The Man With The Fanboy Dreamjob
Noveck, introducing the Wonder Woman panel
you're still surprised that Warner Brothers made Watchmen,
if you can't believe that some of the best animated projects
featuring DC characters are happening now -- in short, if
you get down on your knees every day and thank the lord
you're a fanboy in these times, you need to thank one of
its chief architects: Gregory Noveck, Senior Vice-President
of Creative Affairs at DC Comics.
not a miracle worker, but he's a tireless one, touting DC
properties to the movers and shakers and fighting to keep
years of admiring his work, I finally got the opportunity
to sit down with Gregory at Wonder-Con this year, and prove
that yes, he is first and foremost one of us.
Comic-Con is just a few days away, with the world premiere
of Green Lantern: First Flight, it seems a perfect time
to run our conversation...
McCaw: Essentially, you are the intermediary
between DC and getting things like Wonder Woman done, and
the movie adaptations…
Gregory Noveck: I cover for DC Comics,
I cover everything from film, television, animation, video,
online…if it moves and it's based on our stuff, it crossed
my desk in some way.
Derek McCaw: Is the job everything you thought
it would be?
Gregory Noveck: As a fan who grew
up reading this stuff? They pay me to read comic books?
I get to make them into TV shows? That's awesome. I've got
nothing to complain about.
McCaw: What's been the hardest part of the
job? With Green Lantern coming up next, was it harder to
push that as opposed to Superman, Batman or even Wonder
Gregory Noveck: Naturally, when
you're talking to anyone who's job it is to sell product,
they want stuff with the biggest brand name. So look at
our stuff - it's Superman, Batman, Justice League, you have
an easier time saying, hey, let's do this one!
Especially when you're talking about PG-13.
When we first started talking about doing this line of (Direct
to Video) movies, there was no certainty that it would
work. The model had been, do stuff for kids and hopefully
the fanboys show up, too, and that's a bonus.
The New Frontier had to be a risk...
Then that started to not work for a whole
host of reasons. Not only for us, for Warner, for all companies.
We'd been saying for a while that look, the fanboys are
there. The fans want to see this stuff. When I started
at DC, one of the first things I said was, look, I'm thirty-three
years old - okay, I'm a little older now - and I'm a fan.
I want animation. I want to see animation that's geared
I and many other voices in different divisions
coincided. And we said let's take a shot, let's see what
happens if we do something PG-13, that's more adult and
more geared to the core fan that's going to appreciate it.
And it hit.
they've consistently hit. You do Superman, that works, Batman:
Gotham Knight, that one works. As it's going, you say,
okay, let's see if we can get a good Wonder Woman script.
Let's see if we can get a good Green Lantern script. Let's
see if we can do another Superman one - maybe. And the scripts
come in and they're great, everybody's jazzed about it.
Sure, it's a little harder to convince
a team that's going to put a lot of money up on something
like Green Lantern, which isn't a proven commodity. But
what you can say is, look, what we can guarantee is that
the quality will be there. If you liked Doomsday,
if you liked Wonder Woman, Green Lantern is
going to be just as good if not better. We're going to maintain
that quality and it's going to be frikkin' cool, so no one
will be ashamed. (laughs)
McCaw: We're talking the week that Warner announced
the release date for Jonah Hex…
Gregory Noveck: Oh, you noticed that?
McCaw: I can remember being here at Wonder-Con
and hearing you talk, maybe two years ago, and you saying
that one of the things that you really wanted was a Jonah
Gregory Noveck: Yeah. That's true.
McCaw: You got there.
could say Gregory did his job here.
Gregory Noveck: Hopefully. I never
say I'm done until I'm sitting here (with the press)
and it's about to be screened.
So, that's looking very very good. We have
a great director, a phenomenal script and a wonderful actor
in Josh Brolin. That's the thing - Warner Brothers, if they
wanted to, could just make a living making Batman after
Batman after Batman, throw in a Superman every now and then.
To their credit, they've come come to understand
that there's a wealth of material in the DC library, and
they want to do it. Whether it's Watchmen or Jonah
Hex or Batman, they get that it's there and they
want to figure it out and make the best version possible.
Let's not make crappy versions.
