Gray & Palmiotti on Superman/ Supergirl: Maelstrom

Palmiotti & Gray on Superman /Supergirl

Never stand between a New God and what they want.

But that what's Superman's done inadvertently, as the previously unknown New God Maelstrom sees the destruction of Superman as her one way ticket into Darkseid's heart. Take down the main superhero, and you're bound to gain everyone's attention … even Darkseid. No, this isn't romance comics territory we're going into --- but a lot can be provoked when someone is in love.

But Superman has help in the form of Supergirl. As Supergirl continues to grow into a pillar of the DCU, this tale combines her, DC's number one hero, and the passions of the New Gods. Scheduled to debut in November, the five issue Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom miniseries is scheduled to segue from Earth to Apokolips and uncharted territory, and the two men crafting this tale are writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. Along with long-time collaborator Phil Noto, these comics vets brought this tale to life.

NRAMA: Thanks for talking to us, guys. Let's talk about Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom – how did the idea for this come about?

JP: We were looking for something interesting to do with the two characters that hasn’t been hit on yet and this series was originally going to be a Superman Confidential story until we all agreed it was too important, and too big for that series and even more that we were going to be featuring Supergirl more than we would have the right to in a Superman book, we all figured it would work better as a stand alone mini series or a hardcover.

JG: The heart of the story looks at the relationship between Superman and Supergirl.

NRAMA: And how specifically does it tie into Final Crisis?

JP: This does not tie into Final Crisis at all and we see that as a good thing. This is a book that any fan of these characters can pick up and dig in and enjoy without having the responsibility of reading 100 other titles to make sense of everything. There is nothing wrong with that if, but the casual fan doesn’t always have time to get so wrapped around all the crossovers these days and we wanted he series to appeal to them and the hard core reader as well. It’s a stand-alone tale that has a lot of important information and background and gives the readers insight to what makes both of these characters tick.

NRAMA: Why does Maelstrom need to kill Superman to become Darkseid's bride?

JP: Maelstrom has something to prove and at the same time thinks she will be able to make an impression on Darkseid at the same time to finally get his attention. It’s a primitive way of thinking…the assistant does a great job and expects the boss to take notice. We see this in every day life except for in Maelstrom's case, it’s a billion times crazier and her motivation, although a pure and driven one, is a primal way of thinking, which makes her that much more dangerous on all levels. Her first attack in issue one is such a brutal assault that many people die and there's nothing anyone can do about it. All to just prove a point.

JG: Sometimes love is cruel and unusual. Maelstrom views Superman as Darkseid’s elusive white whale, he hasn’t been able to permanently defeat the Kryptonian. If she can bring him to Darkseid then maybe he will see her in a new light, one with flickering candles and Barry White playing in the background. The chick is crazy with a fatal attraction for the wrong dude.

NRAMA: Darkseid's the motivation here for Maelstrom – but will he show up in the series?

JG: Yup, you get some old school Darkseid and New Gods in this story, a fond remembrance of a kinder gentler age in comics. Okay, maybe not kinder and gentler, but we’re working with the pre Suge Knight Darkseid.

NRAMA: This one centers on Maelstrom. Do I need to brush up on my DC Comics reading, or is she a new character?

JG: Nope, you can come in clean because she’s new…err, I mean to say she is a New God we haven’t seen before.

NRAMA: This isn't your first go around with Superman and Supergirl – you've got Supergirl, Superman Confidential and an tie-in comic to the recent Superman movie. I'm probably missing something here, but what I'm getting to is – what's it like writing these two together?

JP: Fun because with the exception of the Supergirl issue, the superman tales we told were in another person's direction given to us and with this story we tried to tell a timeless tale that will make a great read over and over as time goes by and although its all part of a bigger picture, Its also a week in the life of two of the biggest characters in the DCU that no one ever gets to see. We put these two characters through hell and its fun to be there for the ride.

JG: This is a different experience because we spend more time on their personal relationship, how Kara views herself in relation to Superman, Earth and the responsibility thrust on her by not landing on a less troublesome planet. The fun was in stripping them of their powers for a short time and having both survive in a hostile environment.

NRAMA: This isn't a two person operation – you've got frequent collaborator Phil Noto turning your words into pictures. This is a big gig for him, being one of his first superhero works and doing it with Superman and Supergirl. How's he doing?

JP: Look at the work…the guy has the storytelling down pat, the action is brutal and the art is beautiful. He really has stepped up to the plate on this one and personally, having worked with Phil for years, this is his best and most passionate work to date. Phil gets what Justin and I are looking for…he understands the scale of the story, the idea that we are traveling to other worlds and need to see things we never have seen before and he totally gets that this is his biggest assignment to date. Phil is a close personal friend of mine and if I had my way, one of three people I hope to continue working with for the rest of my life.

JG: Phil approaches everything he does with the same level of devotion and professionalism regardless of the material, but he was jazzed about working on Kirby characters. What we wanted to do was give him a wide-open canvas to work with, big panels and bigger pages where he could cut loose. The style is much more open and cinematic rather than the intimate claustrophobia we wanted in his Jonah Hex stories. As usual Phil comes in and kicks all kinds of ass like a pencil wielding pencil arts master!

JP: the one thing we learned early on when collaborating with an artist is to play to their strengths and actually sit down with them and see what they have been dreaming about working on. For Phil, it was a big superhero book featuring these two very characters. We find that working with the artist always produces a better book, rather than just having a job thrust upon them.

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