your source for everything titans

Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray & Amanda Conner Talk Terra

Creators on Terra Mini Series


Mini-Series Announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2006

from http://www.paperfilms: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray will write, and Amanda Conner will draw a DC limited series starring the Teen Titans character Terra, this according to a message board post at http://www.paperfilms by Gray.

According to the creator, Conner made the announcement at her Saturday “Spotlight” panel in San Diego. ” Terra, Gar, and Raven are my favorites so it is cool that we’ll be working with the rock slinger,” Gray posted.

“I can’t talk story yet because we’ve been through dozens of ideas and plots over the last eight months,” he continued, “but Terra as a character has never had a definitive origin. That includes Terra 1 and 2. This mini will address that fact in some surprising ways and open the door to a new corner of the DCU. Aside from that the emphasis will be on heroism, true blue hero stuff.”

from http://www.comicbloc.com: “Friday afternoon saw the spotlight fall on Amanda Conner. Joining Amanda was her husband Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex, Heroes for Hire) and a mutual friend of theirs, Snakes on a Plane writer John Heffernan. The crowd was small, which gave it a more comfortable and intimate vibe.

Amanda announced that her newest project would be a Terra mini-series from DC Comics. Joining her on the mini will be Jimmy and his writing partner, ComicBloc’s own Justin Gray. Jimmy talked about how this story will spin out of.something that happens toward the end of 52. Justin and Jimmy plan to explain all the Terras that are in the DCU before introducing the new one who has been redesigned by Amanda. Jimmy also gave some insight into how the mini came to be. He and Justin had created a new character, and when they showed it to Dan Didio, he thought it would be cool if it tied into this and this and this … it eventually morphed into the upcoming Terra mini-series.”


NEW GIRL IN TOWN: GRAY AND PALMIOTTI TALK TERRA
By MattBrady – 10-12-2006 – courtesy of http://www.newsarama.com

Sure, she’s relatively new, but in next month’s Supergirl #12, the girl from Krypton meets someone even newer to the DC Universe – Terra.

Yeah – Terra.

But wasn’t she dead? And wasn’t there another one? Good questions.

As the solicit reads: The story finds the Girl of Steel down in the dumps – and no match for a monster that’s using her emotions as a weapon. This looks like a job for a Terra, a mysterious new hero whose very steps make the ground tremble to make her presence known to the world. This issue will serve as a lead-in to the upcoming TERRA miniseries.

The issue, along with the upcoming series, is by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmioti, Amanda Conner, and Paul Mounts. We caught up with Gray and Palmiotti to (try) and learn some more.

Newsarama: First off, what got you started on this, and why Terra? Was bringing her back something that DC offered up as an option, or was it something you brought to them as an idea?

Justin Gray: We brought in the idea for a new character and after a few months of back and forth we were asked if we could take elements from that character and apply her to bringing a new Terra to the DCU.

Now – I know what you’re thinking and yeah, maybe the DCU didn’t need a new Terra, but in working over the ideas and looking at her original origin some exciting possibilities emerged. The same kind of thing happened when we brought Golden Eagle back in Hawkman.

Jimmy Palmiotti: Right – we’re always pitching new things, but the crew at DC wanted us to take a stab at this project and we had a few ideas on how to handle it and they went for it. Right place, right time, with the right concept.

NRAMA: But just to – try – to clarify…Terra died. Dead. Very dead. Years back. Are we talking about the same Terra here, or someone different? Any hints you can drop about her?

JG: Which Terra? Aww, never mind I won’t torture anyone today. This is a new Terra same as the old Terra only different. Does that clarify things?

NRAMA: Not exactly, but that’s all you’re going to say about it for now?

JG: Right.

NRAMA: Okay – then let’s hit her upcoming appearance in next month’s Supergirl #12 – how did that ball get rolling? Was it set in motion before or after the miniseries was planned out and scheduled?

JG: I think Supergirl, having undergone several creative shifts, fell behind in scheduling and we were asked to jump in and help give our buddy Joe a chance to get his plans rolling properly. I really like Joe’s scripts for Supergirl and am excited to see where he goes with her.

