Talking to Amanda Conner
Superman, Supergirl & Power Girl by ConnerLast week, DC Comics released the first issue of the long-awaited Terra miniseries. Releasing bi-weekly over the next six weeks, the series breaks open the story of a recently debuted new Terra. This miniseries and character were created by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray along with artist Amanda Conner. Conner has already finished her part of the miniseries, and is already looking ahead to what's next. We took this opportunity to follow-up on our interview last week and talk to Conner in-depth about her art, her career and her upcoming projects. Newsarama: It's good to talk to you again, Amanda. Let's continue our discussion from earlier but talk about your career as a whole. First up, your collaborators – you frequently do work with Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. For those that don't know, you're Jimmy's better half and the three of you form a tight nit studio called Paper Films. But is it easier or harder working with Jimmy and Justin than other writers? Pros and cons? Amanda Conner: Both, actually… If I have any questions about anything, I can just give Jimmy a shout in the next room, and Jimmy talks to Justin on the phone everyday, and I can always just ask about something right then and there. Every once in a while, though, Jimmy and I will have a different idea about something, and occasionally we’ll do a slight bit of head-butting, but we’ll always work it out. More often than not, it helps both of us to look at it in a new way and sometimes it comes out even better than before. NRAMA: When we look at your work, the term “entertaining” comes to mind. why isn’t there more joy and fun in comics do you feel? Power Girl #1 JP: There are plenty of angst-ridden comics out there already and I already did dark and serious when I was on Vampirella, and there are so many artists out there that do angst so much better than me… I figure I’d stick to what I like to do and what I’m good at. There are so many ways people feel and act throughout every day and in my brain, that applies to super-heroes, too. That’s the reason I like to draw them acting like people you actually might know. I try to figure out what each character would be like if I knew them personally. I also just love drawing facial expressions and body language, and I guess that translates to fun pretty well. And I’m really glad you think my work is entertaining! Thanks! NRAMA: Seeing the fun on the page, let's see where it comes from. What would an ideal day include for you? AC: Having an excellent cup of coffee when I get up, and then getting all of my work done by noon. After that, running around all day long with Jimmy, doing various crazy and fun things (e.g. movies, museums, hikes, zoos, the beach, planetariums, amusement parks, except Jimmy gets barfy on the rides, so we’ll stick with water parks, massages, aquariums, bowling, things I shouldn’t talk about in print, driving and stopping at oddball roadside attractions, etc…), then have a really great dinner, and because the weather is great in my ideal day, find an amazing outdoor bar and hang out with a bunch of friends ‘till 5 o’clock in the morning. NRAMA: Who are the biggest inspirations for your career? AC: I would definitely have to say the first two are my mom and dad, who are both artists. My mom is an illustrator and a really amazing painter. My dad is a retired creative director whose new form of art is creating the perfect front yard. He also does beautiful watercolors. When he was younger, he really wanted to be a comic book artist, so he’s pretty satisfied with my career choice! Amanda Conner Also, my biggest influences growing up were Chuck Jones, Al Capp, And Hilary Knight. I know this ‘cause to this day I’ll look at some of my own work and occasionally see a pair of Chuck eyes, or an Al mouth, or a Hilary expression. NRAMA: Jimmy tells you're very busy doing illustrations not only in comics. I remember you did something for the TLC show Cover Shot. What else have you been working on besides Terra? AC: Well, in the time between starting Terra and finishing Terra I did Supergirl #12, and the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special, a few Mad Magazine illos and designed a bedroom for my friend Joey (yes, I am a frustrated designer). and a few other things that I could blather on about, but I'll spare your brain. NRAMA: You seem to be a very in-demand artist and Jimmy and Justin have often said how lucky there are to work on so many projects with you. How do you decide what you want to work on? AC: It has to be really interesting to me. If it's nothing but fight scenes (not that there's anything wrong with fight scenes) I lose interest... I need a good story to go with it. I think you need to have the quieter moments and the fun moments to make your balls-out fight scenes more... balls-out! And most of all I need good characterization and tons of personality in the characters. I like seeing how they're gonna connect with each other.
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