Saturday, December 13, 2008

Project Fanboy Landry Walker Interview


The reviews for Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade have been uniformly positive and the publicity for the book continues to steam ahead. I seriously can't remember a Johnny DC book getting this much buzz ever.

The most recent publicity? An interview with Landry Walker on Project:Fanboy. Here is the link: http://www.projectfanboy.com/vb/showthread.php?t=2034

As always, the whole interview is worth reading. Here are the blurbs I thought most interesting.
SEBASTIAN PICCIONE: Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th grade, is this something you pitched or did DC come to you?
LANDRY WALKER: Eric and I sought out a meeting with Jann Jones via Bob Shreck. Before the meeting, Eric and I discussed what characters we might like to work with that would fit an all-ages description; Supergirl was the top of the list, so Eric put together 3 different Supergirl drawings, all in different styles. Jann just happened to be on the lookout for a creative team to tackle Supergirl, so she asked us to put together a full pitch based on one of the drawings. That was back in February, and as I recall the book was approved within a month.

Three different styles huh? I would love to see the different pitch pictures at some point just to see 'what might have been'.

While we have heard that Supergirl was at the top of Walker and Jones' list of characters they were interested in, what we haven't heard yet is 'why'. Why was Supergirl at the top? Did they have some prior Supergirl love or experience?


SEB: That would be cool! We’ve already seen Superman. Will we see your take on any other DC staples?
LAN: On the superhero side, unlikely. Even Superman will have a fairly remote role for the majority of the series. I think that exposing Kara to many other heroes at this stage would weaken her, as a character -- the isolation and loneliness she must feel from being cut off from her family and surrounded by the unfamiliar, both literally and culturally, has to be the focus.

I like this look at 'Kara in a vacuum'. One thing that was never really looked at in the silver age was how Kara became accustomed to Earth. Her second adventure in Action has here acting like a normal Earth girl rather than someone who just left a sophisticated scientific world. So in many ways, this take on Kara is pretty fresh.

She is a stranger in a strange land and we have already seen that play out in such simple things as school classes.
SEB: This is a six issue mini. Is the whole thing part a single story, with a definitive end, or is it more situational?
LAN: I’m trying to ride the line with that one. With a book like this, you really want young readers to feel like the story has an ending. So each issue, for the most part, is designed to give at least a slight sense of closure. But there is an overall arc to this six-issue run, and there is an ending to that arc, though ‘definitive’ is a strong word to use.

I do think that for a Johnny DC book, issues have to be 'one and done' in some aspects. I don't think the Supergirls at home are ready to follow along a 'story arc' on a month to month basis. That said, I do think they (the home S-girls) will look for some continuity and growth so it sounds like the best of both worlds.

From my point of view, the fact that there is an 'ending' after issue 6 makes me hope there will be some closure. I always thought this was an ongoing series. I only heard about this 6 issue length a couple of weeks ago. Maybe DC and the team can do 'rolling minis' like they did with the Secret Six and the Freedom Fighters these last couple of years.

SEB: If the sales are there, is there any chance we can see this ongoing?
LAN: Not really up to me. I certainly hope so. I assume there are myriad factors at play with a decision like that -- sales certainly being an important part.

I wonder what sales numbers a Johnny DC title needs to maintain itself as a viable publication? Anyone have any ideas?

Certainly from a critical point of view, it seems that issue one was a hit.


SEB: So, with all the ups and downs that the current DCU Supergirl title has had, how does it feel to have written a clever and entertaining origin in one issue?
LAN: I’m very glad that people are responding well to it, and I wish I could take all the credit for producing something that might be referred to as clever and entertaining, but I had a lot of advantages. I wasn’t hamstrung by continuity because it’s not a part of the regular DC Universe, and the story I’m telling is built on the work of many talented writers. I also worked very closely with Editorial on this first issue, so the credit must be shared. I think anyone trying to take Supergirl and reinvent her, in continuity -- while satisfying the adult fan base -- has a tough job. Comparatively, I took the easy road. It’s always easier to succeed when you avoid the more challenging path.

