An DC:UNG Email Roundtable
Who is Geoff Johns, you may ask. (He just finished up working on Lethal Weapon 4, how's that for a clue?) Well, as soon a DC's new Star Spangled Kid debuts in the DCU, Geoff Johns should be a household name (well, in comics households, at least). Actually, to be fair, who is Geoff Johns was the first thing I thought too when I saw a little email show up introducing him and the new Star Spangled Kid. After talking with him a bit and learning of his plans for the book, I'm primed. It's like talking to the world's biggest fanboy about his dream job.
And Lee Moder, well, let's just say, I was honored to get a chance to eview Lee, who will be bringing his wonderful pencils to the book, too.
DCUNG: What turned you on to comics, both as a pro and a fan?
GJ: I grew up watching the Superman films and the Challenge of the Superfriends series -- and when I discovered that there were comics that came out every month about these superheroes, I was hook for life.
LM: I was seven years old when a neighbor gave me all of his comics -- great Neal Adams Batman stuff, lots of Silver Age DC stuff. A few months later, my older cousin gave me all his comics -- Romita Spider-man issues, Buscema Avengers, Herb Trimpe Hulks -- lots of cool stuff. I was already doodling as a child, so, I imagine, the comics just seemed to be a natural focus of all that energy. Also, there were all the comics-related TV that was going on -- reruns of Batman, Spider-man, Speed Racer, and new stuff like the Hulk and Wonder Woman.
DCUNG: What was your first professional work in comics?
LM: The Arrow -- a one-shot for Malibu that I did while in school.
GJ: Actually, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. (the official title) will be my first pro COMICS work. I hope to start off with a bang!
DCUNG: Tell us a little about the book and the new Star Spangled Kid.
GJ: It's going to be a really fun book. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer with aliens, robots, and mad scientists. The book focuses on a rocky daughter/step-father relationship -- and what happens when that daughter discovers her new step-father used to be a superhero. Lee and I are really trying to mix the quirkiness of high school, the best sci-fi films of the 50s, and teen heroes.
LM: I guess Geoff has pretty much laid out the overall premise for the you -- giant robots, mad scientists, aliens, kids, etc. My interest in "the Kid" lies in part in finding a new direction for a n old an outdated character -- tweaking it and , in general, teaching an old dog new tricks. Also, the overall tone is to my liking: fun, lotsa references to old sci-fi and horror and superheroics. there's a lot of grist for the mill.
DCUNG: So, what should the new "Kid" expect for her initial adventures?
LM: Geoff can probably tell you more than I can. I know that we'll be having Young Justice pop in for a two-parter -- and the Flash will be dropping by. I would love to have members of the JSA guest-star. There will be a few surprises -- really -- no dumb hype here.
GJ: Well, the Star Spangled Kid is based in Blue Valley so hopefully Blue Valley's first superhero will be showing up. Additionally, Young Justice, the Female Furies, a JSAer or two, and some others will be making an appearance -- there are a lot of characters with ties to the Star Spangled Kid. I'd love to talk Karl Kesel and Tom Grummet into doing a crossover with us sometime.
We want Kristy (and her partner S.T.R.I.P.E.) to become part of the new generation of heroes at the DCU. As to who or what Kristy's partner is all about -- you'll have to wait and see ... And I've talked to another writer who possibly has plans for her in a new team book ...
DCU: Sounds like fun. How did this new Star Spangled Kid come about?
GJ: I really wanted to see a strong female teen in the DCU -- and I wanted to see a book that centered on high school stuff as much as super-villains. I thought Star Spangled Kid was ripe for revamping. Luckily, I hooked up with the perfect guys Lee Moder and Chuck Kim -- who really were digging the stuff I wanted to do. It was approved and now we're getting underway. Lee's done some great designs and he's got a great sensibility on the absurd. He's a wacky guy. the project's actual release date is early '99.
LM: On my end, I got a call from Chuck Kim at DC about a Kid miniseries and a number for Geoff. Geoff told me of his nasty little plans -- I giggled maniacally -- said okey-dokey, count me in -- and that was that. A couple of week's later, Geoff told me that the Kid was being considered for an ongoing series -- the book was greenlighted in record time -- and here we are.
DCUNG: Why a new DC book when so many are being cancelled? Do you think there's room for another monthly teen book?
GJ: I hope so! I think the DCU needs more strong female characters.
LM: The DCU is definitely ready for a strong female teen book. This book should have widespread appeal to fans of the medium. Hopefully will attract women to comics.
GJ: I don't really consider Supergirl a teen so I think the Kid will be the only DC monthly featuring a teen girl with typical teen girl problems.
DCUNG:Since the site focuses on teens of the DCU, what's your take on the current batch of teen heroes DC publishes?
LM: With the exception of the current Titans roster, I have been generally pleased with DC's teens -- but I dearly miss Damage's book. That was one of my faves.
GJ: I love every DC hero -- especially this new generation of characters My favorite would have to be Impulse.
DCUNG: Why do you think teen heroes are becoming popular again?
LM: Dunno. I've always had an affinity for DC's teens -- especially the Nick Cardy and Wolfman/Perez Titans. I like seeing young characters with strong personalities -- always have.
GJ: I think they have the potential to breath new life into classic characters and concepts. Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl, and Impulse give the young readers someone to identify with. They're also more interesting to watch because they make more mistakes and have a tendency to goof off!
DCUNG: Which characters would you most like to get a chance to write or draw?
LM: [Geoff] put a bug in my ear about doing what amounts to an Elseworlds version of Crisis on Infinite Earths -- with one Earth populated with our versions of DC's heroes and villains. In short, pretty much any DC character can be plumbed to find new twists and possibilities.
GJ: A lot of Marvel stuff but I LOVE DC comics -- so I'd like to work on any of their characters -- but I do have favorites: The Atom, Hawkman, Superboy, and especially The Flash!
DCUNG: Lee, who are some of the artists who have influenced your work?
LM: Nick Cardy, Romita, Michael Golden, Kirby, Ditko, the animated Batman/Superman artists, Masamune Shiro, Katsuhiro Otomo. Ask me again tomorrow and you'll probably get a different answer.
DCUNG: Well, is there anything else you'll be working on that we should keep our eyes peeled for?
GJ: Nothing I can discuss right now but keep an eye out!
LM: More slam-bang superhero stuff. Love it!
DCUNG: Thanks for the eview, guys.
GJ: Thanks Sean.
By the way, Geoff mentioned that if anyone had questions regarding the series, for me to forward them to him and he'd answer them as best he could. So, sharpen your noggins and email your questions to me to send Geoff's way.