Chat Transcript: "Catwoman" & "Catpain Atom" Writer Will Pfeifer

A couple of weeks back, writer Will Pfeifer stopped by the CBR chat room. If you missed the chat, you missed (in Will's own words), "a discussion of how to pronounce my name, Jerry Lewis, Jimmy Olsen, Black Lois Lane and Catwoman's breasts. No kidding." No kidding, indeed! Check it out!

Brian Cronin: Welcome, folks, to the Will Pfeifer chat!

Wpfeifer: Hey guys

DubipR: Grab a drink from the CBR bar and enjoy, Will.

Wpfeifer: I'm already drinking. Unfortunately, it's just a Diet Vanilla Coke. Tonight, after all, is a school night.

Nate Grey: You like guinea pigs?

Wpfeifer: Guinea pigs? They're fine, I guess. Never had one, but a friend of mine had one for years.

Ronald Bryan: What's your favorite type of pet, then?

Wpfeifer: Favorite pet? You want me to say cats, right? Sorry. I'm a dog guy. Though I don't have one at the moment.

DubipR: Will, I love what you and Pete have been doing on "Catwoman." With the whole "Infinite Crisis" going on, just how messed up will Selina and her supporting cast be at the outcome?

Wpfeifer: They'll be fairly messed up, but not destroyed or anything like that. We're turning her little world upside down in a whole lotta ways.

Nate Grey: I don't know if you can reveal it or not, but just in case...I hope that doesn't mean she'll be a villain again.

Wpfeifer: She's not going to be a villain again -- at least not a traditional villain. She'll always be a bit outside the law, where she likes it.

DubipR: As long as her beloved West End remains somewhat intact, I'm sure Selina will be around.

Brian Cronin: On a similar note, can you tell us if you will be writing a book called "Catwoman" post the "one year later" leap?

Wpfeifer: As far as I know, I'll be writing "Catwoman" for the foreseeable future. I've already turned in scripts through 52, and 53 goes in this week -- and it's the first part of a multi-part story.

Brian Cronin: Coolness. Just glad to know Catwoman makes it past "One Year Later."

Wpfeifer: She makes the leap, and sticks the landing!

Nate Grey: I always like it when DC successfully reforms villains without obliterating their personality or history.

Wpfeifer: Her history is something that's fun to play with -- and her awareness of that history.

MattAnderson1: Hey Will.

Wpfeifer: Hey, Matt. Ladies and Gentlemen, my pal Matt Anderson!

MattAnderson1: Oh you flatter me!

DubipR: Will, any forseeable love interest with Batman/Bruce Wayne?

Wpfeifer: Well, she and Bruce will always have a connection, but he's not the only guy out there, you know. She's a grown woman -- she can play the field a bit.

Cayman: Which Wildstorm characters are you enjoying writing most?

Wpfeifer: I'm having a blast with the Authority, who show up in issue 5 of "Catpain Atom" in a big way. I've always liked those guys (and gals).

MattAnderson1: Speaking of Wildstorm, how are you enjoying writing more "widescreen" action?

Wpfeifer: The widescreen action is fun. So far, we've destroyed part of New York and Washington DC!

MattAnderson1: And Rockford!

Wpfeifer: How would I be able to tell if Rockford had been destroyed? It's a joke!

MattAnderson1: You wouldn't be able to tell if it was destroyed, at least not the parts I've seen!

Ronald Bryan: Poor Washington D.C. always seems to be getting destroyed in comics.

Wpfeifer: DC has all those monuments -- it's hard to resist

Nate Grey: If you had your choice of any DC female character you could pair Selina up with for one story...who would it be?

Wpfeifer: Let's see: One character for "Catwoman." Is Jerry Lewis an option? He used to have a DC comic...

Cayman: Your sales would rise exponentially in France.

DubipR: I would've paired Selina with Bob Hope. Would've been like a Wilder comedy comic.

Wpfeifer: She could team with Dean Martin -- they'd be quite a match.

