When DC Comics spilled the beans that Superman and Wonder Woman would become involved romantically, there was no lack of fans with very strong opinions on the pairing. The super-powered duo had flirted briefly with coupledom in past miniseries, but beyond that, their coupling was only the thing of fanfic dreams. It was in the pages of the New 52’s Justice League that their romance blossomed over the past year, and it initially seemed to be the focus of the Superman/Wonder Woman series out this October. This potentially controversial task is up to writer Charles Soule, creator of Archaia’s Strange Attractors and regular writer on three DC titles (Swamp Thing, Red Lanterns and now Superman/Wonder Woman). We had a chance to chat with Soule about taking on two thirds of DC’s Trinity, what makes Clark and Diana great characters to write, and why their relationship isn’t the real story of the series.
Dork Shelf: What can we expect to see in Superman/Wonder Woman that we wouldn’t in their solo series?
Charles Soule: Superman/Wonder Woman is essentially a large-scale action adventure featuring tons of superheroics of all kinds. The main characters happen to be involved in a romantic relationship, and that’s not something we ignore, but I consider that to be one ingredient in the overall “recipe” for the series. It lets me include beats that change the flavour of the story away from things we’ve seen a million times before, but I also wouldn’t say it’s the dead-on focus of the book, either.
It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s exciting, sometimes it’s sad, and it’s beautiful. That’s what I like about the best comics – they aren’t just one thing, and neither is Superman/Wonder Woman.
DS: How did you get involved with the series?
CS: I was invited to write the book by DC editorial, in part (I think) based on the way I wrote Superman in the first two issues of my Swamp Thing run (issues #19-20, and particularly 20). Eddie Berganza, my editor on S/WW, had worked with me on a few other projects, including the Lex Luthor-focused DC Villains Month issue that hits soon, and I think he thought I would be a good fit for this project. It’s really not too much more complicated than that – but I was pretty thrilled to get the nod.
DS: What has it been like to write such iconic characters? How did you prepare?
CS: It’s about as big as it gets, honestly. I recognize that there’s a responsibility to the decades of stories that have been told about Superman and Wonder Woman, but I also like very much that this is somewhat unexplored territory. The idea of Clark and Diana ending up together has been touched on here and there (examples that pop to mind are Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again), but we’ve never really had a series based on this particular idea, and that’s very exciting. “New” doesn’t come around all that often in comics, and this feels new to me.
How did I prepare? I gave another read to the New 52 books that feature these characters, together or not, and then I trusted my gut. I think you can over-prepare for things like this. My philosophy is to understand the continuity that’s currently in play, but then just see where my muse takes me.
DS: What has it been like to work with Tony Daniel?
CS: Tony and I talk a lot. I wouldn’t say there’s any special secret to it – it’s just about seeing how best to tell the story. We each bring particular strengths to the project, I think, and so it’s a matter of integrating things so that the book looks and reads as well as it possibly can.
DS: What is your favourite aspect of each character? What do you consider to be their strengths and weaknesses?
CS: I like Superman’s all-American upbringing, and his commitment to ideals that those around him recognize, but can’t always live up to. Some people say that Clark’s position as a moral paragon makes him hard to write, but I think that’s part of what makes him compelling. As far as Wonder Woman goes, I like the fact that she grew up in a foreign land with very different cultural traditions to the rest of the world. That’s fertile ground for storytelling – although I like a lot of other things about her too. She’s totally self-assured and comfortable in her own skin (which is awesome, considering that she has many reasons not to be, possibly, considering her odd parentage, upbringing, etc.) She’s the best.
Weaknesses? Superman trusts too easily, and Wonder Woman can’t understand why the world doesn’t simply become a better place. My feeling is that she thinks the rest of the world could be a paradise, if it would just get with the program. But the world doesn’t always agree with that viewpoint.