Amy Chu and Clay Mann are the current team behind the Poison Ivy: A Cycle of Life and Death miniseries for DC Comics. The panel was moderated by Ezekiel III and Meredith Placko.
Pleasantries were exchanged. This is Chu’s fourth time attending C2E2. She is the writer, or as she likes to put it, “the architect” of the series, though she’s quick to mention that artist Clay Mann does all the heavy lifting. It is at this point where both Ezekiel and Meredith ask “yeah, where is Clay Mann?” Clay Mann is billed for the panel, but he never shows up in the twenty minutes.
The work never stops. With both Chu and Mann in attendance at C2E2, they can both work on it here together. In fact, after the panel, Chu will be returning to her table in Artist Alley (section G15) to work. A schedule like this is regular for Chu. She’s a mother. She cannot sit there for six hours straight and just write. She has to take her kids to soccer practice, where she brings her laptop or a phone. Everything for her is connected through the cloud.
The questions then move to Poison Ivy herself. For Chu, she believes Poison Ivy wants to walk the normal path. “She has no understanding of good or bad. She has her own moral compass.” She’s different from villains like the Joker or the Penguin.
Ezekiel adds, “bad guys never think they’re bad.”
Poison Ivy just wants to do a job. She’s a scientist at heart. However, as is the nature of stories, things go south.
Because she’s a scientist, a lot of research goes into writing Poison Ivy. Luckily for Chu, she went to MIT, so she knows “a lot of smart women.” She is afraid that she will be told “that’s not how it really was.”
There is quite a lengthy back and forth between Chu and Meredith, to where Ezekiel exclaims that maybe he should get out of the way.
Chu returns to storytelling. “Comics is a story.” She wants people to become invested in the story she is telling.
She briefly touches upon Mann again. “Clay has to draw a lot.”
The questioning now turns to the title of the book – A Cycle of Life and Death. “We think of Ivy in the context of death,” Chu says. “She can also create life.”
Chu wanted to write the book, but she didn’t think she was qualified for it. She thought there were “better writers” available. So she was surprised, and elated, when DC asked her to pitch for the book. She gave them something different than she thought they expected, and now here we are.
The book is doing well. She’s revived positive feedback. Sales for issue 3 have been good. It launched better than Swamp Thing. But Chu wants you to buy the book now. “Don’t wait for the trade. Get it now.” She wants you to buy every single. She wants to sign every issue. You only get to sign a trade once.
After Ivy, Meredith is a fan of Chu’s for life. She says it’s not preachy, that Ivy isn’t dealing with “female issues,” but “just issues.” Ivy is a person dealing with her own struggles. There’s a lot of heart in the book.
Chu hopes she can continue working with DC. She’s getting Marvel work, Valiant, and an eight page short story with Mike Mckone soon.