One of the highlights of DC’s whole “New 52” reboot has been the series Earth-2, from writer James Robinson and artist Nicola Scott. Set on an alternate Earth, Robinson has taken the old Golden Age icons of World War II, for decades portrayed only as old men from a bygone era, and re-invented them as young, new super-heroes, who have take up the mantle of heroism in the wake of the death of their world’s version of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I caught up with writer James Robinson at this past weekend’s Wonder-Con in Anaheim to chat a bit about upcoming events in the pages of Earth-2
Geekscape-So I’m a really huge fan of yours going back to the Starman series from the 90’s; I wanted to ask first since you are in way the curator of the Golden Age characters at DC for the past few decades, between Starman and The Golden Age and starting the previous run of Justice Society of America, how did you feel about taking on this new Earth-2 book just in general, having to re-invent all these characters and take all their history away? And did you have any second thoughts about it?
Robinson- I was a little dubious at the beginning, I wasn’t sure If I wanted to do it… I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing. But then pretty early on, what helped me was realizing that at one time, those Golden Age characters were all young guys. We are so used to thinking of them as these old guys with this history, but at one point they were young, and what I tried to do was capture and distill the thing that made them great when they were these young Golden Age characters, so once I began to do that– and especially since the first Golden age character I began to develop was Jay Garrick (The Flash) I’m very proud of the fact that he sort of has a personality now, and I’m not sure that he had one before, he was just this cool older guy, but now I know how he would act, how he would think, and I think that readers have begun to respond to that too. So that’s really what began it for me. And then with Alan Scott (Green Lantern) creating a character that was this big “Type-A” personality, making his character as rich as I could and as full as I could, because I knew I was going to make him gay, and I didn’t want to make that his only personality trait.
Geekscape-Well, as a gay fan I want to thank you for that. I’m really happy that you did that, because we need more of that in mainstream comics. Now you’ve said in other interviews that on Earth-2, Wonder Woman was the first super hero as opposed to Superman, which is why people with super powers are referred to as “The Wonders” on Earth-2. Because of that and her role as the first iconic hero, is Earth-2 a more open and feminist culture? will we see any effect of having Wonder Woman be so prominent in that world?
Robinson-Yes you will, and you’ll see them both in general stuff as you see the world taking shape, because I’m still building the world every issue. You’ll also see it very specifically with Fury and her backstory, and who her father is… that will blow your mind when you find out who her father is.
Geekscape-Does she even have a father?
Robinson–She has a father. She wasn’t sculpted out of clay.
Geekscape-Now was your Wonder Woman sculpted out of clay? (the main Earth’s Wonder Woman was changed from being sculpted from clay to the daughter of Zeus as part of the New 52 reboot)
Robinson–I believe so. I wanted to keep that part of the mythos alive, but with her daughter Fury there is a whole back story and a whole drama about who her father is, and it ties in to the whole more feminist culture and everything, so just bear with me.
Geekscape–We recently learned that Earth-2 will be getting a new Batman with a whole new identity. (In the upcoming Earth-2 Annual) Does that mean we will be getting an all new Superman and Wonder Woman as well, with different people assuming those names and identities?
Robinson–No, Batman’s going to be it.
Geekscape-It seems in other interviews you’ve mentioned other classic Justice Society characters like Hourman and Wildcat as all eventually appearing in Earth-2, but the one I haven’t heard mentioned at all is The Spectre. Do you have plans for him? Or is he off limits to you?
Robinson–He’s not completely off limits, it’s just that for now, they have plans for him on the main Earth. When we begin at some point in the future to have more interaction between the two Earths, I would definitely like to bring the Spectre in and use him. Because as I’ve said to (DC Editor-In-Chief) Dan Didio, just like there is only one lot of New Gods (in the Multiverse) there aren’t Earth-1 versions of them and Earth-2 versions of them, and in my mind there is only one version of “God” (for the whole DC Multiverse) In the DC Universe, however you might feel about faith or atheism or believing in God, if you live on a DC world that has a Deadman and a Spectre and Phantom Stranger on it (all agents of a Judeo-Christian God in the comics) there is no way you can deny the existence of God. There aren’t multiple versions of God.
Geekscape–Well, Mr. Terrific does! (Michael Holt, the modern-era Mr. Terrific, is an avowed atheist.)
Robinson-Well, that’s one of things I’ve never quite bought about that character. If there is one God, then there is only one Angel of Vengeance for God (which is the Spectre) so it makes sense that he would come to Earth-2 at some point.
Thanks again to James Robinson for taking the time out to talk to us.