Wonder Woman Evolution: Live AMA with Stephanie Phillips and Mike Hawthorne! Monday 11/22 @2pm PT/5pm ET!

Hi Stephanie and Mike! Thank you for taking your time out of your day to answer fan questions!

My question is: Wonder Woman has been portrayed in a variety of formats, such as movies, TV, comics, in animated and live-action formats, and in video games. Are there aspects of Wonder Woman from those other formats that you drew inspiration from for your iteration of this character?

7 Likes

Sit tight–we’re about to get started here, friends!

7 Likes

Mike: I can see how people would compare Wade to Harley, especially with the way writers approach their sense of humor and over-the-top violence. But I think it’s definitely an over simplification to just say one is a stand-in for the other. Especially since Harley’s origin comes from this sad and abusive connection to the Joker. Wade is a tragic character too, but not in the same way as Harley and I think that’s where she ends up feeling so different from Wade to me. Both are trying to pick up the pieces of their fractured lives, but the origin starts at different place. Wade is the product of this Weapon X program, so his tragedy is kind of vague in that “it’s the government’s fault” kind of way… but with Harley, her abuser has a face and it’s the kind of abuse we’ve all seen or experienced. It feels more specific, so in that way more tragic. Not sure that makes sense…

Stephanie: Bisexuality is a part of who Diana and Harley are. Whether we are explicitly talking about that or showing that does not change that that is a part of their identities, and that’s really important for me. I absolutely love the media representation we have about characters coming to terms with sexual identity and preference, and a lot of that helped me on my journey coming out as well, but I also want media where bisexual characters get to just exist and do the things we do. From page 1 of Harley (and the prequel to the ongoing series) we have been very clear that this is a character in love with Ivy, but we have intentionally not spent a lot of time having Harley discussing her sexuality because I want a character who is very comfortable with that part of herself, and the characters around her, like Kevin, accept that and don’t ever question it. I’m excited that that choice has been supported and that we’re in the midst of a Harley/Ivy storyline at the moment.

For Diana, this is a miniseries and not something with a longer runway, and the themes we are looking at aren’t as much about her personal life. We are really looking at one moment in Diana’s timeline compared to getting to look at Harley’s life extensively in an ongoing. That being said, humanity is on trial in this story and I’d say a lot of the backwards things humanity has done (this HAS to include homophobia) are absolutely on trial by the cosmic entities.

9 Likes

Stephanie: If we adapt Wonder Woman: Evolution, I have some specific casting choices in mind for characters that have not yet appeared… so we’ll save that talk for another day, haha.

I’d be happy to see anything I’ve worked on adapted, but my goal is always to make a good comic first and not get too far ahead by thinking about other media. I like comic books and am totally content for the work I do in comics to remain comics. That being said… of course seeing something like We Only Kill Each Other or Butcher of Paris utilized on screen would be pretty rad. I love historical fiction in any form as a fan!

Mike: So, I’m going to go with something of my own first. I’ve long wanted to make an animated version of my old comic series Hysteria: On Man Gang. Figures crossed I’ll get a chance some day. It’s about this Latin Bruce Lee type who has to fight a gang war against 3 separate gangs on this fictional Caribbean island. It’s set a little in the future, so visually think cyber-punk with palm trees with a little Warriors sprinkled in.

Outside of that, I’m with Steph in that I think WW:E would be perfect animated! (so long as they let me do the character designs :wink: I’d love to see this war-ready version of Diana kicking the dookie out of people in a big aniamted film!

9 Likes

That makes great sense! Wade’s tragedy is more systematic, whereas Harley’s is more personal. Thank you for drawing that contrast!

Oh, man. Well, I’m definitely looking forward to this series now! I’m reminded a little bit of those Star Trek: TNG episodes where humanity is put on trial.

9 Likes

Q! :smirk:[snap finger to visit the Amazon island.]

5 Likes

Stephanie: I was definitely interested in the sci-fi direction because we haven’t seen it as much. That’s also why Mike designed an amazing sci-fi version of armor for Diana. We’ve seen her in a lot of Greco-Roman inspired looks, but I wanted to do something new and show just how much you can push the limits of this character. In terms of seeing more of the cosmic side of the DCU, this is very focused on Diana and her supporting cast. This is an exploration of where Diana fits into the universe and what her role is as a hero on Earth in the 21st century. I think about it a little like how many creators were looking to respond to WW2 - does Superman go fight Hitler? Should we send these heroes to war? Now, compare that to the things we are looking at today - climate change, disease, economic crisis, socio-cultural change - and I think we need to discuss where our heroes fit into those current discussions. So, while the story has a cosmic setting, it’s actually a very grounded character approach to Diana.

