Four Letter Nerd

4LN Interview: Supergirl Creative Team Mike Johnson and K. Perkins

With a new creative team taking over on Supergirl starting in issue #36, I decided to jump on the title and see what it was all about. It easily became one of my favorite DC books after reading the first issue that they worked on. I loved how I could instantly relate to Kara as a character. Seeing her trying to juggle life as a young adult AND working at a coffee shop (like I do!) made me able to relate to the character all that much more. While reading the series, I couldn’t stop talking about it. I got fellow 4LN writer Stephen Andrew interested in the series by telling him how similar it is to Hunger Games and Ender’s Game. He read the issues and also fell in love with it.

One of the things I love about Supergirl is that the book is a fun read. It’s a cosmic adventure that spirals from The Crucible (a space academy for the strongest and best youth a planet has to offer) distant planets and then back to earth. And the whole time, Kara must determine what is right, what is wrong, and if she has sided with the right “allies.” If you aren’t reading Supergirl, you NEED to fix that immediately. I recently had the opportunity to chat with the new creative team about the series so please enjoy this hilarious and insightful interview with Mike Johnson and K. Perkins!

 

Perkins, can you tell us how you initially connected with DC for the opportunity to write Supergirl?

P: I met Eddie, my editor extraordinaire, through a dear friend of mine — they are both faculty at NYU (my alma mater). I came to the DC offices after the introduction to meet with EB and we just jammed on all things nerdy. Somewhere in the convo we professed our mutual love for Buffy and then suddenly it was over an hour later. Eddie’s awesome.

You seem to have a really solid connection to Kara, what is it about the character that you relate to so well? 

P: I love Kara. She’s incredibly powerful and capable, but she hasn’t quite figured that out for herself yet. Writing for Supergirl came at a very specific transition in my life where I was finding my footing again. A lot like Kara, I chose to stop listening to the people around me who were telling me who they thought I should be and how I should act. I chose to start listening to what I wanted. I’m really proud of the journey Kara takes in this arc because she’s accepted her reality and isn’t living in the past anymore. She’s moving forward and making her own choices.

I’ve personally noticed that Supergirl has a strong vibe similar to Hunger Games and Ender’s Game. Is your direction for Supergirl at all influenced by these types of stories? 

P: They’re all the hero’s journey, right? Classical storytelling at it’s best! I love those types of stories because they ask the reader to consider what s/he would do if s/he were in the same predicament as the hero. It’s awesomely self-reflective in a sneaky way, and that whole process allows for deeper consideration. I think one of the coolest things about being a writer is that you get to pose questions of your characters (and audience), either directly or indirectly, that get them to challenge what they think/feel/believe. I feel X because I’ve only experienced Y. But the whole point of my job is to get you to consider Z. Now that I know Z, do X and Y still mean the same to me? Or are things now different? Mike Johnson, my co-writer, and I talked a lot about this for Kara.

MJ:  I think Supergirl definitely shares some story-DNA with all the great sci-fi coming of age stories (and Kara actually predates many of them!) I think the best ones keep the sci-fi from overwhelming the character’s personal story, and that’s what we’ve strived to do in our story arc. Even though Kara’s an alien, her story won’t have any impact if we can’t relate to her emotionally.

As the current writers of Supergirl, how do you feel about the casting choice to select Melissa Benoist as the live action version of the character? 

P: I’m happy for Melissa! And I’m really glad Supergirl is getting love TV-wise. She’s a phenomenal character that deserves the limelight. My hope is that the show leads viewers to her original source — comics!

MJ:  I think she’ll be great. All of the new DC shows have aced the casting, and I can’t wait to see their take on Kara.

In issue #36, Clark Kent makes an appearance, and later in issue #38 Superboy makes an appearance as well. Can we expect to see any other characters from the super-family in the coming issues? 

P: Clark and Superboy’s appearances are very significant for Kara in that she’s defining who they are/what role they play in her newly accepted reality (on Earth and during her time at Crucible). What else happens and who else makes an appearance? We’ll see! And by the way, I actually giggled when I read ‘super-family’ in your question because it made me think of a super-version of Awkward Family Photos. Suddenly I saw the three of them in matching nylon tracksuits posing uncomfortably in front of a weird backdrop.

MJ:  How they get their matching nylon tracksuits is really the heart of the story. Not THIS story, but hopefully one we get to write one day. As for Crucible, yes, Kara’s super-relatives play important roles, Kon in particular. And we did have a beautiful variant cover with Kara and the Super-Pets!

superfamily

You’re welcome…?

These next few questions are our Lightning Round. Just answer with the first thing that comes to mind. 

What’s your favorite Nintendo 64 game, Mario 64 or Banjo-Kazooie?  

P: Mario 64. In my closet with my old Nintendo systems as we speak.

MJ:  Goldeneye, duh.

What are your all time favorite pizza toppings?

P: Mushrooms, olives, pepperoni, extra cheese. Thanks, now I know what I’m ordering for lunch.

MJ:  Pepperoni, then an added layer of pepperoni, topped off with some pepperoni.

I like to work music pairings into comic book reviews, what music do you jam when writing an issue? 

P: I LOVE THIS QUESTION! I’m huge into pairing music when I write. Depending on what I’m writing the music changes. For Supergirl, I’ve been playing Deadmau5, Woodkid, CHRVCHES, Glass Animals, and Kanye. Oof, sorry about that last one.

MJ:  I listen to movie soundtracks. Pacific Rim and Rush (the Hans Zimmer score, not the band) are my current brain-music. And the Man of Steel soundtrack for Supergirl scripts, of course, with the “Man” scratched out and “Girl” written over it on my iTunes screen.

(I hope you don’t have a problem with Rush… or that might be a problem…)

In a post apocalyptic world, what post-apocalyptic hero would you want to team up with? Mad Max, Alice from Resident Evil, or Kevin Costner from Water World? 

P: Alice from Resident Evil. Alice = Badass. Milla Jovovich = Babe. I like badass babes.

MJ:  Costner in Waterworld. In a world of scarcity, you want someone who knows how to recycle their bodily fluids into potable water. (Sorry. But true.)

 

I want thank Mike and Perkins for letting me pick their brains, and I’d like to let the rest of the world know that Perkins and I are now BFF’s, having bonded over our mutual love of Kanye West…

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Bill Clark

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