Red Hood Webtoon Team Promise Swashbuckling Romance for DC’s Bad Boy (Exclusive Interview)

Several new series have come to Webtoon via the webcomic company’s partnership with DC, and soon Red Hood‘s antihero team will have its own webcomic debut. Screen Rant had the opportunity to speak with the creative team of Red Hood: Outlaws.

Webtoon’s partnership with DC began with Batman: Wayne Family Adventures, then expanded with Vixen: NYC and Zatanna & The Ripper. Next, Red Hood and his Outlaw team will take the reins with Red Hood: Outlaws. This new webcomic has the creative team of Patrick R. Young and Nico Bascuñán and will reunite Jason Todd with Artemis and Bizarro.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

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Screen Rant had the opportunity to speak with Young and Bascuñán about what’s next for Jason Todd and how this series will bring together the fan-favorite Outlaws team in a celebration of their relationships, rather than another “crowbar/Joker story” about the young hero’s death.

With Webtoon doing the DC partnership, fans have been able to read about Batman’s family, Vixen, and Zatanna. What can fans expect from Red Hood: Outlaws that will set it apart from the other DC/Webtoon offerings?

Patrick Young: I think that’s one of the fun things about all these collaborations, is they’re all very distinct voices. They all have very distinct tones. Clearly Bat-Family is very slice of life, short. Zatanna is a little bit more whimsical than ours is. We’re looking to have a lot of ground-level, globe-trotting action stakes here with a good dash of romance. Nico and I have brought a lot of ourselves to this series, and we think we’re slightly different people than the ones writing the other series. We’ve made a very personal, very fun dynamic. Vixen and Zatanna have team-ups, but the Outlaws are kind of a new team to a lot of people. I know they have their fans, but we’re very excited to show this very specific, disorganized, messy dynamic – loving dynamic! – to people. We think it’ll feel very fresh. Also, Nico’s art style on its own will bring something incredibly dynamic that I don’t even think exists on Webtoon at all right now, even beyond the DC collaborations.

Nico Bascuñán: Those are big words, man. You’ve put a mountain in front of me.

Patrick Young: I say this because literally ten minutes ago, Nico sent in new art from episode 11 and my brain was just exploding. If I’m a little flustered it’s because I’m still thinking about this art I can’t wait for people to see.

Nico Bascuñán: There are very slow-cooking things with this Webtoon – very careful ingredients. It’s a very special one for us, because it’s very personal. It’s like the characters are closest to our family and friends. We’re trying to put in more reality and logic for our crew. And they talk like that! They hang out, talking like real people talk. I love that Patrick’s scripts are insane, basically. It’s always real, like in the style of the Sopranos. You have a beginning, a climax, an ending – for every episode.

As you mentioned, the Outlaws definitely have fans. Will Koriandr and Roy be making any guest appearances, given they have a history with the team?

Patrick Young: The initial team we’re starting with is Artemis and Bizarro. We’ve had full control to use whoever we want. I’ve been on this project for more than two years now and when I was told I could do pretty much whatever I want, I made a list. If this is my only DC comic I’m going to use everyone I can possibly use. I made that list and I haven’t been turned down yet. Nico’s done the same. We’re trying to make our dreams come true. We have full access to everyone, if we want – but that’s all I’ll say about that.

Nico Bascuñán: They gave us the master key to do whatever we want.

With that free reign, are you able to operate outside of current continuity to tell this story? Are you held to anything going on in the universe right now?

Patrick Young: No, we’ve been able to pick and choose. We wanted to tell a very specific story about how these characters grow and how they find themselves. Part of that has been taking different parts of different continuities and have fun with it. In the previous Outlaws series, Artemis had never been Wonder Woman, in this one, she had. So we’ve been able to have fun with that and kind of just go wherever we want. It’s been great!

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What are your favorite things about your main cast: Jason, Bizarro, and Artemis?

Patrick Young: We’ve led from the get go with our hearts. No matter how they sometimes treat each other or talk to each other, the love and friendship they have for each other has always been the main draw in showing that dynamic – how it leads to bad things and good things. I’ll say upfront, my favorite character to write has been Bizarro. He’s my favorite little puppy dog and I can’t wait for people to see what a sad, little hurt sweetheart he is.

Nico Bascuñán: This man gives real reasons to each character. Soul more than superficial phrases. It’s real. The conversations are like friends hanging out. We are telling the basic story. This is the beginning – the story always starts at the beginning and the ending is buried in the beginning. It’s a new tale with a fresh start. We really went far with the creativity. I don’t know what to expect with this, it’s very different.

Patrick Young: I think people will be excited. We’re putting these characters – and especially Jason – in situations they haven’t been in before. The relationships are what we’re leading with, but even on a broader scale this isn’t a Gotham story, this isn’t a crowbar/Joker story. We’re going to see them in some very unique situations.

With the fresh take on Jason, will we ever see the return of the All-Blades in this series?