9 Likes

So much of Marston’s earliest Wonder Woman stories take Diana to space, too! So it really feels like a return to Golden Age roots.

9 Likes

Mike: I’ve been freelancing for so long that I can’t operate in an office. So, yes, we’re really on our own in terms of task management and hitting deadlines. For time management you really just have to be a little militant about your attention. I think of my attention as my budget, and I allot it accordingly. If it’s frivolous it doesn’t get into the budget. Simple.

The real secret for me is timing your breaks. Lots of new work-from-home types with do a task, then give in to temptations like joy, rest and relaxing. You really have to keep your breaks “on the clock” so you get as much done as possible, then clock out and rest at the end of the day.

It can take some getting used to, but I honestly think I get more done at home that I would in some office. So much time is wasted with things like having to talk to people, or people talking to you, or having to pretend to listen to people, or like people and I just can’t handle it.

Stephanie: While there’s definitely some flexibility to working from home, I think the downside is that I just don’t really STOP working. There is always work to be done and usually that’s what I’m doing at any given moment. I absolutely love what I do, but we’re still working on finding balance!

I try to keep things organized with lists. Along with scripts I usually have outlines to work on, research to do for some project or another, PR/interview things, lettering passes and editing, and just general collaborations with my creative partners. I try to carve out a lot of time to talk with my collaborators and find that’s really motivational and an exciting part of the gig. I work with some smart people, like Mike!

9 Likes

I hope we get to see more of Maxwell Lord in Wonder Woman comics, after all Wonder Woman comic is good, but it can be better with him in it.:grinning:
You can tell I’m a fan of the character.

5 Likes

Stephanie: Truth. Diana is a character dedicated to the truth and that’s something both Mike and I really wanted to represent in this story in a few different ways. There is a truth to uncover about WW: Evolution… and we’re kind of just seeding that truth a little bit as a time as we go. Once you reach the end and go back, you’ll see all these little pieces of truth we offered. Mike’s been so good at that and has had some amazing ideas for making that work.

I also think Diana is unique from the rest of the trinity because she was raised to be a warrior. Batman is the world’s greatest Detective. Superman was raised by farmers and is the best that humanity has to offer, with empathy being one of his greatest gifts. Diana is a warrior using this gift to defend the world. She was born and raised to do this, and we’re trying to find ways to force Diana to solve issues without her sword or fist, which is often her first line of defense, and rightfully so (she’s a bada*). She’s also this symbol of tenacity that I love. You are just not going to keep her down. It doesn’t matter if she’s taking on cosmic entities or the entire JLA… she is not backing down from a fight if it’s the right fight to be had.

Mike: Getting to draw any important character can be daunting, especially if it’s one of DC’s “Big 3”. With Diana I wanted desperately to be respectful of her history while also bringing a fresh take to the character.

When in that kind of spot I lean on doing homework. I had an idea for how I’d wanted to approach WW, based on a trip to Greece years back with my family (my wife is originally from there), so I dug into some art history books and looked to ancient Greek pottery and sculpture for inspiration.

I agree with Steph here in that Diana has just that one job. She’s Spartan in that regard, she doesn’t do anything but War. I wanted readers to take one look at her and see that.

9 Likes

Mike: You know, before this my answer was always just Diana. But, Steph wrote this beautiful scene in issue 1 that has me thinking I have a Superman story in me. Also, I know everyone says this, but BATMAN! Of course…Steph, maybe we’ve got a Superman: Evolution or Batman: Evolution story we could do :wink:

Stephanie: YES SUPERMAN! I’ve written a little Superman for anthologies or digital-first books, but I also feel like I have a longer take on Superman in me. The more I get to work on him, the more I like him and the more I find his empathy both unique and necessary.

I love Green Arrow and would also like to do more with him. Like Mike said, Batman might be obvious but I’d love to do more with him or Batwoman. I think Supergirl is really interesting as well, but I don’t want to follow King or Evely on that one, ha! Their book is gorgeous.

