Comics Features Interviews

INTERVIEW: Sam Johnson, Creator of Geek Girl

Written by James Leggett

We had the opportunity to sit down with writer Sam Johnson and talk about his new comic Geek Girl. Whether or not you’re as obsessed with superheroes as many of the people on this site, this comic is an absolute must to put on your reading list! If you’re curious, check out our interview with Sam below!

AP2HYC: Where did the idea for Geek Girl come from?

Johnson: Image Comics’ Shadowline Studios ran a Who Wants To Create A Super-Heroine contest. GG just came from consciously coming up with ideas for this. I came up with three, GG was more a prototype then, but I fleshed her out and decided this was a character I wanted to continue to grow. Ruby Kaye’s character develops throughout the 4-issue Geek-Girl Mini-Series, and where she ends up as a person is quite different from where she sets out from, by the time it concludes.

AP2HYC: Ruby’s peers are as much a concern as the baddies. Was there any concern one group would outweigh the other?

Johnson: Ruby managing the balance of her life as a college co-ed and her burgeoning super-hero existence is a key part of the book – and the two are far from being mutually exclusive; to the point where in issue #3 we actually have a super-villain feed off the problems Ruby is having with her former girl friends.

One thing I like about Ruby is she’s stumbling along, finding her feet, she hasn’t really thought through whether or not she should be keeping ‘Geek-Girl’ and ‘Ruby Kaye’ separate. But at the back of her mind the whole time is the threat of Lightning Storm – and accepting the role she has to play in this situation as overriding whatever problems she has in her personal life is an important part of what makes her become the hero she can be.

AP2HYC: The comic has a light tone and yet deals with some pretty traumatic issues. Were there any challenges with shifting tone?

Johnson: We’re very much focused on Ruby and the rollercoaster she’s going through; I think at her age we experience powerful ups and downs, and our moods being easily affected by those we hang out with and friendships that perhaps aren’t going to be right for us, long-term. At that age, in your day to day life, things can very easily got from up to down and back, so managing the changes in tone came naturally from my experience. Ruby just has the added massive pressure of having to stop an extremely powerful supervillain. 😉

AP2HYC: We get glimpses of some of the other superheroes in this world. Were any of them ever going to be the focus or was this always Ruby’s story?

Johnson: Definitely Ruby’s story, but the supporting cast play key roles in driving her in the direction she goes in. Ruby lands the super-tech glasses that grant her flight and super-strength powers on a whim, without thinking what she’s actually going to do with them. It’s her BFF Summer who’s pushing her to become a super-heroine; and it’s only when new villain Lightning Storm takes down Ruby’s resident Big Gun super-heroine Neon Girl, that Ruby, at Neon Girl’s behest, begins to start taking the responsibility her powers give her seriously… as, when NG is hospitalized, she puts pressure on Ruby to stop Lightning Storm in her absence.

AP2HYC: If Geek-Girl were to fight alongside another well-known superhero, maybe from DC or Marvel, who do you think she’d work well with?

Johnson: At this stage, Ruby is still becoming who she will be, so perhaps her and another newbie like Ms. Marvel could have a mutually beneficial, educating, team-up where they learn from each other. As opposed to Neon Girl just shouting at Ruby. 🙂

AP2HYC: Was the comic always intended to be four issues or did you have to rework things a bit? It feels like there’s a lot happening in each comic.

Johnson: Four issues was always the plan (although there was also an issue #0 back in the day, which gets recapped). The Mini-Series was intended to be an intense time and a tough ride for Ruby, as the gaining of her powers also catalyzes the crumbling of her social life. It’s a lot for a privileged 21-year-old college student to deal with, but the idea was to see what Ruby’s really made of. There are parallels between Emma – a.k.a. Lightning Storm – and Ruby’s experiences, and the two women turn out very differently, morally.

AP2HYC: Lastly, what can we expect from you next?

Johnson: I’m working on the second Geek-Girl series and excited about where things are going with it. It’s gonna be a while before we see that – but I’d recommend people join the mailing list at www.geekgirlcomics.com for News & Previews; and in the meantime I’m working on our third one-shot for The Almighties, the comedic super-team I co-created with Mike Gagnon, which is a lot of fun. If you’d like to learn more about these guys, there’s a a Free Digital Comic you can get at www.almightiesamass.com 🙂

AP2HYC: Thanks, Sam!

You heard the guy! Go join the mailing list for Geek Girl and go get a Free Digital Comic! Let us know what you think of the comic in the comments or on Twitter!

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James Leggett

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