Exclusive "Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade" Interview

[Date: May 2009]

By Adam Dechanel

Writer Landry Q. Walker and artist Eric Jones talk with the Superman Homepage about their 6-issue miniseries "Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade".

The Superman Homepage would like to thank the guys for agreeing to do this interview, and for fitting it into their busy schedule.

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade #1 Q: How did the project come to fruition?

Landry: Disney Adventures had shut down in November, and we found ourselves out of work. So we turned to Bob Schreck for help, and he set up a meeting with Jann Jones. In preparation, Eric produced three different Supergirl illustrations (and one Batgirl). Lucky for us, Jann was looking for someone to come on board for a Supergirl book at that show. I know she approached someone the day before our meeting, but they were booked. Lucky for us.

Eric: After that, it was just a matter of developing a pitch that Jann liked. The basic concept of it being about Supergirl in junior high school was always there, but the actual story changed a lot between the pitch and the final product. There were gymnastics competitions and hockey games in there originally, for example. And our take on Comet was originally going to be pretty different from our final version, too.

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade #2 Q: Were you a fan of the Maid of Might previously?

Landry: I've always been a DC reader, and so Supergirl is a character I have been long familiar with. I have liked the character, but I have to confess the moment I became a fan was during Crisis on Infinite Earths. The sacrifice that Supergirl makes in that story helped redefine all of her previous adventures for me. I like when heroes have definitive endings to their sagas.

Eric: Same here, really. As a kid I was a big Marvel fan, but I read Crisis on Infinite Earths as it came out, and Supergirl's role in that story blew me away. After Crisis, I realized that DC had some really cool stuff going on in their books, and that led me to investigate more deeply. Eventually I read the Supergirl comics from the Silver Age, and I really enjoyed them a lot. Great, great stuff.

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade #3 Q: Much publicity was awarded to Linda's new look as Supergirl and as a student. Who thought up the character designs, who influenced whom?

Eric: Landry and I had many discussions about Supergirl's look, and we eventually settled on what you see in the book, but a big tip of the hat has to be given to Rikki Simons, who colored some of my drawings for the pitch we sent to Jann Jones. Rikki opted to give Supergirl the blue stockings she wears in our series, and I really thought that was a stroke of genius. It was such a simple way to maintain her classic outfit, while giving her a little more of a modest look.

Q: Originally it was thought to be an ongoing series from DC's publicity. Were you always working towards six issues?

Landry: Yeah, it was always planned as a mini-series.

Eric: Definitely.

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade #4 Q: How limited were you with what you could and couldn't do?

Landry: The only thing we were asked not to include was Brainiac 5. I imagine there were other boundaries, but we never tried to cross them.

Eric: We had an amazing amount of freedom. It felt pretty much just like working on a creator-owned property, actually.

Q: It seemed a very animation based series both in writing and artwork... was that a conscious choice or did it just lend itself better that way?

Landry: Well, the writing is just basic comic writing, in the sense that you have single issue stories with a growing subplot. The subplot becomes the primary story at the end. I did want to introduce a growing sense of urgency in the series. The beginning tone is comparatively whimsical next to where the series ends.

Eric: I've always had a strong affinity for classic American animation art and the modern animation art inspired by it. So when we were developing the concept, I decided to approach the art in that style - not because I wanted the comic to look like a Saturday morning cartoon, but because I think that style really lends itself to comics. Drawing in that 'animated' style really allows the characters to emote, which is to me the most important aspect of strong storytelling.

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade #5 Q: Could you reveal anything that didn't make the final cut?

Landry: Alura and Zor-El were going to play larger roles in the end, but I changed that in part due to their return in the main DCU. An entire issue was written where the iteration of Supergirl who becomes Supragirl travels in time and encounters herself just before she goes off to fight the Anti-Monitor. I decided to cut it for various reasons. I never even discussed that one with DC.

There was also a version of the first issue that spent 10 pages with Kara on Argo.

Q: Any chance of a collected edition?

Landry: December, I think.

Eric: Yep.

Q: Is there a possibility of the book returning and this time as a fully fledged series?

Landry: Hopefully. Though if it does, I would prefer a series of mini-series. 6 issues for each school year on through 12th grade.

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade #6 Q: How do you feel now the series is over?

Landry: A little melancholy. I've actually been done since December. But I've been living with the characters in my head for 14 months now. Packing them up, so to speak, has been a bittersweet experience.

Eric: This series was truly a blast, and I'll miss working on it, but I'm ready to take a little break from Supergirl for a while - but I'd do it again in a second.

Q: What other projects do you have lined up?

Landry: Well, we're doing a bit of work with DC on an existing series. More news on that will come later. Little Gloomy, our creator-owned series with SLG, is deep in development for a television series. We're busy but without as much work as we would like. Hopefully, we will be in a position to create another series from the ground up, soon. We were lucky to receive the first opportunity, and much thanks has to go to Dan DiDio and Jann Jones for giving us that chance. Hopefully we will receive another similar opportunity in the near future.

Eric: I'd love to say more about our current job at DC as well, but we can't talk about it yet! I will say this: I think it might be our best work to date, and I'm loving every minute of it.

This interview is Copyright © 2009 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.



The Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.

Question and Answer Interviews:


Krypton Club Interviews:

Lois 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.

Check the Television section of this website for some “Lois & Clark” Interviews conducted by The Krypton Club.