Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Eaglesham on JSA

Over at Newsarama, JSA artist Dave Eaglesham shoots his mouth off about the new characters. Here are some key points:

Click for SpoilersPower Girl
NRAMA: A couple other members who command respect are Power Girl and Mr. Terrific. How are you approaching them?

DE: Power Girl is an interesting draw because she has such a large chest, and that's something I don't usually do. I don't go for that kind of, you know, "T and A." But I think what really offsets that large chest is her muscularity, because she's really got big arms and such. I'm trying to soften her character up a little bit, but at the same time, she's taking on more responsibility in the JSA as a leader. So she needs more stature, she's got to stand up taller and be less punky.

Ma Hunkel
NRAMA: Oh yeah! How could we forget her?

DE: You know, people don't think of her, but I want to make her such a character that Geoff will want to use her a lot. Because I think she's really interesting. I'm doing a totally different take on her. Once again, I was hoping they would like it because I sort of sprung it on them. She greets Maxine at the headquarters and she's wearing a three-piece suit instead of an apron and all that stuff.

NRAMA: A suit?

DE: I want her to be more sophisticated. I'm drawing her very tall. She's a big woman. Six feet tall, broad shoulders. I want her dressed really nice, really sophisticated. She's very capable, and she could go out for adventures on her own anytime she wants. She knows how to use all the things in their facility, so she should dress like the respectable person she is.

NRAMA: So you said you sprung it on them. What did Geoff say when he saw her in a three-piece suit?

DE: He loved it. Now, she doesn't have the tornado symbol on her chest anymore, but that's fine, because Maxine's going to be taking over that.

Maxine Hunkel
NRAMA: Let's start with one of the brand new characters who was announced by Geoff in San Diego. Her name is Maxine Hunkel, the granddaughter of Ma Hunkel. She's really young, right?

DE: She's about 19 years old. But she's very bubbly and energetic. She's so positive and yet she's also isolated because of the way she talks and the way she is. People don't want to be around her.

NRAMA: She's almost too positive?

DE: She's almost too positive, and I think she experiences a lot of rejection because of that. When she's asked to join, it's a great moment in the story. I was so looking forward to drawing her. And you know, I never know what's going to happen when I take on a new character like that. I hope that the writer gives me enough cues as to where he wants me to go. And I drew it, and I sort of did a slightly different take from what Geoff indicated in the script. And I was like, "Oh, I don't know if he's going to like it." But he loved it the second he saw that first drawing. I put freckles on her face, and she's absolutely adorable. Everyone's going to love her. I'm sure of it.

NRAMA: At the Toronto Comic Book Expo, you told us that your favorite page you had drawn in Issue #1 was one where Starman is dancing through a building. You've said you can't reveal too much about this character, but if he's dancing, it sounds like he's a fun character.

DE: He is a fun character, and the funny thing is, I had no idea it was going to turn out that way. It's not in the script for him to dance or anything.

NRAMA: Really? It wasn't in the script?

DE: No. He just enters this building. It's almost like the character dictated to me what he was going to be, and I just sort of went with it. And I thought, he's going to be dancing. He's just so much fun. But he's a huge guy. The stars and the glowing eyes mean you don't really see his face. So you'd expect him to be very heroic and threatening, but he is quite the opposite.

And he's a close talker.

NRAMA: He's a what?

DE: A close talker. He stands about two inches from your face when he's talking to you.

NRAMA: Is that also something you came up with?

DE: Absolutely. And it becomes so funny, every scene I draw him in. You'll see when the first issue comes out. There's a few scenes where he's just really close to Mr. Terrific, and they're like ... not sure what to make of him.

NRAMA: That's another one that you don't have a face to play with.

DE: No. He's even more of a challenge because he's got a star field in his costume. You don't want to bring too much light on him, so he's more of a challenge. He will require posturing.

NRAMA: Bigger actions? Or not bigger really, but his actions will have to show his emotions and reactions instead of his face?

DE: Oh, for sure. It will be his posture, but at the same time, he doesn't react to things like other people, so it's a little different.

NRAMA: You said in Toronto that he's your favorite character you've drawn so far.

