Thursday, January 25, 2018

Perkins Superwoman Interview

I have been lamenting the recent cancellation of Superwoman, a book filled with potential starring Lana Lang. In particular, after the murky opening arc,  I definitely enjoyed Perkins run as writer on the title and the big themes and messages she brought to the book.

Before the book became too distant in the rear view mirror, I reached out to Perkins with a few questions and she was kind enough to answer. So enjoy a little peek behind the curtain of Superwoman!

1) You took over Superwoman after her initial story arc and at a time when the Superman histories (both Convergence and New 52) were being rewritten and melded together. What were the challenges heading into the book? Given the lack of established history, were you given a sort of carte blanche? Or were there guidelines?

There was certainly a lot to keep track of when I was going into my run on Superwoman. As the new writer, I wanted to honor all that was done before me while adding to the history via creating a new status quo. There are always guidelines to work within, but I had awesome editors who were stoked to hear my ideas and were encouraging of my focus on building out more of Lana Lang and her world.

2) I have to admit that I’m not sure I could easily give Superwoman’s history. She initially got her powers from energy freed when the New 52 Superman died. Then there was a question of it being her power suit. Then Red K exposure. Then, I think, back to energy leech from Superman. Can you help me figure it out?

This was one of my big questions when I first came on, and one I was encouraged to work through but not fully resolve. (In a Universe where there are many moving parts, nothing is fully resolved, now is it?) So, my approach was the way I felt Lana, our hero scientist, would approach it: develop theory, test theory, theory disproved, come up with new theory. But Lana, who struggles with being too in her head, was blind to the simplest answer, kind of like Occam’s razor. The genesis of her powers--and ultimately her identity as Superwoman—was in Superman. But believing in herself and seeing what Clark/Superman always saw in her, well, that’s when Lana truly became a hero and assumed the mantle.

3) For me, one of the best things about your time on the book was the inclusion of a sort of Superwoman family with Natasha Irons, Traci Thirteen, and Maxima. Did you know you wanted to spotlight them early on? What was it like writing this Maxima again? And how would you describe Lana and Natasha’s relationship?

Yes! I feel the same. And yes, that was planned for a long time for many reasons. When Lana started this journey, she and Lois were Superwomen together. Now, as fierce as Lana Lang is, she partly defines herself via her relationships with others, so I didn’t want her journey to end with her being alone. Plus, I really wanted an all-female cast of characters that were figuring shit out and beating the hell out of it! (Pardon my French.) If we’re going to have a book called Superwoman, I wanted to highlight all the incredible Superwomen in Lana’s life (plus Maxima) who are using their passions and talents to make the world a better place.

Maxima is one of my favorite characters to write. It was a lot of fun to have her be a part of this book. When I was first pitching ideas to my editors, they were actually the ones who threw her name into the hat. They liked what I had done with her in the Supergirl run and thought it could be an exciting inclusion for fans to see. Well, I took the note and RAN with it, haha. Don't gotta tell me twice.

Lana and Natasha’s relationship is very special to me. It’s not as easily defined as a mentor-mentee or aunt-niece relationship—it’s more dynamic than that. I think Natasha has a friend in Lana: someone who listens and gives advice, is encouraging, and is invested in her happiness and fulfillment. And, Lana’s just removed enough from her family to have a different perspective on things. For Lana, I think Natasha represents hope; she trusts Nat’s intellectual and emotional intelligence to elevate heroism and take it beyond its current definition and representation.

4) Throughout your time, Superman is rarely seen and Superwoman is called upon to save Metropolis. Did you think she ascended to become the city’s hero?

This was a conscious choice and one I point to in issue #18. Superman asks Lana why she hasn’t called on him to help and her response is effectively, “You’re not always going to be my answer.” To overcome all that Lana has been fighting this book, both internally and externally, she needed to stand up and fight for herself—fight alone—to realize her true power and understand why she is Superwoman. So, yes, I think she ascended to be the hero of Metropolis in the end.

5) Any other stories or plot points that you were planning with the characters that you just didn’t get to?

Oh, I wish I could have continued on! I had a lot of other ideas, but I can’t say here because, who knows, maybe I’ll get to use them soon.

6) Where can folks find you on-line and what projects do you have coming up?

I’m findable via social media at @perkylovesyou. It’s been my handle since dial-up modems were a thing and I’ll never change it. Kindness and empathy are huge to me, so it’s fitting. I love hearing from folks, so get at me. (I welcome fruitful discourse; hate/bigotry is unwelcome.)

Hopefully, you’ll hear about some new projects soon! My lips are sealed at the moment, but stay tuned!

Thanks so much! Hope to hear about new projects soon and thanks for answering my questions! I really liked the book and I'm sad to see it go!


Martin Gray said...

Good on K Perkins for interacting with the fans. I think I've said it previously, I really wish that post-Rebirth the question of where Lana got her powers was simply acknowledged as a cosmic riddle; Lana's attitude would be that she had to justify them by earning them with heroism. The explanations and re-explanations were wearing, and bogged down the book, taking the focus away from some genuinely good character work.

Nice job, Anj!

Anonymous said...

A very interesting interview. Thank you, Anj!

Personally I think the mystery of Superwoman's powers unresolved was detrimental, and I don't understand the answer: Superman was her powers' genesis? How is it possible? Humans don't gain powers only for being in the vicinity of Superman, as far as I know (not even in the Pre-Crisis era). And in the Post-Reborn continuity, Post-Flashpoint Superman hadn't died and transferred his powers to Lana and Lois... then again, Lois told in the last issue she was Superwoman...

My head hurts.

Anonymous said...

If I read that correctly, Kate was encouraged to not resolve the mystery of the genesis of Lana’s powers? In a way, I find that pretty cool. That editorial knows a clean resolution is probably impossible, so they just let it sit like that. Sure, life is like that – we so often have no idea what’s really going on. But for fiction, taking that approach can seem to be a cop-out. But, what can you do? This problem can’t be resolved. So roll with it. Thematically, so much was going on in terms of Lana’s growth, that looking back doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

I have to admit that I have never understood a single one of Geoff Johns’s miraculous rebirth stories. Totally nonsensical “resolutions” are no better than no resolutions at all. How the heck did Wally emerge from the speed force to reach out to Barry? How does Barry suddenly remember Wally? None of it makes a lick of sense. To be honest, when I see that Johns has his hands on a retcon, I feel nothing but despair. When I see a big event coming It’s a sense of oh here it comes again, another implausible retcon. And obviously Lana’s origin is one inevitable result of an impossible reset.

It could be argued that if one doesn’t like Geoff Johns, one should stay very far away from DC. They should rename it GJ. But once a reset happens, I can relax and get into stories within that new universe. Fortunately Johns doesn’t write all the stories after that. If he did, all of our heads would have exploded many years ago.

Anyway, this was a great interview and a great coup, Anj. Thank you to Kate for stopping by!