The new creative team behind 'The Authority' answers a few questions...
After reading and reviewing ' The Authority' #18, I felt compelled to reach out to the new creative team behind the books to ask them a few questions about the comic and what it is like working together, as well as what fans of 'The Authority' can expect. So first things first, a big thanks to writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman for answering a few questions for us.
1. What is it about 'The Authority' that led you both to take on the responsibility of writing the series? Have you always been fan's of the characters, and if so, why?
ADAM FREEMAN: It is a case of be careful of what you wish for. We were both fans of previous runs (most notably Ellis and Millar) and since doing to books with WildStorm we somehow had the balls to constantly nag Ben Abernathy with sarcastic taunts like, "so when are you going to give us The Authority?" After two years of our obnoxiousness he turned to us and said, "Well, what would you do with it?" And here we are.
MARC BERNARDIN: I’ve been a fan of the Authority since before they were the Authority, since the Stormwatch days, when Warren Ellis was just killing characters left and right, while telling these wonderfully sarcastic, bombastic superhero stories.
2. How (to you as writers) is 'The Authority' a different superhero book than 'Justice League' or 'The Avengers' ?
ADAM: They are all so flawed and beaten down. Like a great rock band, they work best when they are a team. We're fans of JLA and the Avengers but as a writer they are the equivalent to a supergroup where every member has put out a solo album - and it's awesome. You never get the sense they really need each other. The Authority are a bunch of fuck-ups and that is always more fun to write.
MARC: Also, some of them die. And there doesn’t have to be some giant crossover to herald that death. Even though it should've been obvious that Jenny Sparks wasn't gonna last, it was still a wonderful shock when she died because that sort of thing just doesn't happen in team books. That sense of fragility is kind of refreshing, as both a writer and a reader. It can happen at any moment.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect from the upcoming series? Where did The Authority leave off and where readers can expect you guys to take them?
MARC: Hopefully, readers will come to a book that’s a little easier to hop on while still being true to what Abnett and Lanning did before us. As for where we’re taking them: outer space, baby!
ADAM: Our pitch for our run was a single question. A question put to every hero in the WS universe, really. "Should I stay or should I go?" Whatever incomprehensible intelligence created the Carrier is recalling it home. Who is hopping on this life raft and who is staying on shore?
4. 'The Authority' is clearly a team book, but out of that team, which character do you feel is the most important and influential in pushing your story?
ADAM: Probably Jack. Like him or not, he is the heart of the team.
MARC: Yeah, by the end, it’ll be clear that this is a Jack story. And a Freefall story as well. She’ll go through some stuff before it’s all said and done. Transformative stuff.
5. Is it easier to write team books as opposed to stories that revolve around an individual character?
ADAM: It is all relative. We found it a new challenge but if you want to more accurate answer ask Adam Beechen who has the ungodly task of writing every character in the WS universe that we don't take with us. We don't know how he is doing it, but he is.
MARC: Team books are a juggling act in that not everyone can be in the driver’s seat of the story -- hell, not everyone can ride shotgun -- but it’s finding ways to utilize the cast you’ve got to maximum effect. Now, that can be easier when the cast is one, or two people deep. But there’s also something incredibly rewarding when you roll with a large cast and everyone’s contributing, everyone feels like they’re serving a purpose -- and everyone gets their moment to shine.
6. Can you tell us a little bit about the importance of 'The Carrier' to the story?
ADAM: The Carrier is a living thing. It has existed long before the Authority co-opted it. Imagine a hermit crab adopting a shell and one day the shell says, "Ok, now we're doing it my way."
MARC: The Carrier is what makes this particular story possible. One of the things that I love about a book with history is that you can plumb that history for inspiration. And there was a little nugget in an issue of Warren’s run where they talk about the Carrier as a merchant ship. (Mind you, this is after they mention that the ship’s alive.) And that led to us thinking, “Well, who built it? Why? How long ago? Was it just forgotten on some ancient shipping manifest, and the new management wanted to reconcile the ledger?”
7. What is the relationship between 'The Authority' and 'The Stormwatchers' and how do you plan to develop their interactions?
MARC: The Authority as you’ll see it during our run is an amalgam of WildCATs members, Stormwatchers, Gen 13 kids, and Authority veterans. They’re distant acquaintances, for all intents and purposes, united by a common event. So there’s some conflict, both emotional and physical. Some role redefinition -- especially when it comes to Jack Hawksmoor and Christine Trelane. There’s friction, and that’s what gives it its juice.
8. This is not the first time you and have worked together. Nor is it the first time you worked for Wildstorm on a book. Looking at all of the projects you have worked on together (The Highwaymen, Dark X-Men: The Beginning, Genius, PUSH, Monster Attack Network, X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler), which do you feel is your favorite?
ADAM: That's hard. The Highwaymen was a blast because it was all so new, it was our baby and we had Scott Peterson to baby us.
MARC: They each have things in them we love, and each have bits we wish we could do over again. There’s a love I have for Monster Attack Network -- because it was the first, and the hardest -- that can’t be touched, even though we were learning on the job and, sometimes, it shows. And Genius feels, to me, like the most fully realized; the final product comes closest to our intentions. But the really important part is that, with each project, we just hope we’re getting better. There’s always more to learn.
9. Do you feel like it is easier to work together as a team as opposed to individually? If so, why, and what are the pros and cons? Can you describe how you work together? Do you ever argue about the direction you want to take a character or a story?
ADAM: We argue all the time - well, maybe argue is the wrong word. We have "heated discussions" and that is one of my favorite parts of the process. Being challenged on an idea forces you to really think it through in order to defend it - or realize it is full of holes. Plus, we have known each other since 5th grade so all of our references and influences overlap. There is a shorthand we could never have with someone else. He "completes me."
MARC: Like he said, I’m in it for the fights. Those arguments, those differences of opinion are like a crucible -- they burn away whatever isn’t true, leaving us with something better in the process. And if it wasn’t for the wonders of modern communication technology, we’d never be able to do this. We live 3,000 miles from each other -- but lots of emails, IMs, and phone calls keep us both productive and focused. That way, when we do get together, we can just get hammered.