Jamal Igle Talks Supergirl and Superwoman

First Look: Supergirl #38

This week's Supergirl #38

As we traversed Artist's Alley at New York Comic Con, we noticed that artist Jamal Igle has changed the backdrop on his table to a huge image of Supergirl, the character he's currently drawing in her monthly title for DC Comics.

Igle took over the title with writer Sterling Gates as of October's issue #34. The new creative team has since given Supergirl a revamped supporting cast, an altered status quo and a new look. Over the last four months, the character experienced the biggest changes during New Krypton, the crossover event that saw the return of her parents, the death of one of them, and the creation of a new Kryptonian planet, where she's currently residing.

Now that New Krypton has ended, Supergirl is caught up in the mystery of the identity of Superwoman, the caped hero who showed up at the same time as a whole batch of Kryptonians. Supergirl doesn't know the identity of Superwoman because of the character's lead-lined costume and mask, but at the end of Supergirl #37, it became apparent that she's not on Supergirl's side.

Newsarama talked to Igle as he worked on sketches at his table in New York and tried out best to find out more about who's behind Superwoman's mask.

Preview of this week's Supergirl #38 here

Newsarama: It's been four months since you and Sterling took over Supergirl. How's the experience been so far?

Jamal Igle: Honest to God, I've had the most fun I've had on a project for a long time. It's been really, really good. I'd say it was almost effortless, but then Sterling throws in a shot where Superwoman's supposed to be carrying somebody with big explosions behind them and all kinds of things I have to draw. But then, that's what makes the job so rewarding. I'm having a great time. I really am. And the response has been amazing.

NRAMA: Have you gotten a lot of feedback from Supergirl fans during the convention?

JI: Oh yeah. I think this is the first show that Sterling and I have done since the book has come out, and I'd say at least two-thirds of the people who came up to us at the DC booth said, "Thank you for fixing Supergirl. Thank you for making it readable." A lot of people coming up to me here at the table have been saying they never even picked up a Supergirl book before, but it's on their pull list now. So that's a little overwhelming, but cool as hell. I hope it lasts. I'm just going to enjoy it while it's happening and try not to get too big a head about it.

NRAMA: When we first talked to you, one of the things you wanted to do was change her costume to make it a little more modest, since she's so young. Do you like the way it is now?

JI: I think the approach we're taking with her costume is working. A lot of people who are reading the book may have noticed she's wearing red shorts under her skirt now. And I actually got a little crap from people on the internet because I put these red shorts on her, but nobody noticed that I lowered the shirt, I raised the belt line, and I made the skirt longer as well. So if that's the only thing that people can pick out is that I put red shorts on her, I think my job here is done.

One of the things that I love is when female fans come up and say something like, "Thank you for not making her super-torso." She's no longer got that look. And I'm happy. She looks like the type of Supergirl that I want to read. Maybe I'm being an overprotective father or big brother or whatever. But she's finally the type of character that I want to read. And that's part of why I enjoy working on this book so much.

NRAMA: How has it been working with a fairly new writer in Sterling Gates?

JI: We talk a lot about the story, and we're getting more comfortable with each other. We trade a lot of emails back and forth and a few phone conversations every couple of weeks. And I like Sterling. He's a great guy, and he's a damn talented writer. I'm really, really enjoying working with him. And I'm enjoying getting to know him as a friend as well. It's very cool.

NRAMA: Let's talk about this mystery in the books right now. I'm going to just come out and ask, since we're here among friends at the convention. Who the hell is Superwoman?

JI: [laughs] All I will say is she's somebody who's been in the books at least since the New Krypton Special.

NRAMA: Has it been fun knowing who she is under the mask and watching people's reaction to the mystery?

JI: It has. Me being the guy who is constantly looking at Newsarama and Comicbloc, and looking at everybody's guesses, I can honestly say only 1 percent of people online have figured it out already. And they don't even realize they've figured it out already.

NRAMA: Have you enjoyed developing the character?

JI: I really have. I think one of the cool things is that I've actually been able to develop the visual looks for Supergirl and Superwoman and make them wholly individual. Supergirl looks more like a teenage girl. She's thinner. She's less busty. The hips are a little smaller. But Superwoman is more busty; she's fuller in the hips; she looks like what adult women look like.

NRAMA: Are these also visual cues to her identity?

JI: Yeah, there are a couple visual cues there. But I actually threw in a red herring because there are a couple of characters in the book who are actually very similarly built to Superwoman -- you know, just to confuse people a little bit.

NRAMA: Yeah, thanks a lot.

JI: [laughs] No, but it's fun! I love the mystery about it! When people find out, there's definitely going to be this reaction like a "huh??" kind of moment. But it's going to make sense when they figure it out. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

NRAMA: What do you mean by "tip of the iceberg?" Is there more story behind Superwoman's identity?

JI: There's a lot more story behind it. The reveal of her identity is the tip of iceberg. There's a lot more implied already. If you go back to Supergirl #37, the opening shot of Superwoman -- really read that scene again. There's some clues in that opening scene.

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