Sunday, February 27, 2005

Q&A: Darwyn Cooke on 'New Frontier,' deconstruction

At Silver Bullet Comic Books, Markisan Naso talks with Darwyn Cooke about DC: The New Frontier, his distaste for "superhero deconstruction," and upcoming projects.

First up, what attracted him to the Silver Age setting of The New Frontier:
Cooke: The lack of continuity that would inhibit a good story. Plus, it allowed me to watch these characters grow into who we know. Those kind of character arcs are always more compelling. The other big pull of this era was the kind of place America was at the time. I distinctly remember it all kinda gelling when I looked at the turbulent social history of the time. With Korea, HUAC, Tailgunner Joe, the Cold War, the civil rights movement and of course the Space Race, I saw an incredibly wonderful opportunity; to place the Silver Age DC heroes against the actual world they were apparently inhabiting, instead of the Leave it to Beaver world of the Silver Age DCU. Once this was established, I realized what the biggest challenge was going to be; I wanted to prove that the world was as shitty then as it is now, but this handful of people was able to acquire great power and use it altruistically. The big challenge was to show that times haven't changed all that much, but our definition of the heroic ideal certainly has.
Then, on to "deconstructing" classic characters:
Cooke: ... If you change the core character-- not the costume, or color, or powers -- if you change the core character, then you are denigrating something you didn't create. Example: taking the free world's most fearless man and best jet pilot and turning him into a drunkard who can't operate a Willy's Jeep for short end attention and sales spikes. If you're going to use that character and you have to violate that core essence, then use another character.

Naso: Why do you think deconstruction is so popular right now?

Cooke: Because its much easier to write, and it is servicing an aging, bored market that wants it.