KryptonSite Interview: Bryan Q. Miller Talks About His Comic Book Work & More
Interview By Craig Byrne - KryptonSite Webmaster
One of the most popular recent additions to the Smallville staff has been Bryan Q. Miller, the writer who penned the episodes "Committed," "Bulletproof," and "Hex" in Season 8.
"Hex" received particular attention from fans of DC Comics as it portrayed the character of Zatanna in a way that was very true to her comic book counterpart.
Recently, Mr. Miller expanded into the comics industry himself, having started a three-issue stint as writer of DC's Teen Titans comic book. In August, Miller has more work coming from DC in the form of a new Batgirl comic book series.
Mr. Miller was kind enough to take the time to do an e-mail interview where he talked about his comics, and perhaps he even shares a hint about his first Season 9 episode of Smallville...
KRYPTONSITE: How long will your stint as writer of Teen Titans be?
BRYAN Q. MILLER: Three issues – June, July and August.
K-SITE: Was there a particular approach you wanted to take when writing the Titans?
BQM: They’ve been through a lot lately (and are due to go through even more by the end of my arc), so I wanted to give them some down time in the first issue to actually interact. Without having cars thrown at them. Or giant mystical dogs attacking.
I also wanted to make sure (especially in the third issue) that everyone on the team got a chance to go toe-to-toe with one of the villains – it’s nice when everyone on the team gets at least a chance at having a win.
K-SITE: Are there particular characters in the comic that are more enjoyable to write for you?
BQM: Jaime (Blue Beetle). Definitely Jaime. He’s an “everyman” kid from El Paso with alien armor grafted to his spine. What’s not to love?
K-SITE: If you could bring any Titan onto Smallville, assuming there are not already plans and assuming no restrictions from DC, which one would you most like to see?
BQM: I wouldn’t want to jinx anything. And that’s not me being coy since there’s a villain named “Jinx”! Honest!
K-SITE: Can you summarize what is going on with the Titans going into this issue, for those who may not have picked up the book before?
BQM: What's been going on in "Teen Titans"? Umm… bunches? Wendy and Marvin (children of the villainous Calculator) were mauled and killed, respectively, by a mystical force tied to Wonder Girl. Shortly thereafter, the team dealt with some supernatural, Hell-related business, wherein Kid/Red Devil lost all of his “devil” and turned back into plain-old “Eddie”. Then Lorena (Aquagirl) and Virgil (Static) joined the team in the wake of Final Crisis. The Teen Titans then had a major showdown in Central Park (in the recent “Deathtrap” Teen Titans/Titans/Vigilante crossover event) where they had to help take down Jericho, a member from one of the early classes of Teen Titans who went horribly… astray. Which I think catches us up. One or two of those might be out of order, but that’s the gist of it.
K-SITE: Do you consider this to be a good jumping-on point?
BQM: Absolutely. Especially if you’ve read the above essay/paragraph/answer!
K-SITE: Who came up with the recurring gag of Jaime doing spit takes throughout the issue?
BQM: For better or worse, I’ll own that one. Who doesn’t love a good spit-take? (spit takes) Am I right?
K-SITE: Which assignment came first - Titans or Batgirl - and did one assignment lead to the other?
BQM: My work on Teen Titans helped get me into the Batgirl orbit.
K-SITE: What is your previous experience with the Teen Titans? (i.e., did you watch the cartoon, read the Wolfman/Perez or Geoff Johns comics, etc.)
BQM: I’ve watched a fair amount of the cartoon (one of my favorite moments being the arrival of Kid Flash, voiced by Smallville’s very own Michael Rosenbaum). As for the printed title, I came in during Geoff’s run with the team, specifically during his Outsiders/Insiders arc. I’ve been with it ever since.
K-SITE: Since you had surely interacted with Geoff Johns on Smallville, did you talk to him at all about the Titans prior to taking on the assignment?
BQM: We had a really good time breaking “Legion”. Not surprisingly, Geoff is a terribly busy man. That said, he was nice enough to help me get in touch with the right people, who then helped me get in touch with other right people, which led to one project falling through, which led to Teen Titans coming my way. And now there’s Batgirl. So I tip my hat to you, Mr. Johns -- as well as to the good folks in DC editorial who've been kind enough to meet-n-greet with me along the way.
K-SITE: A lot of fans really liked your take on Zatanna in Smallville. Had you done research on her character before writing "Hex," and if so, what did you take a look at?
BQM: Many thanks to the fans for embracing “Hex” as they did! Though I must admit, Serinda’s eyes do most of the heavy lifting on that one. Regarding research, we’ve got boxes upon boxes of old DC Comics and trades here in the office, so I dug around in those quite a bit. Grant Morrison’s run with Zatanna on Seven Soldiers was pretty helpful, as were the Zatanna episodes of Batman: the Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited.
K-SITE: Is there any chance you might write Zatanna within the pages of DC Comics sometime?
BQM: I wouldn’t want to jinx anything.
K-SITE: I know you're not allowed to say much about Batgirl. But is there anything you are allowed to say for those who may be completely unaware of what is coming?
[Possible spoilers lie ahead if you haven’t been reading the Bat-titles for the last couple of months.]
BQM: We’re starting with a #1 – so it’s built from the ground up to be a jumping-on point. Regarding the landscape of the book, Gotham’s been reeling from the “death” of Batman (during Final Crisis). The “Battle for the Cowl” books are a great way to catch up on the Bat Universe at this point. The power vacuum in the wake of Batman’s disappearance led to a healthy amount of gang violence, etc. that shook the city to its core. After the meltdown, Dick Grayson, former Robin/Nightwing, now wears the mantle of the bat. Recent Robin, Tim Drake, believes that Bruce is still alive, and is searching for him under the mantle of Red Robin. Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son by way of Ras Al Ghul’s daughter, Talia, is the new Robin under Batman. Years ago, Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, lost the use of her legs after being attacked by the Joker. She’s continued protecting Gotham and the rest of the DC Universe as Oracle, tech-genius. I can’t really get into who the other players are without getting into who may or may not be under Batgirl’s cowl. What I can say is that, whoever she is, Batgirl will lock horns with one of Batman’s major rogues during the course of the first arc.
K-SITE: Is there anything you are allowed to share about your first story for Smallville Season 9?
BQM: We just finished long-boarding [Episode 4], and I’m working on the outline right now. We’ll pitch it to the studio/network this week. The most I can probably share is the very cryptic: “And she doesn’t notice the tag is still on the dress.” That could always change before production. I wouldn’t want fans of dresses with tags to get too upset if that beat never hits the screen!
Bryan Q. Miller's first issue of Teen Titans is now on sale now at comic book stores - be sure to get your copy today! Batgirl is currently scheduled to come out with a new issue #1 on August 19, 2009. And, of course, Smallville Season 9 starts September 25 on The CW! Thanks again to Mr. Miller for a great interview.
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