Two years ago at Comic-Con International in San Diego, DC Comics announced superstar creator Adam Hughes had signed an exclusive deal with the publisher and that he would be writing and illustrating a forthcoming title called "All Star Wonder Woman."
With the recent cancellation of "Catwoman," an ongoing series for which Hughes provided covers, the New Jersey native was ready to hunker down this summer and get cracking on his highly anticipated re-imagining of the Amazon Princess.
At least that was his plan until Charlotte's Heroes Con in June, where Hughes slipped on the convention floor and tore the collateral ligament in his thumb on his drawing hand.
From the Artist Alley at Fan Expo in Toronto, a bandaged Hughes told CBR News, "It's been an art-free summer. I am out of commission and living off the begging bowl." Saying he couldn't remember a time in his life where he was not able to draw, the 45-year old said, "My quack told me I should be as right as rain by Halloween."
Hughes added, "It's pretty insane. I am trying to find some other things to do to keep me occupied."
And that other thing is writing "All Star Wonder Woman?" "It's more like rewriting 'All Star Wonder Woman' " changing the punctuation," laughed Hughes. "I can still use a mouse, so I am doing a lot of computer coloring. I am re-coloring a lot of old pieces of mine that I wasn't quite happy with. I do statue designs for Sideshow Collectibles, too, and I do lithographs to go with the exclusive versions of the statues. I am not able to actually draw the lithos this summer, but what I am doing is taking my concept drawings and scanning them into Photoshop and just painting them. It's just finding creative ways to work around the injury."
Hughes said he'd like to have "All Star Wonder Woman" launch in 2009 but it's going to take some self-discipline on his part. "As far as DC tells me, it's still a go," said Hughes. "They never ask for pages and they constantly give me covers and posters and all this other work to do so I think I am just going to knuckle down and stop working on covers and just be a Wonder Woman artist and get it done myself."
Like "All Star Superman" and "All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder," "All Star Wonder Woman" will be set in its own continuity. "It's Steve Trevor comes to Paradise Island and has to be taken back to man's world by Diana," offered Hughes. "And hilarity ensues."
"It's her origin story," he continued. "To me, Steve Trevor plays an incredibly huge part in the story. He's essential to the story. Diana is this princess from this foreign country. And Steve Trevor, to me, is the Marlboro Man. He's this iconic American test pilot. I would watch a whole movie just about their relationship. It's sort of like 'Roman Holiday.' It's people from two different worlds, who don't have a lot in common. The romance and the gentle comedy come from the fact that they are two extremely disparate personalities but they get along so amazingly. And they understand each other more than anybody from their own world understands them. I couldn't tell the story without Steve."
Asked if he could reveal the book's villain, Hughes responded, "No, I can't say. It's a giant can of worms to explain what the conflict to the story is."
And then the can opened.
"Well, why not. There is no villain in the story," Hughes revealed. "Don't worry. There is tons of action. I have written myself into a horrible corner because there are levels of action that Bryan Hitch and Michael Bay would say, 'Adam, calm down. Why don't you tone it down a little bit?' But there isn't an actual supervillain in the story that is the focus of the conflict."
Hughes said the book's long gestation period is all about telling a good story. "The way I always do my best covers is I try and figure out the hook," he explained. "I figure out the angle. I figure out what it is about a character that appeals to me and it can be something as simple as when I wrote 'Superman/Gen-13,' it was like, okay, I am writing Superman. Well, anybody can write Superman because, on the surface, Superman is a big pile of cliches. But if you want to do your job, you dig a little deeper. My particular hook was, in my mind, Superman is a metaphor for all those Jews who fled Nazi Germany and achieved all these great things and became great scientists that they were meant to be, great musicians and great composers, all the great film composers of the thirties and forties and fifties. They all fled Europe.
"Well Superman, on Krypton, he was doomed and he was just going to be an average guy but by fleeing the problem that was overtaking his homeland, he was able to become the best that he could be. So I was like, 'That's a pretty good metaphor.' That was my hook and from that point on, as long as I kept that in mind, I could write anything about Superman.
"It's the same thing with Wonder Woman. You have to look past the cliches and try to find what angle of the character grabs me. The thing that grabs me about her is what would compel a person to leave a perfect place and come to a flawed place. Paradise Island, there is nothing wrong there. They have no crime. They have no war. All they have is art and beauty and everything that is great in life. Why would she want to come to man's world? Is she a missionary? Does she want to go to the deepest, darkest corners of the world and preach the gospel to the heathens? Does she just have insatiable curiosity? Does she want to just see what's over the next hill? That's the hook for me."