Welcome back for another interview from WonderCon Anaheim 2013. DC Comics was nice enough to let me get together with Bryan Q. Miller who is currently writing their Smallville comic series. He was happy to talk with me about his former work on Batgirl starring Stephanie Brown. Here’s the interview and answers to important questions involving Detective Chimp and dinosaurs.
ComicAttack: You’re working on the Smallville comic right now, but what got me into your work was Batgirl with Stephanie Brown. I could tell there was a lot of love put into that series. Was she always one of your favorite characters?
Bryan Miller: She was on my radar. I knew who Stephanie was when Dan (Didio) came to me asking if I wanted to do something with her as Batgirl. I said absolutely, because I saw an arc and a line for Stephanie to take that next step. Especially since she was a character that went through the ringer, and she could have used a story to rebuild and uplift her. To help her get her mojo back. It helped that they she was at a moment in her life where she knows she made mistakes but wasn’t going to be held back by them.
CA: If you could have continued, where would you have taken the story?
BM: There are those not so subtle hints with the Black Mercy flashes at the end of the series. Those would have all been different stories we would have tackled and eventually she’d get to meet the larger DCU on the road.
CA: In the Smallville series, I noticed Monsieur Mallah and The Brain, two of my favorites, recently appeared. Now, were those two characters you knew you had to put in, or did DC ask you to?
BM: That certainly came from me. I don’t know what the impetus was, there was going to be an art heist at the Louvre that Superman and Impulse were going to foil. It had to be something with enough numbers and speed to confound them. It felt like it was going to have to be rocket-powered roller-skate villains or something completely out of left field. (Writer’s note: that was my favorite sentence in the whole interview.) So doing The Brain and the apes wasn’t something I was planning going in, but it became “Of course that’s what happens in France.” This is why we don’t see this that often. As of right now, we won’t be bringing them back since we just have so many characters we want to bring in, we don’t have any immediate plans for them.
CA: What are your views on gender and race in comics?
BM: That’s a gigantic question! That’s a really good question. What we were trying to do with the Batgirl book was a positive female character who could ask for help when she needed it, but didn’t always need it, but was also human enough to make mistakes. I think that as important as gender and race are representation-wise in books, we can all do more. I think humanity could also use more of an injection of diversity. On Smallville we always tried to do as a show and continue as a show; we wanted to do things like bring in Blue Beetle as Jaime Reyes instead of Ted Kord. We want diversity, it’s not the driving force, but it’s always something I’m very aware of.
CA: Are there any characters you could give us a peek into, or some more characters you will be bringing in?
BM: Within the next six months of the solicits we got Supergirl and the Legion coming up next, the return of Lana Lang, and a Lois Lane-centric story – she gets a 40-page story all her own coming up. And to end that with heroes old and new.
CA: If you could bring in any random character to Smallville, such as Detective Chimp, who would it be?
BM: Someone brought him up earlier today! I’ve always said Renee Montoya, I’d love to see her in some capacity. The Doom Patrol would be pretty rad. You don’t want to bring in too many other characters because then they take the focus off Superman, but I do have a list of characters I’d love to bring in down the road.
CA: Last question – you’re going off to save the day; what dinosaur do you ride in on?
BM: My favorite dinosaur is the stegosaurus, but it might be weird to ride in on. I guess you could ride between the plates and lounge on the side. It’d be slow but it’s my favorite.
So there you have it! Another interview, and come back next time with my final interview with Dustin Nguyen where we talk Li’l Gotham!