JP: Totally, this is Joe’s book, and we’re just here for an issue. With this opportunity we figured we would get our character established ahead of time and get Amanda on it as well. We probably would not have written this unless Amanda was on board. And yeah -this all took place after the miniseries was written but before events in 52 were established…confusing? You bet!

NRAMA: Well then – set the stage as much as you can for the issue – how does Terra get involved in Supergirl’s world? Obviously, Supergirl is the newcomer – but is Terra a tabla rasa, or does she know her way around the DCU?

JG: Terra is an enigma for obvious reasons. Every hero in the DCU is in the dark about who she is and why she’s doing what she’s doing, which is running around the planet saving and helping people. We’ve been working with Terra for months and months trying to find and develop what’s special about her. In the end it was a very simple angle, make Terra a superhero with plenty of emphasis on heroism. Everything she does is selfless and in the service of life. This is a great contrast to Supergirl who is trying to figure out what to do with herself and her powers. They meet when Terra is doing what she was born to do.

JP: And we let Amanda run wild with the first half of the book setting Supergirl up on a night out at a rave costume party on top of a building and let her go nuts with the background characters. Anyone that knows her work will know what to expect already.

NRAMA: All of that said, what are the “rules” – for lack of a better term – that you guys need to keep in mind when bringing back a character like Terra? In the broadest sense, she could be equated with Elektra, in that she was created for a reason, journeyed through her tragic arc, and it concluded. Obviously, there’s a little of an uphill battle here in bringing her back in fans’ eyes…how do you keep the locals form grabbing their pitchforks and torches?

JG: No disrespect to anyone, but some people will be complaining regardless of what we do. It is the nature of the business. Fans are justifiably attached to these people and that’s one of the greatest things about the DCU or any shared universe. However, there’s a big difference between respecting a character’s legacy and writing fan fiction. Am I fan of the previous Terra? Hell yeah, she was a chain-smoking bitch, of course I dug that, but she also lacked a proper origin and that opens the door for a new Terra. There were no rules given to us but we devoted a lot of time to figuring out exactly how a new Terra could fit with the old continuity.

JP: Justin is 100 % correct; we’re beyond trying to please all of the people on this one and are focusing on how what went before would nicely fit into what we are establishing now. It’s a wonderful jigsaw puzzle that makes sense once all is said and done. Till then, it will be a roller coaster for Terra’s original fans and we hope an exciting and visually appealing story for all new comers. There is a reason Amanda Conner is drawing this. You will discover why.

NRAMA: Fair enough. Wrapping up then – the goal for the Supergirl issue. Looking at Terra in the bigger picture – what are you looking to accomplish?

JG: Consider it the first look at the big secret surrounding Terra and introducing her to the DCU.

JP: We really want the fans to love the character and care enough to follow her exploits past the mini series

NRAMA: Okay – pimp us out of here…when are we set to see Terra again?

JG: In a five issue mini series with incredible art by Amanda Connor and some dude she lives with.

JP: We’re looking to have the mini series start with the New Year. The team is Justin and me writing, Amanda and me on art and the amazing Paul Mounts on coloring.

This has been in the works for quite a while now…since Amanda finished Power Girl…and I think everyone will be happy to see the amazing amount of work and detail Amanda is bringing to the book. We couldn’t be happier.


TALKING SUPERGIRL WITH AMANDA CONNER
By MattBrady – 12-12-2006 – courtesy of http://www.newsarama.com

Last week saw the return to the stands of an artist whose stops in mainstream comics have become somewhat less frequent than they used to be, but nonetheless, a welcome change in style. Yeah – we’re talking about Amanda Conner and Supergirl #12, henceforth known as the “fun” issue.

For Conner, the issue marked her return after last year’s opening arc of JSA Classified starring Power Girl, which served to lay part of the foundation upon which Infinite Crisis was built. While Supergirl didn’t have as serious overtones as the Power Girl one did, the issue also served a larger purpose, that being an introduction of the new Terra, who will star in her own six issue miniseries in early 2007, written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, with Conner on pencils.

We caught up with Amanda to talk some more about what she’s been up to.

