Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Phil Noto on Superman/Supergirl:Maelstrom


The Superman/Supergirl:Maelstrom mini-series' first issue gets released today and I, for one, am pretty intrigued to read it. The story is written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and drawn by Phil Noto, a favorite artist of mine.

Newsarama recently interviewed Noto about the mini. Here is the link (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/110805-Maelstrom-Noto.html ).

Below are some of the parts that struck me as most interesting, with my comments added.

Newsarama: Good to talk to you, Phil. Let's get right into it –Superman and Supergirl – are these characters you wanted to tackle or is it a gig that just came along?

Phil Noto: After making a career out of spy girl, film noir, and western comics, I wanted to try something different and do a full on superhero book. Dan Didio suggested Superman and Supergirl and I couldn't be happier. I love the characters. After talking with Jimmy and Justin, this is the miniseries we came up with.


I think if an artist is excited about the project, it shows. Noto would not be the first on my list for interiors of a superhero book, but I absolutely love his covers. He did a great run on Birds of Prey which included some more classic super-hero-y covers., including this one of Power Girl. The commissions I have seen of super-heroes are also phenomenal. And his interiors on things like Jonah Hex, Infinite Horizon, Danger Girl are always slick. So I am pretty excited to see his interiors here.

And no ... I won't bore you with posting my Noto Supergirl commission again.

NRAMA:Your style is not like anyone else’s in the business...what’s your art background?

PN: I went to art school for illustration. Back then I never thought of doing any kind of comic art. I was, however, a big fan of Kent Williams and George Pratt, who were definitely comic artists/illustrators. I was also very influenced by the guys who did all the book covers and advertising art in the 50's and 60's, like Robert McGinnis, Bob Peak, and Coby Whitmore.

You can totally see the 50's ad influence in his art on many covers, but some more than others. I love this Birds of Prey cover, which looks like a airline ad from an old Saturday Evening Post. And yet, it works here with Black Canary. It is such a unique style ... eye catching. And when there are hundreds of books on the shelf competing for attention, this stands out.


NRAMA: Moving on, we know you worked with Jimmy on Beautiful Killer and New West in the past and Jimmy with Justin on Jonah Hex. Their work stands out from a lot of the writers in comics today, why do you think that is? What’s the appeal to you personally?

PN: I love working with those guys. I think the great thing about their writing is the combination of action and humor they create within a story. When I first get the script from them , it's like reading a great screenplay. The pacing of the stories are great and they always make even the secondary characters interesting as evidenced in the Jonah Hex books.


I loved the Palmiotti/Gray/Noto issues on Jonah Hex, especially the Tallulah Black issues. She was such a strong character. I hope she makes another appearance in that book at some point.



NRAMA: In this book Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom, you're drawing some iconic characters that we’ve seen in countless stories so what’s different about this one?

PN: I think this a great example of the relationship between Superman and Supergirl. Superman , because of the red sun, isn't invincible and I think that makes for an interesting role reversal in which Supergirl has to be the protector, somewhat.

Given that the last time I read a Palmiotti Supergirl she was reluctant to stop dancing and save people, this already sounds like a step in the right direction. I think that one frequent complaint about the Supergirl character is that she is always in Superman's shadow, always deferring to him. So to hear she is protecting him is great.


NRAMA: In the script, are there design or story elements that grabbed you right away as something you really wanted to illustrate?

PN: I was excited to come up with a look for them out of the capes. They're essentially a wearing what could be considered Kryptonian survival suits. The aliens that they encounter were a lot of fun to draw also. Certainly the first time I've been able to create something like them in a comic.

The picture above is the cover of Superman/Supergirl:Maelstrom #3. Look at Kara kicking some butt! The 'survival suits' are kind of interesting. The first thing I thought of was the 'stillsuits' in David Lynch's Dune.

Looks like Noto was able to stretch his artistic legs a bit here.


NRAMA: Do you have a favorite artist? Or artists that inspire you?

PN: Like I said before, I've been inspired and influenced by the paperback illustrators of the 50's and 60's. In terms of comic artists , I'm a big fan of Alex Toth, Mike Mignola, Bill Sienkiewicz, Adam Hughes, Darwyn Cooke, Ashley Wood, Walt Simonson, Howard Chaykin, Art Adams, J. Scott Campbell and countless others.


Along with the 'advertising' look, I like the 'paperback' look as well. Doesn't this Birds of Prey cover look like an old pulp dime novel. Again, it is pretty striking for a comic cover.

And he names a bunch of my favorite artists amongst his favorites - especially Toth, Simonson, Adams, and Chaykin.

While everything I have read about the mini sounds great, I am not without some worries.

Originally scheduled as a Superman:Confidential arc, it was decided to release it as a mini and a stand alone story. It includes Darkseid and the New Gods and frankly I am a bit weary of the Fourth World right now. Also, as the Fourth World characters are dead or resurrected in human form right now, I think we will all have to squeeze this into continuity wherever it most easily fits.

In some ways this is concerning to me. So much has been done recently to rehabilitate the Kara character (and I include the Kelley Puckett run on her title), that I hope the continuity anchor here is not back to the 'Kill Kal-El' Joe Kelly issues. I already had to relive that a bit in the recent Brave and Bold issues. I *do not* want to go back there.


And as said above, Supergirl #12 was not a great portrayal of Kara. I hope that the Palmiotti/Gray team does not have her act like a disinterested rave girl again.

I don't think that will be the case. I will review the first issue soon.

3 comments:

TalOs said...

anj said...Given that the last time I read a Palmiotti Supergirl she was reluctant to stop dancing and save people, this already sounds like a step in the right direction. I think that one frequent complaint about the Supergirl character is that she is always in Superman's shadow, always deferring to him. So to hear she is protecting him is great.

Oh 100% fully agreed with, bro! :D

Only, exactly what is up with Mr. Palmiotti when stating this:

PN: I think this a great example of the relationship between Superman and Supergirl. Superman, because of the red sun, isn't invincible and I think that makes for an interesting role reversal in which Supergirl has to be the protector, somewhat.

Come again?!? Is he trying to imply that even though she too is Kryptonian it seems unlike Superman Supergirl isn't weakened by red solar rays emitted of a red sun at all?? Huh? *Scratches head in a very puzzled manner* :/

Anonymous said...

I think the implication is that Kara having grown to be a teen sans super powers can adapt to the red sun environment more readily than Kal El.
The idea seems like a stretch, but a little role-reversal right now would be in-teresting...some of the best Silver Age stories revolved around this very concept.
"How Superwoman Trained Superboy" for example.

John Feer

TalOs said...

Agreed actually. Hmmmm, it also sounds like how they had her in the Bruce Timm "Superman: The Animated Series" where Kara was less vulnerable to Kryptonite till she hasd hit the near age of 15 when "JLU" show latter on clearly showeing her having loosed that trait by that particular time line.