At his spotlight panel yesterday James Robinson was awarded an ink pot award for his contributions to the industry. Robinson was quite caught off guard by this and was genuinely touched by it.
Robinson’s Starman is one of those books that was seminal to in my early comic book reading, so even though I had met him at a signing previously it was great to see him talk about his work for a whole hour.
As one would imagine Starman was a major topic of discussion. One of the things he talked about was the freedoms he was given when writing that book back in the 90’s, and he postulated was weather a book like Starman would be possible these days based on how the major companies are now run.
This led into a discussion of Robinson’s Justice League run and the need for last minute changes. I asked if this at times makes him a worse writer and Robinson candidly admitted that he thought it often did, it only very occasionally led to something better. He felt that he lost his way as the writerbecause of this.
He then noted that he was surprised by the amount of freedom he has been given with Earth 2, and that the editor pushes him rather than restrictive. Currently the plans for the first 15-24 issues are laid out, but Robinson noted a need for flexilibity if a Justice League/Justice Society crossover was called for.
The Shade series was begun before the New 52, and for that reason a few pages had to be redrawn to take out things like the Starman museum and a scene from the Darwyn Cooke issue were Shade was battling the Golden Age heroes. Robinson admitted that the series had not sold that well, which is a shame as it is a great book. He does have an idea for second Shade series with the immortal heroes but he is unsure if the series will go ahead because of sales.
Similary the Justice Society book was first commissioned when the reboot was just a relaunch. Originally the idea was that the series was going to be set in the 1940s, which then changed with the reboot. Then there was the idea that Earth 2 would be a world still in the 1960s, for which a first issue, it was quite Mad Men like and had the heroes drinking martinies and smoking in their costumes. But finally the decision was made to have you heroes set in a contemporary world and Robinson is really happy with the current interiantation.
Robinson says it is an honour to try and do what Julie Schwartz, reimagining he characters. In doing this though he feels it is important to honour the spirit of the original characters. We will see the Atom in issue #4, Wesly Dodds is coming, and he is Canadian. There will be an Asian member joining the team, and Terry Slone isn’t going to be is good as he once was. There is also a suprise black female reporter coming, but Robinson wold not reveal who she will be. If Starman does appear he will be a new character, and Robinson is wondering how to bring him in. He is kicking around an idea for an Earth 2 ‘Legion of Superheroes’ and calling it Infinity INC, which could also allow him to bring back Jade and Obsidian. Geoff Johns apparently has pans for Stargirl.
As an interesting tidbit it was revealed that the reason The Golden Age series became an Elseworlds book was because – following the leaking of the story that Captain America was going to be Monarch in Armageddon 2001 – Archie Goodwin would not tell Mike Carlin the big reveal, that Hitler’s brain was the villain so Carlin said it had to be an Elseworlds book.
Robinson has an Image creator owned series to be announced soon, and has a second book in the works. Robinson would like to to do more Leave It To Chance, but can’t get in contact with Paul Smith. Issue #14 apparently sits half drawn in a draw somewhere.
He has already written a three part golden age Vigilante backup set in Galveston that Darwyn Cooke was going to draw, but he was taken off the story to work on Before Watchmen. This may well be Cooke’s next project following the Minutemen.
When asked about Firearm, Robinson said that he believes the Malibu contracts were too good in favour of the creators, and that he does not believe we will ever see a new Firearm series. Though he currently feels that, as with Jack Knight, there isn’t anything else he feels the need to say with the character. This would seeming confirm what Bleedingcool had reported previously about the unlikelyhood of ever seeing the Malibu characters again.
Robinson revealed that the reason he pulled out of He-Man was that he was not the right for the job. Mattel while they initially said they wanted something different, really wanted something that was the same, and that is there right. Robinson was not upset by it, he was just not he right man for the book.