In an interview with Comics Beat, Matt Fraction, writer, and Steve Lieber, artist, spoke at length about their ongoing series, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen.
In a wide-ranging and in-depth interview, both speak to the process of creating a complicated, and at-times difficult comic.
Maveal: You mentioned at the panel on Friday that despite the core of Jimmy Olsen being silly, dumb fun that it’s really ornate and there’s a lot of weaving together going on the background. Can you tell me a little bit more about what that background is?
Fraction: I honestly just wanted to find something that was interesting to do. Like you said, the jokes aren’t. I wanted to find something real and engaging and “what is this story worth telling” and what is it about this character that’s worth spending this much time with. Something that I could honor the kind of…shape of the classic era of the book? But at the same time push that past being an homage; more than just being a cover band. It all starts to puzzle together and that’s just an interesting way to tell a story. What can we tell you that you’ll know that we told you on page one that isn’t until chapter 12 that you didn’t realize was the key all along. It was a challenge to me just as a writer. Using every scene as it own self-contained chapter gave me the toolkit to make that happen.
Lieber: My goal with any comic I’m telling is to turn myself into a pane of glass and just be a window into the story being told. In this case it’s a whole bunch of different stories so that window just keeps rotating to show different vistas. I never wanted to draw a sequence and have people think “Well that’s a Steve Leiber sequence.” That’s completely contrary to the goals. I want to think about what the meaning of the scene is and what the scene is here to communicate; what feelings do they have when they come out. I just want to tell that story — or that part of the story — as directly and honestly as I can. In this case they’re wildly different stories! I’m never in one place very long, which is great. For many cartoonists, finishing a projectand starting a new one feels like a vacation because you’ve been thinking one way, and now you get to think another way. I get to do that twice a week sometimes now.
For the whole interview, head on over to Comicsbeat now!