Bernardin & Freeman Take Over the Reins of Authority
A year and a half ago, Wildstorm 's Number of the Beast mini series brought Armageddon to the WSU and writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning were tasked with showing the team dealing with the aftermath over the course of seventeen issues, but in issue #17 the readers got a glimpse of what Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin have in store for their run on the Authority.
While you might not be familar with the duo of Bernard & Freeman they've produced several comics. Their run on The Authority marks a new direction and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Ellis, Millar, Brubaker and more... With their 1st full issue of the Authority On sale January 6 the writers took the time to answer a few questions about their run.
Chris Striker: The two of you were announced at the SDCC as the new creative writing team for the Authority, but this isn’t the 1st collaboration for the two of you, your debut miniseries, The Highwaymen, was also for Wildstorm with artist Lee Garbett (Midnighter, Batgirl). The miniseries was action-packed series filled with familiar action movie themes, how long were the two of you trying to get it published and how did it land at Wildstorm?
MARC: The Highwaymen started as an idea for a screenplay -- the kernels of it had been sitting on the hard drive, fermenting, for a couple of years. But when I got the chance to sit down with Jim Lee and pitch him some ideas, he sparked to the Highwaymen. From there, it was a relatively smooth process.
ADAM: Marc and I have known each other since 5th grade so our "idea folder" is pretty thick. 30+ years of gems that range from action pieces like the Highwaymen to more general ideas like, "If we put mirrors on our shoes we can totally see up that chick's skirt in Math class!" Sadly, the maturity level has remained consistent.
CS: You’ve also put out titles like Monster Attack Network, Genius (Top Cow's Pilot Season), and a comic based on the movie Push, but The Authority is your first ongoing series. How did you get involved with this project? Were you fans of the title prior to landing the writing gig?
ADAM: Ask you shall receive.
MARC: Since The Highwaymen came out, whenever we’d hit a convention, we’d roll up on Ben Abernathy and ask him when he was gonna give us The Authority. At the lat NYCC, I repeated the pattern, as he asked me “What would you do with The Authority if you got it?”
ADAM: Then we thought, "oh crap, he's serious." It's like asking a girl out every week for a year and getting "no" and then suddenly one day she says "yes." We were both fans of the early arcs in the series like Ellis and Millar so we did what any fan would do - pitch a story (we hope) a fan wants to read. Keeping the current continuity and arcs but thematically and philosophically return it to its roots. Kind of.
CS: How far have you planned your run on the Authority and over all what can readers expect from your run on the book?
ADAM: We developed a storyline that would span over 12 issues, working closely with Adam Beechen so our books worked as companion pieces and set up even another joint arc at the end.
CS: Announced at the SDCC ’09 it was said that the Carrier will be leaving Earth heading back “home”, It was briefly touch upon during Brubaker’s Authority: Revolution, but still remains a mystery to the fans, can we assume that we’ll finally see the origin of the Carriers?
MARC: That was our concept: Who built the Carrier, and what if they want it back? How could this band of superheroes hope to hold their own against an intelligence who managed to build a shiftship like that?
ADAM: And could the technology these superior beings possess hold the secret to saving the Earth they have left behind.
CS: Also announced at the SDCC ’09, the Authority will be going through a major roster change as characters decide to either stay on Earth or leave on the Carrier, where did this idea come from? What went into the decision process of who you wanted to draft onto the Authority?
MARC: It came out of our very first conversations with the Wildstorm team and WildCATS writer Adam Beechen: some would stay, and some would go. Adam (Freeman) and I looked at each character’s experience during World’s End and “presented” the opportunity to them. If you could leave, would you? Why? And over the course of our run, we’ll have answered that question.
CS: Will we get to see the reasons behind why characters decide to stay behind and why characters decide to leave? Also will we see the characters wrestle with that decision throughout your run?
ADAM: Exactly. The teams weren't chosen randomly. We looked at the whole WS Universe and thought how this "Sophie's Choice" scenario would be internalized by each of them. Who would want to go? Who would want to stay? Who would be influenced by other character and what would they think of the heroes on the other side of that choice. And finally, how do they continue to wrestle with the decision they made because their ain't no undoing this puppy.
CS: The Carrier’s a big place will the heroes be alone on the Carrier or will survivors from UnLondon & Gomorra becoming along for the ride?
MARC: Definitely. A big part of our story is about the people who are left on the Carrier when it takes off. Some of them are folks we’ll recognize, others are brandy new characters.
ADAM: That is another huge thing this newly formed Authority team is dealing with. Not only did they make the decision to leave but they have a few thousand refugees with them - and not all of them have come willingly.
CS: Your 1st issue on the Authority is fast approaching; the readers got to see a glimpse of your run in the epilogue on Abnett and Lanning’s final issue, how excited are you to see your first full issue on the stands?
MARC: This never gets old, man. NEVER.
ADAM: WildStorm got the new teams in real early to make sure everyone was on board with the dramatic course these books are taking going forward. The upside is a really well thought out run that services the story, the characters and the fans. The downside (for us) is that we have been waiting for months for this baby to come out. We even had to sit on the news were the new team for a while. We are not patient people.
CS: Wildstorm’s Earth has had its characters just trying to survive the aftermath of Armageddon for the past 18 months, what was it like to come on board to a this kind of story dynamic?
MARC: Given that this is the first time we’ve ever picked up an ongoing story, we don’t really have anything to compare it to. But it was a challenge, dovetailing with the ongoing continuity.
ADAM: Yeah, I don't think it was the Armageddon angle that was the challenge - it was more keeping in line with a decade of continuity. Even as fans you can't keep up with every turn of events. Well, that's not true. You (Chris) do. How many times did I e-mail you to fact check? "Dude, have these two characters ever been in the same room? I think I remember a one-off like seven years ago..." Continuity is a bitch.
CS: It was also mentioned; I think by Editor Ben Abernathy, that the New Year would bring a new direction for the Wildstorm Universe where the characters will try to rebuild their world, how much will that come into play with your run on the Authority?
MARC: Not too much, as we’re taking our heroes offworld. But what was just as intriguing to us was: What happens when our heroes return to a world that’s vastly different from the one they left?
ADAM: And there is a mystery back on Earth that can only be solved when the Carrier returns - whether they know it or not.
CS: I’m sure like most Comic writers these days, you a long time fan of the medium, what other characters or titles would you like to take a crack at in the WSU, DC, Marvel, or Image?
MARC: I would love, LOVE to write a Colonial Marines book. Who’s got the Aliens license these days? Dark Horse? Hi, Dark Horse.....
ADAM: That would amazing. I would love a crack at Daredevil, personally.
CS: Besides you current run on the Authority are there any other projects lined up for you guys, perhaps, a sequel to Highwaymen? Please?
MARC: We’d love to do a Highwaymen sequel. Those characters are still near and dear to our hearts. Your lips to Wildstorm’s ears.
ADAM: We can't wait to unleash the rest of the "Genius" story on all the people that voted for us. We're dying to know what they think.
MARC: Then we’re hopping right into another miniseries for Top Cow, a sci-fi paranoia-fest called Cell Division. Alongside that, we’ve got a Nightcrawler: Origins one-shot coming in early March, and some OGNs we’re hatching for some interested parties.