JUDD WINICK On The Future of POWER GIRL

JUDD WINICK On The Future of POWER GIRL

Judd Winick's run on Power Girl has barely started, but the series is already tying into his bi-weekly series Justice League: Generation Lost, although in ways readers don't even understand yet.

When Winick took over the series earlier this summer, he kept much of the lighthearted tone the fledgling comic had established as well as the character's new status quo. But he added a little more weight to her life as her company began to fail and she came up against a tough new villain, Crash.

In the second installment of our multi-part interview with Winick (for part 1, see our discussion about Generation Lost from yesterday), we talk with the writer about his run on Power Girl and what's coming up in the series.

Newsarama: Judd, with Power Girl, fans seemed pretty concerned that you were taking things in a new direction, but you've kept a lot of the existing status quo and humor. How did you approach keeping some of the old lighthearted tone but bringing in some new direction for the book?

Judd Winick: I was a big fan of the Power Girl series, and I'm a big fan of Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner. I love this team doing anything. If they were going to write and illustrate a dictionary, I'd be the first guy in line to buy it. And I thought it was a great run on Power Girl. So as a fan, I knew I had some pretty big shoes to fill.

So I didn't want to make some big, drastic shift. Nor was that my marching orders from DC. It wasn't like they told me to "do this" or "do that" with it. They wanted me to take over the book. And I discussed what I was planning on doing, and that was that.

Nobody on the inside ever questioned or thought I would have trouble with the humor. And I've said this before to you, Vaneta: I first and foremost consider myself a comedy writer. I don't know where... well, I do know where. I know where I've gotten the rep of being the dark and gloomy guy, the violent guy who does over-sexualized characters. It's because I've done things like that in the past. I've placed my characters in mature settings, and it's true that I like playing for high stakes. My characters get hurt. My characters get beat up and shot, sometimes killed. The characters are grown people who have sex, because this is 2010 and people will do that. So I understand where that comes from.

But everything I've written has always been a little bit funny. I like a good joke. I think what's going on here is that, with Power Girl, the readers see my type of humor as a nice fit. I think there's an attitude that Power Girl has that means she can be funny. She's a funny character. She's a bit sarcastic and she's very self-aware. I like her voice. I like who she is. For me, it's a very natural fit for me to get in there and write her.

We're not going to have goofy villains. Justin, Jimmy and Amanda didn't either. Our stories will be playing for keeps and stakes will be very high. And things will get very serious. But she does have a voice that has a lot of humor in it, just naturally.

So to answer your question, I just took over Power Girl and did what I thought was right for the character and the comic at this time. I did what I think would work for the character. I just wanted to keep doing it in a similar tone and present it in a way that would make for a good story.

And thank God I got Sami.

Cover to Power Girl #15.

Nrama: Yeah, your artist brings a lot to this title?

Winick: He's just a rock star! I think the book looks great. He does this great acting. He really can deliver humor. And by the way, Sami doesn't speak English! The scripts have to be translated, which is, like, a quantum leap to do the humor, but he gets it. It's just really intuitive. Things are given to him and he really gets it. There's just great acting in the book, so I love it.

She's beautiful and she's funny and the action's great. And wait until you see what's coming up. The action's really great in the next couple issues. We do some knock 'em rock 'em stuff. And some bad stuff happens, but I think it's needed. There's conflict and it makes the story get really interesting.

Nrama: Tell me about Crash and the idea for this villain, because he seems like a foe that really is a threat to Power Girl.

Winick: When coming up with a villain for any character, you don't want it to be a cake walk every single time. It's either someone who's going to out-wit them or out-match them or both.

When coming up with Crash, who by the way ties into Gen Lost in a way that will be revealed later, I really wanted someone who she could really woop it up with. At the same time, I didn't just want to create some big, monstrous character who will beat up on her. I wanted him to have some personality -- even an odd one.

I accidentally stumbled upon a Eureka moment where I came up with the idea of taking the personality from a Russian-born, American raised, snarky, Brighton-Beach-ish arms dealer. He still talks very much like a guy, but he's got a computer in his head. It cracks me up. That worked for me in a big way; I thought it was fun.

Cover to Power Girl #16.

Nrama: You mentioned she has some drama coming up?

Winick: Issue #16 is a big dramatic issue. That's where something terrible has happened. Power Girl has gotten someone to the bottom of what's happened to her company. Not so much why, but how.

That will springboard into a bit of a new dynamic. As a lot of folks have seen, Nicholas, who Mike Carlin started calling Niko from the moment I created the character, and that kind of stuck, and which we kind of like. He popped up in the first two books, and he will continue to do so.

He will be a regular character in Power Girl's life, actually. You'll see them at odds with one another in the next issue. Then they'll form an unlikely team. So I'll put it right out there. So he'll basically be teaming up with Power Girl. He'll be her quasi-sidekick. And he's not particularly happy about it, but it's something that's been thrust upon him and he has to do it.

And I was interested in that dynamic. I was interested in her having an everyday human connection, a Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, someone who's set in the terra firma, and also someone who's tied to her company.

And I'll say it right now. Her company is not going to die. It's just going to be on life support for awhile. It's just part of the story. Is it going to entirely go away? No! But it's going to have problems. I just didn't want things to be the status quo, especially in our economy!

Cover to Power Girl #17.

Nrama: And in Power Girl #17, you're getting to write Batman?

Winick: Yeah, I wanted to do that. I asked, and they let me! Plus Sami wanted to draw Batman anyway. And I had it in my original outline, that Batman would come and hang with us.

So I get to write my two new favorite characters.

Nrama: It's like a different take on World's Finest.

Winick: It's something we haven't really seen before, and I think it can be a lot of fun. It's Dick Grayson, so it's a little different. The way I've written Batman is that when he's out in the field, being Batman, he's Batman. That's how everybody writes him, really. To the outsider, there's nary a difference between Bruce Wayne Batman and Dick Grayson Batman. I mean, there's a little difference, but not enough that someone would be able to figure it out.

But when he's alone with other heroes? With the doors closed? I have Dick be himself. To me, it seems silly for him to keep putting on the Dark Knight face like Bruce Wayne. In some books you see that and in others he doesn't. But I think, since he's not really Bruce Wayne, he can make a few jokes. He did it in Gen Lost. Everyone gets it. He's Dick Grayson.

Around Power Girl, he's a little more available. He's a little more funny. And they get to play off of one another in a much more lighthearted way. What they're going to be doing will be incredibly serious, but they're going to have a little fun.

Nrama: And the Power Girl series will tie into Gen Lost as well, right?

Winick: Around Issue #19 or #20, that will be the end of Act I. Right around Act III of Generation Lost. The two are in sync. Power Girl will be a more active part of Generation Lost. I haven't quite figured out exactly how the juggling act will occur, but it will.

And yes, the fans who have said it are right! Power Girl used to be a member of Justice League International. Isn't that interesting? I'll leave it at that.

Nrama: But she's among those who don't remember Max Lord, right?

Winick: Right. She's just like everybody else. She's a member of the vacant party. So it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Because there are a couple people -- Rocket Red and Blue Beetle -- have no idea who Max Lord is, per se. They don't have these active memories of him. It's just what they've been told, and they're going along with it. So that may be a way in for Power Girl, or who knows? Maybe she'll remember. We'll see.

Check back later with Newsarama to hear more about Winick's Superman/Batman story where he goes back to fill in a story that readers never saw: How Clark Kent and Dick Grayson dealt with Bruce Wayne's death.

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