Wpfeifer: Seriously, though, she works with almost anyone. She's fun to bounce off the more traditional heroes and villains.

Nate Grey: Well, I meant a female character. :) Personally I wouldn't mind seeing Selina and Batgirl team up for a story.

Cayman: Any plans to have her meet the newly-cool Catman?

Wpfeifer: I like what they've done with Catman -- maybe he could stop by the East End.

Bloopinator: If Catwoman had her own Batmobile how would you like it to look?

Wpfeifer: Her Batmobile would look just like the car they drive at the beginning of the show "Entourage," with those cool reverse "suicide" doors.

DubipR: What's it like working with Guiseppe? He pulling out more than what you expected?

Wpfeifer: Guiseppe is doing a great job -- just got the pencils for issue #3, and they're amazing..

Cayman: Any chance of you returning to "Aquaman?"

Wpfeifer: "Aquaman?" I don't think so. I've got a lot on my plate right now. It was a fun gig, though.

DubipR: *places candles and sings a lament for Will's run on "Aquaman."*

Wpfeifer: Aw, I'm touched

DubipR: Believe me, your take on Aquaman was the freshest in about 15 years.

Cayman: How about Dazzler?

Wpfeifer: That Dazzler story was one of the most fun stories I've ever worked on -- but it was a lot of work. I had to read the entire run of "Dazzler," after all!

DubipR: I loved seeing Jill's artwork on the Dazzler story.

Wpfeifer: Jill's art was great. She did a dead-on John Byrne X-Men in one panel that was amazing.

Nate Grey: Forgive me if I got you confused with the writer who came after you on "Aquaman," but was it you who brought back Koryak?

Wpfeifer: No, that was John Arcudi, I think. I'm the guy who killed half the population of San Diego.

Brian Cronin: Yeah, how did DC react when you pitched the idea of Sub Diego? Any hesitance, or strictly, "Wow, cool idea! Go for it!"

Wpfeifer: The initial idea of San Diego sinking was from Pete Tomasi, though I did think of the name "Sub Diego"

Brian Cronin: Oh, so Tomasi brought you on to the project? Cool.

Wpfeifer: I owe it all to Pete!

Nate Grey: I took Sub Diego as an attempt to make "Aquaman" relatable to new readers by giving them a context they could understand. Other than being able to breath underwater, the residents of Sub Diego were normal people.

Wpfeifer: That was the whole idea with Sub Diego. To give Aquaman people to interact with who weren't from Atlantis.

Nate Grey: I like the idea of Sub Diego, but I can't help but think DC will reverse it at some point (somehow) and put Aquaman back in Atlantis.

Wpfeifer: I hope Sub Diego stays sunk.

MattAnderson1: Along with destroying parts of New York and D.C. ...is there any place you won't destroy, Will?

Wpfeifer: I won't destroy the lovely city of Geneva, Illinois!

DubipR: Will's in Geneva? Crickey, I'm in Naperville right now...I gotta hide!

Wpfeifer: I'm in Rockford, incidentally. Matt is in Geneva.

Cayman: Any plans for Vertigo work?

Wpfeifer: No Vertigo for now -- though I wouldn't mind sometime.

bat2supe: How do you interact with the artist you're working with? Do you give complete scripts with each panel's details or simply give him a description & dialogues & let him work?

Wpfeifer: I work in complete scripts

Wpfeifer: Hey, Paul! Ladies and Gentlemen, the very funny Paul Storrie!

Brian Cronin: The writer of Gotham's girl, with the writer of "Gotham Girls!"

Paul D. Storrie: So, is your name pronounced "Pie-Fur," Will?

Nate Grey: I thought it was Fi-Fur.

Wpfeifer: It's Pie-Fur!

Ronald Bryan: It's not P-fi-fur?

DubipR: I thought it was Fife-ur.

Wpfeifer: You guys are a riot. Two syllables, the first f is silent.

bat2supe: Like Michele the "Catwoman" actress?

