Q&A: Do you consider specific ships when writing popular characters?

Helena asked:

Do you bear certain character ships in mind when writing characters like Nightwing and Starfiew? And does DC dictate how you handle them?

Okay, this post is going to involve spoilers for Titans United: Bloodpact so if you haven’t read issue six yet, look away. Engage spoiler warning, Number One:

Obviously, relationships are central to writing characters. When it came to the two Titans United series, I wanted them to be a homage to the original Wolfman and Perez’s New Teen Titans run as it is incredibly dear to me. In fact, it’s positively foundational. With that in mind, I looked to the relationships between the Titans in that series when plotting both stories. That, naturally, meant looking at Nightwing and Starfire, who let’s face it, are the big romance of the 80s series. 

Having Dick and Kory in an alternate reality when all bets were off and the characters felt unmoored meant I could lean into their feelings for each other in Bloodpact. They’re in a bubble. They have no idea if they will get home – or if home even exists – and that means that old feelings start to resurface. As a form of comfort? As a realisation that they’ve chosen the wrong path? That’s for the reader to decide.

This is where the biggest spoilers come, so be warned: At the end of the series, they decide to turn away from what they experienced in Ravenworld and continue as they were before, friends rather than lovers. I know from some of the messages I’ve received that certain readers were disappointed by the decision. It wasn’t in any way personal, aiming to hurt any particular section of the fandom. It’s simply what I felt was right for the story.

As for whether this was a demand or dictate from on high: Nope, not in the slightest. No one at DC told me this was how I had to write them. It was simply how I wanted this part of the story to go. I’ve been playing a long game with Titans United, which is honestly a gamble as I have absolutely no idea if there will be any more series, especially as the Titans TV series is no more. But I’ve had an eye to possible future storytelling in everything we’ve seen so far… including Dick and Kory’s relationship.

Now, whether I get to tell those stories has yet to be seen. I hope so, but as with all these things, I have to bear in mind the words of a certain Doctor…

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