Following Part One of our Scott Kolins interview focusing on the Justice Society of America (JSA), comes Part Two today that looks at his Solomon Grundy opus, Superman/Batman, Green Lantern, and more.
You’ve chosen some more offbeat characters to write in Solomon Grundy and Magog. How do you go about choosing the characters you’d like to work on and convince editors to let you? Do these offbeat characters give you more room to be creative without the perceived constraints of higher profile characters like Superman and Batman?
Kolins: Grundy I chased after – as I’m a big monster fan and knew I could have the best time tearing that up. I’ve waited a life time to do that! Magog was offered. I didn’t know much about Magog besides reading Kingdom Come years ago, but was happy to take the challenge. I believe in the idea that there are no bad characters, just bad writers or bad artists. You can turn anything around to be sucky or great, it’s up to you. Grundy and Magog are offbeat for there own series, but I like all sorts of characters. Sure I enjoy the big characters that everyone knows but I also really enjoy the hidden treasures lurking around everyone corner in the DCU. And sometimes the lesser known characters can be more fun – as they haven’t been written and drawn by the best in the biz – and may have more obvious opportunities just waiting to be voiced. And let’s be honest – it’s part of the natural order of things to start my writing career working on smaller books or offbeat characters – and that’s ok by me.
Nexus: Your Solomon Grundy mini-series, and 2-issue follow-up in Superman/Batman 66 and 67, were fun and action-packed reads. It was clear you did a lot of research. Every issue of Solomon Grundy seemed to trump the previous issue in terms of guest stars. Some guests were what I would call fanboy dream team-ups with Grundy like with Bizarro and Frankenstein, others were expected yet cool in the Golden Age Green Lantern and the Phantom Stranger, and others were surprises like Poison Ivy and Amazo. Was it deliberate pacing and build-up with the guests?
Kolins: In talking about the Solomon Grundy: Faces of Evil one-shot that started the Grundy story trolling, Geoff and I decided upon the framework of Grundy fighting other villains instead of heroes – to keep the book different and push the monster angle. After we had that, then it was fun for me to list out who I’d like to see throughout the series. My list came from who would be fun – like Bizarro – and also who I thought would add to the story – like surprising with Poison Ivy. Bizarro worked double for me as I got to make Bizarro and Grundy friends – of a sort. I love that. And Poison Ivy worked to play into Grundy’s human form – Cyrus Gold and his murderous past (especially the women he’s killed).
Some were surprises for me, I didn‘t really know anything about Grant’s Frankenstein, but he turned into some of my favorite stuff in the series. The #7 Grundy cover with Frankenstein impaling Grundy is one of my favorites from the series that just happened as the book went along. A complete surprise! Amazo was also a suggestion from DC – which turned into gold. I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do with him at first, but it played into the rhythm very well and I was still able to make it a monster fest using Amazo in a way I don’t think he’d ever been used before. Amazo-Grundy was really fun! There was actually some serious talk about not having Alan Scott in the book but I argued that one and got him in. We didn’t want to repeat the usual situation between Green lantern and Solomon Grundy – something we’ve seen a hundred times before – but I had several scenes in mind that would keep this very different.
Breaking the Lantern was a dream-come-true for me and something that Grundy had never done before. Plus Green Lantern and the Phantom Stranger being there at Grundy’s moment of judgment was priceless. It couldn’t have happened any other way.
Nexus: How did you approach your planning of the 6 issues of Solomon Grundy particularly the more introspective Cyrus Gold moments with the smash-up team-ups? And how did the Superman/Batman issues come about?
Kolins: Cyrus’ story was the most freeing part of the book. I threw all my ideas at DC and they liked them all. His childhood and his decent into madness after shaking hands with the devil, I knew every issue would have some flashbacks to Cyrus’ story that need to make sense with what was going on now to Cyrus’ current resurrection and to what trouble Grundy would find – plus the days of the week poem – and I had a loose framework of each issue – sort of attempting to take the steps of acceptance of change: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally acceptance. That’s assuming that Cyrus would make it all the way. That’s a lot to juggle and keep flowing, but it worked together really well. I really didn’t want that book to end. And thankfully it – sort of – didn’t!
DC was so happy with Grundy they immediately offered the two issues of Superman & Batman – with the replacement trick of it being Bizarro and Man-Bat – with Grundy in the mix. I’m not sure who though of it, but that was a great idea!
Tune in tomorrow when we’ll have Part 3, and our final (for now) 🙂 , interview with Scott Kolins. Tomorrow we talk Flash, Magog, and more.
Tags: Scott Kolins, Solomon Grundy, Superman/Batman