And lo, there was a Crisis -- a Crisis of Infinite Darkwings!
With BOOM! Studios' popular Darkwing Duck series, the first arc from Ian Brill and James Silvani focused on the hero's return after a decade-long hiatus from pop culture. The sophomore arc isn't letting up, either, with Darkwings from multiple universes suddenly wreaking havoc throughout St. Canard.
What does this mean for our eggplant-suited hero? We caught up with writer Ian Brill to talk more about Darkwing Duck, including his reasons for the new story arc, why Negaduck was the perfect villain for the arc, and what's next for DW and his daughter Gosalyn.
Newsarama: Ian, just to start off with -- now that the first arc is over, how do you feel about the way the Darkwing Duck series was received?
Ian Brill: I feel pretty overwhelmed! This was my first long-form story. I had written short stories in ZOMBIE TALES (which was great, you learn so much when Mark Waid is editing you) but Darkwing Duck #1 was the first full-length, 22 page comic I ever wrote. I put in what I wanted to read in a Darkwing Duck comic book. Luckily, it seemed many others were on the same wavelength! Fans were incredibly supportive of this book, which I can never thank them enough for. Now I feel that I have a reasonability to deliver even bigger and better stories, something I take quite seriously!
After feeling overwhelmed there other major feeling is gratitude. For BOOM!, all the way up to CEO Ross Richie, to believe in me like this is huge. It's amazing. Like I said, first long-form story. My first assignment was writing up the plot to the first four issues, for it to be sent to Disney for approval. I freaked out for a couple of minutes (read: days) and then hit the ground running and tried to do the best I could. That's because I had to do best by those who gave me this incredible opportunity.
A couple of months later I'm signing Darkwing Duck 1-5 at Long Beach Comic-Con, alongside artist James Silvani, cover artist Amy Mebberson and Darkwing Duck creator Tad Stones. If that isn't already unbelievable, Ross hands me and everyone else his own copies of issues 1-5 to sign. That was an amazing moment.
Nrama: As far as this second arc goes, we've got a Crisis on Infinite Darkwings on your hands. How did this idea come to you, and what do you feel all these alternate Darkwings brings to the original real deal?
Brill: The idea was to flip the story of the first story “The Duck Knight Returns” on its head. St. Canard had no Darkwing. Now it has too many! As soon as Darkwing is back in the swing of thing, he faces “brand confusion.” I wanted a visual idea, something for James to just go nuts with. We already had Negaduck, a doppelganger of Darkwing from another dimension. I figured that was an idea to exploit. More dimensions, more weird Darkwings. You'll see a double-page spread in issue #6 that has a ton of them. Some of those are ones I put in the script, some of those are James's. It gets crazy. This all jumping off the “everything-and-the-kitchen-sink” brio of the show. Also, and I didn't realize this until later, I think I was subconsciously inspired by Grant Morrison and all those alternate Supermans in Final Crisis. This is a very different story in a very different style of course, but I think the influence is there. If it wasn't for Grant I wouldn't be writing comics. He's permanently influenced how I look at things.
There's one alternate Darkwing in particular that will have a major impact. He's in all four issues. You'll see certainly know whom I am talking about by the time we hit issue #8.
Nrama: Speaking of Darkwing, he's had some real victories -- namely with the reunion of all his supporting characters -- as well as some real losses, not the least of which was that he spent years at a day job. What's going on with him now, and where do you see room for him to grow as a character?
Brill: Like so many of us he needs to learn to balance the “day” and “night” side of his life. But that's not something pat like “I need to spend more time attending Gosalyn's soccer practice.” Gosalyn wants to go on Darkwing Duck adventures! She's got a rambunctious spirit and an ego, which she gets from being his adopted daughter. He sees a lot of him in her, which is both great and scary for him. Then there's the rekindling of his friendship with Launchpad and his romance with Morgana. How do you create real solid bonds with people when so much of your time is spent either having supervillains on the run, or being on the run from supervillains? In fact, that's how he met all these people who mean so much to him. But he can't just be the greatest superhero in St. Canard and think that makes him a well-rounded person. This is a major part of the next storyline we have coming up.
Nrama: You've also brought out some big guns as far as the villains go, particularly with Negaduck and Ducktales fiend Magica De Spell teaming up. First off, why those villains? And secondly, could you tell us a little bit about your personal take on them, where their heads are at?
Brill: Negaduck came from the alternate Darkwings idea. He's such a great villain I knew I could really get a lot out of him. Then I thought, since Darkwing has just reunited with Launchpad, maybe a Darkwing villain should team-up with a villain from Duck Tales. Usually when Negaduck teams-up with villains he makes himself the leader with fear and intimidation. I wanted to see him come up with a plan that was incredible ambitious, and required him to cooperate with someone who was on a more equal footing with him. Magica has taken on Uncle Scrooge so many times, she surely was fit to fight alongside Negaduck. She sees this as a chance to make her more powerful and get what she always wants, Scrooge's Number One Dime, through Launchpad. She's an example of how greed is going to make you see one thing clearly but blind to so much else around you.
Nrama: Something that particularly surprised me about the first arc that you worked on was Gosalyn's new superpowered status quo. What made you put her on that particular path?
Brill:Darkwing cares for Gosalyn. Sometimes that means being overprotective. Also, he's got that ego. With “Crisis” you'll see how he reacts to competition. I wanted Gosalyn to be competition for Darkwing. I wanted to see what kind of feelings, mixed feelings, that would create in Darkwing. I also wanted a way to show her daring spirit externally.
Nrama: Let's talk a little bit about James Silvani, who you've been working with on this book. How do you feel that his style has evolved since the first issue?
Brill: He's awesome and he's gotten only awesome-er. To have an artist who is on the exact same page as me and Editor extraordinaire Christopher Burns is like winning the lottery. He has visual jokes that are funnier than anything I could make up. He is as enthusiastic about these characters as we are, probably more so. His energy and talent inspires me.
Colorist Andrew Dalhouse is another hero of this book, Andrew is the Bill Pope of comics. What Pope did for films like The Matrix Andrew does for comics. He breathes so much life into them with his colors. It's always a joy to see his work. Letterer Deron Bennett is just a machine. He handles every weird sound effect I throw at him. Darkwing Duck's a talky character and Deron always makes it work. This is a fantastic team, and it is tremendously rewarding to work with them.
Nrama: Finally, to wrap things up -- can you give any teases of what's coming up ahead for Darkwing Duck, after this sophomore arc concludes? Any moments you're particularly excited to see?
Brill: Four words: He will lose her.Are you following Darkwing's Ongoing Adventures?