Newsarama: Last week’s Supergirl #12 was your most recent comics work, and before that, it was JSA Classified…

Amanda Conner: Yeah – aside form some smaller stuff here and there, the Power Girl story in JSA Classified was my last full-blown comic series work. Since then, I’ve been doing little things here and there – some little illustrations for tv…

NRAMA: Like what?

AC: I think it’s supposed to come out this Friday for the show Cover Shot on TLC. It was where they take a regular girl and make her a supermodel for a day. They wanted to do a superhero-themed photograph of her, because her husband is a big comic book fan. I haven’t seen it yet, so I haven’t seen how big of a fool I may look like.

NRAMA: So they came in to your studio and filmed you drawing the image?

AC: Actually, I went into their studio, and I drew it there. Well, I drew a lot of it there, and then I brought it home, but they were filming me while I was working there.

NRAMA: How in the world did you get hooked up with them?

AC: They called me. I don’t know how they got my number. So I did that, and I’ve also been doing the “Ask Vinnie” column in Revolver Magazine. Hm – I’m trying to figure out what the hell else I’ve been doing to keep busy. I know there was other stuff, but I can’t put my finger on it right now. I got a little bunred out after the Power Girl story, so I went and did some other stuff – worked on my house, and things like that. So there was Power Girl, a break, and then small things here and there, and here we are.

Oh – I did some MAD Magazine work a while ago, too…and a letter column for Legion of Super-Heroes. And of course, a lot of sketches at cons.

NRAMA: In the midst of this, when did Supergirl come in?

AC: I had already started Terra, and I didn’t want to step on any editorial toes, but I think Eddie Berganza, Tom Palmer and Dan Didio had discussed it among themselves and asked if they could add an issue of Supergirl to my schedule while I was working on Terra, in essence, stop Terra, do the Supergirl issue, and then start Terra again. As long it was all harmonious between the editors, I was game, so it worked out.

And it’s Supergirl. Who doesn’t want to draw Supergirl?

And I got to draw Supergirl partying at a rave.

NRAMA: If anything, that scene has caught the most attention of your work of the entire issue. There were some readers here that were saying they were upset that the rave scene only lasted three pages…

AC: I was too! I wanted to do the whole book like that.

NRAMA: Supergirl’s Night Out Special is always beckoning… But back to what you did in the rave scene – obviously, you, Jimmy and Justin work closely, but how does that work? Do you get a plot? A script? Or does Jimmy just tell you over breakfast that there will be a three-page rave scene? And how much detail did it have?

AC: Oh, a lot of the detail was me – I love drawing all the crazy stuff like that. I didn’t think of Big Barda in there until jimmy said I needed to add a drag Power Girl into it. I already had the Power Girl in there, with more enormous boobs than what Power Girl has, so I had to figure out what other super heroine would work really well as a guy in drag. Barda came up pretty quick – a hairy, Big Barda with balloons for boobs. Yeah – that was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the rest of the book, but I really enjoyed the start of the issue with the party. I so wanted to do that for the entire book.

NRAMA: Well, that said even though there was a dinosaur monster to fight, this issue really played to your strengths in that there was enough room for the characters, especially Supergirl and Terra to emote and show expression.

AC: Yeah – and that’s the stuff I like doing the best. Fight scenes are always fun, but my favorite thing is making actual superheroes seem like they’re people who could actually live next door. That’s one of my favorite things to do – to make them seem very, very real.

There are times when they’re not hitting other people and monsters, and they have to be doing something. Trying to make those situations as interesting as the times when they come out fighting – that’s some of my favorite stuff to do in comics.

NRAMA: Speaking of the emotional portions of the story – the final four or so pages of the issue where it was just Supergirl and Boomerang talking. While not outlandish like the rave scene was, it was still…well, it wasn’t the punching and the hitting, and you had a lot to get across that wasn’t al going to come through with the words…

AC: Having her lying on the couch was the only way I could figure out to make it super-interesting. There was a lot of dialogue – a lot of “lying on the couch” dialogue. In the past, the idea was to just do camera shots from a lot of different angles, which I think works really well, but I wanted to do a similar thing to what I did in the Power Girl story when she was talking to Jimmy Olsen – keep the imaginary camera in one spot, and let the characters make it interesting with their faces and body language. Let the characters act, and see how interesting you can make a long conversation just by showing a lot of emotion in the characters. I really enjoy doing that – you get to stretch a little bit, and sometimes work harder, to approach the character from the point of, “How would I be feeling if I were going through that?”

