Posts Tagged DC Comics

Meet the Creators of DC’s Newest MG Duo: An Interview and Giveaway

AntiHero CoverWelcome back, Mixed-Up Filers.

Today, we’re chatting with the creators of the newly released Anti-Hero from DC Comics, authors Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta and illustrator, Maca Gil. Thank you all for joining us today!

My first question is for all of you. Can you tell us a little bit about Anti-Hero?

Kate and Demitria: Anti/Hero is the story two 13-year-old girls. Sloane thinks she’s a villain and Piper very badly wants to be a superhero. The girls end up battling over the same stolen object, an experimental scientific device. When the device accidentally powers on, the girls switch bodies. Now Sloane and Piper must learn to work together – or risk destroying each other.

Maca: It’s also super sweet but packed with fun and crazy action involving chases, drones and giant mutant creatures. It’s pretty cool.

Another question for the group. Hummingbird and Gray are completely new characters in the DC Universe? What was the process of creating them like?

Kate and Demitria: It was amazing! To add new characters to the DC Universe is a “when lightning strikes” sort of opportunity. How often does it happen? And to be able to add two new amazing female characters is even better!

When creating them, though, we weren’t really thinking about them as DC characters. Instead, we wanted two create two multifaceted girls whose problems our readers could relate to and understand.

 

 

Maca: I think if I ever see anyone cosplaying Piper or Sloane my heart is going to melt off of my chest. This has been an amazing opportunity and I’m so happy I got to do it with this team.

Kate and Demitria, what was the process of co-writing like? Did you each choose a character’s point-of-view to write from?

Kate lives in Western New York and Demitria is in Wisconsin, so we wrote long distance, communicating via text, email, and the occasional phone call. In between all

that back and forth we wrote the script by constantly passing it back and forth. Kate would write a bit then send it to Demitria. Demitria would tweak what Kate wrote and add a bit more. Then back to Kate, to okay or change again what Demitria changed on her stuff, read what Demitria added, and then add a bit more. In the end, both are our fingerprints are on every single sentence.

Also for Kate and Demitria, there’s a lot of emphasis on family throughout the story. Was that something that you wanted to focus on early on? Or did it develop out of the body switching plotline?

We definitely wanted to focus on family, because it shaped so much of who the girls are and how they experience the world around them. Piper, despite her parents being absent, has a really strong and supportive family unit. Sloane, on the other hand, has a loving Mom, but because of work she isn’t around much. And Sloane’s grandfather…well, he’s definitely not the type of role-model you’d want a kid to have.

Maca, how did you come up with the costumes for each girl’s alter-ego?

Piper loves fashion and wearing crazy colors, she is strong and full of energy. The visual cues that represent her have to be dynamic and striking. Sloane, on the other hand, is a lot calmer and hates to stand out. Visually she has long vertical lines (her hair and her height help with this!) and she loves black. When I came into the project Kate and Demitria had written such rich and alive characters that designing them was a treat. They also get even cooler costume design as the story progresses; I can’t wait for you all to see.

Also for Maca, I saw (and loved) your Batgirl illustration on Burnside. Have you always been a DC comics fan? Are there any easter eggs that readers should keep an eye out for?

Thank you! Admittedly, I only started once I was out of college and a bit older, but so many women characters in the DC universe grew on me so much and so fast. Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Batgirl! There are so many amazing ones, and their designs and stories are so iconic. I would completely die for Piper and Sloane to have a crossover with some of them someday.

For Demitria and Kate, this is your first MG novel. How does writing for MG differ for writing for YA and adult audiences? Also, it’s your first graphic novel. So, how did that process differ?

Writing MG was so fun because we were allowed to really let our silly and playful sides let loose. Both of us tend to write YA with darker themes, so it was really fun to play in this world where even at their worst—things were a little lighter.

Is there anything else about the story that any of you would like to share?

Kate and Demitria: We had to come up with an MG safe expletive for Sloane to use and decided on Zooterkins. We would love to see it catch on!

Maca: So many pancakes get eaten throughout this story. I had to stand up and make some for myself a couple of times due to having to think about them so much.

(Honestly, same. I definitely made some pancakes after reading this.) What’s the best piece of creative advice that you’ve received that you’d like to pass on to other writers and artists?

Kate: Even when you want to quit—don’t. Just keep writing. Or creating whatever you create.

Demitria: Writers need to read! Anything you can get your grabby little hands on.

Maca: Copy and study your favorite artists, but do it properly! As long as you keep your inspiration sources diverse, your product will end up being uniquely yours because of your own sensibilities, strengths and limitations.

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

Kate: I hate horror movies. They literally terrify me.

Demitria: I make no secret of my dorkiness, but sometimes it still surprises people.

 Maca: I have played over 400 hours of Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Who is your favorite DC character (apart from the ones you’ve created)?

Kate: Wonder Woman!

Demitria: Batman!

MeetMaca: Batgirl of Burnside <3

What are you working on next?

Kate and Demitria: Hopefully more MG graphic novels!

Maca: I’m currently storyboarding for a feature film, but I can’t wait to do more comic books.

