There’s a lot to unpack about the new DC Ink graphic novel, Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale. Luckily, author Lauren Myracle and illustrator Isaac Goodhart took some time to talk through the artwork, comics, and more.
When DC Ink asked Lauren and Isaac to interview each other about the process of making this book, they pulled out their phones and dove right in! Get an exclusive look at their text conversation below.
‘Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale’ author Lauren Myracle and artist Isaac Goodhart interview… each other
Lauren Myracle: Hello, friend! You ready to get this party going?
Isaac Goodhart: Let’s do it!
Lauren: You know what’s cool? We’ve never met, so we’ve yet to talk face to face. This chat is our first-ever time to TALK in real time, you and I!
Lauren: So here’s a question for you. As a writer, and definitely not an artist, I was trained to always, always let the artist do his/her own thing with little input/guidance from me. But it seems as if in the comic book world, there is perhaps a slightly different…starting place of assumptions, since I kind of got to tell you what to draw.
Lauren: How do you see this particular job of illustrating a graphic novel? Because not only are you getting “direction” from me, but shit, Catwoman already existed before we came along! How do you put all that aside and find a way to dive in on your own?
Isaac: That’s a good question. Honestly, when our editors first talked to me about the book, I instinctually thought of a handful of artists who would do a good (better?) job. I thought of maybe tailoring my style to look more like those other artists, even. But when I asked for examples of what the other artists in our line were doing, Bobbie told me they wanted me for a reason and to trust my instincts. That was probably the most helpful thing she said early on.
Lauren: OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.
Isaac: And once we were day-in-day-out grinding, I didn’t have time to second-guess anything! So there was no time to really worry or do anything except go!
Lauren: Isaac. See how genuine and true you are? Mr. G, you are the real deal. I am so glad you didn’t “tailor” your style, period.
Lauren: Also, thank you for not giving Selina big boobs. Really!
Lauren: Speaking of…did knowing that we were creating a story for a younger set of readers influence your art? Did you have to tone down the sexy?
Isaac: Hm, style-wise I don’t think I had to alter anything. I just wanted to draw high school as close to how I remembered it as I could. I was aware that we were drawing for a younger audience, so I thought of the books I loved the most when I was in high school and why. What appealed to me about the art I liked. I definitely have my influences!
Lauren: I really like what you said earlier about the day-in-day-out grinding. That part of this job blew me away. DC is so frickin’ fast and on top of things! And the collaboration that was involved between the two of us and Bobbie and Diego, solving problems and making changes almost in real time, I loved that. That is NOT typical of the writing projects I’m usually involved with. Is that quick-quick-quick collaborative pace normal for you?
Isaac: Our pace on Under the Moon has been typical for me in my relatively short comic book career. But I hear legends of comic book artists with weekends off and vacation time!! To be honest, if DC gave me another six months to complete the book, I would have taken every minute of those six months to draw and redraw, futzing away until the deadline. As they say, art is never finished, only abandoned. That’s the real reason it takes a long time to finish the art in a comic. Perfectionist artists!
Lauren: “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” See, I’ve never heard that before, but yes, absolutely true for novels as well. But again, one of the cool things about working with you is getting a glimpse of your world, the world of an illustrator. Let’s see, here’s one that all writers will recognize, but maybe it’s new to you? You tell me: “Kill your darlings.”
Isaac: Oh yeah! To me that’s something to urge me to erase a whole figure or face and redraw it. Sometimes a drawing can be good but doesn’t “work.” So kill your darlings. And redraw them!
Lauren: Yup. For me, it’s: “Don’t be precious. If you’re in love with a bit of prose, odds are you’re holding on to it just because you’re in love with it, not because it serves the novel.”
Isaac: Okay, Lauren, a question for you. I loved your script. But beyond that, I was really impressed with how well-paced and structured it was into comics format. How did you learn how to write specifically for comics?
Lauren: Ohhhh, Isaac, that makes me so happy! Your encouragement from the get-go, once we persuaded Bobbie to let us talk to each other (😜), meant the world to me.