NRAMA: With this issue of Supergirl done, are you back to Terra?

AC: Yeah – I’m working on it as we speak. I’m also wrapping up my last Revolver Magazine illustration, because Terra is going to be taking up so much of my time that I had to start ending side projects. I really did enjoy doing the “Ask Vinnie” stuff, and hope that I can help them find somebody to fill the spot. So I’m trying to think of anyone.

But yeah, Terra is the one big thing I’m working on now.

NRAMA: We talked about this back with your JSA Classified arc, but let’s hit it again – is a “monthly” – even say, eight to ten issues a year, something that you think you’ll be doing again on a regular series?

AC: Well, this is going to be six issues, and I’m looking forward to it. But I find that I have a hard time doing a book that’s not a miniseries. I tend to kind of lose focus after really long stretches, and get distracted, and that would result in the book slipping, and I don’t want that. So, in the end, it works out better if I do a job in a certain block of time, and then go on to another. I tried to do that with Vampirella, and a lot of times it came out late – that was pretty hard for me, that is, a constant, never-ending monthly book. I’s gots to know my limits [laughs]. But yeah, this is working out pretty well.


Jimmy Palmiotti Podcast
STUN! The weekly comics podcast hosted by James VanOsdol. Now available for listening on this site – the Jimmy Palmiotti podcast from 11/13! at http://stunpodcast.wordpress.com

Palmiotti talks about Jonah Hex, Heroes for Hire, Terra, and Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, as well as a few industry things that make him cranky. Also on the show: Executive Producer Patrick Brower from Graham Crackers Comics in Chicago gives a retail update. The Terra stuff doesn’t kick in until the 14 minute mark.

Here’s what Jimmy says about Terra: “DC wanted a new Terra. 52 covers some of it. Somehow, we’re going to figure out how all those Terra tie together. We came up with a real basic premise. They are all connected. Their powers are all the same, but their attitudes are completely different.”

“The new Terra sort of has the sensibilities of Superman. […] She has a real super-hero sensibility. There’s no doubt [in her mind], unlike the other two Terra, who both had some psychological stuff going on. In this mini series, we explain them out. We explain who they are, where they came from and what they have in common with the new Terra. And then we say, “go.” So by the sixth issue, we launch her out. And that’s for another writer to work on her in another book.”

“[The fans] are going to hate it – or they’re going to love it. Look, we already know we’re going to take a load of crap for the book. But at the same time, we’re going to clear up a lot of stuff. So I think the real diehards are going to really appreciate what we did. And anyone who picks it up for the first time will really grab onto the new character, because the new character is a lot of fun. But she’s nothing like the other two.”

When asked if he turns a blind eye to the diehards fans feedback, Jimmy says, “[laughs] No, I kind of like the feedback. I don’t mind it. When people on the internet say over and over, “hey, we love this!” that’s great. And there’s always some good ideas in there, too. […] But anytime you write a character like Terra, who is very close to some people, you’re always going to get a lot of crap thrown at you. But it’s OK. I don’t mind it. I’m glad they took the time to read it, and THEN hate it [so much]. Because at least they went out and bought it. […] They only thing I turn a blind eye to is when it starts getting personal when they attack you on the internet. […] That’s just kind of stupid. […] But realistically, anything that gets people thinking and talking is OK. […] That’s the great thing about this hobby – this art form – is that two people will look at something and see two different things.”


Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray on ‘Terra’

By Chris Arrant
courtesy of http://www.newsarama.com – posted: 2008-09-16

The name ‘Terra’ has a lot of history in DC Comics lore, tied in especially with the Teen Titans corner of the world. Shortly after the death of the previous Terra in 52’s World War III storyline, a new woman carrying the moniker appeared in Supergirl #12. But this new raven-haired earth mover shared no connection to the previous Terra, but hints have been dropped that say that may not be true.

Most recently the new Terra appeared in the “The Titans of Tomorrow, Today!” storyline in Teen Titans #52-54, and now the long-awaited solo miniseries reaches fruition this fall. This four-issue series runs bi-weekly during the months of November and December, and is headed up by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray along with long-time collaborators, artist Amanda Conner and colorist Paul Mounts.

