We Talk To Bestselling Author Ridley Pearson
The latest issue of PLAY Magazine includes an interview with New York Times bestselling author Ridley Pearson – who’s written about everything from Disney icons to superheroes and their families – shedding light on just what it is that enthralls us about stories of victims and villains.
You can find the interview here – but we couldn’t leave it at that! So for more with Ridley – including how the sons of Batman and Superman have things so tough, and what’s involved in bringing comic books to life – then read on…
WHAT MADE JOHN KENT AND DAMIEN WAYNE – THE SUBJECTS OF SUPER SONS – SO INTERESTING TO WRITE?
The fun attraction to me in Super Sons is that John Kent – being the son of Lois Lane and Clark Kent – is muggle blood; he’s never going to be Superman. He might have a better brain, given that Lois is so smart, but he’s not going to bend steel or fly. Likewise, Damien Wayne comes into a situation where his father has had Robin, and he’d love to be Robin to his father’s Batman. But would a father ever invite his son into such a dangerous world?
Both Damien and John are hugely human. They’re not superhuman, but rather part of a superhero family. They’re awkward with girls, they’re awkward with each other; they need to learn to relate better, and to communicate better. And, of course, at that age you’re afraid to do anything because you might look like an idiot - because we’re all idiots, but they haven’t worked that out yet!
IS IT TRUE THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW A LOT ABOUT COMIC BOOKS BEFORE THE PROJECT BEGAN?
Yes, and I tried to be honest; when DC proposed this, I said, “it’s a wonderful offer, but I grew up with George Reid as Superman and Adam West as Batman, and that’s about all I know… Oh, and I’ve never written a graphic novel either.” And they said, “That’s perfect.” They wanted to reinvent this world.
They held my hand through all the places where I might violate canon. We were going for continuity of character, rather than continuity of story; create a new world, and launch them into it, but you have to make sure to stay somewhere true to where these people are and what they mean to us.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU LEARNED FROM THE EXPERIENCE?
When you’re writing novels – as I’ve done for years – you’re trying to use the right words to put an image into a reader’s head; if you do that well, then they’re led on a cinematic adventure that tells you more through engaging ways. As a graphic novelist, there’s a medium between you and that reader –and that’s the illustrator. I have to call out all this description, and emotion, and camera angles and settings and lighting, in order to communicate to Ile Gonzales what we should show the reader.
So now I’m using words for an audience of one; if I can get my words to light Ile up, and create a spectacular image that she is so capable of delivering, then we get the story we’d like. If i don’t do a good job, Ile doesn’t have a clue what I’m thinking – and that’s all on me! It is a collaborative partnership, and I adore that; I come from a background of folk-rock bands, which are all collaborative, and I could not ask for a more wonderful and devoted worker on this than Ile.
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