Talking With Mark Russell About Wonder Twins

by Olly MacNamee

With not one but two new comic books coming out from DC Comics, Mark Russell seems to be hitting the ground running this year already, so what better time to catch-up with one of the breakout writers of the past few years and talk about his first new comic, form the Wonder Comics imprint; Wonder Twins.

Olly MacNamee: Congratulations, Mark, on not one but two new series coming out of DC Comics in the coming months. It must be starting to feel like home after a number of critical hits and, I dare say, personal goals achieved?

Mark Russell: Well, by now I’ve worked with a number of editors at DC, so we know what to expect from each other, so nothing I pitch to them is going to be so embarrassing that I can’t show my face there again, which I suppose is what a home is. Somewhere where it’s not the end of the world if you embarrass yourself.

OM: Let’s start chronologically with Wonder Twins, out this February 13th, shall we? We’ve had a number of renditions of these fan favourites, but what is going to be your own take on these two high schoolers? It would seem the social space teens live in today is more than ripe for poking at.

MR: I’m approaching the Wonder Twins as if they are one well-adjusted person tragically split in half. Jayna is witty and sophisticated, but also shy and full of self-doubt. Zan is corny and naïve, but nonetheless, full of confidence. Which, I suppose, sort of is my take on teens. They are incomplete people, each starting out with their own unique assets and deficiencies and figuring out what it means to be a complete person on Earth. Though, for the Wonder Twins, this is more of a literal experience, because they are actually aliens from another planet, whereas most teens merely feel they are.

OM: It’s seems a great playground upon which to place any number of the humorous characters I’ve seen you create across your comic book career to date. I see in issue #2 you’ve got a villain called Drunkula, for example. Does this suggests we’ll get to see even more of the League of Annoyance, which he is a member of, before too long?

MR: Yes. Drunkula, as you mention, is an alcoholic vampire. As such, he sucks people’s blood like most vampires, but he only really wants to suck the blood of people who’ve been drinking, so he mostly attacks people outside bars and liquor stores. Though, by the time we meet up with him, he’s trying to quit drinking. As such, he makes a point of only desanguinating people outside restaurants that don’t serve alcohol. We dive headlong into Drunkula’s story and that of the League of Annoyance’s cadre of underwhelming super-villains starting in Issue 2. Most comics are about heroes and villains in their prime. I wanted to write a comic more about people still trying to realize their potential or dealing with their inevitable decline, which are the states in which we spend most of our lives. 

OM: This seem like a fun, energetic series that happens off camera to the main DCU action, but one still affected by the main events playing out in Justice League, Superman, etc.? Would that be a fair assessment?

MR: I really want it to have its own look and feel and not just be an extension of those titles, but yes, it takes place in DC continuity and certain characters from other series do pop by sometimes.

OM: And how far have you planned Wonder Twins so far? Any hints you can share? Any other more goofy DC characters you’re planning on using? I hear Sugar and Spike are available, for the right fee?

MR: So far, I have scripted out six issues of Wonder Twins, with a six issue story arc which revolves around their training regimen, which is to take out an organization of minor super-villains called “The League of Annoyance”. One of the things that appealed to me about the Wonder Twins was that I get to make up my own team of super-villains. In addition to the aforementioned Drunkula, there’s an insect guy in a monk’s habit called “Praying Mantis”, a disturbingly wired Mary Poppins-like woman named “Aunt Phetamine”, and I wanted to have a musically inclined lion-man named Lion L. Richie, but for legal reasons, they wouldn’t let me use him. Also, there are several cameos from the deep end of DC’s bench. We see El Dorado briefly in Issue 1, Eve Tessmacher runs a telemarketing operation out of one of Lex Luthor’s private prisons…so there’s a lot of little easter eggs and cameos for hardcore DC fans as well.

OM: Well, I for one am looking forward to Wonder Twins and Second Coming. Maybe we can catch up with again, when that comes out? Thanks for your time, as always, Mark.

MR: Thanks for talking to me. I’ve put a lot of work into both Wonder Twins andSecond Coming. I hope people get what I’m doing with them and enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

Wonder Twins #1 is out February 13th rom DC Comics

Olly MacNamee

A unashamed DC Comics fan and sometime teacher for over 20 years! I got lucky and found the escape hatch. Now, I just read and write about comics all day long. Co-host of the ICE-Cast podcast and one third of the brains behind Birmingham's street art and graffiti festival High Vis Fest.

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