Exclusive Interview with Sterling Gates on "Adventures of Supergirl"[Date: January 27, 2016]
By Steve Younis
Sterling Gates participated in an exclusive interview with the Superman Homepage to discuss his new "Adventures of Supergirl" comic book series.
The Superman Homepage would like to thank Sterling for agreeing to do this interview, and for fitting it into his busy schedule.
Q: Welcome back to Supergirl! What was it like to be asked to come back to write the adventures of Supergirl after having written the main "Supergirl" comic book from 2008-2011?
A: Thank you! Honestly, I'm ecstatic and extremely grateful to be working on this book. Writing Supergirl was one of my favorite jobs at DC all those years ago, and I'm so, so, SO excited to write Adventures of Supergirl.
Q: Were you watching the "Supergirl" TV show before receiving this writing job? If so, what do you personally think of it?
A: Well the show hadn't debuted yet when they asked if I'd be interested in writing the comic tie-in. DC Digital editorial and Supergirl's producers called me about the series late last spring. I was floored and frankly humbled that people remembered my work on the Girl of Steel fondly enough to reach out and ask if I'd be interested in writing new Supergirl stories.
I saw the pilot at San Diego Comic-Con, then had a few meetings with DC and Andrew Kreisberg to talk through the story I was planning. I think I read through the first batch of episode scripts in late summer or early fall maybe, then started scripting the comic once we had the greenlight.
As for the show, obviously I love it! C'mon, Supergirl fought Reactron in the third episode! Reactron was on TV! What's not to love?! [laughs]
I think it's a really unique take on Supergirl, one that the tv landscape was desperate for. Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler, and Andrew Kreisberg have done a magnificent job reimagining the character for the 21st century. They've added new bits and pieces to the Supergirl mythos - I LOVE Alex and Astra, both brand new characters created for the show - while still respecting Supergirl's comic book roots, which is the best you can hope for in an adaptation.
And Melissa Benoist is a pitch perfect Kara Zor-El.
Q: What can fans of the TV series expect from the "Adventures of Supergirl" comic book series?
A: Super-sized thrills, emotional chills, and massive spills, of course! [laughs] We're doing different types of stories than the show in a lot of ways, stories that the show might find challenging because of budgetary reasons or subject matter or structure. The majority of the Psi story takes place inside Supergirl's mind, for instance. We're using all of the characters you know and love, though. Alex Danvers, Winn Schott, Hank Henshaw, James Olsen, Cat Grant...they're all there.
The beating heart of the story is Supergirl's relationship with her sister, Alex, and what happens when the wrong people get a hold of Kara's personal information. Spoiler alert: it doesn't go well. For anybody! [laughs]
Q: As I understand it, "Adventures of Supergirl" will be telling stories from "between" the TV episodes. Has it been difficult to constrain your stories to fit within what's being told on TV?
A: No, it hasn't been a problem at all. We take place early in season one, and we haven't been that worried about reflecting the bigger arcs of the show. We're our own story, set within the context of that world. There are little shout-outs to a couple episodes as the book moves along, but you don't have to watch the show to understand the comic. From the start, I wanted to make sure Adventures of Supergirl was a self-contained Supergirl story.
Q: Has there been anything you've wanted to include in the books that the TV people told you you couldn't touch? Have they put any demands on you or have you been given a free reign?
A: Nothing so far! I touch base with Andrew every once in awhile just to make sure everything we're doing lines up with what they're doing on the show, but we're mostly off on our own. Obviously, we're going to honor and respect everything the show sets up, but as I said, I wanted to be sure that even if you don't watch the show, you can pick up Adventures of Supergirl and completely understand it.
Q: "Adventures of Supergirl" is a 13-part story. Would you like to see it extended past the 13 chapters planned?
A: Absolutely. The world needs more Supergirl stories in it! This particular story was designed to only run across the 13 chapters, though, so it would be a matter of finding the right story to tell in the future and making sure it didn't step on any of the show's plans.
Q: What characters NOT from the TV series can we expect to show up in your comic book run?
A: Well, it's already been announced that we're using Rampage, Vril Dox, and Psi, and I haven't exactly been shy about saying we're introducing a new villain into the Supergirl mythos...but that's about all I'm allowed to say! [laughs]
Oh, we are also introducing a young woman named Rabiah Zinoman. She and Winn know each other from the Internet, and she'll play a vital role in the Super Crew's confrontation with Vril Dox.
Q: What's it been like working with different artists for each chapter? Is that an added challenge working with so many different artists?
A: It's been a little bit of a juggle but nothing too bad. I've got a wonderful editor named Kristy Quinn who helps me keep track of who's drawing what and when, and I can't thank her enough for her editing talents and patience.
The great thing about working with all these different artists is that everyone adds their own tone to each leg of the story. Bengal pencils, inks, and colors these beautiful pages...I've been describing Chapters 1 - 3 as "Supergirl-by-way-of-Miyazaki." They're such graceful, beautiful pages. Jonboy Meyers has a more whimsical, lighter take on the material, and Emanuela Lupacchino has this incredible style that slams home the classic superheroic aspects of Kara. We also have Cat Staggs doing some great covers for us. Just beautiful work.
I feel very, very fortunate to have these artists on this journey with me. Oh, and we've got a few more artists coming up that haven't been announced yet, too. More info on them soon!
Q: Can you speak to decision not to print the digital chapters as monthly comic books? Are you disappointed those who don't read comic books digitally won't be able to read your work until the Trade Paperback comes out in August?
