|Greg Rucka at Wizard World LA, March, 2005|
Wizard World Boston was swarming with people on Saturday, many of whom took time out to attend a One-On-One panel featuring DC’s Dan DiDio and Greg Rucka. The format of the panel was interview style with both DiDio and fans in the audience asking Rucka about his work.
After the introduction, the first question put to Rucka was: Why did he get into comics in the first place?
“Because I love them,” replied Rucka. He told the audience he discovered comics at an early age and that, “once you meet comics and connect with them, you’re there.” He started hanging out and reading comics just as “Dark Knight Returns,” “Watchmen,” and all of the other seminal comics of the ’80s were coming out. But what really made him love comics was discovering a back issue of the “Daredevil: Born Again” arc by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli. He credited Miller with writing those comics the way he felt comics ought to be written.
After his first book, “Keeper,” was published, he made continued attempts to break into writing for DC, with no luck. He then met Bob Schreck and began a conversation which led to the publication of the comic series “Whiteout.”
Eventually, Rucka was introduced to DC’s Denny O’Neil, where he learned that O’Neil was a fan of his first book. This led to Rucka’s eventual writing duties for Batman during the “No Man’s Land” arc and the rest was history.
The next question for Rucka came from a fan who asked how much of Rucka’s own vision he gets to bring to bear in writing the iconic DC characters. Rucka mentioned that ultimately, when you write characters like Batman, “they’re not yours,” and that “writers who forget that deserve to be kneecapped.” He went on to say, “Superman is bigger than any writer. When I write these characters, I’m serving them.”
Despite these caveats, Rucka said, “I have distinct tastes on these characters and I will fight for them.”
The next fan question was whether Rucka had considered adapting any of his Atticus Kodiak novels to comics. Rucka replied, “I’d consider doing an original Kodiak story, but I wouldn’t want to do an adaptation.” He went on to say he would “pity the artist who would draw them” because he has distinct visions for each of the characters “which I can’t articulate.”
Another question came from DiDio, who asked Rucka what approach he took to writing different DCU characters. Rucka replied he could easily get to the core of Superman and what he was all about. However, when it came to Wonder Woman, “Getting into Diana’s head was murderous.” Which is why when he wrote the original graphic novel “Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia,” it wasn’t really about Wonder Woman, but rather how she was perceived.
This led to a follow-up by DiDio, who asked why Wonder Woman was so hard for Rucka to write when she’s Rucka’s favorite character. Rucka replied that it took so long because, “I wanted to do it right, because there’s really only one place to get Wonder Woman.” This was different from writing Batman, he said, because “if you don’t like my Batman, there are three other books you can read.”
Rucka also mentioned he wanted the vision of Wonder Woman to be true to itself. He noted it bothered him that “nobody knows how Wonder Woman speaks. You can write a Batman line and everybody knows it’s Batman.” Not so with Wonder Woman.
Later, a fan commented that one of the problems with Wonder Woman is she will never be allowed to have a believable relationship. The fan pointed out that since Wonder Woman spent her first 25 years on Themyscira, she should be a lesbian, or at the very least, bisexual. This led to an extended discussion between Rucka and others.
One comment Rucka made about the issue is that, as a society, “We all want Virgin Whores.” He commented that, “I’ve never seen a character treated with such admiration and such hatred.” In reference to people who particularly hate Wonder Woman, he commented, “That people can be threatened by a fictional character speaks volumes about them.”
In reference to Diana’s sexuality, Rucka said there is definitely lesbianism on Themyscira, and that it’s a society where same-sex relationships are very much the norm. That being said, he pointed out that Wonder Woman was “created sui generis by the gods, who are a notoriously randy bunch.” So there’s no reason why Wonder Woman wouldn’t be attracted to a man. However, it’s clear that “she has no conception of the male gaze” and is blind to the reality that her particular costume “instantly sexualizes her.”
This discussion led to one about Wonder Woman’s relationships. In reference to writing a love interest for Wonder Woman in his own run, Rucka said one problem with Diana is that she “lacks definition.” The problem with a relationship is that it can define a character, and he “didn’t want her to be defined by a relationship.” He said that he hopes that his run has helped to provide definition for the character of Wonder Woman.
Once love and sex were dealt with, questions began to steer towards Wonder Woman in other media. One fan asked how much corroboration there was between him and the “Justice League Unlimited” writers. “Absolutely none,” replied Rucka. He also added that he doesn’t like the JLU take on the character of Wonder Woman.
Another fan asked whether or not Rucka would be involved in the upcoming “Wonder Woman” feature film. Rucka replied that he would be “…absolutely flattered if Joss Whedon asked me for anything.” However, he thinks that Joss is more than capable of handling the character on his own.
The conversation then ran to other places in the DC Universe. One fan asked what happened to Skeet’s AI after he was disassembled to monitor the Blue Beetle and if that would be addressed. “Maybe,” Rucka enigmatically replied.
Another fan asked if there are any other female DC characters Rucka would like to write. Rucka replied, “…there is one, but I can’t say because there’s going to be an announcement.”
Another fan asked how, exactly, Maxwell Lord went bad. Rucka replied that “Max was always bad.” He mentioned that he had talked with “Justice League International” scribe Keith Giffen, who confirmed that “Yes, Max is a bastard.” He stated that Giffen had no problem with killing the JLI characters and in fact gave him ideas on ways to do it!
The final question was about the continuity of Max Lord and whether or not the Max Lord as a cyborg issue would be addressed. DiDio replied that they didn’t consider the Havok storyline to be continuity and simply “set it aside.” And in answering a follow-up question, stated that yes, the later Giffen JLI stories (“Formerly Known as the Justice League” and “I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League”…) are in continuity, though obviously pre-Countdown. Rucka noted that the final page of “I Can’t Believe…” which shows a smiling Blue Beetle and Max Lord together was put into the story by Keith Giffen as a nod to Countdown. “He’s a really sick guy,” said Rucka.