[Interview] Adventures Of Supergirl’s Sterling Gates

Thank you to writer Sterling Gates for catching up with us about his digital-first series ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL, based on the hit show and now available in print form!


1. First off, congratulations on the print release of Adventures Of Supergirl! Any word on how that’s gone so far?

Thank you very much! Everyone on Team Adventures Of SG is thrilled with how well the book’s been received this week. I’m hearing reports from retailers all over the place that they’re selling out of issue one…and issue two is just around the corner!

We’re really, really happy to be entering the comic store retail space, too, as it puts us in a totally different market than the digital comic world. We love our digital fans, but there are so many comic book readers out there who prefer physical books to digital…which I completely understand. I’m a Luddite myself, so when they asked me to write a digital comic book, it took me a while to figure out exactly what that meant and how differently it would read from a regular comic book.

There are a couple advantages to the physical book format, as it offers a completely different reading experience. The artwork in the digital book had to be cropped in various ways to accommodate that format, so readers picking up Adventures Of Supergirl now are seeing the full pages! And Bengal’s art is amazing!

2. What is it about Kara that resonates with you, and what do you feel you can bring to her that no other writer can?

I appreciate the positivity that Supergirl embodies. Supergirl, to me, is an optimistic voice in a very dark and cynical world.

I think some people assume that makes her Pollyanna-ish, but I think you can still be positive while being realistic. She came here from a doomed world. In some versions, she lost both her world and THEN lost Argo City. She’s a character defined by loss, but rather than succumb to the utterly crippling situation she’s living, she’s working through the pain by staying positive. Helping others is how she copes with her pain and works through her problems. There’s a temptation to always have Supergirl rescuing cats out of trees, but you need to understand that every single act of helpfulness she offers the world is in response to the overwhelming loss she experiences as a pre-teen.

Supergirl wants to save this world so that no one ever has to endure what she’s had to endure.

On top of all of that — as if that weren’t enough! — she has to contend with the fact that Superman has come before her and set a bar so, so high. She has to live up to everything he has done before her, so the pressure is on to perform. And since she’s a younger woman doing some death-defying feats of superheroics, there are a lot of stupid expectations there just because of her gender. People look at her with distrust sometimes specifically because she’s Supergirl, and not Superman.

It’s not easy being Supergirl, but she maintains that positivity and compassion for the human race in spite of all of that.

Hopefully, I bring all of that to my voice for Supergirl.

3. What are your top 3 Supergirl stories of all time?

Oh, I’m awful at this question. I don’t know that I can really pinpoint an exact three stories. Her role in Crisis was monumental, and I think it influenced an entire generation of Supergirl fans. She goes toe-to-toe with the Anti-Monitor, arguably one of the most powerful villains in existence, and the only reason she loses is because she’s trying to fight him and save her cousin, Superman. I think that says a lot about who she is, and her death in Crisis is one of the most famous in DC history for a reason.

I really like her first few appearances, leading up to her “coming out” issue in Action Comics #285. I love the Paul Kupperberg/Carmine Infantino Daring New Adventures Of Supergirl series, and how can you not enjoy her Adventure Comics run where she was changing costumes once an issue?

You could give me a month, and I still don’t know that I could pick out three “best” Supergirl stories. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it’s true!

4. What role do you feel Kara fills in the DCU as a whole?

You know, I don’t know what the plans are for Supergirl during DC’s Rebirth event, so I’m not sure what role she’ll play. I really enjoy Steve Orlando’s books, though, and the art looks incredible, so we’ll see what role in the DCU she’ll play!

5. How did you go about picking the villains for this series, and what makes you excited to write them?

I specifically pitched villains that could offer different types of threats and challenges for Supergirl. Rampage is an extremely physical threat with a hard emotional underpinning. She threatens Supergirl’s sister Alex for a very specific emotional reason, but it plays out in a very physical, fight-tastic way. Vril Dox is a digital villain who challenges Supergirl’s mental abilities as well as her relationships. Psi attacks Supergirl’s subconscious, allowing us to really dig into how Supergirl sees herself, either currently or ideally.

I knew Adventures was a limited series, so I wanted to try to cram as many classic Supergirl villains in there as I can, all the while building up a brand new villain in the background.

6. Any teasers for exciting things readers can expect from future issues?
Well, Facet arrives on the scene in Adventures Of Supergirl Chapter 9…and things just get crazier from there…

Adventures Of Supergirl is available via ComiXology, and in print at your local comics retailer.

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