JUDD WINICK on POWER GIRL: Funny, But Not All Fun & Games
And The New POWER GIRL Creative Team Is:
For writer Judd Winick, it's a year filled with the funny. From May's bi-weekly launch of Justice League: Generation Lost, where Winick is co-writing the return of the JLI team with Keith Giffen, to his new gig on the monthly Power Girl, Winick's quota of humorous banter should be more than filled.
But now comes news that all these laughs will overlap. The events that kick off things in Generation Lost will also be the launching point for Winick's new storyline in Power Girl, and according to the writer, it's not going to be all fun and games.
Winick takes over the ongoing Power Girl series with artist Sami Basri beginning with issue #13. The two of them are inheriting a series that launched last year under the pen of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, with Amanda Conner on art. Since the comic began, it worked to establish the character as a solo act, fleshing out her alter ego of Karen Starr and adding Terra as a sidekick.
But now that the series is changing hands, fans are wondering about the future of Power Girl's evolution. Newsarama talked with Winick to find out more about his plans for Power Girl and how it will tie into Justice League: Generation Lost.
Newsarama: Judd, what was it about this project that appealed to you?
Judd Winick: I've always dug Power Girl. When we were doing the first Infinite Crisis, Geoff Johns and Amanda Conner did this terrific story on Power Girl. It was also around the same time that Geoff and I were talking about all the Infinite Crisis stuff, and we started discussing the character. We talked about how she was getting a little bit of fixing, and would be solidified as the Earth-2 Supergirl. Talking about her with Geoff and thinking through the character, I realized there's something wonderfully tragic about her, you know? She's someone who is without a world, two times over. She's another lost child of Krypton and a cousin of Superman, but in a reality that no longer exists. But now she's here in the DCU.
I love the tragedy of that, and I always thought she was a wonderful character who has so much potential. And on the flip side, for whatever reason, she has this capacity to be very, very funny. And I love that about her too.
I think she has a flippant nature about her that seems inherent, which Jimmy, Justin and Amanda really, really captured in this series. Finally somebody grabbed the reins properly with her in her own book. I think the series really solidified who she is – a little bit snarky, a little bit funny, a little bit clever, and smarter than she's been portrayed in the past. I don't think people could quite figure out who she was as a character in the past, but in the last couple years, that's become very clear, especially under Jimmy, Justin and Amanda.
I too am sorry to see them go. I take solace that I'm doing my very, very best to maintain the house that they built.
Nrama: So the tone of the book will continue, and the premise of the character in New York?
Winick: Yeah! We're going to continue in this new tradition that Jimmy, Justin and Amanda have created. I think we're being more than faithful to the character that they've helped reinvent. She's still going to have her job. She's still going to be in New York City. She's still going to have her new digs. She's still going to have her cat.
But we're going to be adding some new people to the roster. And a lot of it is straight-out superhero stuff, and figuring out new and interesting ways to introduce new characters into her life. These are things Jimmy, Justin and Amanda were probably gearing up to do – you know, to flesh out her rogues gallery, to flesh out her universe more. She needs a few more bodies in there, and we need more people to bounce off – both superheroes and regular folks. So we'll be fleshing out her personal life and who she is.
For the most part, she really isn't Karen Starr; she's just been Power Girl. She never really had an alter ego except in name only, so that's something we'll be concentrating on. I know that doesn't sound exciting for readers, but I think the Clark Kent of it all is very interesting. The guys and Amanda planted the seeds, and it's my job with Sami to make sure those things take bloom.
Nrama: Will it be a pretty smooth transition to your story?
Winick: It should be. I mean, "smooth" implies that it's just going to be another arc, and she's just going to be in New York doing her job and hanging out. But no, it's a whole new chapter of her life and there's a story we're telling that will shake things up a bit. But who she is and what this series has established about her is completely and utterly intact. We're merely moving things forward and building upon what they created, and taking it one more giant step forward.
