aren’t necessarily inspired by other comics; they’re inspired by things that happen in their lives. They’re inspired by journeys they go on, they’re inspired by great movies or music, a book they’ve read, or any number of other things, or particular passions whether it’s mythology, or whether it’s science, or whether it’s the stars, or whatever. It can be any number of different things that trigger something in you, and make you want to create.

Liam Sharp: For me, this has been gestating for so long. It’s almost like a purging, in a way. It’s like it’s finally finding it’s way out for all that it’s almost been frustrating that I’ve wanted to do it for so long. I’m glad that it took so long because I think I’m only now just ready for it. I think I’m only now just kind of good enough to tell the story as I would have wanted to when I was an awful lot younger.

ComicsVerse: No, that’s great. I’m like, so happy that you’re getting to do it, and you’re getting to put it out there. But is six issues enough for you to get this story out and be done with it? Or do you think maybe a … miniseries you might revisit it later, or do a second part?

Liam Sharp: I dream that it’s part of one of a trilogy, so if it does well I would very much love to come back and tell two more stories that use these characters and use this environment. I want to come back here. There’s no question. But we’ll see how it goes, and we’ll see … I’d have to figure out the stories for that as well, but it’s enough of an open end for that to be a possibility. So, let’s hope it does well.


ComicsVerse: Yeah. No, that sounds great. I sincerely do hope it does well. I’m very excited to read it. The book comes out next week, February 21st. Where can people follow you on social media?

Liam Sharp: I’m getting increasingly quiet on there because I’m just insanely busy, which is a good thing, but you can find me. I’m on Facebook, just Liam Sharp, @LiamRSharp, on Twitter. You can find me on there. So, I’ll be continuing to post art every now and again, and update people, and let people share in any reviews, or things like that. So, yes, you can find me in all the usual places, and also LiamMcCormickSharp on Instagram as well.

ComicsVerse: Wonderful. So, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN, out next week, February 21st. Thank you so much, Liam. I appreciate your time.

Liam Sharp: Yes, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you.


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