Newsarama interviews “New 52” Supergirl writers Mike Johnson & Michael Green

Supergirl 01 (2011)

Newsarama has published their interview with new Supergirl writers Mike Johnson and Michael Green, in addition to news about the changes to Superman and an interview with Dan Didio and Jim Lee on Superman’s reboot. Comics Beat has more more gory details. Regardless of your reaction to the Supergirl interview, it sounds a million times better than the godawful ideas DC has in store for everyone else in the super family.

I feel too emotionally distant at this point to give much of a reaction to the interview. I’ll just quote a few things that seem worth noting.

Michael Green: We’re approaching this as if we’re inventing a new character. Obviously, she’ll have similarities to the character people already know, but she’ll have some new things as well.

We’re really focusing on her specific journey on our crazy planet, and letting it just be about that. She’ll interact with other people in the DC Universe who are experiencing interesting things in the relaunch, other characters you’ll recognize. But this is going to be Supergirl’s book.

Newsarama: How would you describe this Supergirl? Can you tell us about her as a person?

Mike Johnson: She’s a Kryptonian teenager who has had her entire world taken away. All her friends and family are gone, and she’s suddenly on this planet called Earth, with backwards technology and people who don’t behave as well as the people on her home planet.

It’s like taking a teenage girl from today, who’s locked into modern technology and social media and everything, and throwing her back into the Middle Ages.

And in Supergirl’s case, she also suddenly has the power to rule the place. All of that would mess with anyone’s head. It would mess with an adult’s head, let alone a teenage girl who’s finding her way in the world.

Also, she’s an alien. Kryptonians are aliens. And I think that gets lost. In the past, they’ve been heroes and they look like us, or at least really good looking versions of us. But she notices the differences when she arrives. And that informs the way she reacts.

Mike Johnson: [T]he first story arc will be about her arrival. The second story arc will be more about her building her life here.

If they get it right the first time, we won’t have to have multiple retcons later to fix things? hopes

Mike Johnson: You could pick up the book and never have read anything about Supergirl. The stuff that you might already know would inform it, but we want this to be a book that you can hand to anybody, boy or girl, at any age, and they can just enjoy it as a story without having to know anything about Supergirl or Superman or Krypton or anything.

I would appreciate an ongoing Supergirl title that I could comfortably hand to a young reader. That’s a big flaw in the early issues of the 2005 series. I just would like writers to occasionally remember that there will be new readers with previous conceptions of Supergirl from her animated appearances or the kid-friendly books.

Mike Johnson: Obviously her basic power set is the same as Superman’s, but we also want to play with the idea that the yellow sun affects Kryptonian females differently from males. And in some ways, she may be more powerful than Superman. She has different abilities that she’s trying to cope with.

I’d be interested in differing power sets if they were a result of Kal and Kara going through different processes to reach Earth, or their powers developing over time from an infant to adulthood vs. hitting Earth in a teenaged body (Kara might even need to “grow into” her powers over time, aware that there are more to come based on Kal’s abilities – it would be a nice change if Kryptonians didn’t always arrive on Earth with full knowledge and access to their powers!). But as a result of their sexual biology? No. A thousand times no. We don’t need any more reinforcing of sex-based myths. This is an incredibly bad idea.

Michael Green: It’ll probably have another similarity [to their Superman/Batman work] because, while it will fit very nicely within continuity, it’s not a continuity-heavy or continuity-focused book. That’s just a personal taste thing. As much as I really admire what they’re able to pull off in the heavy-continuity books, because it’s so much massive story to handle, we’re going to be a book you can enjoy without really having read any other books. But if you’ve read those other books, you’re going to like it even more.

Keeping Supergirl in her own separate story is the best thing for this book, given how they’re ruining Superman. Best to firewall those series as much as possible.

Newsarama: Did you guys have any input on the costume?

Michael Green: Not really, and for me, it’s not about what the costume looks like — though it is pretty cool — but it’s about what it means and what the story is behind it.

Mike Johnson: There is a story reason she wears that particular costume.

Michael Green: Right. Why is this girl wearing a costume in the first place? That’s not an obvious thing. Usually, putting on a costume for the first time means something. It means putting on a mantle and deciding your place in the universe and what your personal goals for yourself are. So we wanted to make sure that particular costume is part of the story.

I’m guessing this means we won’t see any fixes to the costume anytime soon, since the creative team won’t have any control over that. AGAIN. That is so frustrating. Because editorial will never admit they made a mistake (like when they permitted Michael Turner to design the last costume).

Newsarama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell fans to kind of summarize what they should expect from this new Kara in Supergirl?

Michael Green: It’s the Kara you know, except we’re telling the story of her arrival and how she got started on her journey toward becoming a hero. We think that’s the most important part. This whole relaunch is about new beginnings.

To tell the truth, I would have been very interested in reading this interview 7 years ago when the first series debuted. The writers seem to be hitting a lot of points that should have been explored better during the first two years of the series, which Eddie Berganza and Joe Kelly completely bungled. For new readers or those who just started and aren’t that invested yet, this could turn out to be really great. Starting fresh could provide a solid reboot for Supergirl. I’m not a new reader, though, and have no interest in getting emotionally invested in a new series and going through all the anxiety of new writers and a new direction all over again.

If the series turns out to be okay, I’ll pick it up in trades like I did last time. But I don’t think I’ll be reading it or talking about it here for a while. I’m not ready to move on to Kara 3.0.