Wpfeifer: Not like Michelle -- she's Fifer, I'm Pie-fur. She was Catwoman though. Coincidence...?

DubipR: Going back to "Catwoman," was it tough to get the OK from the Bat Editors to use all the villians Selina's working, since Johns is pretty much writing the DCU with IC?

Wpfeifer: I just wrote the story with those villains, and no one even mentioned any objections. Can't imagine who was dying to use Hammer, Sickle or Angle Man, but I'm having a blast with them

DubipR: I loved seeing Angle Man. And Hugo Strange always gets underused. Kudos on picking the cast.

Wpfeifer: Those villains were a lot of fun to write. Strong, weird personalities one and all.

MattAnderson1: Ricketts just told me to tell you to "get of the internet and get back to work!"

Wpfeifer: Ricketts! Where is he?

MattAnderson1: On my phone.

Paul D. Storrie: Whoops, sorry I got a bit far behind there. How's it going Mr. P?

Wpfeifer: Going Well, Paul. And you?

Paul D. Storrie: None too bad, Will. Keeping busy. Not quite as busy as you, but still busy!

DubipR: Will, the opening page on "Captain Atom" #1 was a direct page from Abnett and Lanning's "Majestic," did you have any contact with them on using Majestic for that?

Wpfeifer: That scene in "Captain Atom" was all linked to that "Majestic." I knew it was coming, and used it to kick off the series.

DubipR: It was a great intro. Besides the Authority (that you've mentioned), any other..let's say random Wildstorm characters be thrown in the mix *crosses fingers for Savant*

Brian Cronin: Savant is too busy being made to look like a moron in "Wildcats: Nemesis."

Wpfeifer: There will be a few more Wildstorm folks stopping by to say hi to Cap. And to beat on him awhile.

Nate Grey: I just realized...Selina has no nemesis, does she? No main villain people identify with her? Then again neither does Green Arrow, so no biggie...

bat2supe: Halle Berry is a terrifying nemesis don't you think??

Wpfeifer: You know, I still haven't seen that "Catwoman" movie. When I got offered the gig, the first thing Matt Idelson told me was "It doesn't have to be anything like the movie."

Paul D. Storrie: Not "Please, don't make it anything like the movie!"

Wpfeifer: Sort of like, "If it's like the movie, you're fired!'

Paul D. Storrie: That Idelson, he's always candy coating stuff.

bat2supe: What is the character you would kill to try your hand at?

Wpfeifer: I'd kill to write -- and everyone thinks I'm joking -- the classic Jimmy Olsen.

Paul D. Storrie: That's just so you can dress up as him at conventions!

Brian Cronin: The classic Jimmy Olsen is a great character.

Rallura: I'd adore seeing a Jimmy Olsen story.

Nate Grey: The only thing I know about classic Jimmy Olson is that he met Darkseid, I think.

DubipR: Classic Olsen isn't always Kirby. I prefer when Jimmy was having singing duets with Pat Boone.

Brian Cronin: Or the disguises! Olsen's disgueses were classic.

Wpfeifer: Jimmy has a rich, rich, very strange history in the DCU. Transvestite, Turtle Boy, you name it

Paul D. Storrie: And, of course, Elastic Lad.

MattAnderson1: The best was Hippy Olsen!

Wpfeifer: Like I said, a rich, rich history.

Brian Cronin: A story I like to point to as "vintage Jimmy Olsen" is one where the Phantom Zone criminals try to trick Jimmy into seeing Superman's secret ID, therefore crippling their friendship. But Jimmy did not take the bait, choosing instead to place their friendship ahead of knowing Superman's secret. That story showed his facets. He interacted with the Phantom Zone in the story, he had super powers, but at the end, he was just a nice, normal guy who didn't want to betray his friend. Such a cool character.

Brian Cronin: Now? Well, Johns used him well in "JSA: Classified," and that, of course, turned out to be a fake.

Brian Cronin: And Gail Simone did a good job with him, I thought.

Wpfeifer: There are sooooo many Jimmy stories to be told. If they did an Archives collection and charged 100 bucks a book, I'd buy them all.

