DC’s big power couple has a brand new creative team this week, with writer Pete Tomasi and artist Doug Mahnke taking on the reins of the ongoing Superman/Wonder Woman series. Mahnke took time away from the drawing board to chat with Comicosity about how it feels to come back to both characters, what his thought process on Wonder Woman’s look is, and what we can expect coming up in the Spring!
Matt Santori-Griffith: Doug, congratulations on the new series and thanks for taking time out for Comicosity!
You have a lot of history drawing both Superman and Wonder Woman in long runs of Man of Steel and JLA. Is it like getting back on a bicycle, or is the experience different this time around?
Doug Mahnke: It is different primarily because the focus is on them. This is their story, and it is penned through the unique voice of Pete Tomasi. It feels new to me, even though I have plenty of experience with the characters.
My time on Man of Steel is so far in the past, pre-New 52 by quite a distance. However my early run on JLA was fairly rich with Wonder Woman focus, as writer Joe Kelly did a fantastic story called “Golden Perfect” dealing primarily with her. All in all, I’m riding the bicycle just fine, but down a different path.
MSG: In the first year of Superman/Wonder Woman, there was a strong balance between relationship development and all-out action. What can fans expect with your run and how do you find a balance tonally in the art between those two needs?
DM: Hopefully the same! I’ve always enjoyed drawing simple human interaction. There can be so much subtle nuance in doing so. It is fun when you get it right. Action? Well, that’s just crying havoc and unleashing the dogs of war.
MSG: Every artist who takes on Wonder Woman, in particular, has a pretty unique take on her look and costume. Do you have a vision for her look that diverges from what we’ve seen before?
DM: I want her to be all things necessary to her character. Strong and athletic, confident and intelligent, attractive and exotic. I don’t know if it will be different, just my version.
I’m an athlete and spend plenty of time around strong woman. When I think of Wonder Woman, I think of the strong physique of an Olympic sprinter. When It comes to her face, I think Mediterranean.
MSG: Do you see everything as harmonious between Superman and Wonder Woman, or is it more an attraction of opposites — and how do you realize that relationship on the page in a graphic way?
DM: I don’t know if it is opposites. Culturally, they are different. Kansas Farm Boy and Amazonian Goddess of War. They have no chance of being alike, but they are both heroes and want the best for those in need.
MSG: How is the collaboration with writer Peter Tomasi going on the title and what is he bringing to the scripts that you respond to most positively?
DM: Pete and I have been friends for years. We go all the way back to when he was a fairly new editor at DC and I was doing my first work there. We hit it off well then and nothing has changed — except that he is doing what he was meant to do, which is sharing has talent as a writer.
As far as what he is bringing to the scripts, it is clear he is writing them with an eye on my strengths as an artist.
MSG: You’re also on tap for Grant Morrison’s final installment ofMultiversity: Ultra Comics. How is that process going and what are you most looking forward to fans seeing?
DM: Yeah, I am one of the lucky ones working on Multiversity. As I have experience working with Grant, at least I was prepared for what he can ask an artist to do, which is some crazy stuff!
It is challenging to do more than one thing at a time in comics and give each your full attention. Basically, I just work more and sleep less, far less. I could write a book on sleeping less.
As far as what I am most looking forward to fans seeing is a comic well done. I have been pretty meticulous about how it looks.
MSG: Any final thoughts or special teases about what’s coming up in Superman/Wonder Woman?
DM: No real final thoughts, except this: It has just begun.
Doug Mahnke is the new ongoing artist on DC Comics’ Superman/Wonder Woman, and will also be the artist on the final chapter of Multversity, entitled Ultra Comics in March 2015.