The solicits promise both an origin and a new adventure, facing up against new threats and familiar faces such as Power Girl, Doctor Mid-Nite and Geo-Force. The solicits also dropped some things that we don’t know much about yet – what is ‘the secret of Strata’? Who is the Astronaut God?

There are a lot of questions that need answering, and although some of those must wait until the release of the book itself, we can pin down Palmiotti and Gray to get up to speed in preparation for November.

Newsarama: So gents, let’s get right to it… What can we look forward to with the new Terra miniseries?

Justin Gray: A lot of dirt, rocks and soil.

NRAMA: What?

JG: Okay I’m sure smart assed answers aren’t going to rate very well with fans of the previous Terra who was so unceremoniously killed in World War Three. The same Terra who was the victim of statutory rape, well mister, I can tell you this Terra will not be skeezing on some old man super villain. What they will get is a genuine, heartfelt heroine fighting for the planet against some odd villains with special guest stars like Power Girl and Doc Mid-Nite.

Jimmy Palmiotti: What you also get is a beautifully drawn mini series that totally establishes a new character and a decent amount of past history to catch anyone that doesn’t know the history of the ‘Terra’ name.

NRAMA: Justin brought up the previous holders of the Terra name. So how does this new one tie into those?

JG: That’s a secret origin kind of question that will be answered in the pages of this miniseries. I just hope people have an open mind and can recognize how difficult it is to keep what came before and yet find a way to make something new work within those confines.

JP: terra ties into everything presented to date that has the name terra on it…its what we set out to do…create a back story that explains a lot of what happened behind the scenes, the what and why and especially the who of these characters.

NRAMA: Ok. In the solicits there’s talk of a new villian from under the Earth’s surface called Pyrite, with something called Lavarians. What can you tell us about these sinister subterraneans?

JG: We introduce a number of new threats related to Terra in keeping with the themes we’ve established for her. It is important for heroes to have distinct villains and we couldn’t see jumping directly into preexisting Titans villains for this. The idea is to set her up as a viable character for DC to use as they see fit.

JP: Also having an established villain just come out of nowhere and consider terra a threat was not the way we wanted to go here. I agree its important when telling a new story to create not only new characters but in this case create a new world and then sprinkle the old favorites in to ground the character somewhat. These four issues are a nice balancing act.

NRAMA: The new Terra debuted in Supergirl #12, and has recently shown up in Teen Titans #52-54. How do those lead into this miniseries, and do people need to read those to get the full picture?

JG: Those appearances are post creation for us, we saw opportunities to slowly work Terra into the DCU, keeping her on the edges of everything before releasing this book. Sean emailed me for information about Terra so that he could use her properly in the context of what we’ve done in this book. You have to respect when another writer reaches out to you regarding a character without just doing his or her own thing regardless of the work you do on a project. What we wanted to do was present a story that you could come in cold and read. There’s no requirement to read the Supergirl or Titans issues to understand this story.

NRAMA: The series hasn’t even debuted yet, but people are wondering what her origin is. Will this miniseries shed any light on that?

JG: Yes, but probably not in any way that fans are expecting. There needed to be a connection and yet a clear separation between this Terra and Tara Markov. Most of all we have a heroine that cares about the world around her, she cares about her role in having powers to help people. Unlike the other incarnations of Terra this one knows her secret identity.

JP: the mini series is an introduction to the character and tells her complete story and the 4 issues tell a complete story as well.

NRAMA: You mentioned some special appearances by Power Girl and Doctor Mid-Nite. How do they fit into the puzzle?

JP: Power Girl and Terra have a lot in common both being new to their surroundings somewhat and at this point, Power Girl is the only real girlfriend Terra has. Power Girl is all over the mini series and it really works.

JG: Exactly, there is a parallel between them that we wanted to explore. Plus Power Girl is awesome.

JP: yeah, we love her…so much we are going to write a monthly title about her. Nice, eh?

NRAMA: The Terra miniseries was originally announced about two years ago, so call me antsy or impatient but why the delay?

