Mark Russell Activates the Wonder Twin Powers of Humor and Humiliation

"Wonder Twins powers, activate!" Their rallying cry has endured for more than 45 years, but Zan and Jayna have made only sporadic appearances in comics and other media since the end of the Super Friends cartoon in 1986. Now, though, thanks to a writer famous (notorious?) for dusting off beloved characters that have fallen into disuse, the Wonder Twins' moment may have finally arrived -- much to their own dismay.

Mark Russell, the comedy writer who has made a name for himself turning The Flintstones and Snagglepuss comics into biting social satire, takes on re-imagining the spritely siblings in the six-issue miniseries Wonder Twins, debuting February 13 under the Bendis-helmed Wonder Comics imprint. With artist Stephen Byrne, whose credits include Justice League, Green Arrow, and massiely viral fan animations of Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer,  Russell has once again added his unique spin to familiar characters resulting in a deeply funny story that resonates. CBR spoke with Russell about how he sees Zan and Jayna, and why it's necessary to create a "handbook of humiliation."

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CBR: How would how would you describe your take on Wonder Twins? What are you setting out to accomplish with this book?

Mark Russell: Well, the Wonder Twins themselves I kind of view as one really good, well-adjusted person tragically split in half. So they're basically incomplete people. Which is I think the way every teen feels. They're dealing with deep deficits in their personality and they feel awkward and alienated because of it, not realizing that everyone else feels exactly the same way. That's the sort of dynamic I wanted give to the Wonder Twins. They are deeply alienated teenagers who are just beginning to work out who they really are. I wanted them, with superpowers, to go through the same process I think every teenager goes through whether or not they have superpowers.

Yeah, I've got to say, the scene about the nicknames with Batman and Superman was deeply relatable. So that's in continuity now, we can start calling Batman “Bee Gee” over in Detective?

I think so. Yes. That was Brian Michael Bendis' decision to bring this into continuity. Therefore, we could talk about it. I think in a lot of ways, what the series is, is a time machine -- it's a chance for me to go back and talk to my teenage self, what I would tell myself with what I know now. A lot of it is contained in this issue, like "don't worry, everyone's gonna get humiliated at some point or another during your high school years." It's not that important because, one, everyone's in the same boat, and two, you're probably not even gonna know these people in a few years. So I think the biggest thing that you can sort of leave people going through an awkward phase of our lives with is perspective, and that's what I'm trying to deal with the sort of after school special gone wrong.

NEXT PAGE: Wonder Twins: Zan and Jayna Will Face Their Own B-level Legion of Doom

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