Welcome back for our latest installment of CBR's weekly look at DC Comics' new series "Wednesday Comics." Presented in a broadsheet format (14 inches by 20 inches), the 12-week series features 15 strips written and illustrated by Eisner Award winners like Neil Gaiman, Dave Gibbons, Mike Allred and Kurt Busiek. And with DC icons Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman standing tall beside lesser-known characters like Adam Strange, Metamorpho and Deadman, there is truly something for everybody.
Every Wednesday, CBR will present a new interview with the creators bringing this unique title to life, along with remarks from series editor and DC Art Director Mark Chiarello. And he wants to hear from you too! So email us your comments and queries for Chiarello and we'll pass them on to the editor for next week's feature.
Last week, we kicked things off with Mike Allred, who is illustrating a Metamorpho story scripted by Neil Gaiman. This week, we're pleased to welcome Jimmy Palmiotti, who is telling a Supergirl story each week with his "Power Girl" collaborator (and wife) Amanda Conner.
Q&A WITH "WEDNESDAY COMICS" WRITER JIMMY PALMIOTTI
CBR: What intrigued you so much about "Wednesday Comics" to sign on for the project?
Jimmy Palmiotti: Well, that's easy. Editor Mark Chiarello asked Amanda and me if we were interested in working together on the project and the way he pitched it, we would have been insane to say, "No." As a rule, if I haven't done something before, I usually am game to give it a try. And Mark has a great reputation of only working with the best in the field and we were, and still are, flattered to be included in this project. Mark is one of the most brilliant editors in comics today and understands the talent better than anyone and understands their potential which only makes people work harder for him. When he told us who he had lined up for the gig, we almost backed out because we felt they were all out of our league but I am very happy he kept after us though.
Is the format of "Wednesday Comics" a different creative experience than developing a regular 22-page comic?
It's a totally different thing because on one hand, you want each single page strip to be interesting and stand on its own, and on the other hand, you know its part of a 12-week strip that all fits together, so it was a bit difficult to get my head wrapped around the idea. But by the third strip it all started to work for me and I was able to have some fun with it.
The average big format page had around 12 panels, so even though its only 12 weeks, it felt like I wrote an entire extra large issue of a one shot. I hope that makes some kind of sense.
Were you a big fan of the funny pages growing up in New York City? I assume both "The Times" and "The Post" had pretty good weekend comic sections.
Actually, I don't remember "The Times" having any comic section when I was a kid. The biggest Sunday funnies were found in the "New York Daily News" and yes, my dad would pick up the paper in the morning and it was the first section I would grab. The idea that every week there would be whole new stories and strips in color was exciting as hell and I used to collect them all, until I discovered girls, moved out of my house and got my own place. They then hit the recycling plant. [laughs] I blame women and their wonderfulness for that.
What I do remember was that "Dick Tracy" was on the front page and "Dondi" was featured on the back page with a lot of madness in-between. I have a lot of fond memories sharing it with my brothers while lying on the living room floor, reading them. I used to get silly putty and smush it on my favorite characters. Oh, my god. I sound like I'm 70-years old. I will stop now.
What about your subject matter? Have you been eager to work with Kara since you, co-writer Justin Gray and Amanda Conner filled in on "Supergirl" #12?
Well, yes, in a way. To be honest, Mark liked what we did with Kara and thought Amanda and I could do something fun. Amanda, a year before, did a print of Supergirl with Krypto and Streaky people seemed to love, so when Mark suggested Supergirl, I spoke to Amanda and we both decided we wanted to do a strip that was both fun and at the same time adorable because we knew we were surrounded by a lot of heavy hitters. We knew going in that our strip was probably the quickest read of the bunch , but Amanda did such amazing work on them, I think a lot of people are really gonna fall in love with it.
Like Power Girl, Supergirl really seems to be right in Conner's wheelhouse.
Amanda is one of the few artists in our industry that understands how to not only draw female characters that actually look their age, but her acting skills in the characters she takes on are some of the best anywhere. As well, she can also draw just about any animal and give it instant personality and we have a lot of fun with this, especially when a certain water-based character shows up later in the story with their buddies in tow.
The other great thing about Amanda is that she really tries to knock it out of the park on each and every gig she does and she understands and lives in the panel and surroundings that the characters inhabit. You can tell this by looking at each and every panel. As a writer, she is a dream collaborator and as well, she brought a ton of great ideas to the story we present. I am lucky and blessed to have her in my life on a number of levels.
Speaking of Power Girl, you are also working on her ongoing series right now. What are the major differences between her and Supergirl?
Supergirl is a young girl and Power Girl is a young woman. They view the world differently, their posture and attitude are completely different and they have both experienced separate crucial events that have shaped their lives. The obvious thing is visually they are built different, but it doesn't stop there. When writing them, I hear a completely different voice and with Supergirl, I hear a young girl's voice that is full with questions.