Lauren: Because you ARE a comic book dude. I am not, or rather I wasn’t then, a comic book lady. Like you, I was plagued by doubts at the onset, because who was I to deign to write a graphic novel script? And for Catwoman?! Though I will always call our Selina Catgirl. She. Is. Not. Yet. A woman!
Lauren: But Bobbie sent me sample scripts, which were super helpful. And then I learned that Scrivener has a “comic script” template, which was also super helpful as it made the formatting of the script manageable. And I got to sit in on two online tutorials, one led by Mariko Tamaki and the other led by Gene Yang. (!!!! I mean, right?!!!!!)
Isaac: Right! How long did it take you to script the book?
Lauren: When I was writing my initial pitch for Bobbie, I worked feverishly and in a possessed sort of way for two weeks. But then the cool thing was, I had a frickin’ outline for the whole book! DC made me do that, made me take that approach, and I sure see the merit in it. After that, I guess it took about three months to get a full first draft completed.
Lauren: And after that, it just became a matter of telling this story, our story, about Selina in the format of a script, if that makes sense. The storytelling itself isn’t any different from writing a novel—except, hmm. That’s not true. The panel-by-panel demands made me a better writer, for sure, because I had to come up with ACTION for every fricking panel. I mean, good lord. Where are all the lovely scenes of high schoolers just sitting around TALKING? I guess there’s a reason literary fiction doesn’t translate well to graphic novels!
Lauren: KK, one more question each?
Lauren: Isaac: Who’s your fave character in Under the Moon? And which character are you the most like?
Lauren: Oops. That was two!
Isaac: I have a question I’ve always wanted to ask: What was your relationship to Catwoman and comics in general before DC contacted you? Did you read any comics growing up? Or watch any of the movies?
Isaac: Oops, that was three.
Lauren: Ha! Excellent.
Lauren: I watched all the movies, absolutely. And loved them. And thought Catwoman was fierce and sexy and strong and feminine. She always, always held an allure for me. But I never read any of the comics about her or about Bruce or anyone in the DC world. I, ah, read Richie Rich! And Archie! And Casper the Ghost!
Lauren: Until working with DC, my relationship with graphic novels was influenced by the fact that I wanted words words words, I wanted to gobble any story down, I didn’t want to linger over drawings. Or maybe I didn’t want to have to interpret the drawings? Maybe words, for me, zoom straight into my brain in the way that drawings do for you?
Lauren: I guess I was the opposite of dyslexic, and not in a way that reflects well on me. Like, I wasn’t patient enough to sit down and savor a graphic novel, which was my loss.
Lauren: Because once I dove into the genre…damn. Well, you know. It was just a matter of slowing down and ENJOYING the journey all along!
Isaac: My favorite character is Selina. I’m the most like her by a mile. Like Selina, I’ve had some difficult relationships in my family. I dealt with stresses and tough times like she does. I always made sure to present a good front. And like her, I’ve always had a very strong sense of identity. And that’s why I was always so independent. Although for me, I was always the “comic book kid” in school! I do have a soft spot for Ojo. I think life would be easier if I had more of his happy-go-lucky attitude!
Lauren: Awwww! Perfect!
Lauren: And, dear Isaac, it’s a wrap! Yeah?
Isaac: I believe so!
Lauren: Sending hugs and kisses and high fives! You rock!!! Bye for now, friend!
Isaac: Bye! This was fun. Let’s do it again sometime!!
Lauren: Yessir! +salutes+ Anytime.
About ‘Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale’ by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart
When 15-year-old Selina Kyle, the girl who will grow up to be Catwoman, becomes homeless, she must confront questions of who she is and who she will become.
Selina rejects human cruelty, but sometimes it seems as though brute force is the only way to win. And if Selina is going to survive on the streets, she’ll have to learn to be tough. Can she find her humanity and reconcile toughness with her desire for community…and love?
From Lauren Myracle, the New York Times bestselling author of books like ttfn and ttyl, comes a new graphic novel that tells the story of a teenage Catwoman as she struggles to find her own identity while living on the streets of Gotham City.
Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart is available now from these fine booksellers. Also, don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads “to read” list!