DE: Oh, I was surprised how much fun I'm having with him. Like I said with the dancing scene -- I didn't know that was going to happen. That to me is priceless in comics, when there's a certain unknown element that's undecided until you actually get in and work the material, and it pops up and surprises you. And suddenly you know: That's where I want to go with this guy. And it's great if everybody else likes it too! [laughs]

Less significant characters were also mentioned, if you'd like to take a look.


  1. So ...

    Thom Kallor (aka Star Boy) leaves the Legion of Super Heroes, travels nine centuries back through time and becomes the all-dancing, close-talking Danny Blaine.


  2. The one thing I want to know is if (when?) Starman turns out to be Thom Kallor/Danny Blaine, will there be visits to Opal City and will The Shade show up in JSA?

  3. My only problem throughout that thing was his interpretation of Ma Hunkel, and then, only that she'd be six feet tall. Seemed to me that Ma was the second-shortest JSAer (first being the Atom), that she's always been built as a short, round, barrel of a woman with more character and strength than folks three times her size.

    But that's just me, I guess.

  4. See.. I totally agree with Tom regarding Ma Hunkel's size. It doesn't mean she can't be in a suit or kick any ass. I just don't see her as statuesque at all.

  5. The whole Starman/Star Boy thing bugs me.

    Star Boy is a Legionnaire. He lives in the 31st century. He's a current member of the team. He's been a Legion character since fairly early in the Legion's run and was always important enough in Legion continuity even when he wasn't on the team that the Legion writers have always made sure to check in with him and remind the readers of what he was up to. And Mark Waid 'said' (or implied strongly) in a LSH 'letter-column' that he doesn't feel bound by what happened in Starman to send Thom back to our present-day. So can we stop assuming that the JSA is going to tief one of the Legionnaires? There are those of us who prefer him on the Legion.

    Here's what it reminds me of. Imagine you're a fan of a baseball team. The team has some good players on it, including, let's say, a guy named Tom Charles. But anytime you're on a baseball message board online, there are always New York Yankees fans talking blithely about how the Yankees are going to 'get' Charles for their team next year, because they're the Yankees and they can have anything they want and nobody else has any say in the matter. (Lots of Yankees fans really do think like this.)

    If DC decides that Star Boy is going to become the next Starman, then I just hope the story's good. I prefer him as a Legionnaire but, hey, DC rarely consults me about these things. Whatever. But I resent what I perceive as the assumption that James Robinson's bright idea trumps decades of Legion continuity and fandom.

  6. Even if Starman were Thom, that doesn't mean he can't appear in Legion; I thought that Robinson's future Starman was a grown-up Star Boy, so he could appear in both titles (at different ages).

    But I suspect the new Starman is actually Jeff Bridges.

  7. Matthew -- Admittedly, having transitioned from Starman to LSH through this idea, I'm not in the ebst position to be sympathetic. But I don't see the "thief" thing, or how Robinson's idea is necessarily a negation of Legion continuity and Fandom.

    First, it would involve time-travel. Supergirl is doubling, why not Thom?

    Second, there's at least 3 versions of Thom in the timestream that they can pull. They can use the current one, grown up, they can use the post-Zero-Hour one, or they can even pull the Pre-Crisis one.

    And third, he might actually get some panel time in JSA.

  8. (Though, for the record, I read Eaglesham's description and immediately thought "Brand New Character" -- they'd be a bit more careful with adding things if they were using a pre-established character. This sounds like one that came from scratch.)

  9. Even if Starman were Thom, that doesn't mean he can't appear in Legion; I thought that Robinson's future Starman was a grown-up Star Boy, so he could appear in both titles (at different ages).

    Yes. But it's still an externally-imposed constraint on the Legion because it means the writers have to keep him alive until then.

    But I don't see the "thief" thing, or how Robinson's idea is necessarily a negation of Legion continuity and Fandom.

    It's not Robinson's idea that bugs me in and of itself. What bugs me is the idea, which may not be a figment of my imagination, that Star Boy is worthwhile only because he might turn into Starman one day, and not because he's a Legionnaire.

    First, it would involve time-travel. Supergirl is doubling, why not Thom?

