ComicsVerse’s Chris Massari had the pleasure of speaking to Robert Venditti and Liam Sharp at the New York comic Con 2017!

The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

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Chris: Comics versus here at New York Comic Con 2017. I’m Chris Maseri here with Robert Venditti and Liam Sharp, talk about Justice League #32. What can you guys tell me about this issue?

Robert: Justice League 32 is part two of the Bats out of Hell tie-in event and basically all of the evil Batman that you’re starting to see in these one-shots Dawnbreaker, Devastator, Merciless all these characters, are created like individual bat caves for each member of the Justice League with the sole purpose of destroying that member of the Justice League.

The Red-death has a cave that he made just for the Flash. The Drown has one just for Aquaman and so on. It’s 20 pages of just crazy, tons of content. I don’t know how we got it all in 20 pages, but he did it and it-

Liam: It was insane.

Robert: It looks fabulous, so it’s really … I try to embrace, I don’t know if you can tell by looking at me, I’m not really a metal guy. I’m a little buttoned up, but I try to let loose and get a little metal with it, so yeah.

Liam: No he, especially with the Red-death cave, that was insane. He had to be like, you know those cages that the bikes go round inside. They’re completely crazy, but it also had to be like an egg timer with the sand dripping out of it too, so it’s like, “Okay, how’s this going to work?”, you know? We managed to make it work and of course it’s some of the most detailed work I’ve ever done. When they said, “You’ve got a month to do this book, you’ll be fine”, you know? Then I read the script, I was like, “Seriously?”. No, seriously. It was fine, it was actually a joy. I was laughing to myself every day when I got on, look at the next bit of scripts, like, “What have I got to do today?”. Oh, okay.

Robert: It’s really something that good have been like four issues, just a story. You could spend an issue on each cave fighting, but the pace of metal. They’re really ramping up the threat constantly. It’s always rocketing forward and so we try to keep that pace and just cram it. It’s just one issue of just nuts and then it moves onto the next thing which is even more nuts and so it just keeps kind of building, you know?

Chris: How much direction were both of you kind of given to stay within the metal then how much freedom did you have to actually create this one shot?

Robert: There was quite a bit of direction, because I wasn’t super familiar with a lot of characters and the one-shots weren’t out yet or done yet by the time I was running this and so, there was a lot of elements that they had to tell me about the characters that there’s no way to know them without them telling me.

I’ve never read anything with the characters before, so there was quite a bit of information I got from Scott, Joshua Williamson who’s writing two of the issues of the Bats out of hell Crossover and I’m doing the other two and then once I kind of had those nuts and bolts, I bounced my ideas off of them, like the motorcycle cage and all that kind of stuff and then I got the script out and Lian went on to town on it.

Liam: Yeah, there was actually for me quite a lot of freedom, because I had the basic description of the cage, the different caves but it was like it hadn’t been visualized before, so I really was just cut loose. I had to create this crazy monster that Aquaman is confronting, which is, like I read the description, I thought, “I’m going to enjoy this one. Just going to push the battle out”.

Robert: Yeah, that’s a beautiful spread. The Aquaman cave. That battle’s a beautiful spread that Liam did and it’s this mis-mash monster. I called it a C-chimera, but it’s like crab arms and octopus legs and a shark mouth. It’s like every sea thing you’d be afraid of, all mashed into one thing and he drew it amazing. It is like a little shocker when it shows up and everything. It’s really a fun issue.

Liam: Yeah, it was-

Chris: How much time between the two of you did you actually work together on the book? Was it kind of, you wrote the panels, your script. You sent it off to Liam and it was a back and forth. How much was it more like, “Here, this is what I wrote, you draw it”, or was it, “Hey, here’s a little collaboration”, how much?

Robert: [inaudible 00:04:08] given you script in chunks weren’t they? Yeah.

Liam: I think this whole thing is so huge that everything’s, once they kind of said, “Go”, it was non-stop for everybody, so I had to run after it. I actually got the last page first and said, “This one’s been approved, start there”.

Robert: Which I don’t try to do. I always want to give an artist the whole story, but this was just like, “We got to go if we’re going to hit these deadlines”. It was so much content and so many things that have to be drawn before that had never been drawn before, so he’s designing this whole issue from scratch pretty much. You really want him to have the time for that, so they were sending him scripts in chunks.

I told my editor because I’d never even met Liam before. I was like, “I was like please apologize to him. This is not how I normally work”. I used to imagine him on the other end, just like, “I hate this guy”, but it all worked out pretty well, so yeah.

Liam: [inaudible 00:04:55] on the apology by the way, but I was saying, “It was fine”. I was just happy to be doing it, so it’s great, so.

Chris: All right, so to close it out, if you guys had to work together on one more book, you each get a choice for this, what would it be? Another one shot?

Robert: Oh just one shot? Not on ongoing series?

Chris: If you want to do an ongoing series, so you can use that as well.

Robert: Yeah, after seeing him draw this issue, Aquaman, I would do Aquaman with him in like a second.

Chris:  Yeah.

Liam: I’d be down for that, yeah.

Chris: [inaudible 00:05:21] Aquaman next, right? That’s right here, New York Comic Con 2017 you heard it first, Aquaman. Also congratulations to Liam who recently got an award, what? Five minutes ago. What was that about?

Liam: Yeah, it’s like a people’s choice award. It was the panel of the week award for the all-access so yeah, so a panel [inaudible 00:05:43] from Wonder Woman. Pretty much my second to last issue. I’m really glad I got picked because she was really proud of that picture, so it was great. I was very happy.

Chris: Well thank you to Robert and Liam for their time. Thank you to DC and thank you New York Comic Con. You can find Comics [inaudible 00:05:58] all throughout the inter-webs,, and all social media handles. Thank you.

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