How can people follow you on social media?

Kate: I’m @KateKaryusQuinn on both Instagram and Twitter or you can visit my website www.KateKaryusQuinn.com

Demitria: I’m @DemitriaLunetta and my site is www.demitrialunetta.com

Maca: I’m @macagil on Instagram!

Thank you so much for the interview!

 

AntiHero is out now! Get your copy here or try your luck in our give-away!

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Zatanna and the House of Secrets Interview and Giveaway

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgHi Mixed-Up Filers!

Today, I have the privilege to be talking to both Matthew Cody and Yoshi Yoshitani, whose graphic novel, Zatanna and the House of Secrets,  is available now from DC Comics.

Hi Matthew and Yoshi. Thank you for joining us today.

My first question is for both of you. Can you tell us a little bit about Zatanna and the House of Secrets?

Matthew: Zatanna and the House of Secrets is about a normal tween girl, Zatanna, who discovers that just about nothing in her life is what it appears to be – not her dad, not the house she grew up in, not even the family pet rabbit. There are magical secrets afoot, and more to Zatanna than she ever imagined!

YoshiIt’s a story of a girl growing up and trying to figure out her identity as the world and people around her change—figuratively and literally! And of course, lots of magic

Matthew, you’re books are, for the most part, a mix of fantasy and superheros. So, Zatanna’s story seems like a natural fit for you. Did you choose the character?

Matthew: I did. When this opportunity to work with DC came along, they asked me to pitch them three or four characters I’d like to write. Zatanna was a no-brainer, because she’s never been your typical superhero. She’s a magician! The story of how she became a magician – how she discovered her powers – was such a joy to conjure up (see what I did there?)

Not gonna lie, Zatanna is one of my favorite DC characters, and my go-to for cosplay. Yoshi, I love the new character design. I’m already planning on rocking this as my next cosplay. How did you approach the character design?

Yoshi: Yes! Zatanna is one of my absolute favorites too! Zatanna’s fully grown costume is over the top and confident, so it was fun to work backwards and consider what her pre-evolution outfits would be. Maybe some vintage finds, maybe her dad’s old shirts – she has a style but has yet to nail down her look. I really wanted to capture that transition.

One of the things that I really liked about this story is how it explored the relationship between Zatanna and her father and the idea that our parents aren’t always the heroes we expect them to be. Matthew, was that something that you wanted to focus on early on?

Matthew: Definitely. Middle school is hard for a lot of reasons, but one of the toughest aspects of it is that push/pull between still needing your parents tremendously, while at the same time feeling like you need to separate yourself in some ways. So, we took fantasy and did what the genre does best – we externalized that conflict. At its heart, this is a very family focused story about the mistakes we make both as kids and adults. And how we deal with them.

Another thing that I particularly loved was that the House of Secrets is like a character itself in the story. So, another question for both of you: How did you approach the world-building?

Matthew: The House of Secrets has been around in DC Comics lore for a long, long time. It’s been interpreted and reinterpreted in a many different ways, so I kind of took that meta-fact and applied it to the house in our story. Our House of Secrets has been passed down from Caretaker to Caretaker for centuries, and each one left their mark. Poor Yoshi then had to being all that to life on the page (btw, she knocked it out of the park)

Yoshi: Matthew had the idea that the House of Secrets had been passed through many different owners in different parts of the world and different eras. I absolutely loved that, and I personally relish any opportunity to kit-bash multiple cultural influences. Plus those huge stylistic changes really gave the impression of a magical unpredictable house—one you were just dying to run around yourself!

We see Teekl throughout the illustrations before we’re ever introduced to the character. Yoshi, was this an easter egg or is Teekl spying on the Zataras?

Yoshi: I was hoping someone would notice! And yes, Teekl is definitely a warning that Klarion and his mother are nearby, not that Zatanna understands that at the time. Its an Easter egg that’s fun on the reread.

Are there any other easter eggs that fans should keep an eye out for?

Matthew: Oh yeah! Yoshi’s art has a ton of clever hints and nods, but if you want to look for one in particular that might excite old school DC fans, pay special attention to the stone busts and portraits throughout the house to get a glimpse of the house’s original “caretakers”.

Yoshi: There are a few visual Easter Eggs for those who are familiar with the DC universe. I won’t give anything away, but definitely check out the school dance. Also, those in the know will recognize the Witch Queen’s assistants for what they are.

Speaking of fans, I’m going to geek out for a little bit here. In DC canon, Zatanna was the caretaker of the House of Mystery, which is similar to, the House of Secrets. Can we expect to see another story featuring the House of Mystery, perhaps a different caretaker?

Matthew: Huh. That’s a great idea! 😉

Is there anything else about the story that either of you would like to share?

Matthew: It’s really, really good!

What’s the best piece of creative advice that both of you have received and would like to pass on to other writers and artists?

Matthew: For writers, read more than you write – but write a lot.

Yoshi: Breaks are important to creative flow, and pursue a creative process that brings you joy.

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

Matthew: I tried to break into comics as a writer before I became a published novelist.