DubipR: And the Lois Lane comic as well. I'm huge fans of both of those series.

Wpfeifer: By the way, I'm proud I was able to divert this conversation to Jimmy Olsen.

Paul D. Storrie: In a contest between Jimmy Olsen and the Catwoman movie, is there really a contest?

Wpfeifer: I could see a story where Jimmy Olsen becomes Catwoman, though. It wouldn't even be much of a stretch!

MattAnderson1: How about a story where Jimmy becomes Halle Berry, who is pretending to be Catwoman? Now that that would be a stretch.

DubipR: Matt, you suggesting Jimmy in blackface? I would buy it for that reason alone.

MattAnderson1: Blackface needs to come back, Amos and Andy was not nearly insulting enough!

Wpfeifer: Have you guys seen the issue of Lois Lane where she becomes black? No kidding.

MattAnderson1: That issue is great, its collected in the "Superman in the Seventies" collection

Wpfeifer: Lois worries about the rain ruining her "fine afro hairdo." It's a jaw-dropping story.

Paul D. Storrie: Yes, indeed. Very much of its time.

MattAnderson1: How's "Blood of the Demon" going?

Brian Cronin: Oh right, "Blood of the Demon" has been great. I am enjoying Byrne having a scripter.

Wpfeifer: "Blood of the Demon" is a lot of fun. I get the pencils from John, along with his plot, and just have a swell time writing the dialogue. It's good, solid rock'em sock'em comic book stuff. Plus, I've been reading John Byrne comics since the early '80s. Working with him is a real kick

MattAnderson1: His "Blood of the Demon" stuff is his best work in awhile.

Wpfeifer: I think John is really cutting loose on the book. His pencils are something else!

DubipR: Will, what comics are you reading...if you have the chance. What titles float your boat?

Wpfeifer: Besides the DC box, I read a lot of independents - "Eightball," Chris Ware's stuff, "Street Angel," "Superf*ckers," "Love & Rockets," that sort of thing.

Wpfeifer: I really liked the "JSA: Classified" Power Girl arc, and Judd's "The Outsides" are fun. That Allred issue of "Solo" was great

DubipR: All comics need to be Allred's "Solo" issue.

Nate Grey: Liked? Is the Power Girl arc over?

Wpfeifer: The Power Girl arc is almost over. One more issue, right?

MattAnderson1: The final issue of the Power Girl arc came out last week, I think

Brian Cronin: It's "ending" is in the pages of "Infinite Crisis" (which is sorta weak, but que sera, sera)

Nate Grey: Wha--? Her origin is finally resolved, then?

Wpfeifer: She's really Jimmy Olsen!

Brian Cronin: It all makes sense! I never see them in the room at the same time!

Paul D. Storrie: I think she'd look cute with freckles.

Wpfeifer: It makes as much sense as any Jimmy Olsen story ever did. We'd need to sum it all up in the last panel in some massive caption.

Wpfeifer: I gotta admit - I'm behind on my DC reading. The big box only comes once a month

MattAnderson1: Will, I tried to get Ricketts to join the chat, but he would have none of it!

Wpfeifer: Ricketts! Like he has anything better to do!

Paul D. Storrie: Tell him I'll never do his podcast again if he won't stop by.

Paul D. Storrie: Won't work, but I love making empty threats.

MattAnderson1: He said something about a chipped tooth, and watching BUTTERWAD

Wpfeifer: HA! (Butterwad!)

MattAnderson1: Paul, will do. Hey I never got to thank you for introducing me to Roger Stern in Ohio last year! Thanks Paul!

Paul D. Storrie: My pleasure. It seems to be my function in the industry!

DubipR: Will, do you miss "Hero?" Did you have any ideas that never made the run that you can divulge to us?

Ronald Bryan: And how was it making so many new heroes for "Hero?"

