DC's Young Adult graphic novel line puts a spotlight on one of Batman's most notorious villains this week - Mr. Freeze - in Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story.
Focusing on a time before Mr. Freeze (a.k.a. Victor Fries) became one of Batman's most popular villains, Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story shows a time in which he was just a normal teenager discovering what it means to fall in love. But what makes it stand out is that the OGN a chance for this iconic relationship to be more than just a one-sided romance, and give a voice to his paramour Nora.
Newsarama spoke with Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story writer Lauren Myracle and artist Isaac Goodhart, who are reuniting here after their previous DC OGN Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale. The duo talks to us about how this new OGN fleshes out Nora as a character, as well as what other DC characters they'd like to work on next.
Newsarama: Following Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale what made you want to reunite with each other for Victor and Nora?
Isaac Goodhart: I love working with Lauren! We enjoyed collaborating on Under the Moon so much that we pitched Victor and Nora before that project was complete. Lauren is a perfect collaborator and is equal parts enthusiastic, encouraging, critical, and challenging. Over the course of making these two books we've become friends and I can't wait to work with her on another project again!
Nrama: Lauren, out of all the other DC and even Gotham properties you could have played with, what attracted you to tell a romance story between Victor and Nora?
Lauren Myracle: As a woman, I wanted to tell this story from both Victor and Nora's perspectives as teenagers. It interested me to take on the challenge of making their actions, if not laudable, at least believable and understandable.
Nrama: In most Batman stories Nora is frozen with only Victor's memories to speak for her. In a narrative about their love story, how did you want to give her a personality of her own?
Myracle: Oh, giving Nora a voice was the whole point! In other versions that I've read, Nora is just there as a prop for Victor's arc and plot. She doesn't exist on her own; she just exists for him. I wanted to get inside her head and her heart and figure out who she is and what she brings to the table — and what she inspires in Victor. How, ultimately, she makes Victor a richer character.
Nrama: As a prose novelist, what made you want to work with the comic book medium, now for a second time?
Myracle: Aw, because it's so fun! At least with my artist, Isaac Goodhart, and my editors, Diego Lopez and Michele Wells. It's a lively and collaborative process, and unlike when I write novels, I don't get lonely!
Nrama: For fans of your prose and your work on Catwoman, what do you think they'll enjoy the most about Victor & Nora?
Myracle: Isaac's art! Because he's amazing. And, I hope, the whimsy of the story — Victor and Nora very much enjoy sparring with each other — as well as the irresistible pull of first love.
Nrama: On the art side of things, Isaac, what was your favorite part about drawing Victor and Nora before his days as Mr. Freeze?
Goodhart: My favorite part was drawing the moments of Victor and Nora spending time together. I grew up reading and watching dozens of Mr. Freeze stories and I would always see this character telling us that he loves Nora more than anything. I'm happy we got to show these characters interacting. There's a sweetness to our Victor that Nora falls for before tragedy strikes. It was nice to be able to explore that and give these characters a new dimension.
Nrama: Is there any Mr. Freeze aesthetics that you wanted to add to the younger version of Victor or even Nora?
Goodhart: I came into the project thinking that losing Nora would be such a tragic moment for Victor that it would change him fundamentally. Therefore, I felt comfortable making a younger Victor visually different from the villain we're used to seeing in the comics.
That said, the scenes with Victor in his lab should look familiar to any longtime Freeze fans. And I did give Victor his same red goggles from Batman: The Animated Series in one scene. There are more than a couple of little easter eggs like that in our story!
Nrama: Victor is, of course, a Batman villain - do we get to see that evil side of him in this story as well?
Myracle: Well, that would spoil things if I told you, wouldn't it? Read and see — but I will say that Victor's proclivity toward… unconventional behavior is definitely seeded in this chapter of his story.
Nrama: Are there any familiar Gotham characters we can expect besides Nora and Victor?
Myracle: Not this time, no. But there are lots of new characters to fall in love with!
Nrama: You've now worked on Catwoman and Mr. Freeze. Are there other DC characters you'd like to give this YA treatment for?
Myracle: Ha. Whomever Isaac says!
Goodhart: Plenty! Yes! Some of my favorite characters are Apollo and Midnighter, Mr. Miracle and Barda, and Flash's whole rogue's gallery! I think there's a lot of YA potential with those characters!
Nrama: Would you like to work on a sequel for this story?
Myracle: In. A. Heartbeat.
Goodhart: In. a. heartbeat.
Read our rundown of the 50 greatest Batman villains.