Yoshi: I’m allergic to coconut.

What are you working on next?

Matthew: I’m finishing up a novel for older readers and am working on a couple of kids comics projects that I’m really excited about.

Yoshi: Something else with DC!

How can people follow you on social media?

Matthew: On twitter I’m at @mattcodywrites. I tweet rarely but always respond!

Yoshi: Twitter @yoshisquared. Insta @yoshiyoshitani  Website Yoshiyoshitani.com

Thank you so much for the interview!

Zatanna and the House of Secrets is out now, and here at The Mixed-Up Files, we’re giving away a copy. Enter our giveaway below.

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The winner will be contacted  via email and asked to provide a mailing address (US/Canada only) to receive the book.

Interview with Ridley Pearson, Author of Super Sons

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org and check out Ridley Pearson's The Foxglove Mission.Hey Mixed-Up Filers, we’ve got a super interview for you. Ridley Pearson, author of the Lock & Key, Kingdom Keepers, and most recently Super Sons series is sitting down with us today to discuss the latest book in the Super Sons series, The Foxglove Mission.

This is your second book in the Super Sons series. Can you tell us a little bit about the series and about DC’s middle grade graphic novels?

The most interesting character in suspense is, ironically, the villain. The trilogy of Super Sons books works off three “evils.” Book 1: gangs. Book 2: corporate corruption. Book 3: governments. Sometimes these evils are on the page; sometimes implied.

In The Foxglove Mission, our newest character, Candace, is in search of her lineage, her larger family, and her purpose as a human being. She is surrounded by friends who care about her: Ian Wayne and Jon Kent, the Super Sons. She goes off on a dangerous quest. Jon and Ian follow, trying to help her. The boys have their own missions: to find a way to heal Jon’s ailing mother, and to stop a chemical firm from making others sick. It’s high stakes, high action, and teamwork.  

You’ve worked with characters before that, like the Super Sons, have an already established canon, in projects like Lock & Key, Kingdom Keepers, and Never Land. What was it like working on a story with characters that have so much history attached to them? 

It’s a great question, and that was my question to DC when we discussed my writing these graphic novels. Thankfully, my editors said, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” (i.e., the past of these young superheroes). They allowed me to reinvent them, and hopefully they are likeable, strong characters with much to figure out. That’s how I felt as a kid.

Why Damian Wayne and Jon Kent? Were the Super Sons chosen before the story or did the story choose them?

Page from The Foxglove Mission

Art by Ile Gonzalez

These are the characters DC asked me to write about. I was intimidated. The son of Batman? The son of Superman? But I grew up with both Batman and Superman, so I eagerly jumped in!

You’ve created some amazing original characters in Candace, Tilly, and Avyrc. I was really happy to see Candace’s story expanding in The Foxglove Mission, and even Tilly having an expanded role. Can you tell us a little bit about these characters? For example, how did you choose Candace’s superpower? Why is Tilly’s superhero alter-ego Puppet Girl? And what makes Avyrc such a great villain for our team to go up against?

My wife and I have two daughters (grown now). I’m comfortable with such characters; I’ve witnessed so much success, drama, heartache, and redemption. We also have an adopted son from Kenya, and I’ve written about Kenya on my adult side of publishing, so when DC and I discussed Jon and Ian, I wanted to add a female character, and that became Candace. She has “elemental” powers of controlling weather, and working with birds. She is my Earth woman.

 You’ve written a lot of cool tech, such as the DHI and a lot of Batkid’s gadgets? What piece of tech from your books do you wish you could use?

I wouldn’t mind having a hovercraft!

Similarly, you’ve written a lot of cool supernatural powers? If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

The power to eliminate all poverty and prejudice. I’ve looked on Walmart shelves, but it isn’t there. Yet.

I’ve read that you’re more of a plotter than a pantser. Can you tell us a bit more about what your writing process is like?

Stories are shaped in many ways. Two of the most common are: start with a situation; or outline. I fall into the outline group. I like to work with the puzzle pieces first, see where they fit and how to fit them together. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.

What was your writing journey like? You’ve written for all ages. How did you get started writing for middle-graders?

My writing journey would take up a long dinner! Basically, it has come down to understanding it’s hard work; that stories aren’t written, they are rewritten; that stories are about character; and all the plotting in world won’t replace one terrific character. 

Peabody Headshot. Found on the press section of Ridley Pearson's website.

 

 What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received, and what writing advice would you give to someone just getting started?

My writing advice: Read. Then read some more. When you do try writing, dedicate some small piece of each day (for me it’s 6-8 hours) to sitting in the chair and putting words onto pages. Don’t worry if they are perfect—there’s time to fix that.

What are you working on next?

I have a new Kingdom Keepers series publishing September of 2020. Working title: Kingdom Keepers 2.0. I’m halfway through a new graphic novel trilogy for DC called The Indestructibles. It’s an original series that I’m incredibly excited about. I think the first book publishes in 2020 as well.

 How can people follow you on social media?

Very carefully. (Twitter. Insta. Facebook. I’m not great at it; something I’m working on.)