Wpfeifer: I miss "Hero" a lot, but I'm glad we got to tie up all the loose ends in a fitting fashion. I did have more ideas -- a political arc, for one thing, that would've tied into the actual 2004 election

Wpfeifer: The heroes were fun to create -- the guy who became a woman was a great one to write, and DC let me take it farther than I originally planned.

DubipR: Will, you had an interesting cast of pencillers for "Hero." Any arc really stand out that rises above the rest of them?

Wpfeifer: I really liked the "Ch-Ch-Changes" arc, with the sex-swap, the initial arc and the "Jackass" inspired arc that Pat Gleason drew.

Ronald Bryan: Were you always planning on the huge kill off to end "Hero?"

Wpfeifer: "Hero" was always planned to end with the dial in the hands of the caveman, thus coming full circle -- and with Robby older, wiser and somewhat at peace.

Bloopinator: What's "Hero?"

Paul D. Storrie: "Hero" was a cool, moody new take on "Dial H for Hero" that Will did at DC.

Bloopinator: Oh. Is "Hero" still out?

Wpfeifer: "Hero" died with issue 22, unfortunately -- but it tells one, long, complete story.

Brian Cronin: So, the "Lost" numbers on the upcoming "Catwoman" cover, was that all Adam Hughes?

Wpfeifer: That was all Adam -- nice reference, eh? He's full of surprises!

MattAnderson1: I often wonder how Adam Hughes would have drawn those covers of "Hero."

DubipR: DC needs to get with it and make a Hardcover coffeetable book of Hughes' covers.

Wpfeifer: I just got Adam's latest cover. It's something else. One of the best things about the "Catwoman" gig is getting those e-mail files from Adam

MattAnderson1: Does your wife get to see the Adam Hughes covers?

MattAnderson1: I know my future wife wants to know why he draws girls so "well endowed."

Wpfeifer: Amy (my wife) sees them. Sometimes, like with the "Lost numbers" one, she just shrugs her head and says, "I though you said Catwoman didn't have giant breasts!"

Paul D. Storrie: Tell her that covers always add 10 lbs.

Wpfeifer: That's a brilliant argument!

MattAnderson1: 10 focused pounds.

Wpfeifer: 10 very focused pounds.

Paul D. Storrie: Of course, Adam's covers add 10 lbs. each.

Wpfeifer: She's got to admit that they're beautifully drawn, though.

Brian Cronin: The "Lost" cover is amazing to me, as it is an astonishing combination of amazing skilled work, and, well, excess.

Wpfeifer: Adam is an exceptionally skilled artist. Technique, compostion and mastery of the human form -- and face -- is hard to top.

Brian Cronin: Exactly. He has all of that, and he still loves the excess occasionally.

DubipR: Will, any artists you desire working with?

Wpfeifer: I'd love to work with Frank Quitely, Darwyn Cooke, Duncan Fegredo, and a bunch of others. I've had great experiences so far.

Justin Davis: Will, what's the reason your "Aquaman" run was cut so short? You and Gleason were the reasons I decided to pick it up again.

Wpfeifer: DC wanted to shuffle things around, and I was offered "Catwoman" instead. The urban setting appealed to me, so I took it.

Bloopinator: Do you have any tips for hopeful comic writers?

Wpfeifer: My advice is to stick with it, and keep writing even if no one is paying you. It takes a lot of luck to get work, believe me, but if your chance comes, be ready to make the most of it. Hit deadlines, work as hard as you can and communicate with your editors. Oh, and read -- all the time, every day.

DubipR: Will, have you had the chance to read "Infinite Crisis?" If yes, your comments on it...

Wpfeifer: I'm digging "Infinite Crisis." I'm old enough to have read the original "Crisis" back in the mid '80s and I think this one is a big improvement. The characters are easier to latch onto and care about.

bat2supe: How did you break into the comic industry?

Wpfeifer: I broke in back in 1999 with "Finals," a Vertigo mini co-created with artist Jill Thompson.

DubipR: Yay for Finals....and yay for Will working with Jill!

