Friday, December 5, 2008

Creator Interviews: Sterling Gates and Landry Walker

Supergirl continues to garner lots of publicity in the comics realm making me one happy fan.

Even on the bigger comics websites, we are being treated to in-depth coverage of Kara in all her appearances.

First we have this interview with Sterling Gates, which actually is mostly about his Prometheus one shot coming out in a couple of months. Here is the link: .

As I mentioned when I first heard about this one-shot, I am a big Prometheus fan as written by Grant Morrison. He has been treated rather shabbily recently but it sounds like Mr. Gates is going to rectify that.

The interview as a whole is worth reading. Of course, his work on Supergirl was mentioned.
NRAMA: Anything you have coming up in Supergirl that you want to tell fans about?
SG: Yeah, issue #36 is the next issue, and it is insane. I asked Jamal to draw a lot of action in a really big set piece, and I think he lost a lot of sleep over it. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much about it. Then after New Krypton, issue #37 is Part One of “Who Is Superwoman?” I can’t say a lot about it for fear of spoiling --gosh, I have to say that a lot, don’t I? -- but I do encourage everyone to start a betting pool as to who she is. I’ve read some speculation on the Internet and there are a lot of great armchair detectives out there. I’m not going to say how many of their guesses may or may not be right, though.

Hmmm ... great armchair detectives? I think he is talking about us!

The breakdown of the Superwoman poll is interesting with 'Alura' and 'Other' running away with it. Unfortunately, not many people who have guessed 'other' have posted who they think the 'other' is.

Anyways, Gates sounds excited about the arc, so I think we should be too.

Over on CBR, there is a more Kara-centric interview with Landry Walker about his work on Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade. Here is the link:

And here are my quotes and comments.

CBR: There has been a clamor for quite a while on the comics blogosphere for a Supergirl series that's appropriate for younger girls. "Cosmic Adventures" could be the answer to that call. Were you conscious of that desire when developing this series, and has there been any added personal pressure in light of that talk?
Landry Walker: Well, it's funny because Eric and myself had no idea that there was a clamor for it. None of us had any idea that anyone was really demanding this, and we just happened to choose Supergirl because we thought she'd be fun to work with.

I think Supergirl for an all-ages title is a natural fit so I am glad DC finally decided to move forward with this project. It sounds like there was some serendipity about the title. In the interview Walker talks about preparing a pitch for Cosmic Adventures at the same time that Jann Jones was looking to make a Johnny DC Supergirl title. So it was sort of a 'right place, right time' moment.

After we had our meeting with Jann about doing an all-ages Supergirl, that's when I started looking up "Supergirl all ages," and I started to see some demand and controversy over how people would like to see the character approached. It's very hotly debated with the people who want to see her older, and now it's like, "You know, both things exist. You can have either one." But some people are never going to be happy no matter what you give them. It's a real eye opener working with a character that people have such a passion for. Almost everything we've done before has been creator-owned, so no one's ever heard of the characters, but this is a character with decades and decades of history behind her. And it's always going to solicit a passionate response.

I do think that an all-ages Supergirl title will work best with a tweener Kara. I don't think the target audience wants to read about a 17 year old Kara and the issues at that age. Nor do I think people want to read about an 8 year old Kara.

I do like that Walker acknowledges that the Kara fan-base is a passionate one. Hopefully knowing that there is a fanbase with some preconceived notions of the character will not hinder the creative process but will instead help it.

CBR: Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade” finds you two working with full 22-page issues, and Eric changing his penciling style quite a bit from "Little Gloomy" and "Kid Gravity." Does "Supergirl" feel like a natural progression from your past work?
LW: Supergirl, I'd rather have her have some questions about who she is, what her role in the world she's in is. Just in general, she's got some uncertainty. She's new to this world and is very much an outsider, and it's difficult for her as a character. She didn't have the benefit that Clark Kent had coming to earth as a baby. She's got to start out as a 12 or 13-year old-girl.

Part of my love for the character of Supergirl is that potential for growth. She is not as concrete as Superman. Of course, adolescence is the time of the most growth both physically and mentally, so it seems natural that this would be the age to explore. You can use the 'stranger in a strange land' vibe of a transplanted Kryptonian on Earth as a metaphor for adolescence in general.

