Amanda Conner: Putting the Pencil to Terra
by Chris Arrant
Date: 04 November 2008 Time: 04:52 PM ET
There's a new hero on the scene in the DC Universe, and she's shaking things up. Literally and figuratively.She debuted in Supergirl #12, but the all-new Terra has been talked about since a miniseries was announced in 2006. With that appearance in Supergirl and later appearances in Teen Titans, the lng-awaited miniseries hits shelves starting next week. Bringing this new face to the Terra name are writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with art by Amanda Conner. Last month we talked with the writers, and now we turn to the artist – Amanda Conner. Newsarama: It's good to talk to you, Amanda. What would you say are the challenges of working on this new Terra and how much input did you have on the story and designs of the character? Amanda Conner: Justin and Jimmy pretty much let me have free reign over Terra’s design and look. We wanted to distinguish her from the other Terras, and for her to have her own look and personality. I’d have to say that the biggest challenge for me on this mini series is a somewhat unfortunate discovery that I made about myself when I was two thirds of the way through issue #2… and that was that I really don’t like to draw rocks… I know… not good if you’re working on a Terra book! Many of my artist friends couldn’t quite understand this phenomenon, ‘cause apparently, for everybody else, rocks are pretty easy to draw. For me, not so much. However, everything that wasn’t rocks was a blast to draw! NRAMA: What kind of approach did you take with Terra in terms of expressing her personality? AC: I wanted to make Terra sort of like a young, idealistic, female version of Superman, but maybe with a little more naiveté, and very few doubts that the world can be saved. Maybe how he would have been as a young adult. In my head, she’s someone who would know about his adventures, and she would idolize him. At the same time, she doesn’t know a whole lot about our world, and its customs, which actually makes it kind of fun to do her interacting with people and characters that we’re very familiar with. NRAMA: While you were working on this miniseries, DC editorial asked for the Terra team to do an issue of Supergirl (#12) to debut her before the miniseries. How was that, and how do you think it'll color the new miniseries? AC: I think that was a pretty good introduction to Terra. It sets up her personality and her goals, and it shows people that she's going to be very different from the previous Terras. She tends to look at things with a very black & white view, so we'll get to see how she learns to deal in our very grays-in-between world. NRAMA: wIn that issue of Supergirl, you got to draw a great fight with a dinosaur-type monster. What kind of things is Terra going up against in her miniseries? AC: You'll have to read it and find out! NRAMA: The secret origin of Terra has been kept pretty … well, secret. But Jimmy mentioned there is a connection to previous Terras – could you confirm for us if you've drawn other Terras for this miniseries? AC: No, I haven't done any other Terras in this mini-series. Actually, I think the only time I did an original Terra was for a sketch that PulpSecret filmed me doing... then they sped it up and put in on YouTube so you can see the whole process in under a minute or something like that. NRAMA: Do you feel like this version of Terra is something the fans will enjoy? AC: Man, I sure hope so! George Perez is a tough act to follow. NRAMA: As of late you've had a connection with the character of Power Girl, who's been revitalized as of late – she's even appearing in the Terra miniseries from what Jimmy & Justin tell me. How would you explain your connection with Power Girl? AC: I really love the Power Girl character. Way before I did the JSA Classified mini-series I had one guy telling me to do a Power Girl book if I ever got the chance (he would always get P.G. sketches at cons), 'cause he'd love to see my take on her. After a while more and more people would say they wanted to see me do Power Girl. One day, Steve Wacker, the editor at the time, asked me to do the JSA Classified book, and at first I was a little reluctant (I have no idea why), but he talked me into it and I'm really glad he did. Now she's one of my favorite characters that I've done. It's kind of like doing a girl Superman, but she's not quite as perfect, so it makes it more fun. NRAMA: People have been chomping at the bit to see this series for sometime now, as it was announced about two years ago. Jimmy mentioned that it was announced a little to early, so has there been much pressure on rushing this out? AC: Well, when they announced it, DC didn't put it on the schedule, so I wasn't feeling too pressured at first, and they were able to put me on Supergirl and the Wedding Special without it cutting into the Terra schedule. After they decided to schedule it, that's when I had to sort of light a fire under myself. NRAMA: How far along are you on finishing the series? AC: Terra is completely penciled and inked and is being colored (beautifully!) by Paul Mounts right now. NRAMA: We noticed you almost exclusively work with colorist Paul Mounts…your choice or do you just get paired up a lot? AC: It’s my choice to have Paul on my books. We first were paired up on the Gatecrasher series that Black Bull put out. When I saw his coloring over my art, I thought it worked so well together, and the more we worked together, the better he got. The problems that I sometimes had in the past were that since my art has an animated feel to it, it should be colored that way. That would be great if it all ended up looking like Disney or Dreamworks feature film coloring, but occasionally it came out looking like 70’s and 80’s Saturday morning bad cartoon coloring. Paul totally gets it. it’s not just that he knows all the cool effects, but his color choices are right on… for instance, if it’s a certain time of day, not only does he nail it, but he gives it such a great atmosphere and feel, even if he chooses not to add any effects. Wait’ll you see Terra… he made it look beeeeoooootiful!!! NRAMA: And do you have in mind what you're doing next? AC: Power Girl, baby! That will also be written by Jimmy and Justin, and I will be doing an upcoming Black Canary/Zatanna book written by Paul Dini. Check back with Newsarama later this week as we publish the second part of our interview with Amanda, as we talk more about her art.