The following are highlights from our interview with writer Benjamin Percy: Court Of Nerds Extra - A Growl And A Purr: The Benjamin Percy Interview
Benjamin Percy, scholar, wolverine whisperer and current writer of DC's Green Arrow and Teen Titans starting in September.
On the commercial and critical success of Green Arrow's first dips into Rebirth:
Percy said he feels like it's been beyond anyone's expectations, especially given the fact that the 90,000-100,000 copies sold is in the low-end of estimations.
"It’s the incredible art team, editorial team, it’s Green Arrow, it’s Black Canary," he said while Grant and Droo held each other.
Come on, YOU KNOW we had to talk about the return of the Goatee:
Percy begins the goatee origins story on how Geoff Johns brought him into the DC Mothership in January for a whiteboard session on “What makes Green Arrow great?” “What is the best of the Green Arrow canon?” and "how can we craft one of the greatest Green Arrow stories ever told?”
"Of course, the goatee comes up as being not just a visual signifier of Green Arrow," he said, "(they also) think about that bow, they thank about that quiver, they think about the color green and they think about the goat.
"We have to bring the goat back. This is Rebirth, we’re moving toward the future but we’re also keeping our Robin Hood intact."
Modernizing the goatee (you didn't think there would be just one facial segment, did you?):
Grant, being the facial hair aficionado that he is, points out and prods Percy on the switch from the classic Van Dyke goatee to this new modern look.
"As much as I love a Van Dyke, it makes him look a little old-manish," Percy said.
Percy also sent Droo, Grant and anyone listening into a frenzied daydream when he started slinging Charlie Hunman's name around as inspiration for new-whiskered Ollie.
Bringing Ollie and Dinah back together:
"Everyone loves an odd couple, Abbot and Costello, Sonny and Cher, Kirk and Spock, Green Arrow and Black Canary," he said as Droo slips into Shippy dreamland. "The way they play off of each other; imagine a Star Trek without Spock just following Kirk around, imagine Abbot without Costello, there was definitely a vacancy (in Green Arrow) and she’s (re)filled that vacancy."
(special block for special quote incoming)
Grant and Droo are sobbing at this point.
On the being pitched Rebirth:
"Welcomed with open arms. I was trying to play the long game all along, I’m a novelist so I think long-term storytelling. I did everything I essentially could to start from ground zero (when he jumped on to begin with pre-Rebirth)," he said. "). I emphasized him as a man more than I did as a hero. I kept him deliberately out of costume. I kept him deliberately away from his bow and arrow.
"The announcement of Rebirth, of course, came long before the public knew about it. I was able to move my chess game around to accommodate that perfectly. I knew, inevitably, I was going to get that goatee back. I knew I was going to get Black Canary back."
He also points out that he dropped more than a couple Easter eggs during his (P)rebirth run. So, that gives us something to check out!
On the Teen Titans:
"I can’t say too much. You’ve got the tyrannical Damian Wayne at the heart. It’s kind of a hostile takeover but he’s bringing these people together. He needs to learn how to be a leader, while the Titans need to learn how to be the Titans."
He then hints at a secret Teen Titans member, and then ALMOST gives it away. So close to slipping up.
The rest of the interview, Percy gabs about how, of course, it was Scott Snyder who helped him break into comic books after writing for about every other medium possible.
"I tried to bust into comic book writing back in 2009. Really trying to kick down that door. I was teaching Scott Snyder short stories and he was teaching my short stories. Anyone who knows Scott Snyder, knows he’s a comic superhero.
"I saw him busting in, so I asked him 'HOW ARE YOU DOING THAT?' ... Scott usually gives you a nice bonus if you say something nice about him. "