SENSATION COMICS Featuring Wonder Woman Chapter 11: Interview with writer Adam P. Knave

Posted October 22, 2014 by Kenneth Rodriguez in Comic Books

We talked with Adam P. Knave, writer on Chapter 11 of the SENSATION COMICS featuring Wonder Woman anthology series from DC Digital Firsts. Adam is a Harvey and Eisner award winning editor and writer, and has done some fantastic comics work in the past including Artful Daggers and the POPGUN! Anthology. Find him on Twitter and his website.


WTN: How did you feel approaching Wonder Woman, since she is considered one of DC’s “Trinity”? Favorite Stories?


APK: Terrified and excited. Now, you need to understand those are my two favorite feelings when starting a project. If I get a project that scares me to work on, that I know I have to live up to, to push myself on, I will always enjoy it. It’s more work but that’s what I’m here for, you know? I don’t want to write lazy or feel bored, ever. So give me a chance to push, some real stakes and I’m a happy guy.


Add to all of that: I am a huge Wonder Woman fan. Just huge. I got into DC comics when I was a kid and just a year or so before Crisis I think. So I had some of the pre-Crisis stuff in my head and then Perez came out and WHAM loved it to pieces! My favorite runs are still Perez, Simone and Rucka. I think my favorite WW stories are in Rucka’s run though. I adore how he handled her – full of grace and wisdom and never afraid to fight for what she knew had to be fought for.


Also the JLU cartoon version remains an utter favorite. The Once and Future Thing (Part One) Weird Western episode is a high mark for me.


WTN: Have you kept up on her current status in the mainstream DC universe? How did this affect your take on her?


APK: I have kept up with the character through the years, and into the current day and though I enjoy it, it honestly did not have a huge effect on my take. Knowing I could do any take I wanted (that my fantastic editor Kristy Quinn and artist extraordinaire Matthew Dow Smith agreed with) let me dig into the Wonder Woman in my head – which is, for all of us, a summation of all the stories we ever read. So, to be sure, the new stuff weighed into that, but did not loom as large as some older stories for me.


WTN: Does the anthology format, without the worry of continuity, free up your creative process while writing the story? Or is it that much harder to create a short, satisfying tale?


APK: Well the two are and aren’t related. Short stories are always harder. You have a very tiny slice in which to tell a complete story. I like the challenge and got my start writing doing short prose stories, and then when I started in comics I worked on a bunch of shorts for anthologies. Lucky for me, my two creator ongoing series (Amelia Cole – with D.J. Kirkbride and Nick Brokenshire – and Artful Dagger – with Sean E. Williams and Andrew Losq) both have issues that run 12-14 pages. So I am comfortable working shorter to this day.


It’s still a bunch of work, just work I enjoy a ton.


Working outside of continuity, similarly, is freeing within the confines of rules. Trying to find an angle on Diana, as a character, that other stories don’t use so Sensation isn’t just a bunch of people all saying the same thing (outside of “HOW COOL IS WONDER WOMAN, RIGHT?!” which we all say) was work.


Once I found an angle that worked for everyone involved, and the base, or spine, of the story I was fine. Then it was a matter of saying what needed to be said in the space allotted, in a way that can be drawn and be coherent and also fun and exciting and worth someone’s time and money to read. Welcome to comics – you have to, every story, make 10 pounds of stuff fit in a 5-pound page count and never feel over stuffed.


WTN: How does writing for one of the largest publishers compare to your extensive work with indie publishers and self-publishing?


APK: Outside of the sheer thrill of feeding that twelve year old inside me who grew up loving Wonder Woman and Big Barda? Really my only issue was that working on creator owned stuff I am used to being the traffic cop. Working with Kristy and her team took that job off me and left it in their more-than-capable hands. But that took a hot minute to get used to. Otherwise it was pretty much my same job: write comic. Get team on board with it, and adjust as needed. Watch magic happen and help in any way I can throughout the process.


WTN: What is your process as a writer? Do you dig into previous material? Brainstorm on your own? How many drafts do you go through?


APK: My process is kind of fluid. Since I do prose and comics, and co-write a lot of comics, every project I approach I have to find a new process. For this I dug into some old Wonder Woman material to find her voice across different eras, and also into old Kirby comics for Barda and some other stuff as well that I won’t spoil.


Then I sat down, put on some music and emptied my head and just thought about it a while. I may never get to write these characters again, for all I know. This is my one chance, I wanted it to be everything it could be, not only for me but also for readers. So I spit out a bunch of different ideas and ran them by Matt and Kristy. If Matt liked it I could bring it to Kristy who had final say. She has the big picture in a way I can’t, since she can see what everyone else is doing.


But once all that was settled and it was time to write the script it was me versus the world, as always, for a first draft. I think I went through four drafts before I submitted the script and then Kristy had notes, wonderful, helpful notes (look I ADORE a good editor. I am an editor as well as a writer so giving me a good editor to work with, to help and improve my scripts is sheer joy) so I went back and adjusted some stuff, then tweaked that, then again and finally submitted those revisions. So that would be, what, six drafts, I suppose? Sounds about right. To be fair, drafts five and six, I remember, had exactly one word different, if I recall.


WTN: How does the interaction go between you and the artist? Is it ongoing or do you give each other space to work?


APK: What to even begin to say about Matt? I was a fan of his before I met him. Then I found out he was a great person, as well, and over time we became friends. We’d talked about working together for a few years now so when this chance came by we jumped at it. Matt being a good writer on his own, is someone I am happy to send a script to and go “This work for you?” and he seemed happy with it. My script did include one apology to him, in fact, making him draw something, but that was just some friendly joking around. Matt knows how story works, so he can make notes on my scripts any time he wants. Art-wise I don’t know as much as him, and was happy to sit back and watch the magic happen. I told him, early on, that if he needed to adjust something to make it work he should always feel free to and I would rewrite to make that work.


There was a level of trust there built from our friendship, and it served us well. It allowed us to both create and not get in each other’s way but also be able to step in and say “Oh hey, what about this?” Total good times, there. This whole project was, honestly, nothing but good times. Everyone was professional, cheerful, and open to ideas and making this the best thing possible. The sort of atmosphere you hope for and count yourself lucky when you achieve it. And I think the story reflects that, I’m damn proud of what we did here, and I hope readers enjoy it as much as we do.


Look for the issue on digital platforms tomorrow 10/23 and the hardcopy in stores near you January 2015!

About the Author

Kenneth Rodriguez

Kenny has been completing his pokedex since Pokemon Yellow, ever ready for his next test, comics in hand. He thinks Mass Effect is the best game series ever,.. period and loves TV and Movies dearly. Follow him on Twitter @k_rod14