CBR: Where do you pick up that classic story? What's your explanation for why Supergirl is in boarding school? What’s her mission?
LW: I can't say it's too different [from the classic Supergirl] because the character's been through so many different versions and permutations that I think if you look at it long enough and hard enough, you can find that just about everything has been done with her, to a certain extent. And that's unusual to be working with a character with such a rich history, and it's a lot of fun. It gives you a lot of ammunition when you're writing.

As we all know, most Kara fans have an 'ideal' Supergirl in their minds and, as mentioned above, we feel pretty passionate about her. It sounds like there will be some homages to what has come before or at least a recognition of some prior events here.

I would be interested in hearing if the creative team went back and read Supergirl's old adventures and which prior incarnations they liked the best. It might give some insight into what we can expect in the future of this title.

Basically, we get to really focus on the Linda Lee part of the character a little more than Supergirl. It's not Supergirl pretending to be a normal girl. She is a normal girl. She just happens to have superpowers. That's the best way to summarize it. Linda Lee is really who she is -- she's an awkward, gangly tomboy of a girl who is out of her element and whose body is suddenly superpowered, which only adds to the natural awkwardness. It's a lot like being 12 or 13-years-old where you don't know your own body and you're knocking things over; just suddenly you're doing that with super speed.

For this title, I like that the primary character is Linda and her growth. I think that here Linda *is* Linda and plays at being Supergirl every so often. This mirrors Clark *being* Clark who slips into the other identity of Superman. It is unlike Batman who *is* Batman and plays at being Bruce.

So to see Linda grow means we will see Supergirl grow.

CBR: You've got a lot of supporting characters coming up in "Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade." While you're not applying a baddie-of-the-week style, the solicits talk a lot about Belinda Zee as a main villain. Did you guys cherry pick supporting characters from classic Supergirl comics and modernize them for the school setting, or create a new cast whole cloth?
LW: I would say both. I'm a believer in a project like this that there's not too much of a point in creating new characters. Not that I'm against new characters, but when there's such a wide variety of interesting characters to use, why not use them? Why not bring it all together? That said, obviously there's never been a Belinda Zee character before, but she's existed, I think, in other forms, under different names and in different approaches before. That'll become clear when issue #2 comes out.

So who is Belinda Zee an amalgam of? Lesla Lar ... probably. Anyone else? Wasn't there a campus rival in the later Action Comics issues.

CBR: Superman/Supergirl/Krypton universe and boiling them down to fit the Supergirl setting.
What are some of the fun things that you're most excited to see Eric draw for the kids?
LW: One of the things I'm most excited about was actually in the preview, and that was seeing the Lex Luthor giant robot suit. I love that '80s Lex Luthor armor, so seeing that as a giant robot was really fun. I think it's pretty well known that at some point Streaky is going to show up, and seeing little bits of art trickle in for that is a lot of fun because our Streaky is a little different than the previous use of the character.

You can never have enough Streaky ... but a 'bold new direction' for Streaky? My interest is piqued.

Oh, and I know -- one character I'm really happy to see the first drawing come in for is Superiorgirl. That's the first mention I've made of that character to anyone.

Superior Girl? The only other person I have seen use that name was this one-shot villain in a forgettable issue of Superman Family. The team couldn't have plumbed the depths that far, could they?

Anyways, as I have said I am pretty excited for this title. Review of the first issue should be up tomorrow.


Diana_Fan said...

Great interviews. That was wonderful.

BTW, can I ask you a question? I've tried to put images on my blogspot and I can't seem to do it. Do you have any advice?

Anonymous said...

This book was SWEEEE-EET!!!
First time in years I read something that exceeded the hype!
THe only other point I'll make is that the origin riffs a bit on Supergirl's origin from the 1984 feature film...which I thought was a nice touch.

John Feer

Anj said...

BTW, can I ask you a question? I've tried to put images on my blogspot and I can't seem to do it. Do you have any advice?

Are you using the 'download pictures' function on the 'new post' page. It looks like a little slide pic.

TalOs said...

Man I truly loved 'em Mr. Gates and Walker interviews there regarding Supergirl!