Patrick Young: Again, we have access to all the different continuities and we’re having as much fun with that as we can. That’s the diplomatic answer I’ll say. We did our very best to turn the narrative on its head every three to five episodes – sometimes every episode. So no matter what comes up, plot or Easter egg – Nico put in a TON of Easter eggs – we don’t think people will be disappointed. They’ll constantly be on their heels.

Nico Bascuñán: We should’ve called it Red Hood: Outlaws – The Big Reference. It’s full of references to what we most love: animated series, comics, manga, anime, films. It’s like a big, big remix of everything.

Patrick Young: We speak very “filmically” to each other. In all my scripts Nico’s like ‘put in more references!’ We’re drawing from Sailor Moon to Kami Garcia’s Teen Titans to original Under the Red Hood to Western and Eastern. We’re taking from all our favorite stuff and having a damn good time.

Nico Bascuñán: It’s like a big box of our toys, basically. I’m having a lot of fun. From the beginning, it’s not very stressful work. It’s a lot of work but it’s just a joy to be able to make stuff happen that you’ve never read before. It’s quite exciting and challenging.

Patrick Young: I mean, we grew up as fans so it’s been twenty-five years of stuff we wish we’d been able to read or see.

Since this is a Webtoon, do you have a specific approach to it to make it feel approachable for Webtoon readers versus just DC Comics readers?

Patrick Young: Yeah, we properly introduce the Outlaws. I don’t think there’s any barrier here if you don’t know who Jason Todd is, if you don’t know who Artemis is, if you don’t know who Bizarro is. I think you can come into this and understand their dynamic very easily, get the little background you need, and just have a good time. I’m very aware of generally who reads Webtoon. I’m one of them. I love my slice-of-life, I love my romance. I love all that stuff and it’s all in there too. We’re big softies over here, so we don’t shy away from some of the more typical Webtoon stuff without still making it our own big, fresh mess.

Nico Bascuñán: Yeah, every script is problems and problems and more drama. It’s like “What is going on? Where is this going?” There’s always something new and new problems.

Patrick Young: Something good, something bad, something good, something bad, something good, something bad. Yeah.

Nico Bascuñán: It’s very intriguing. For me, at least. I know how all the series is going to go, but yeah. Seeing the dailies and what the team’s effort is going to.

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Do we happen to know what the expected episode count is going to be for this series?

Nico Bascuñán: I don’t know. I don’t know if we can THINK that.

Patrick Young: From the get go, before I even wrote episode two, I had an outline of the story I wanted to tell and we’re going to tell the full story. Whether that happens in thirty or…the specific count may change, slightly – give or take a few episodes. We have a very specific story in mind for these characters and we’re going to be able to tell it all – and I don’t think people will be disappointed. If they are that’s fine, I still got to write for DC, right?

Nico Bascuñán: It’s a big episode journey. It’s very long. You’ll see.

Patrick Young: Nico’s looking at all the stuff he has to draw…

Nico Bascuñán: What the hell, it’s too long a script.

You said you could pull a lot of characters – the synopsis says there will be some very recognizable ones – are there any teases you can give about who we might see?

Patrick Young: No. Specifically – no. I’m a lifelong fan. I grew up dressing as Robin, reading all these characters. Nico grew up dressing as Batman. Like I said, I have been able to use everyone I’ve always been wanting to use. So if you put yourself in the shoes of a DC fan and imagine who you would want to pick and choose from… I’ll say we reached high and included some of the biggest names and we reached low, including people who are in one or two print issues of DC Comics ever. Some that were NEVER in print issues and were just literally on cereal boxes. So we’re going all over the place with this.

Nico Bascuñán: Exactly. But I don’t know. There’s no random decisions. There are reasons for everything. We want to tell the story in a specific way – putting all the hidden messages and everything in a correct way, a fun way.

Patrick Young: DC has such a long history and there are so many fun tools out there and underutilized characters. With such a specific story we wanted to tell, we’ve been able to find “this is exactly who we need” or “this is the exact location we need,” because we’re working off the backs of people who already did that work. Now we get to remix it into something that’s personal for ourselves.

Nico Bascuñán: It’s a lot of pressure. The level you have to do – Red Hood and Batman. It’s like Jim Lee. That’s the level, you know? You have to get close to it. Webtoon is something new. It’s a new future for comics, I think. I took this job for the creativity, the freedom we use here. We’re excited to show you what we’re cooking. For a long year.

Patrick Young: We know Red Hood is very popular right now – the Gotham Knights trailer came out today. I picked up my copy of White Knight: Red Hood – the comic issue this week. We know it’s easy to compare that stuff, but we’re also using Artemis and Bizarro, and this team of Outlaws is very unique. We’re excited to show people what they’re made of.

You mention Artemis. DC has been doing a lot with Wonder Woman and her “Wonder-Fam” lately. Will Artemis provide more of that family through this series?

Patrick Young: We treated this very thoroughly, very novelistic, very TV. We get full backstories on everybody, including Artemis. But most of our focus was on taking people to places they haven’t been before. I do love all those cities. I read the full Nubia arc. I read Trial of the Amazons and Artemis wanted. I enjoyed all that. But we’re really interested in taking these characters to places where they can find themselves away from what we’re used to seeing them do.