That said, they are both powerful personalities and on that level and in the superpower department, they have a lot in common. I like to look at Power Girl as a brilliant woman with a temper and I look at Supergirl as a super-powered schoolgirl finding her way. Some can argue this, but this is the way I see the characters.
But the Supergirl of "Wednesday Comics" is totally removed from DC Universe continuity, of course.
Totally. I wouldn't want to alienate new readers and because of how this is presented, it just wouldn't make any sense to do that. This is classic Supergirl, classic super pets and the few guest stars we have in the strip are classic representations of the characters. You want continuity? Go buy a few dozen of the regular books. You want to have fun and enjoy your favorite characters weekly, stick around for this.
What else can you tell us about the story you are going to tell in "Wednesday Comics?"
Real simple: Streaky and Krypto are acting a bit weird and taking the city along for the ride and Supergirl is not only trying to clean up their mess, but at the same time worried about them and trying to find the answer to their problem. We did this in the most fun way possible.
What others heroes/supporting characters will be featured in the story?
Well, I hinted at one of them earlier and the other is a character we have seen in two other series Amanda has drawn. Want more clues? Well, I suggest you pick up "Wednesday Comics" to find out. I am one of those people that doesn't want the whole story laid out for me in a movie trailer and I like to think that most people like a surprise in their reading these days.
Who's the villain?
That is an interesting question because it is not a "who" but a "what."
You co-write "Jonah Hex" with Justin Gray. Did you consider contributing a Jonah Hex story to "Wednesday Comics?"
If Justin and I were asked, we would have done it in a heartbeat. Perhaps if this does well, they will give us and maybe Jordi Bernet or Darwyn Cooke a shot at a weekly Western. I already have an idea for it.
So if "Wednesday Comics" returns next summer, would you consider doing one then?
I would be insulted and feel bad if we weren't. You already gave them a great idea in the last question. I guess the sales and feedback will determine if there will be another, but being involved in this I can tell you right now, it's gonna fly off the oversized racks.
Q&A WITH "WEDNESDAY COMICS" EDITOR MARK CHIARELLO
CBR: Before we get into the questions from the readers, we have one of our own. What's it been like around the office since the first issue of "Wednesday Comics" hit? Because the response online has been amazing.
MARK CHIARELLO: Really awesome. I've never worked on a project - and I've been in comics for 25 years - that generated this level of "thumbs up" from my peers. It's been really wonderful. I was always jazzed about the project and behind it but you never expect this kind of response. I was listening to a podcast last night by these guys who have a comic book shop in Lowell, Massachusetts and they were raving about it. It's like, "Holy cow. This really took off."
CBR forum member Christopher Amarca was thinking about the format of "Wednesday Comics" and was wondering how many different permutations were considered before you finally landed on the final version, 16 full-color pages of 14x20 newsprint with a quarter-fold, that we saw last week?
It was actually envisioned exactly like this - one draft. That's it. Which is unusual but we saw it a certain way and that's what we shot for.
Okay, so when user Hamgravy asks if the quarter-fold bugs you, I guess the answer is, "No."
No, no. You know, I am certainly not speaking on behalf of retailers but I think when you produce a comic that's a really weird size, comic shop owners tend to freak out a little bit. So this allows us to have this enormous size but still make it presentable as a comic book.
Hamgravy had a second part to his question. He wanted to know what "Wednesday Comics" is going to look like when it's collected? He mentioned something like "Little Nemo" as an example.
We're actually having a tough time with that because we don't want it to be cost prohibitive but we do want it to be in keeping with the size of the actual publication. So we're kind of at a crossroads for figuring that out.
Cory J. wanted to know if single pages were enough story to capture readers' attention. He thought next year, and I like how people are already assuming this will be an annual event, that instead of 15 stories there should be only two or three stories and each should be given four or five pages per issue. Your thoughts?
That is a great question. If we're doing 12 issues, we should do 12 self-contained stories. So the first issue is all Batman. And the second issue is all Superman. That would be kind of neat but I'm just thinking out loud. But in answer to the question, man, the next series is a long way away. I'm trying to put #7 to bed today and that's all I can think about.
Jason Hawkins says he loved the first page of Paul Pope's "Strange Adventures" story and he was hoping these serial stories could live on past the 12 issues of "Wednesday Comics."
If I may add to his question, could they live on via Zuda Comics or some other format?
You know, somebody said Friday, "Man, I love the Metamorpho story by [Neil] Gaiman and [Mike] Allred. You should get those guys to do 'Metamorpho' as a monthly comic." Well, if I could get Neil Gaiman to write a monthly comic, I certainly would. A plus of "Wednesday Comics" in this format is that it allows these incredible creators to get in and get out without spending their whole lives writing these things.
"Wednesday Comics" #2 is on sale now from DC Comics. Be sure to check back next week when we discuss Sgt. Rock with Joe and Adam Kubert, and don't forget to email us your questions for Mark Chiarello.