“Powers” co-creator Michael Avon Oeming and actor Susan Heyward, who plays Deena Pilgrim on the Sony Playstation Network TV adaptation, visited the CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con to speak with Jonah Weiland about the series. They talk about “Powers'” 14-year journey from comic book page to live-action series, how Heyward discovered her take on Deena given her comic history and what influenced her on the page, as well as what Heyward likes most about her character. Oeming also explains how involved he plans to be with the TV iteration of his and Brian Michael Bendis’ creation as well as what he wants next from his comic book journey.
On the book’s long journey from comic book page to television: “Our very first film deal even goes back to like 2000,” said Oeming. “The very long journey here has prepared me to be very even keel on this, which is the upside of it, so I’m like, ‘All right, it’s gonna happen this time,” so I’m excited. But yeah, it has been a very long journey. But we’re in the right hands now so it’s happening.”
On how she found the character of Deena Pilgrim: “It’s hard to parse it out. It’s this great mix and melting pot depending on what she’s kind of encountered with,” said Heyward. “Whatever’s put in front of her, she’s gonna respond with strength, she’s gonna respond with a sense of justice and a sense of fire and undeniability that’s a little bit of everyone — and I think it’s also in everyone. It’s not the thing that, “Oh, it’s only in these few people.” Once you find that strength in yourself it’s in everyone.”
I moved around a lot as a kid, and being the new kid in town can put you on your toes. So there’s something about accepting, “All right, I’m new. This moment’s gonna happen with or without me so I better jump in with two feet.”
On what appealed to her about the character: “I like the way she just tells the truth,” said Heyward. “She gets really confused when the people around her aren’t saying what’s clear, what’s obviously happening and this is obviously what we need to do to get to truth and to solve the case. So why are we even playing with, like, niceties and being politic. I love how unpolitic she is.”
On how involved Oeming will be with the series as it progresses: “On the day-to-day I can’t be super involved, but I’m very involved as far as I’m doing a lot of artwork for the show,” Oeming said. “You’re gonna see a lot of my artwork and some of my close friends like David Mack and David Marquez and Michael Allred. You’ll see them on the wall. David Mack has done these amazing Retro Girl paintings for Michelle Forbes’ apartment. I’ve drawn artwork for one of the characters that’s drawing. So I’m super involved, but only as involved as I want to be because I do three books a month, so working on ‘Powers’ is awesome, but it’s also great to go, ‘You know, I gotta get back to the pages.’ I see how hard Brian and the other producers worked, and it’s way harder than you ever would have thought because it’s seven days a week, like comics, except it’s not all the time doing creative stuff. You’re doing producer stuff and all the behind the scenes stuff is crazy. I got just enough.”
On what Oeming wants out of comics moving forward: “Just continuing to do creator-owned work. I’m working with Brian on several different projects and my wife, Taki Soma, and I do books together,” said Oeming. “We have a new book called ‘Sinergy’ coming out and she’s coloring ‘Murder, Incorporated’ with Brian and I. You’re right, I am lucky. I’ve got this creator-owned path I’ve kind of blazed for myself and I’m just looking to stay on that path and continue working on ‘Powers’ and Brian and I’ll do more creator-owned stuff and just stay on that path.”
On Heyward’s history with comic books: “I was not a [comic geek growing up]. My older brother was, he loved ‘X-Men,’ so I obviously loved Storm,” said Heyward. “I was all about that life. And then I geeked out about plays. Yeah, I totally geek out about the theater.”
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