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Interview: SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN Creators Gail Simone & Ethan Van Sciver

During her original 1940s heyday, Wonder Woman, much like her fellow members of the DC Trinity, Superman and Batman, had two regular ongoing titles – the self titled Wonder Woman, as well as Sensation Comics. After ten years, the original Sensation Comics ended, leaving Diana as a one-title character again for the last six decades. Now, DC is resurrecting the title as Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, a digital-first series whose first chapter is available today, Wednesday, August 13th. The rest of the issue hits comic shops on August 20th. I recently got the chance to talk to the creators of the lead story for the first issue, writer Gail Simone and artist Ethan Van Sciver, about getting the chance to finally launch Wonder Woman into a second headlining series again.

Nerdist: Gail, I was a really big fan of your Wonder Woman run (from 2007-2010) and I was wondering what it felt like to come back to the character after all this time, and was there anything kind of left undone from your previous run, something  that you felt you could now get a chance to do with this new Sensation Comics story?

Gail Simone: Well, first of all, the most exciting part was to be able to get to do it with Ethan. It was one of the main reasons I really wanted to do it. When Ethan and and DC asked if I was going to do it, I asked Ethan, “Are you doing the art?” And he said “Yeah, I’m doing the art.” So I said, “Well then yeah, most definitely I’ll write it!” Because Ethan and I had talked several times, back when I was doing the regular Wonder Woman series, about how he wished that he could draw it, but it never really happened, so when this opportunity came up, I was like, “Oh man…we can finally do what we had talked about before.” And it has been a blast, it’s really been a joy working with Ethan, who I think really understands all the different aspects of Diana, and it really shows in the artwork, which just makes it all extra exciting.

N: Ethan, you’ve drawn Wonder Woman over the years in various guest appearances and DC universe crossover stories, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’ve never drawn her in her own title before. What was it like to finally draw Wonder Woman in her own comic and not just as a guest appearance in someone else’s title?

Ethan Van Sciver: Well, it was great, because frankly I’ve been wanting to draw a Wonder Woman comic book for a long time. And I asked editorial if there was anything even just Wonder Woman related I could get my hands on, and they told me about this (the Sensation Comics series) and they gave me the option to work with any writer I wanted to, and first and foremost I wanted it to be Gail Simone. She’s the premiere Wonder Woman writer of my generation, and both Gail and I have both been asking DC Comics to do a second Wonder Woman book called Sensation. I mean, we have Action Comics and we have Detective Comics, why we don’t we have Sensation Comics, the title Wonder Woman originated in, as a modern comic series is beyond me. Obviously, to get to the premiere #1 issue is such an honor and a privilege.

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N: When you draw Diana, is there a particular artist from the past that she’s heavily associated with that inspires you the most? Who drew “your” Wonder Woman?

EVS: You know what? I love George Perez, I love Phil Jimenez, and I love Brian Bolland’s Wonder Woman. I think that Brian Bolland (who was the the main Wonder Woman cover artist for many years) is where I draw my Wonder Woman from, and also where I draw my Joker from, and he appears in this story too. I think he always draws the definitive version of the DC characters, and his Diana is just so great.

N: Since the New 52 started, Wonder Woman has become, in many ways, a pretty different character. And it seems that Sensation Comics is kind of a way for DC Comics to give old school Wonder Woman fans like myself a version of the character that they recognize and love again on a regular basis. Is there anything from the Wonder Woman lore that’s now missing that you were excited to bring back to the character with this story?

GS: For me, even though I love, love love both Cliff Chiang and Brian Azzarello, I haven’t read the new 52 Wonder Woman past the first issue. It’s just…you know, once I’m on a book for a really long time… it’s like going through a divorce. It takes a while before I can be “friends again” with the character. [laughs] So I’m not as familiar with the book now. But just to not be limited by the continuity or time period or anything like that and just tell a Wonder Woman story was huge fun and a huge honor and a great opportunity to be able to do. So that’s what was exciting for me.

EVS: I mean, I think that all of these characters are so classic and so well known and just so loved, certainly by me, and there’s a version of Wonder Woman that exists in my heart. And that’s the version that I draw. But if I’m going to do a current issue of Wonder Woman I’m certainly going to have to bend a bit towards what that artist is doing. But this is the Wonder Woman who has sort of come together in my imagination, from the Lynda Carter television show, and the Super Friends, from Gail’s version that I love, through all the Wonder Woman comics that I read in the eighties. It’s really a compilation of all of those.

GS: And when you look at this story, this Sensation Comics story, it feels like it’s the classic versions, what we felt were the iconic versions of these characters. When you see the way that Ethan drew the Bat villains, they’re all just really horrifying and scary, and just a little bit more on the classic side of their visual look. And so this is just iconic comics.

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N: One of the cool things you got to do with this story is use Barbara Gordon as Oracle again. Is that something you ever thought you’d ever get to do again?

GS: No, I never really thought I’d get to write Oracle again. I mean, you know anything is possible in comics of course. It was really interesting because I feel that DC universe needs an Oracle. In the Marvel universe, they have S.H.I.E.L.D. to pull all the elements of that universe together, and in DC it was Oracle that pulled all the elements together; she could be in a Batman comic, or a Justice League comic, or any DCU comic, and she can fit in there. It was really exciting to get to write her again, because she’s the one who calls Wonder Woman to Gotham, because Batman is out of the picture. And it was really amazing seeing Ethan’s art start coming in, because, to me, he drew the iconic version of Oracle.

N: One last question for both of you: if DC rang you both up and offered you a chance for a new regular ongoing Wonder Woman book in continuity, would you ever consider taking it?

EVS: If I were capable of doing a comic on a long-term basis, then yes I absolutely would. But I’m s slightly more meticulous and, well, slower artist I’m afraid. So I can only get in and do mini-series. But you know, I’d love to do a Wonder Woman mini-series with Gail Simone.

GS: Well, I would definitely doing a mini-series with Ethan!

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #1 part 1 hits digital first today, with the full issue arriving next week.

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