Nico Bascuñán: It’s a very fresh take.

Patrick Young: But maybe! Maybe!

Nico Bascuñán: We’re in the cave working like hell for this, but you don’t see that much stuff. It’s really very crafty work. Every inch is pixel perfect.

Patrick Young: Primarily, this is not a “Bat-Fam” series, a “Wonder-Fam” series, a “Super-Fam” series. It’s an Outlaws series.

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Regarding your creative process, is there anything you do to really get into the zone when tackling this project?

Nico Bascuñán: For me, in my case, I’m working too many hours a day. I have a kid, a family. I work every day, but jumping between being a father and housekeeping. Helping with his homework, my wife comes in later… Working on comics is very demanding. So you have your eyes and hands attached for a couple hours without looking… just focusing on one image. I have my routine daily and it’s a mix. I practice a lot of meditation to do this. My process is very straight forward. It’s drawing, inking, painting, but the ideas are the most important thing. I appreciate my talent. I can draw everything. For me, drawing whatever I have in my mind. It sounds cocky, I know. “You can draw everything?” Yeah! I can do it! I’ve worked since I was a kid, so that’s not the problem. The problem is what we have to tell. Is this shot easy to read? Is it complex? Can we mix these two panels into one to make the story go well? We’re experimenting more in the ideas realm, because that’s the zone – as you call that it. When you have the creativity, the core.

Nico, what would you say are the biggest artistic influences for your work?

Nico Bascuñán: Oh too many. I’m a visual designer for my career, but I’m a percussionist. I used to have a band, drumming. I don’t know. I love films. I love reading books. It comes from everywhere. I’ve waited all these years to do a comic because of that. That realm – the comic world – it’s for tough people. They work like hell and it’s like animation level. The animators work and they’re fantastic artists. They work very fast, like 24 hours drawing in a day! Just from imagination. Comics is tough, it requires you to be consistent. I used to work more in posters, tours, doing cover albums. One shot and putting everything in one-shot. Comics is like “now tell your movie in drawing.” It’s very challenging.

Patrick Young: You’re doing really great, buddy!

Nico Bascuñán: I trained all my life for that! Now I have the chance to tell my own story. So, how to tell them? The question is more important than execution. It’s like we’re trying to do our own language. I wrote all the rules that Webtoon has, and I subverted them and do my own stuff. The scripts are unique and my style is very mixed with so much stuff. It’s a list of big ingredients.

Patrick Young: One of the first things we talked about when talking about how we wanted this series to look, was we talked about flow. That’s one of the advantages of scrolling up. It’s a continuous image. There’s no breaking it up. So we wanted it to feel continuous. We referenced J.H. William III’s run on Batwoman, where he interacts with Wonder Woman in these complex, flowing panels. And you know, we can’t do that every single episode, every single panel. Some people just have to talk.

Nico Bascuñán: Use it wisely! We use it wisely!

Patrick Young: Nico is a very cinematic artist. His transitions are incredible. One of the other things we agreed on very quickly – since we both work late and we both work at night, we don’t like the whitespaces as much. We like dark mode, so there are NO whitespaces in our series. You can pick any color other than white!

Nico Bascuñán: It’s better for reading! I used to work a lot with apps. I worked for five or six years designing apps, I did one in Brazil. Apps and UX experience are in my core. So – how can I read this very funny, with the rhythm, with the space, with suspense?

Patrick Young: We want people to read this for five hours at night without hurting their eyes. In the dark, in their bed. And then read it again!

Nico Bascuñán: Exactly. They’re not discardables – where you read one of the episodes and then trash them. You go “oh, I missed something. What is this?” We tried to do that so that when people read them they come back later and re-read them.

If you were ever able to do another series – if DC were to say this is great, you get free rein again to pick anyone you want to tell a story for – which characters would you all pick for another story?

Nico Bascuñán: For me? That’s a big one. We already – everything’s a spoiler here! We have the dream come true. Maybe a solo thing with Superman would be cool stuff. The most brilliant comic runs, in my opinion, are with Superman. All-Star…yeah, I like one-shots. I like the closeness, the short stories. They’re like short films. I would do something with Superman, definitely, because we’re already working with the Trinity. The dark trinity and the holy trinity. It’s the biggest. We’re already working at the highest range, but I love a lot of characters. Yeah, we can say nothing, I’m robbing you of my mouth.

Patrick Young: I selfishly hope that DOES happen. This Outlaws series was one of six series I pitched to DC and Webtoon. I’d love for one of those other ones to happen. I’m going to keep my mouth shut because I want them to still happen! But we left nothing on the table with this series. We used everyone we wanted to use and if we didn’t get to them, hopefully we get a season two and get to do it then.

Nico Bascuñán: It’s a big long run, like anime. Too many episodes!

DC and Webtoon’s newest series, Red Hood: Outlaws begins releasing August 14 on Webtoon.

Next: Red Hood’s ‘Final Words’ Make Jason Todd’s Death Even More Heartbreaking

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