Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Green And Johnson Interview

Over on Comic Book Resources, there is a new interview with Supergirl writers Michael Green or Mike Johnson. As always, the interview is well worth reading in its entirety. The link to the interview is here. As usual,here are some questions and answers that stuck out to me and I'll add some comments.

CBR News: You guys are finishing your first arc, you've just introduced Reign, and you're teasing the World Killers. Up to this point, Supergirl has been pretty reactive to the environment and the confusion she's been thrown into; do you see these next issues as a turning point for her becoming more proactive?

Mike Johnson: Yeah, I think you're exactly right in the sense that she's been reacting. As Michael said, we're playing it emotionally very truthfully. You would have these reactions first, and I think that really hit it's high point in issue #5 where Mahmud [Asrar] drew this amazing page and we just took the words off it because it you don't need words, where she lets out all her grief. I think once you look back on the series in its first year you'll see that scene and maybe even that image as a real turning point where she just lets it all out.

Michael Green: That was just our real turning point moment of recognition of who she is and it's time to grow up. We really liked this idea of her as a spitfire who makes a lot of mistakes in her initial reactions and is in a frightening environment and graced with a lot of new powers. A lot of time[s] her first reaction is physical! That won't always be the case; she's going to meet some people she doesn't punch on first sight!

Johnson: And there won't be as much crying! I think it's natural there would be a lot of crying given what she's been through -- I would still be crying, even now. 

I think one of the concerns that I and others have had has been just how quickly Supergirl has resorted to her fists to deal with confrontation. Yes, I have understood that she has been thrown into complete chaos, that she is completely lost. And so maybe that physical response might be understood. Still,  I think the worry was that this would be the default mode. So it is great to hear Green and Johnson answer straight on. She won't always punch first. And she won't always cry! That means we are going to get a more level-headed and thinking Supergirl.

And I concur that the silent scream splash page is an extremely effective piece of art by Mahmud Asrar.

CBR: You mentioned in "Supergirl" #8 fans are going to see a new Silver Banshee. How did you approach reinventing Silver Banshee for the New 52 and the new "Supergirl?"

Johnson: We knew that we wanted to give Kara a real supporting cast on Earth and now was the right time to do that, after she's sort of been through the gauntlet of discovering what's happened to her and dealing with it. We also knew we wanted to flesh out her rogues gallery in an interesting way, not just with new villains like Reign but taking a different look, kind of in the spirit of the New 52, and introducing Silver Banshee -- or Siobhan as we actually call her more often, because we meet her first in her human form -- that kind of killed two birds with one stone. It was a chance to reinvent a villain in a cool way while also fleshing out Kara's life and supporting cast on Earth.

Green: We spent a lot of time talking about, now that Kara's going to be learning about our world, whose lens do we want her to see the world through? What kind of people, both friends and enemies, are going to teach her about this place she landed on, what are these human beings like? Do I like them or not? Is this a place where I'm making the best of it, or can I actually find joy?

I love the fact that both writers are talking about creating both a rogue's gallery and a supporting cast for the book. One thing that early issues of the last Supergirl run suffered from was a lack of both. This understanding that a supporting cast and a rogue's gallery was one of the first things that Sterling Gates talked about in his early interviews when he took over the book. It is basic comic storytelling. You need compelling villains and you need good supporting characters.

In this instance, the supporting cast will be extremely important because that is how Kara will learn about our world. Having Siobhan be a member of both is reminiscent of Lena in Cosmic Adventures.

CBR: It's interesting you say Banshee is similar to Kara, as Reign also seems to have parts in common with Supergirl, almost the person Kara could become if she was angrier and less compassionate. Will all the World Killers reflect different aspects of Kara?

Green: In a way we wanted her to meet a version of herself that was so corrupted that she could look at that and say, "Do I want to go that far?" She has every reason to be very, very angry and to take it out on the world if not the known universe. We want her to confront that, so she ended up making a choice to be the better version of herself, which is a much more difficult thing to do.

Johnson: And the best rogues galleries come out of your main character; they come out of the hero, they're a reflection in some way. The other thing Reign and the World Killers mean to us is they're elements of a much larger mystery that we're playing out over the course of our first year, into the second. Which is, exactly what the circumstances were to Kara arriving on Earth. As we saw in issue #5, it was her father's plan to put her in a pod. It was not necessarily her father's plan to send that pod away from Argo City, not to mention the fact that we saw her father was shot -- I don't know if I should say dead or killed. We just know that he was shot.

I called Reign a dark reflection of Supergirl. So I'm glad I hit the nail on the head. And it is clear that Green and Johnson are steering her away from that path. Again, not to beat a dead horse, but I don't think Loeb or Kelly did that. They had her veer more towards that unbridled anger. And that's not Supergirl. So once again, I liked this response.

As for the Krypton mystery, I think I have guessed wrong enough to just let it play out.

CBR: Is this mystery of how Kara got here and her father tied in at all to the "Superman"/"Superboy"/"Supergirl" crossover this summer?

Green: She's going to come out of that with a better sense of her current family.

Johnson: Her relationships will be changed by this crossover, though the crossover itself is not connected to the mystery we're talking about in "Supergirl."

Green: As far as the over arcing mystery in the "Supergirl" book, we have a lot going on. We see it as an ambitious four-year plan, hoping we get to stay on the book for the whole four years to tell it. We're not going to draw it out; we have enough meat to keep it interesting that long.

Okay, so I hope there is some sense of a Superman family after that arc.

But that isn't what grabbed me.

A four year plan!


That sort of commitment to the character is refreshing. I think Gates would have loved to stay on the book for four years. The Earth Angel arc by PAD took 50 issues to tell. And that was a big story that kept rolling and becoming bigger and bigger.

I am glad that Green and Johnson are thinking that far ahead.

CBR: Anything you can hint at for what's coming up with Kara with the World Killers and beyond?

Johnson: It's been encouraging to see people embrace a new conception of the character and even old time fans of Supergirl who feel we are staying true to the core of who she is.

Green: It's very easy and fun to be cynical online but people have a lot of warmth and nostalgia for Supergirl. "You're playing with our girl," is the attitude a lot of them take and I feel like we got their trust and we're hoping to honor it.

Johnson: And we take it seriously, very much so.

Hey, that's also great news! It means they care about the character and her fans. I think there is some understanding of what is the core of this character.

I have said it in my monthly reviews. This book has been a very different read than the book pumped up by the early press releases. This hasn't been a disaffected, 'Hell on wheels', 'don't piss her off' Supergirl.  And, so far, I have been very happy with the book.

So more good news from the creators! Again, read the whole interview for even more goodies and hints about the future.


VIIC said...

Like you, I am a long time reader of Karas adventures. I am happy to see her future is in capable hands.

Anonymous said...

A four year plan eh? We will be lucky indeed if monthly comics are still published at all come the year 2016...


Martin Gray said...

Another good interview. As regards seeing more of Krypton, thinking on, did we actually see any bodies in Argo City? I can't recall any. Survival Zone, maybe?

Anonymous said...

For that fact, are even sure this Supergirl isn't some sort of an artificial creation, a sort of "High End World Killer" with a conscience?
She may only be programmed to think she is Kal El's cousin.
How else to account for the differences in their powers?


Anj said...

For that fact, are even sure this Supergirl isn't some sort of an artificial creation, a sort of "High End World Killer" with a conscience?
She may only be programmed to think she is Kal El's cousin.
How else to account for the differences in their powers?

That is a scary scary idea.

I hope it is not true.