On Wednesday, November 17, 2010, Kickstart Comics will release an original graphic novel MIRROR MIRROR by Joshua Williamson. Hot off the heals of his recent Superman/Batman issue with Damian and Supergirl, Joshua is now taking on the mythology of the Magic Mirror from the Snow White fable. I was lucky enough to be able to read the entire story and it's a great read. The story is set in modern times and is full of action and adventure. Rather than listen to me go on about how much I enjoyed it, let's put some questions to Joshua about what the book is about.
Comic Vine: How would you describe the book to the potential buyer and why should they pick up this book?
Joshua Williamson: Mirror, Mirror is about the magic mirror from the Snow White fairy tale. In our story Snow White destroyed the magic mirror and scattered its pieces across the globe to keep it from ever being rebuilt. She then created a group called the Huntsmen to protect the pieces from evil.
Now in present day a young man named Owen Grimm is the newest Huntsman and is trying to stop a wicked Prince from putting the evil mirror back together and using it to rule the world.
As to why someone should pick it up… If you’re looking a family friendly adventure story that is fun for everyone you should pick this up. If you like the Indiana Jones films or National Treasure, this book is for you.
CV: Where did you get the idea from? Do you often think about twists to old fairy tales?
JW: This idea sprang from me wanting to do an adventure book, something with someone searching for something. Crazy vague, I know. The thing is what is out that hasn’t already been found?
One story that has always bugged me was Snow White. We get this nice happy ending where Prince Charming rides off with Snow White in his arms and the evil old Step Mother is dead. But what happened to that evil Mirror? It was manipulative and has insane powers, and could be argued was the real bad guy of the story. One day I just put two and two together and thought “what if Snow White destroyed the mirror?”
A line of dialogue that never made it into the script was of Snow White saying “Mirror, Mirror on the wall… do you know what I’m going to do with this?” while she was holding a giant sledge hammer. I’m pretty sure that was the first line of dialogue I wrote but it just never made it in the actual finished script. It was just the germ of an idea that lead to the whole book.
Yeah, I’m always thinking of twists on classic fairy tales, but not just fairy tales… myths, legends, fables, you name it. I have another book coming, I think in 2012, which is another twist on a classic tale. Too soon to talk about it, but yeah.
CV: When you started writing the script, was Lee Moder set to be the artist?
JW: I found out Lee was going to be the artist when I was about halfway done. I actually went back and changed a few things because I had Lee in mind. I’m very familiar with Lee’s style, and became less worried about panel counts because I knew Lee was a pro and would make everything work. Lee’s an artist I’ve wanted to work with back when he was doing Legion of Super-Heroes, so I knew he could handle a ton of characters and settings.
Of all things I can’t wait for people to see Lee’s pages. They are amazing!
CV: What are the pros and cons of writing a complete graphic novel versus writing single issues or a mini series?
JW: Well, for the last year or so I’ve been working on mostly OGNs and one of the things I’ve learned is that you’re pacing needs to be stronger. You need to be able to keep your audiences attention longer. A pro to writing a longer OGN is that you don’t have to worry about your page count as much and can let your story breathe, but that can also be a con, y'know? Sometimes a writer needs to have restrictions, to help them cut the fat making the story lean and mean. I love great shorts and am a big fan of one-shots and annuals that just tell a quick great story about one of my favorite characters.
When I wrote Superman/Batman 77, it was a short quick story and I knew I didn’t have to hold the audience interest for more than 22 pages, so I made sure it was at a pretty fast pace. And one of the things I noticed people saying about the book was that it was a fun fast read, which was exactly what I was going for. When writing an OGN you have to mindfull of some many things, and I think have more balls in the air.
Honestly, and this might not be a popular opinion, but I prefer to write in the monthly 22 pages format, with cliffhangers. It’s how I grew up reading comics and I think my mind is trained in that style. I like the pacing of a mini series, where you can build up to a cliff hanger and mess with your reader.
CV: What makes this take on Snow White and the Magic Mirror different from the stories told in Vertigo's FABLES?
JW: F or starters we never actually see Snow White in this story except for in a few panels in flashback. I love Vertigo’s Fables, but I still wanted to make sure that we stayed far away from what they’ve done. We don’t have any actual live fables or other characters running around. There are ties to the stories, but a big part of the book is that all those fairy tales and myths came from some kind of truth and we explore that truth. For example, the big bad wolf, Bigby, in Fables is a shape shifter and sheriff, while in Mirror, Mirror, the big bad wolf is actually based off real life serial killer Peter Stumpp.
This is more like the Indiana Jones films where it’s very grounded in reality with hints of supernatural building until it’s unleashed.
CV: You've created a new "world" in this self-contained story, would you ever want to flesh it out more or do you consider the story complete?
JW: Oh I for sure want to do more. Lee actually came up with a new title for the series called “Grimm’s Adventure Tales.” This story is self contained and people can read this and walk away happy, but I’d love to tell more stories about Owen Grimm and the Huntsmen. I think if we were able to do another book I’d give room to learn more about Owen and why he is such a brash young man.
There are a few hints throughout the book and especially in the end about their being other protectors of magical artifacts, and that there is so much more to this world that we’ve created here.
If this first book proves popular maybe Kickstart will let me do a sequel.
Be sure to look for MIRROR MIRROR at your local comics shop or Wal-Mart. For now, check out these preview pages.