Recently, Josh Green got the chance to catch up with writer Marc Andreyko to talk about the history of his Manhunter and the future of the series.
Josh Green: Hi Marc. Tell us about how your Manhunter comic came to be.
Marc Andreyko Well, I had been working on Thunder Agents for DC, but some complications arose with the rights holder and the project was shelved. Then I got a call from Dan Didio asking if I’d be interested in doing a new Manhunter book. With a female Manhunter. Initially, I thought no way. Then, after a few days, Kate popped into my head, I called Dan, and, voilà, the rest is history.
MA: I’ve never been shy about stating the influences, so forgive me if you’ve heard this before… 🙂 …Katherine Hepburn, obviously (Kate’s name is a combo of Hepburn and Tracy). Helen Mirren, especially in Prime Suspect. All the dames and broads of the 30s and 40s: Bacall, Veronica Lake, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford — tough ladies who weren’t defined by men.
JG: Was it difficult to continue writing Manhunter after being cancelled and uncancelled twice before its issue 38 finale? Also, where did you get the brilliant idea to end the series set fifteen years in the future?
MA: Well, getting cancelled sucks. Uncancelled? Not so much… 🙂 …and, initially, the last arc in the monthly was going to deal with abortion and clinic bombings, but, when it came down to only having two issues left, I did the smart thing. I stole an idea from Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?. 🙂
JG: Let’s talk about Kate Spencer for a moment. What is it about her character that distinguishes her from most other heroes in comics?
MA: Her acceptance that sometimes the legal system fails and that there are bad-guys out there who don’t deserve to live. Often it seems indulgent, at best, and incompetent, at worst, when these heroes continually catch and send to the looney bin or prison, villains who only want to kill. They’re not gonna get better, so why risk them escaping? Again. And again.
JG: Manhunter features some of the best supporting cast members in comic books. Tell me about them and their relationships to Kate. Also, which of the supporting characters do you enjoy writing the most?
MA: It sounds treacly, but I enjoy all of them for different reasons and at different times. The blessing about a character like Kate is that I’ve been given the freedom to develop her and her circle and grow them emotionally.
Currently, I’m loving writing Ramsey, though. I love that kid.
JG: When Manhunter was cancelled with issue 38, did you know than that it would eventually return as a second feature?
MA: Nope. I thought that was it. I was waiting for her to be killed off in a cosmic event book. 🙂
JG: How do you approach writing the second features compared to the standard sized monthly? Is it difficult writing Manhunter stories in nine or ten page installments?
MA: Well, the approach is still the same. The work comes in trying to tell a story in 9 pages with a beginning, middle, and end — and still have a propulsive narrative. Not the easiest job, but not working in a coal mine either. 🙂 And now, I really feel like I’ve found my groove…along with great artists helping me look good!
JG: What’s coming up in the upcoming adventures of Kate Spencer?
JG: Do you plan to continue to stick with Manhunter for the foreseeable future?
MA: I’ll write Kate and company as long as I’m allowed. And I’ll cut ya’ if you try and take her from me!
JG: Considering Jack Knight and Kate Spencer are cousins, and now that James Robinson (Jack Knight’s creator) is back writing at DC, have you and James had dialogue about having Kate and Jack meet in your Manhunter second feature?
MA: Yeah, James and I have spoken informally. I would love to have Kate and Jack meet with their kids. Starman is such an obvious influence on my storytelling, so the chance to write Jack and Kate with James is a dream. But only with James. Jack is his baby and I know how protective we get with our kids
But, c’mon, James! Think about it! It would be soooooooooo cool!
JG: Thanks Marc!