And it's also going to be tied to Justice League: Generation Lost, which I can't really talk about beyond what I just said. It will be tied to that story, which I'm forbidden to speak about, really.
Power Girl has a history with Justice League International and Justice League Europe.
Nrama: So when you take over the series, the character becomes involved with something that happens in Justice League: Generation Lost?
Winick: The inciting incident of Generation Lost is something that will directly affect Power Girl, whereas other titles are not directly affected. She gets hit in the face with it. So she is going to have to deal with it head on.
Nrama: You mentioned a new rogues gallery. Are you using existing villains, or creating a new set of bad guys for Power Girl?
Winick: It's a mix of new and established villains. Our intent is to round out her universe and establish her as a solo hero. She has an individual quality that hasn't been tapped into. She's been mostly on teams, and only on this title has she started to come out of that. And they did such a great job. And my hope is just not to screw it up.
And now hundreds and hundreds of bloggers punch the air and say, "Of course, you're going to screw it up." [laughs]
Nrama: You think there's that kind of mentality? Before they even read one issue?
Winick: I'm one of the most hated guys in comics. I know that. It's OK. I can live with that.
Nrama: You mentioned that Power Girl is funny, and in the bi-weekly, you're co-writing a story about the JLI with Keith Giffen, which is a team that is all about the funny. You established yourself in comics with the critically acclaimed (and hilarious) comedy series The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius, but your more recent comics haven't leaned as strongly toward comedy. Are you scratching your funny bone a little bit with these stories now, Judd?
Winick: The truth is, I feel like I have been. I feel I've always made a lot of my superhero comics on the funny side. I think that people pay less attention to it because the other stuff comes with a certain amount of... well, they call it edgy, but I'm never certain when people call it edgy whether they mean violent – OK, yeah, I've done that; or blue, which I've done; or whether they mean that sometimes I've done things involving social commentary or real world issues. But I've always made them kind of jokey. Sometimes I've been tagged for making character too flippant.
In the case of Generation Lost, yes, it is Justice League International, and it's a team that's known for its humor, and we try to tap into that. But also, at the same time, in 2010, we like our heroes with a touch of realism; you can only joke around so much. So these aren't comedy books, by any stretch.
I do comedy books. I've done comedy books. I write straight-up comedy. And Generation Lost and Power Girl don't exactly fit into that description, even though they are both still very funny.
As an example, I think The West Wing is really funny, or at least the first few seasons were with Aaron Sorkin, and no one points to that show and says, "Oh, it's a comedy." Yet it got laughs every couple of lines. People say clever things in that show, and they make you laugh. And that's generally how I try to write my superhero comics: People say clever things. In my Batman run with Under the Hood, it's actually Black Mask who gets most of the jokes. He's funny; he's a monster, but he's funny. Yet I don't think anyone can look at that arc and say, "God, that is really hysterical." No, it's not, but Black Mask is.
In the case of Power Girl and Generation Lost, I play the dialogue even more that way, where if I can get a laugh out of even a dramatic situation somehow, then I'm happy.
Nrama: And you're working with Sami Basri on this series? Have you seen his work?
Winick: Yeah, he's just started and it looks fantastic. Honestly, it's one of the things that sold me on coming on board. When it was offered up to me, I was interested and I had a lot of ideas, then they showed me some of the sample art he was doing – he did a few pages of sequential art for Power Girl with no script, just to show his stuff a little bit – and that sold me and got me instantly more excited about doing it. I was very interested, and then I was just crazy about the artwork.
He has a wonderful color sense. A lot of people compare him to Josh Middleton, and in my opinion, that's not a bad person to be compared to. It has a slight animation quality, but it's about what he does with his lines and shadows and color. There's a lot to it, and it looks really great.
Check back with Newsarama this week for more of our discussion with Judd Winick, as we talk to him about why his announced return to the Batman title didn't happen, and why readers can see Jason Todd as a sympathetic character.