Gail Simone: “One of the most fun things I’ve been fortunate enough to do was be part of the Wonder Woman animated film project. I did the initial outline and two drafts, but the final draft, which significantly improved many aspects, particularly the action, was written by the very talented Michael Jelenic. Michael’s name might not be familiar to comics fans yet, but he’s built a distinguished career working as a writer and story editor on such fan-favorite shows as Legion of Superheroes, Ben 10, The Batman, and Brave and the Bold.
On top of that, he’s an incredibly gracious and smart guy. I was almost locked out of the Brave and the Bold panel at SDCC this year, one of the panels I REALLY wanted to attend. Fortunately, someone at the door was a Secret Six reader and let my family in, which I am glad about, because they showed a preview screening of an HILARIOUS episode of B&B, an instant classic featuring the Music Meister. Trust me, you HAVE to tivo this one.
Michael is pretty humble about his accomplishments. I’ve tried to convey how much the animated film has meant to some people. At conventions, sometimes people come up to me with tears in their eyes (literally) wanting me to sign the disc, and I always do it, but I feel a little bad Michael and director Lauren Montgomery aren’t there to also autograph those dvds.
Michael was kind enough to answer Five Wonder Questions for us. Hopefully we’ll be seeing him around the fringes (and maybe dead center) of the DCU for a long time to come.”
1) Had you been much aware of Wonder Woman before getting the job to re-write the script?
To be honest… not really. Outside of a few Batman comics I didn’t really have any background in comics when I started working at Warner Bros. Animation. And while this might seem like it should have disqualified me from the job (okay, so maybe it should have), I’ve found it’s been helpful being able to come to the character with a fresh perspective. I’m respectful to the source material without being so precious that I won’t take risks. My complete ignorance is less of a handicap then you might think since I’m surrounded by people who love the characters and make sure to let me know when I go astray. And at times I have gone astray (see question 3).
2) I thought your character work in the film was terrific. I loved the way you wrote Diana as capable and fierce, and I really enjoyed the addition of Hades, as well, which was completely your idea. Who did you find most fun to write?
Etta Candy was a blast to write. Just kidding (see question 3). But let’s give credit where credit is due – I took a lot of my character cues from your earlier work on the project. And while I expanded and changed some stuff (see question 3), the groundwork already laid was invaluable. The character I enjoyed writing the most was probably Steve.
He was a challenge because I wanted to him to superficially be a pig, and yet as you got to know him you would see he was a decent, even admirable guy.
3) Okay. Here’s the one question I have to ask. What was the deal with Etta Candy? 😉
Sorry. That character was originally in the script as “COWORKER” when I decided it would be fun to find a place for Etta Candy. Not knowing it would be totally inappropriate due to the context of the scene, I came up with the brilliant idea of turning “COWORKER” into “ETTA.” Despite this, I’m confident this will come to be seen as the definitive depiction of the character.
4) Yes, I’m SURE IT WILL. Grrrrrr! Okay, this film got extraordinary reviews from sources as diverse as the Onion and Entertainment Weekly, sources that don’t usually review direct-to-video superhero stories all that kindly. Were you surprised by the response? Was there any feedback you found particularly gratifying?
The most gratifying feedback I received was while watching it for the first time with a crowd of thousands at the New York Con. Other than that, I’ve enjoyed the positive reviews that begin with, “I was totally expecting this to suck but…”
5) Finally, have to ask, you are currently working on one of my favorite animated series ever, BRAVE and the BOLD, (may I recommend everyone look for the brilliant MUSIC MEISTER episode, it’s a panic), do you have any Wonder-related characters or stories coming up that you can talk about?
Unfortunately, no. Both James Tucker (producer) and I have tried to get her into the show, but it looks like she’s off limits to us… at least for now.
Me again. Apparently there is some licensing issue blocking Diana from being on the show at this time. Drat.
But there’s always hope! 😉
Thanks, Michael, and thank you for the great work on B&B!