A: We live in a world where digital comics are extremely accessible, even for a Luddite like me. If you want to read the material, it's out there and easy to find. That's one of the fantastic advantages of reading comics through your phone or tablet, they're instantly accessible within an app on your smartphone.
I will say there are some really fantastic plans for the Adventures of Supergirl collection down the line. Fans who only read print comics will be able to get a trade in stores later this year. It'll be like waiting until a season of television is over, then binge-watching it all at once on Blu-Ray or Netflix!
This interview is Copyright © 2016 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.
IntroductionThe Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.
Question and Answer Interviews:
- Interview with Christopher Priest about the Superman vs. Deathstroke story in Deathstroke #8 (November 2016)
- Interview with Sterling Gates about the 'Adventures of Supergirl' digital-first comic book series (January 2016)
- Interview with J. Michael Straczynski about Superman: Earth One - Vol. 3 - Writer J. Michael Straczynski talks to us about the third volume in the Superman: Earth One graphic novel series (February 2015)
- Interview with Jim Krueger - Writer Jim Krueger talks to us about his The Dark Lantern story in the Adventures of Superman comic book title (November 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 Interview with Bryan Q. Miller - Writer Bryan Q. Miller talks to us about his work on the Smallville: Season 11 comic book title (October 2012)
- Supergirl Interview with Mahmud Asrar - Artist Mahmud Asrar talks to us about his work on the monthly Supergirl comic book title (July 2012)
- Superman/Batman Interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov - Joshua Hale Fialkov answers our questions about The Secret 3-part story in Superman/Batman #85-87 (July 2011)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates - Sterling Gates answers our questions about where Supergirl is headed post War of the Supermen (June 2010)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates & Jamal Igle - Adam Dechanel chats with the Supergirl comic book team about the Maid of Might (March 2010)
- Behind the Scenes of the Super Friends - Four part indepth look at the Super Friends comic book title with artists J. Bone and Stewart McKenny (February 2010)
- Interview with Landry Q Walker and Eric Jones - The writer and artist discuss Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade (May 2009)
- Interview with Elliot S! Maggin - Legendary Superman writer and novelist discusses his career (January 2009)
- Interview with J. Bone - Artist discusses Super Friends comic book (November 2008)
- Interview with Mark Bagley (September 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #18 (September 2008)
- Interview with Jake Black (May 2008)
- Interview with Cary Bates (June 2008)
- Interview with Jack Briglio - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #14 (May 2008)
- Interview with Ken Pontac - Writer discusses Justice League Unlimited #44 (May 2008)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13 (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #11 (February 2008)
- Interview with Fabian Nicieza - Writer on Superman comic books (June 2007)
- Interview with Danny Fingeroth - Writer of the book Superman on the Couch (May 2007)
- Interview with Jesse McCann - Writer on the Krypto The Superdog comic books (December 2006)
- Interview with Matt Haley - Artist on the Superman Returns comic book movie adaptation (November 2006)
- Interview with Ethan Van Sciver - Artist on Superman/Batman (September 2006)
- Interview with Mark Verheiden on taking over the writing duties on Superman/Batman (April 2006)
- Interview with Matt Idelson on taking over as Superman group editor (March 2006)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb on Sam and Superman/Batman #26 (February 2006)
- Interview with Roger Stern (December 2005)
- Interview with Marv Wolfman (November 2005)
- Interview with Gail Simone (May 2005)
- Interview with Greg Rucka (April 2005)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (January 2005)
- Interview with Glenn Whitmore (November 2004)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (September 2004)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (September 2004)
- Interview with Ron Garney (September 2004)
- Interview with Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark (May 2004)
- Interview with Ed McGuinness (March 2004)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (March 2004)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Superman: Red Son] (March 2003)
- Interview with Min S. Ku (September 2001)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (May 2001)
- Interview with Joe Casey (April 2001)
- Interview with Mike S. Miller (September 2000)
- Interview with Denis Rodier (August 2000)
- Interview with Grant Morrison (December 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 2] (November 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 1] (April 1999)
- Superman vs. Terminator - A Chat with Fight Promoter Alan Grant. (January 2000)
- Superman: The Dailies (1939-1940) Graphic Novel Review.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 1) - Superman is reborn... again.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 2) - Eddie Barganza on taking the character in a new direction.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 3) - Jeph Loeb discusses writing the Man of Steel.
- Lex Luthor For President - Forget Superman. An updated Luthor's new enemies are Gore and Bush.
- Superman: Last Son of Earth - Steve Gerbern Interview - The writer discusses flip-flopping the Man of Steel's origin. (August 2000)
Krypton Club Interviews:
When Lois & Clark started production in 1993, there was an obvious relationship between the comic book people and the Hollywood people.
A trade paperback Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was published, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the cover. It included reprints of comic book stories that were the inspiration for Lois & Clark, helping to define the characters. Comic's included are: The Story of the Century (Man of Steel miniseries #2), Tears for Titano (Superman Annual #1), Metropolis - 900 mi (in SUP #9), The Name Game (SUP #11), Lois Lane (in ACT #600), Headhunter (AOS #445), Homeless for the Holidays (AOS #462), The Limits of Power (AOS #466), and Survival (ACT #665).
A number of comic book writers and artists had roles as extras in the episode I'm Looking Through You (Season one, episode 4). Their presence was immortilized in the Sky Trading Card #34.
Craig Byrne, president of the online Lois & Clark fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.
- Interview with Roger Stern (June 1995)
- Interview with John Byrne (June 1995)
- Interview with Mike Carlin (July 1995)