I hear a lot of frustration from the fans,
why don't you make this movie? Why haven't you done that
character or that character? It's not that we haven't
thought about it. You know what, we're not that dumb. There
are a lot of fans in positions like mine. Of course we've
thought about it. I try not to talk about development because
you don't want news to get out there and get fans excited
and then nothing happens. And the answer is as simple as,
we're just not ready on the script yet. But fans never accept
McCaw: So I can't ask, which one would you
like to see?
Gregory Noveck: I've been a Green
Lantern fan since I was a kid; that's my favorite. I would
be lying if I did not say that I am passionate about that
project since I started this job. I will continue to be
passionate about it long after it's done. Green Lantern
will be awesome.
Other than that, you know, I'd love to
see a Wonder Woman theatrical. I'd love to see more off
the beaten path stuff - I was a Warlord fan as a kid. I
love titles like JSA. Even just to pick out an individual
character, I'd love to see The Atom. I don't know what the
Hawkman movie is, but it could be very cool.
who doesn't love Green Lantern right now?.
A lot of the Vertigo stuff. And a lot of
the Vertigo stuff that we have is probably more suited to
television than it is to theatrical.
McCaw: So you're involved in the Preacher adaptation?
Gregory Noveck: When it was originally
set up at HBO, yes, but since then it's reverted back to
Garth Ennis. We still publish it, obviously, but it's his
Things like Fables , I'm very passionate
about television. Transmetropolitan -- it would be
my dream to do a TV series.
McCaw: Coming to the ABC Family Channel.
Gregory Noveck: Nicktoons. Next
McCaw: Where's the animation going?
Gregory Noveck: We're on two tracks.
On the one hand we have this line of DC Universe animated
movies, geared to the core fans. We're doing big-budget
animated movies that people get psyched about. If people
keep showing up, we're going to keep making them.
Then on the TV side we have Batman:
The Brave and the Bold, which is doing very well for
us. Creatively, it's very very successful.
McCaw: What about the future of the DC Universe
line? When it was first announced, you talked about things
like The Judas Contract and I've heard rumors of Kingdom
Gregory Noveck: On Kingdom Come,
look, when we talked about the DC Universe animated line,
we wanted to do Kingdom Come. But that we will only
do if we can actually replicate Alex (Ross)'s style
in a reasonable way. I don' think the fans would want a
2-D animation style, or a bad photorealistic style. I don't
think they'd want a live-action version, either. I think
they'd want that epic kind of thing.
The script is kind of obvious, you could
just distill the book. But it's partly the technology. Could
you do it? Sure, if you want to spend two hundred and fifty
million dollars, no problem. If it costs us more to do it
but it's still reasonable with the technology, then of course
we'd do it. It's a natural.
The Judas Contract is a tricky one,
because I'd love to do it. I tell the fans at virtually
every convention, when you're polled, if you want Teen Titans,
tell 'em. We put out this poll and inevitably, it's at the
bottom of the list.
We don't want to give the fans something
they don't want, we want to give them exactly what they
do want. So we did Wonder Woman and Green
Lantern because those are the ones they want to see.
You're going to get your Superman, you're
going to get your Batman. So don't vote for that.
McCaw: As a fan, what non-DC property would
you want to see adapted?
Gregory Noveck: I really like Neil
Gaiman's run on 1602; I thought that was pretty cool.
I will say, I'm going to admit in public, that one of the
first comics that I bought was Dazzler #1. So I've
been partial to Dazzler for a long long time. I used to
follow the weird stuff, like the Pacific Comics stuff. Jon
Sable, that would be pretty cool. Grimjack, Elric…those
are the ones that I'd really like.
and Dave Gibbons at the Apple Store in Soho, March
It's a DC property now but it wasn't at
the time…I was a big fan of Whilce Portacio's Wetworks.
Until it took six months to get an issue. Then I kind of
McCaw: Does any of that affect your job? Delays
in publishing make it harder to pitch?
Gregory Noveck: Yes and no. Generally
I try really hard not to shop a property until we have some
issues in the bank, so I have something to show filmmakers.
Not only that, you want to know editorially where it's going.
You don't want to run out with issue 1 of something that
you think is one thing and then it gets delayed or it turns
out that this is something completely different.
sell it off a proposal, but I think that's a mistake. Because
a proposal changes, or any writer, as he writes his script
it becomes something different. He may find an idea he didn't
think about before, and that could be even better.
don't know what Gregory will be pushing for next -- DC Universe
Animation announced Superman/Batman: Public Enemies -- but
we do have every bit of faith that it's going to be the
best he can help to make it.