Wpfeifer: It was a great experience, especially for a first one. Jill is the best, and our editor, Joan Hilty, really kept things running smoothly. I just wish someone would collect the damn thing!

Wpfeifer: We got the "Finals" gig by submitting the proposal, then waiting for almost a year. Even with Jill's experience (She had done "Sandman" at this point), it took a long time to even get it read. That's the way the biz works.

DubipR: Will, any writers you follow religiously...or just love to read?

Paul D. Storrie: Regarding the "writers you follow religiously," don't feel that my presence in the room should influence your answer.

Wpfeifer: I follow Grant Morrison religiously -- I think his stuff is astounding, and he has a love of comics like few others. Alan Moore, naturally, plus Bendis (especially "Powers" and "Daredevil") And the alt-guys I mentioned earlier.

Wpfeifer: Oh, and Paul - what's his last name? Storrie? Yeah. Him. (Joking -- he's damn good!)

Brian Cronin: Here is the Catwoman "Lost" cover, by the way, for those who have not seen it yet.

Wpfeifer: Nice, eh?

heystacy: Great cover.

Justin Davis: Damn, that's one sweet cover.... that makes me feel dirty for liking it.

Justin Davis: What I dig about the cover is the amount of detail on the face. The giant boobs are actually distracting. . . . Did I just say that?

Paul D. Storrie: We prefer the term "breasts." It's classier.

Wpfeifer: It is classy!

Paul D. Storrie: That should be made into a T-shirt.

DubipR: Matt, have a Hughes cover and Frank Cho do the interiors and you have a #1 issue.

Justin Davis: Back to Will: Do you believe there is a "darkening" of DC comics right now or just an introduction of more real-life concepts? Or something else?

Wpfeifer: Comics -- and not just DC -- have been getting darker for years. It's part of an overall entertainment trend. There are still plenty of light spots. We try to give Selina some light, hopeful moments even in the middle of the dark stuff.

Justin Davis: Will, true, I only asked about DC because that's where most (all?) of your work has been at so far. Do you think the darker trend is a good thing, bad thing, or something else?

Wpfeifer: The dark trend? It's not a bad thing, but it can get dull after awhile if there's nothing to contrast it with. I like a little variety in the mood myself

Ronald Bryan: Is there any certain type of music you listen to while writing?

Wpfeifer: Right now, I'm listening to The Brian Jonestown Massacre, a fine group. I listen to a lot of old jazz -- Fats Waller, John Coltrane. Lyrics can make it tough to write for some reason.

Paul D. Storrie: Will -- I often try to go for either a) instrumental stuff or b) CDs I've listened to so many times I don't register the lyrics consciously anymore.

Paul D. Storrie: Only that sometimes leads to me singing along.

Brian Cronin: How much background reading have you done on the Wildstorm universe?

Wpfeifer: I've read a whole slew of Wildstorm books --everything I could get my hands on.

Brian Cronin: Are you big on background reading for projects?

Wpfeifer: I read as much as I can for background -- makes for a richer story, I think.

DubipR: Any Marvel characters you would like to take a stab at?

Wpfeifer: Marvel characters? I'd actually like to write a SHIELD series, focusing on the grunt-level agents

Justin Davis: Will, you have the perfect title right there! SHIELD: Grunts.

Justin Davis: I'm not even a fan of SHIELD, but I'd read a story about the grunts.

Wpfeifer: It could even be a mature readers title!

Justin Davis: Not that kind of grunting!

Wpfeifer: Oh, that's what you think

Wpfeifer: And, gang. on that classy note, I have to leave. It's been fun!!

Wpfeifer: If you want, check out my blog at http://xrayspex.blogspot.com

Ronald Bryan: Bye Will. Thanks for coming to the chat!

Rallura: Thanks Will

Wpfeifer: Paul, good "talking" to you -- won't be in Mid Ohio this year, unfortunately -- see ya over the summer I hope.

Paul D. Storrie: Likewise. Sorry you won't be there. See ya around!

Wpfeifer: Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Had a swell time! Later!

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