Wednesday Comics Thursday: AMANDA CONNER Brings The Cute

Wednesday Comics Thursday: AMANDA CONNER

Welcome back to our weekly miniseries covering DC Comics’ broadsheet Wednesday Comics. Our musings on the first six issues can be found at our Wednesday Comics Topic Page, and this week, we present the third in our series of interviews with the creators behind the project.

Amanda Conner, the artist of the outstanding Supergirl strip, took time out — before coffee even! — to chat from Brooklyn about this project and her diabolical plan to out-cute the comic book world. Can you believe this lady drew The Pro?

Newsarama: Were you a fan of the old Sunday newspaper comic sections when you were growing up?

Amanda Conner: I was any kind of comic fan! If it had pictures and words, I read it. My cousin and I would go over to our Grandmothers when we were a lot younger, and the fun thing to do was eat BooBerry cereal and read the Sunday comics! I didn’t really get into the serial comics when I was younger — I really liked the one-shot humor comics — but I read them all, even the ones I wasn’t that crazy about!

NRAMA: So, was that the attraction to working on this project, or was it getting a chance to work with Mark [Chiarello, editor]?

CONNER: I think mostly, I thought how fun it would be to work with Mark. And then, after I was slated to do the comic, I started thinking about how fun it would be to work in that format, because it is kind of a different thing from what I normally do. Part of it, also, was that back in the 1980s I tried to do a comic strip with someone, and, of course, it didn’t get picked up by a syndicate. That was my own attempt at the format years and years ago, so honestly, it is really nice do this and actually see it in print!

NRAMA: You are the only female artist on the title. Did you feel any extra pressure because of that? You are kind of a standard-bearer for female artists in the industry these days.

CONNER: No, not really. Years and years ago I did use to feel extra pressure, but I think that when you’re first starting out, and you’re new to the game, you’re going to feel pressure whether you’re male or female. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the work over the years so the pressure isn’t so bad. Part of the reason for that is that I work with people I really like, who are really smart, and who don’t make me feel like I am different. This is great and really important. But I’ve also been doing this for so long that for me, it’s no longer really an issue.

NRAMA: Your strip in Wednesday Comics is pretty different from everyone else’s — you’re one of the few that is not referencing a classic genre or paying homage to the format. Why did you choose to present Supergirl the way you did?

CONNER: Well, once I found out the lineup I was going to be with, it was hugely intimidating. I thought “This is so daunting that I don’t think I can keep up with all those amazing people!” I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do Joe Kubert or Kyle Baker, or Ryan Sook —and all those other guys who are all really amazing; So, I decided to do what I am really comfortable with. My angle was going to be to make everything disgustingly adorable and cute. It may be boastful of me, but I am really good at disgustingly cute! Although so is Kyle. Thank God he’s not going with that. Honestly, I got all panicky and then I just figured I’d play to my strengths.

NRAMA: Is that why the Super-Pets make an appearance?

CONNER: I definitely love the Super-Pets! You don’t get chances to draw cute animals in mainstream comics very often in the first place. But the fun, for me, is making them act like regular cats and dogs would act, with the added components of super-speed and super-strength! Anyone who has had a pet knows they are fun and a source of a lot of joy but there are also times they drive you nuts. On occasion pets do stuff that make you want to jump out a window! So, the fun is in putting Supergirl, who is usually out saving the world, in that kind of situation. And Krypto and Streaky are usually pretty well behaved… what if we take them and make do things that regular dogs and cats do when they piss us off? This is something she can’t punch her way out of. Now she’s got to figure out a way to help her little buddies, which is a situation most regular people have been in often, but times 100 because of the powers.

NRAMA: Would you like to do a funny animal comic?

CONNER: I wouldn’t mind drawing funny animals. See, unfortunately, every so often someone comes along and says “we’re going to do so and so, and make it kid friendly,” and all this — and they usually end up paying crap, which is a shame. Also, a lot of times when stuff is written for a younger audience, it ends up talking down to them a little. I say write it a little more grown-up and smart, and the kids will usually rise up to it. It would be fun to have stuff like that for a younger audience, but make it riveting enough for older readers. You see them do it in animated features all the time. Why not comics? That being said, I wouldn’t mind doing it, but I also really enjoy the work I’m doing now that is a little more involved and more mature. I wish I could clone myself and then I could do it all!

NRAMA: Are you surprised by the reaction to your strip, which has been universally complimentary?

CONNER: I’m absolutely flabbergasted! When you consider the lineup — I mean, I am extremely surprised and really pretty humbled. But I’m really glad every one likes it a lot. It’s been a ton of fun for me to do. Oh, and in the middle of the series, we have Aquaman make an appearance (Newsarama Note: Wanna see it? Click the image above for a BIG version of the full page!). He was tremendously fun to do, and I think folks are really going to like it.

Next week: Geek Notes and our recaps return in a double-sized Wednesday Comics Thursday… because this week, Jamie’s stuck working at his day job, covering a sport that inexcusably plays games midweek. You can follow along with his European travails on Fox or on Twitter at @jamietrecker.

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