Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle were both guests at the recent Phoenix Comicon out in Arizona. Comic Box Commentary friend Gene was able to attend the convention and actually rub elbows with the Supergirl creative team. Lucky him!
And lucky for us, he was able to go to the Turning the Page on Supergirl Panel on Saturday May 29, 2010. Gene knew that folks here wished they could be there so he took notes and sent them here! It is almost as good as being there. I really can't thank Gene enough for doing this. I think it is great he took the time to share what was said in the panel with us. About 20-30 people were at the panel and it sounds like some great questions were asked. Here is the report!
Turning the Page on Supergirl Phoenix Comic Con Panel
A moderator did not show up, so Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle directed the panel themselves.
Sterling and Jamal could not reveal any future plot points beyond what has already been solicited.
The characters and supporting cast: They noted that Supergirl has seen a lot of growth and change for the last two years of New Krypton, so her character will not be returning to the “status quo” of what it was before that event. Kara will deal with the after effects of New Krypton with a wide range of emotions.
The focus of Supergirl will be more on Metropolis. Characters like Jimmy Olsen and Natasha Irons will appear in the book. Cat Grant will get an emotional smack down. When asked if Toyman will play a part, Sterling replied “Wait and see.” Supergirl will be decompressing and doing some college-age related stuff “in November” according to Sterling.
The title and creative team: Jamal said there will be news about the DC 75th Anniversary Supergirl cover next month.
With the end of the War of the Supermen, the shield numbering will end permanently and that future Supergirl stories will be self contained in the pages of Supergirl. Sterling asked DC for a full year without crossovers because readers have become a bit leery of them. It is not easy to follow the series when every other book was “3 out of 4” or “7 out of 9” of a crossover.
When asked how long he will be on the title, Sterling replied that he will be on it as long as they will have me and that next year has already been planned. Jamal stated that he has no specific end date.
War of the Supermen Sterling stated that writing the deaths of the Kryptonians in War of the Supermen #1 was not a gleeful act but it was a necessary beat in the bigger story. He said it was hard to write the death of Thara, as was writing the death of Alura. Even though Alura caused a lot of problems for New Krypton and was due some comeuppance, her death had to be a heroic sacrifice when she saved Supergirl. Had Alura lived, Sterling felt that there would always be this “Super Mom” hovering above Supergirl, so that’s partially why she is an orphan again.
The idea of Reactron blowing up New Krypton came from Dan Didio after Sterling told him that Reactron was on the planet. When Dan reminded him that Reactron was a walking Gold-K powered nuclear bomb, Sterling wondered why he didn’t think of Reactron going off first. He both loves and hates the fact that Reactron is now gone. He had written an earlier death for Reactron at the hands of Commander Gor, but it didn’t feel right. Jamal said that he had satisfaction in killing Reactron.
Jamal was sorry that all the Kryptonians are dead, and it took him three days to draw their end.
When asked if there was anything he wanted to add to War of the Supermen but couldn’t, Sterling replied that he wanted the last issue to be 40 pages, and that he wanted to do a scene where Kryptonians firing down on Earth with their heat vision as “Living Orbital Lasers” (L.O.L.s), as well as have Supergirl fight Doomsday. He said she would fight Doomsday differently than Superman did, using her intellect to try and find a way to stop such a force of nature. Superwoman Sterling did write different versions of the Lucy Lane origins story for last year’s Supergirl Annual, and one did include Ron and the baby. Yet he felt that Lucy’s relationship with her father was a far more interesting story to write, so that was the focus.
When asked if we will see Superwoman again, Sterling replied that she appears in June’s Supergirl #53.
Sterling thinks that it is awesome that DC Direct is releasing a Superwoman figure later this year. He hopes to one day see a version of Jamal Igle's Supergirl as a figure.
Power Girl Jamal said that he sees Supergirl and Power Girl in a little sister/big sister relationship where Power Girl is older and tougher and that can be annoying for Supergirl. Power Girl would not have felt an emotional connection to New Krypton for she would see it as “not my Krypton.”
The decision not to include Power Girl with New Krypton was an early one because she would have diluted the story. New Krypton is a Superman/Supergirl story. They wanted to have the JSA and Batman visit New Krypton at some point, but that opportunity never happened.
Supergirl The Movie DC is not allowed to use any original characters from the Supergirl movie at all because the Salkinds own the rights to those characters. When they used the character Zal-Tel in Supergirl #43, they originally wanted to name him Zal-Tor but DC said no. In fact, they were told that they could only to use Zal-Tel once. They wanted to use Selena without success and created Mirabai as an alternative. The only reason General Zod, Ursa, and Non could be used was because director Richard Donner made a few phone calls and was able to get those character rights transferred to DC.
Sterling stated that Helen Slater helped crystallize who Supergirl should be. He asked his editors if Slater could write the intro to the “Who is Superwoman?” trade paperback and found out that she would via Twitter at SDCC last year.
Character and Creating Sterling loves and appreciates the passion of the Supergirl fan base. Jamal rolls with it, understanding that you can’t please everyone, and finds working on Supergirl creatively rewarding and lots of fun.
Sterling stated that their take on Supergirl is more appropriate for all ages (despite some scary moments) than it was previously. He thought Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade was “awesome.”
Sterling’s favorite Supergirl moment is in COIE #4, when Supergirl talks to Batgirl as the world is ending, then stops a plane from flying into the wall. As she’s flying the pilot to safety, she tells him it’s important to fight to live as long as we can, even in the face of death. Sterling thought that was a powerful scene, and helped him understand what makes Supergirl Supergirl.
When asked if other writers ask the creative team if they can use Supergirl in their books, Sterling replied that it’s not mandatory, though James Robinson asked if he could use Supergirl in his Justice League out of respect. For most characters, it’s mandatory to run it past their editorial team. For example, if Sterling wanted to use a Green Lantern in Supergirl, he’d have to clear it through the Green Lantern editors.
When asked how hard it was to write a female character, Sterling stated that Supergirl’s voice is very much his own internal voice. With Cat Grant voice, he’s always wondering “If I hated people and was a jerk, what would I do?”
Sterling loves Streaky but wants more Krypto.
Jamal thought it was “super cool” that his illustrations of Lois Lane and Supergirl were used for the DC Fandex.
The panel ended with the two creators saying they’re always trying to tell the best Supergirl stories possible.
So that ends the report and I have to say it sounds like it was a great panel.
For me the things that stick out are that Supergirl won't be involved in major crossovers for a while, giving her book time to breathe and grow on its own.
I also can't believe that a Supergirl/Doomsday brawl almost came to be. I would have loved to see that fight!
Thanks again to Gene for passing along the information and to Sterling Gates for clarifying a couple of things for me. It looks like a great upcoming year in Supergirl!