8 Likes

Stephanie: I feel like I go a little insane with research because it’s an excuse to read a lot and learn new things. My local comic shop joked with me that they try to guess what projects I’m working on based on what I’m buying the most of… they’re onto me! I love owning books and working on Diana meant a chance to complete a lot of runs I didn’t have in their entirety. Since we wanted this to also be a deep dive into her past as it informs her present, I tried to use a lot of the material that came before us in some respect throughout the story, even if it’s just referenced in a line.

Mike: For me? Tons, honestly. I’m not nearly so sure in my ideas that I’d take them at face value. My ideas lie to me all the time and tell me how great they are, but I say “Ideas, you lie some times!” and they say “No way, you can trust us!”… but then they lie.

I’m wiser now so I try to research it all. I mentioned researching ancient Greek art for Diana, but it carries onto the rest of the details in the book. For instance I wanted her to have a clear body type and researched athletes, settling on a combo of pole vaulters and sprinters. I wanted her to have the heavily muscled, exaggerated proportions look to her.

The entire book is like this for me, from little details (like her shield being based on Alexander the Great’s) to the world (slightly based on parts of Mojave Desert). I want to make the story feel as real as I can and that takes homework.

8 Likes

Stephanie: Oh, yes. I am CONSTANTLY telling Mike to draw MORE sleeveless Wonder Woman! I DEMAND it!..I don’t know exactly how to pin down where a story comes from. I think it’s just a way of looking at the world and feeling inspired by my creators and the content that I get to take in as a fan. I love telling stories and I’m interested in stories that reflect things I care about and am passionate about. While I provide a script to Mike, I see it more like a blueprint. If I say I think this house should have windows, Mike might go and make these amazingly gorgeous stained glass windows because he’s talented and amazing, and now that house is going to be WAY elevated beyond what I could have imagined. We’re both still building a house, but we’re contributing elements that I feel are uniquely us.

Mike: Yes, once Steph has talked with the Oracles she gets her ideas THEN tells me what to draw. Stephanie is being too humble. She’s written this beautifully structured story. I just have to show up and make some pictures. I think this thing would read wonderfully in prose, honestly.

8 Likes

These sound awesome™:+1:.
Nothing wrong with going with Supes or Bats. They may be obvious but they’re great. And GA is a great choice as well.
Hope those opportunities come at some point.

Thanks for answering :+1:

5 Likes

Can’t wait to read and see your take on Diana, love the analogy to her being a Spartan. I’ve always thought that as well

5 Likes

Stephanie: I was asked about working on a Wonder Woman mini series and if I had any ideas to bring to the table. The main concept I pitched was Diana standing trial for humanity and editorial really liked it! Not a super exciting answer, haha. I guess, in short, it’s something I pitched after being invited to work on a Wonder Woman project.

9 Likes

LOL! Thankyou for the reply, I really like your sense of humor!:laughing:

3 Likes

Mike: I didn’t directly draw inspiration from any film or anything but there is so much to work with that you can’t help but have it seep into your thought process. From Frank Miller’s WW, to Cliff Chiang’s, to the film version I was aware of it and wanted to take that and do something all my own with it.

Stephanie: While I don’t think there’s any one thing I could point to as saying “that’s the inspiration,” I think it’s hard to not be influenced by the many portrayals of Diana in multiple forms of media, and I also think that’s great that so much exists. To have the female member of the Trinity getting so much love in so many different formats, and from so many different and amazing creatives, has been really awesome to see. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to see it! We’re telling a story that looks at Diana in a very cumulative sense, so I think we’re looking at all the Wonder Woman stories out there and then using those as a jumping off point for our own story, while hopefully also contributing something unique to her legacy.

7 Likes

Alright everyone, that’s going to be all for tonight! Apologies for not getting through every single question, but we SUPER appreciate everyone’s thoughtful responses and discussions. And of course, a massive thank you to Stephanie Phillips and Mike Hawthorne for joining us tonight!

Stay tuned for more awesome AMA’s in the future, and keep up with Wonder Woman Evolution :smiley:

Have a wonderful night, and see you all (hopefully) tomorrow for Office Hours!

<3 Jitsu :metal:

11 Likes