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DC Women Kicking Ass

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Apr 12 '12

Bryan Q. Miller on Smallville Season 11, Clois and Waffles

If you spend anytime on this blog you know I am a huge fan of Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl v.2. Miller also did double duty while on Batgirl and was a writer on Smallville, the long running television program focusing on the pre-Superman years of Clark Kent. Smallville ended last year and now Miller is writing the show’s 11th season as a comic. And I can’t wait. The first digital issue debuts on Friday. You can buy it at Comixology or the DC Comics app for $.99. New chapters will be released each Friday and then offered in groups of three as printed comics. The first of those hits May 16. Miller is working with artist Pere Perez who he also worked with on Batgirl. Cat Staggs will be doing some of the covers.

I chatted with Miller this week about what we can expect to see in Season 11, the challenges of writing TV vs. comics, the relationship of Clark and Lois (and how it is like Batman and Robin) and … waffles. For those who didn’t read Batgirl (WHY?) waffles played an important role in Stephanie Brown’s first appearance as Batgirl and became a bit of a meme.

DCWKA: So what kind of waffles does Clark Kent like? (Just kidding)

BQM: The kind that haven’t been forged from Kryptonite-infused batter. The episode is called “Mix.” It exists in my head. Shelby is not in it.

DCWKA: Smallville had a devoted audience for 10 years and survived every night of the week on television.  What do you think it was about the show that appealed to people so much and how do you see that translating to your comic book?  

BQM: Aside from all the impossibly beautiful people? It had just as much of a focus on the “super” element as it did on the relationships between the characters. In the early years, those came in the form of high school teen angst. In the latter years, the conflicts and interactions became more adult. In a weird way, the show grew with the viewer. Those relationships, as well as a new level of super, live on in the comic.

DCWKA: You’ve written comics, you’ve written TV but you’ve never written television characters for comics. How is it different? Was it an adjustment?

BQM: The big disconnect, trying to the bridge the two (for me, at least), comes down to narration captions. In comics, it’s a great way to get inside of a character’s head. On the TV, shows like Dexter or Burn Notice have voice over (which is roughly the same thing). Smallville (with the rare exception of certain episodes written by certain writers) didn’t do that.  In print, narration captions do a lot of the heavy lifting that dramatic pauses and verbal intonation do in television — both help to frame the action and dialogue that you’re seeing. The Smallville comic will not have narration captions. Pere’s facial expression work has (hopefully) worked to bridge that gap as we hit the page.

DCWKA: The last time we saw Clark on Smallville we barely saw the costume. How strange/exciting/weight of the world is it to be showing him full tights?
BQM: We make a pretty big moment out of the first head-to-toe reveal of Clark in the suit. It’s very exciting. For a variety of reasons, we didn’t get to do that on the show. We’ll be more than making up for that moving forward. He’s in them tights all up in it. And it isn’t just a big deal for me. It’s a big deal for Clark — he’s out as Superman know. He gets to stay behind and interact with the people he saves. His entire being (while in the persona) is an inspiration to people. He hasn’t had that before. And yet, no one knows Superman is an alien yet. So it’s a bit bittersweet, as well. Aliens (in the post-Apokolips world of the Finale), are not a good thing, as far as the public are concerned.
DCWKA: I’ve seen the covers to the issues but haven’t seen any inside work by Pere, how close do the characters in Smallville resemble the actors? How important is that resemblance?
BQM: I think a lot of that has to do with the angle and the artist. The goal was to be more evocative than literal. There are undoubtedly uncanny moments, to be sure. But I don’t think there are any where you’re staring at a panel wondering who it is you’re looking at. Pere did a really great job.
DCWKA: Smallville was known for combining relationship and action. Will the comic be the same? Was there any suggestion that “hey, more tights and fights and lighten up on the relationships?”
BQM: Interpersonal relations (especially within each of the main couples), are definitely still key. Will some episodes (bursts of 12 or 6 week stories) have more of one than the other? Yes. The premiere has a nice mix of action and relationship stuff. Episode 2 is outright more of an “action movie”… in a way that we NEVER in a million years could have afforded to do on the show. There’s a boat. A BOAT!  Episode 3 balances it back out again. And no one’s suggested that since we have the tights and flights that we should lay off on the softer stuff, but since we CAN do the suit and Superman stuff now, we’re going to embrace it whenever we can. For 10 years, Clark was doing super things without the suit. There’s a bit of visually iconic catching up to do.
DCWKA: Lois and Clark ended the series as a happy couple. There are other comics where that has been called “boring” or offer limited storytelling. Do you like writing them as a happy couple? Do you see limitations on storytelling?
BQM: The only reason for happiness to limit storytelling is if you allow it to.  Lois and Clark are partners in every sense of the word. That isn’t to say their relationship will be entirely conflict free, but that will largely come from external forces. Think of Clark and Lois as more Batman and Robin.  No one would ever say they can’t get along or work together in order to keep story from being limited. Except Clark and Lois get to kiss and stuff. 
DCWKA: Wait. Who is the Batman, who is the Robin, and, most importantly, which Robin?