    Two things. First of all, in past versions, Supergirl (and Superboy) routinely went back and forth between the 20th and 30th centuries. If Star Boy is going to do that (which I doubt, as I've read somewhere or other that DC's going to be making time travel a lot harder to do), I have less of a problem with it. Supergirl's not doing this now, but as she appeared in her own title at the same time (so to speak) as when she showed up in the future, we know that the Legion's only got her for a while. I don't know what the deal would be for Star Boy.

    Second thing: Star Boy's entire history, almost, is as a Legionnaire. He has no history in present-day DC continuity. Supergirl, though, debuted in 1958 and tried out for the Legion in 1960. She has a long history both with and without the Legion.

    Second, there's at least 3 versions of Thom in the timestream that they can pull.

    That's an interesting idea but I can't bring myself to hope that DC will make the Legions of past versions available for use in current continuity. (You wouldn't want original-recipe Star Boy anyway; he's retired, married, bearded, and working as a professional moopsball coach.)

    And third, he might actually get some panel time in JSA.

    Well, that's true. But on the other hand, it's starting to look like the JSA is going to have a larger active roster than the Legion.

    I read Eaglesham's description and immediately thought "Brand New Character"

    That's the impression I got too. And, come on, are Jay and Alan and Ted really going to travel through time to do their recruiting? No comprando.

  10. Matt -- Well, sorry, I was a Starman fan first. It really is the only reason I checked it out. I figured he'd replace Jack so I started hunting down back issues. Yes, he's a very likeable character, and has turned into one of my favorites -- So it's not the only thing that makes him worthwhile, but it is the start.

    And bear in mind, one of the big positives of the Starman series was the sense of epic legacy. Picking up Thom (who's powers aren't too far a step from Ted's, Ted's original weapon was called a "gravity rod" and it basically neutralized gravity, Thom's powers were the opposite) sent this into the 30th Century. Starman fans want to see him upgrade his name and take his place.

    Even if Robinson hadn't done the backtracking (which I'd heard was actually due to Wait'd casting Thom as the Kingdom Come Starman), you'd still have Starman fans who'd be watching him to pick up the name.

    Look, this is continuity, everyone's got their home fandom. Their favorite series. All other series extend from those. I'm sure there's Legion fans who only value some present-day characters because they had impact on LSH continuity. The DCU universe is interconnected, it's part of the charm (and mostly Mark Waid's fault).

  11. And, you'll have to excuse me here, but much of your comment is pretty slavish to the past writing. You need to allow for something new to happen. Just because one character has never been to the past before doesn't mean that its wrong to take him there. Is just going with what's been done prior really respectful to history of the Legion of Superheroes? It was groundbreaking idea that built it own history on DC's past. It didn't get that way by playing it safe and keeping to itself.

    Of course, I'm used to the 90s Legion, which was ANYTHING but isolated from the present-day DCU. That's part of what made it fun.

    You can certainly respect history and build on it. Connecting Thom to Starman was just respecting the Golden Age history prior to the LSH, and bringing it into the future. A name is a pretty big thing in the DCU, after all.

    And, come on, are Jay and Alan and Ted really going to travel through time to do their recruiting? No comprando.

    (Umm, the assumption was that Thom would be doing the timetravelling.)

  12. Blame it on my Marvel roots, but... bh-wha? Power Girl 'less punky'? That's one of the reasons I rather like the hero that doesn't take herselves so seriously.

    And isn't Ma Hunkle a grandma? When does she have to be this six feet tall, broad shouldered heroine? Part of her whole charm is that she's *your* grandmother, you know, the little grey haired lady in the kitchen?

    And isn't Star Girl supposed to be the overly perky one? Why does the new Starman (whoever he is) sounds so annoying?

    Dang it! There are so very few DC titles I thought I knew. Hopefully, this will be someone else's cup of tea.

  13. Many good points. But the reasons why it bugged me are still the reasons why it bugged me.

  14. Matthew -- [sarcasm]But dammit, everyone must agree!! [/sarcasm]

    Comics fans are weird even among online fans. Since we have that funky crossover continuity, we all have our home perspectives based on our favorite series and writers that color everything. I think that's why we have so many fights online sometimes.