JP: A lot of changes at DC, more changes at DC story wise, reworking of scripts to reflect some of the changes and the biggest thing, DC feeling the need to announce this too much in advance, which didn’t help us at all, but we understood why at the time. It was out of excitement and we can’t get down on them for having that going on. What is exciting is that they decided to double ship the series in November and December and give the fans a break and not have them wait so long between issues. I think that a pretty cool way to launch it and hopefully the retailers and fans enjoy it as well.

JG: It is all a question of timing. There were plans in place to have Terra appear earlier but as they say…shit happens.

NRAMA: Before we go, let’s talk about the character’s creation. In an earlier interview, you mentioned that this Terra originally started out as a wholly new and original character. Can you tell us how Terra became what she is now?

JG: The ideology is still the same, a selfless hero, someone that stands in opposition of the grim and gritty…God someone kill that phrase already…the point is we wanted someone that didn’t whine about being special, someone that actually embraced her role as a champion.

JP: the idea was a fun upbeat superhero character that wanted to be a hero. Wanted to save the day. Her motivations are extremely clear and with the art of Amanda Conner and the color work of Paul Mounts, we knew were had the right combination of creators to pull this off.


REFLECTIONS: Justin Gray

by Robert Taylor, Staff Writer
courtesy of http://www.comicbookresources.com – posted October 21st, 2008

CBR: Justin, how do you feel your writing has changed or evolved over the past few years?

Justin Gray: I’m in a unique position right now in that I’ve realized taking certain kinds of jobs isn’t always in my best long-term interest. Of course if I want to keep working, I have to find a middle ground because you can’t turn down too many offers otherwise the phone stops ringing.

The best work, at least the work I feel most comfortable doing, is when I’m given free reign to write from the guts rather than a spreadsheet. I feel I have streamlined my approach to stories through the experience of writing single-issue comics.

CBR: Let’s start with “Terra.” Now how long has this project been in development?

Justin Gray: I’ve lost track of time when “Terra” is concerned. It feels like forever that it has been finished. A few years have passed but the work has been completed well in advance.

CBR: What took so long to get it on shelves?

Justin Gray: Character placement and timing had a lot to do with it. The timing changed with regard to where and when Terra would appear in the DC Universe after this mini, so it was held back until the plan for her character fully developed.

CBR: Why Terra? She’s always been one of the more “fluid” characters in the DCU and has gone through several incarnations and revamps.

Justin Gray: There are no uncomplicated answers are there? The story is, we approached DC with a new character. This character had an origin that DC felt would be better suited to not only Terra, but it would also open up a part of the DC Universe that hadn’t been fully explored. With regard to the character of Terra, I loved the Titans and the run that produced the character. Things being what they are in the DC Universe, you have a lot of characters with continuity issues. The real challenge was to uncover a way to have this new Terra fit with the previous. No easy task.

CBR: Just who is the new Terra?

Justin Gray: I can’t say too much without giving it away. She’s a heroine in the classic sense. At least she is when we write her. I have no idea what direction she’ll take beyond that.

CBR: As you said, the miniseries has been in development for quite awhile. How much has “Terra” changed since you first imagined it and put pen to paper? Why the changes?

Justin Gray: Surprisingly, given the time involved and the fact that Terra is a corporate property, there haven’t been very many changes to the original concept. Some of the story elements were altered as time passed and [co-writer] Jimmy [Palmiotti] and I were able to go back in and add to it.

CBR: Let’s talk about “Terra” artist Amanda Conner. What makes her right for the book?

Justin Gray: Everything. Amanda is a fantastic artist with a keen understanding of character, presentation, humor, drama, expressive behavior and environment. When Amanda illustrates a story, she inhabits it as if it were reality and not fiction. She doesn’t shortcut backgrounds, story or anything. She’s just amazing and I think you have to appreciate art to fully understand what she brings to any project.

There is a great deal of freedom and surprise working with Amanda because she’ll turn in pages that contain elements you’d never have thought of but the fit the story perfectly.

CBR: And are you planning on continuing with the character after the “Terra” miniseries wraps?

Justin Gray: Jimmy and I would like to use her as a reoccurring guest star in “Power Girl,” but that depends of how DC plans to use her elsewhere.

 


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author