BQM: Wow. I walked RIGHT into that one, didn’t I? If one were to foolishly draw comparisons to the dynamic duo dynamic between Clark and Lois, I think Lois would have to be the Robin. She’s the grounding element for Clark that helps keep him connected to humanity. As for WHICH Robin… I think she’s probably Stephanie as seen through Grayson colored glasses. Have we gotten lost in the analogy yet? I know I have!

DCWKA: The women of Smallville were always essential to the narrative and were arguably heroes in their own right.  What do you admire most about Lois Lane?  What do you admire most about Chloe Sullivan?  Do you miss Tess?

BQM: Lois Lane is, in a practical sense, the voice of the audience. She’s your audience surrogate. The woman on the street perspective, if you will.  She fierce, she’s loyal, she’s honest, she’s smart, she’s sexy, she’s fallible.  She’s human.  Regarding Chloe, she’s got a lot in common with Lois (she was even an analog for Lois before Lois actually arrived on the show). I think where Chloe differs is that Chloe operates on a very cerebral level — she’s more prone to appeal to her own sense of reason and logic (especially at this point in her life), rather than emotion. She’s been through a lot. Both are terribly strong women — they just express that strength in different ways. 

And how I feel about Tess (who was always my favorite lady to write on the show)… that should be made clear within the first 30 pages of “Guardian.”

DCWKA: This is still very early Superman? Any idea where Batman would be in his career at this point? Chloe mentions having met him, is that still true?

BQM: Well, you see WAITNOYOU’REAWITCH! Nice try. To the first part, Clark’s been in the cape for 6 months, but he’s been a hero for MUCH longer. As far as other heroes, age will come into play, with regards to what kind of lead they have on Superman’s “arrival.” 

DCWKA: If DC gave you access to three characters for the comic who would you pick?

BQM: I’ve already picked one of them (technically two of them - it’s a bit of a package deal) - they show up in Episode 2. Then, of course, Diana Prince. Then… that may require further thought. I have a laundry list of people I want to visit and feature as the season goes. But I think (secret guests) and Wondy round up my priority list. Luckily, the show left a healthy selection of characters to return to, as well as the possibility to meet new people entirely.

DCWKA: Do (secret guests) like waffles? Because there is a vocal, devoted audience for waffle eating superheroes.
BQM: Waffles are very popular. Did you know in medieval France, an entire guild was established in 1270 to train the vendors who sold waffles on the street?

Read more:,9171,1942956,00.html#ixzz1rkfBWwhx

DCKWA: Okay. And finally: Team Clois/or Team Chlollie? 

BQM: You know, I was one of the big backers of starting up Chlollie in the first place — not everyone was on board, at first. We took a chance, and it worked out very well. So there’s a little bias there. And, come on, you can’t beat Clois. You just can’t. It’s peanut butter and chocolate. There is, however, a third relationship that presents itself in the comic. Not a romance. It’s a bromance. It isn’t with anyone you’d expect, and it’s one of my favorite things ever.

DCWKA: Gosh you can’t leave readers hanging - one hint - does it involve Perry? 
BQM: I can honestly say it does not. And it isn’t anything mind-blowing. It’s just this one little male relationship that I wound up having a lot of fun writing.

The first digital issue of Smallville: Season 11 goes on sale Friday, April 13.

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  6. deepbutdazzlingdarkness reblogged this from dcwomenkickingass and added:
    "The only reason for happiness to limit storytelling is if you allow it to. Lois and Clark are partners in every sense...
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  9. the-overanalyzer reblogged this from dcwomenkickingass and added:
    I never watched Smallville, but if there was one creative team that could make me a fan, it’s Miller and Perez.
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  16. ealperin reblogged this from dcwomenkickingass and added:
    So. Excited. For. THIS!!!! Getting it as soon as it hits comic book shelves!!! :D
  17. derusaert reblogged this from dcwomenkickingass and added:
    waffles. Hahaha!...I’ve had enough time...miss these...
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    Puedes encontrar la entrevista en español en
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