While I agree that this title isn't chiseled into continuity, it isn't as though Walker could create a completely new origin. So to turn Kara's origin a bit on its head and come up with something original but acceptable was great.

As I have said many times here, and as Walker agrees with me above, it isn't an easy task to write a Supergirl title. There are so many factions among her fans, let alone trying to bring in new fans. I don't think even what he did was 'the easy road'.

But so far so good. I think most Supergirl fans thoroughly enjoyed the first issue.

SEB: I recently spoke to Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle about the DCU Supergirl and her growing role, now you have this all ages book. What is it, do you think, about Supergirl that continues to appeal to audiences?
LAN: It doesn’t hurt the popularity of the character that she is an icon of what is supposedly a simpler time. She is comforting in that regard. For younger readers -- most particularly younger female readers -- she represents an ideal.

Is Supergirl still an icon of the simpler Silver Age? I think so. It was her idealism and goodness as well as her youthful approach to problems that attracted me to the character in the first place.

SEB: When you think Supergirl, what comes to mind? Who is she to you?
LAN: A young girl with no immediate family who suddenly has great power bestowed upon her; the emphasis here being on the ‘young girl’ part – super powers should never define a character. She’s on a strange new world, constantly bombarded with bits of culture that we take for granted. She’s understandably na├»ve. She’s also a very empathic character. She has a tendency to try to fix things around her. When Superman (who is very much human in his way of thinking) encounters a problem, he will handle it in a comparatively human way. Supergirl is less likely to punch a bad guy, and more likely to find a way to stop the bad guy from needing to be punched.

I agree with her empathy. In reading her older titles, she was always as interested in helping a friend with their personal problems as she was in thrashing Blackstarr.

Supergirl was a more approachable and relatable character in that sense than Superman.

SEB: Now, I personally picked up copies for myself (36), and my two daughters (3 & 7). What, if any, is the target age range that you’re writing this for?
LAN: Honestly, I try not to think about it. I think the book gets a bit darker and more serious in some ways come issue 4, building to a conclusion with issue 6. Consequently, I hope that parents participate with their younger kids so that when some of the more emotionally sensitive issues come up they can answer any questions asked. I don’t think that there is anything in the series that is unsuitable for children of any age, as long as the parents participate.

Ironically, I bought a copy for myself (38) and my three daughters (10,7, and 5). We all liked it for different reasons. It was funny and cool. Heck we even talked about how it isn't nice to laugh at people.

I hope this title continues to be great and is continued past 6 issues.

5 comments:

Nikki said...

this was sold out at my LCS...just sayin'
They still had johnny DC books from months ago but no cosmic adventures. Thats a good sign that they'll order more of issue 2.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to chime in that I bought and enjoyed the first issue a lot. It's nice to know in this interview what process the creators went through and what thought they are putting in here. My favorite page is where she tries to fly into the blue sky ... I don't know why, but it looks so evocative...

Additionally, hasn't this year turned out to be amazing for Supergirl fans? Right now I feel there is so much positive coming from the regular title as well as this 8th Grade book. I hope DC and Kara fans can keep the steam rolling next year!

dMd,

Anj said...

this was sold out at my LCS...just sayin'
They still had johnny DC books from months ago but no cosmic adventures. Thats a good sign that they'll order more of issue 2.


That's good news!

My store had a little blurb about it at the new release section, promoting it.

I hope, if successful, that DC gives the title more issues or another mini.

Anj said...

I just wanted to chime in that I bought and enjoyed the first issue a lot. It's nice to know in this interview what process the creators went through and what thought they are putting in here.

Thanks for the post.

I like what the team had to say, especially about recognizing the work of those before them. It sounds like they will put in homages to prior incarnations into the book.

My favorite page is where she tries to fly into the blue sky ... I don't know why, but it looks so evocative...

I think that whole sequence shows Kara's strive to succeed. You really see her determination there.

Additionally, hasn't this year turned out to be amazing for Supergirl fans?

Funny you should say that. I was thinking of doing a 'year in review' come the new year. It really has been great!

TalOs said...

Too cute! Loved the 84 "Supergirl" movie's usage of Zaltar's 'inner space/outer space' theory in this too! :D

BRING ON #2 ALREADY!