If Will Pfeifer can make readers of Red Hood and the Outlaws think of one word, he wants it to be "fun."
The writer, who's only on the title for three issues, is hoping to return the "fun" to the title, as he works with artist Rafa Sandoval on a story that guest stars other "fun" characters like Frankenstein and Lobo. And he said one of his main tools will be action scenes — done right.
"I hate to keep harping on fight scenes, but done the right way, fight scenes can be a lot of fun, and they can reveal character and propel the story forward," Pfeifer said.
The writer, who's known for fan-favorite runs on comics like Catwoman and Aquaman, hasn't been active in comics during the last few years. But he told Newsarama his time away is ending now, as he's preparing for another project at DC soon.
Newsarama talked to the writer about writing Red Hood as a "fun" comic, and what he thinks of the potential of writing younger heroes in the New 52.
Newsarama: Will, I think for years, comic book writers have shied away from using the word "fun" to describe their comic stories, but with your first issue on the title, it really felt like, among the characterization and the plot developments, there was a real focus on fun. Am I reading that right?
Will Pfeifer: You are reading that completely right. When I first talked to DC about doing this… you know, I've read superhero comics for years, and sometimes they're dark and gritty and serious and all that stuff, but this time, I just wanted to write something that was fun — like a big action movie or a roller coaster.
From the first scene, we start running, and then we're not going to stop until the last panel of that third issue in this arc. It's just going to go, go, go.
So it's great to hear you say that, because if there's one word I was trying to put into the readers' head, it was fun. So I'm glad you had some fun with this issue.
Nrama: With a team book like this, even though there are only three characters, what are you trying to focus on in this story arc? Is it spotlighting one character, or are you kind of keeping them together as a team? You haven't written a lot of team books before, have you?
Pfeifer: Yeah, I've never really written a team book for any length of time before. The great part of a team book, in this case, you have three distinct personalities. So they're all superheroes, and they all have a common goal.
But the fun thing is watching how they achieve that goal, and how they bounce off each other — how what Roy does affects Jason and Kori, and vice versa.
In the opening issue, we don't really get all three of them together, but we're definitely building to that.
Coming in, right off the bat, I wanted the characters to be strong. I wanted people to think, hey, I recognize these characters, and he captured what's fun about them. So I devoted a lot of space to Roy and split it up a little bit, so we got to sample all three of them.
Nrama: We found out at the end of issue #29 that they need to go to S..H.A.D.E. and Frankenstein to get a ship. What does that encounter bring as an added dynamic to the story?
Pfeifer: I think that's where the fun is really going to start. In this one, you had Roy fighting these aliens. But the next issue, we're going to see Jason and Kori go up against Frankenstein and S.H.A.D.E. It's going to be very interesting. Talk about different personalities and approaches to their missions! And they're going to collide with this huge force.
The second issue — issue #30 — has two fight scenes that are among the craziest things I've ever written. I think people are going to really dig them. They're two similar scenes, but they're told in very different ways.
And I've been seeing Rafa's art coming through on these pages, and they are amazing.
As good as #29 is, issue #30 just takes it all to another level art wise. The art is just gorgeous.
Nrama: I know issue #29 doesn't reveal who the "boss" of these aliens is, but I know Lobo gets involved in the story later. Can you describe what he brings to the story, and how he bounces off Kori, Jason and Roy?
Pfeifer: Yeah, talk about a strong personality. Lobo, of virtually any character created in the last 30 years, is as memorable and different and as individualistic as anyone.
Seeing him against Kori and Jason and Roy reveals different parts of their personality.
I hate to keep harping on fight scenes, but done the right way, fight scenes can be a lot of fun, and they can reveal character and propel the story forward.
There's a whole different sort of fight scene coming up with those characters. I had a blast writing it, and I hope people will have a blast reading it.
Nrama: I know in the past, you've written characters in the pre-New 52 DC universe who were a little more mature — particularly in your acclaimed Catwoman run. But so many of the heroes are younger now, in the New 52, and you're handling much younger and more brash characters. What do you think the opportunity is as a writer to reform the young heroes of the DCU?
Pfeifer: When I was writing Aquaman for a little bit and Selina for a long time, you're right — those characters, within continuity, they've been around for awhile. They've established themselves. And Selina was both a mother and a mentor in those issues. So that was one thing.
Now, when you're writing characters like the ones in Red Hood, they're younger and more impetuous. They're going to make mistakes that a wiser hero, a more experienced hero, wouldn't make.
So part of the fun is seeing them make these mistakes. But then, well, how do they get out of them? Do they learn a lesson? They hopefully do learn from their mistakes, and eventually, down the road, they'll be the more mature heroes, the ones who know what they're doing, because they screwed up when they were young.
Nrama: We know now that your time on Red Hood and the Outlaws is finite. Do you have other projects lined up at DC, and will it still be with young heroes?
Pfeifer: I can't say yet. Soon somebody will be able to say something.
I can say that I will be doing more work for DC, which I'm grateful for.
I've been out of comics for awhile. I'm so glad to be back in. And I will definitely be doing more. So I'm not going away yet.