Interview with BRYAN Q MILLER (Writer: Smallville, Defiance, Batgirl, Smallville Season 11) taken at Phoenix Comic Con 2014.
I met with Bryan that Sunday morning during the con , and he was nice enough to take out a few minutes before he had to rush off to a panel to let me give him a brief interview about all things Batgirl, Comics and Smallville!
DCN: When and how did you get into comic books?
BQM: I started in, God. 2008? I want to say. I was a writer on Smallville
And Geoff Johns came in to do his legion of superheroes episode that he did,
So I had lunch with Geoff and just kind of picked his brain about how you get into comics in general. He recommended that I fly out to the New York con and meet some of the DC Editors And I was like “You mean the New York con that’s in like four days?” and he said “Yes you should go do that!” So I put on my big boy pants and flew out there and just grabbed some guys after some panels
They gave me their contact info and we started talking, they let me take a crack at a few issues of Teen Titans, issues 72, 73 and 74 and then that kind of got me into the circle over there.
DCN: When did you realize that being a writer was something you wanted to pursue as a career?
BQM: Not long before that, in college I had done like News TV productions stuff, around the same time I had done some novella writing and short story writing and stuff like that. I was interested in writing, but didn’t really get into screenplay stuff until grad school.
DCN: I know you’d written Smallville, but did you have any experience with TV before that?
BQM: Smallville was my first gig. I started there as an intern in season five, and came on staff as a writer in season eight. Then I went through the Warner workshop just before that, which I recommend everyone trying to do if they want to write TV. Since then, I sold a pilot that didn’t get made, sold a miniseries that didn’t get made, everybody has like nine of those stories. I’ve done a couple episodes of Arrow and a season on Defiance and just finished season one on Dominion which starts on SyFy in a few weeks.
DCN: Is there any difference you can notice between writing something like Smallville versus writing something like Arrow where they’ve had a little more of a choice to do whatever they wanted?
BQM: The choice to do in what regard?
DCN: Well, they’ve been introducing a lot more characters from the larger DC Universe much faster than Smallville did, and been able to do some more ‘comic book’ style story lines
BQM: Smallville was a different show, I mean it was on for 10 years – there wasn’t any kind of desire at the beginning to introduce anything from the DC universe because that wasn’t the story we were telling.
Naturally when we got into season 8 when Clark moves into Metropolis and we started telling Daily Planet stories it let us make the world bigger and bring in more characters that weren’t related to Superman. So it wasn’t for lack of desire, it just wasn’t part of the plan really until we got to Metropolis.
It’s certainly cool to do it, but it can very easily become a crutch. I think we balanced it fairly well at the end of Smallville!
DCN: This is just another thing I wanted to ask you about that. Chloe Sullivan kind of got her own stint in comics after Smallville ended as part of the regular DC Universe; is it ever cool to see things you had a hand in turn up in mainstream canon like that?
BQM: It’s cool! I mean, she showed up, and then she went away. It’s not like she became a mainstay certainly it’s kind of cool to see something you had a hand in turn mainstream.
DCN: In regards to regards to writing for DC Comics, what made you decide you want
ed to focus on Stephanie Brown as a character you wanted to venture into and, specifically, make her Batgirl?
BQM: None of those were actually my decisions, so it wasn’t me wanting. There was a dinner I had with Dan Didio at one point when he was doing one of his infamous West Coast tours where he goes up and down the coast and meets all of the DC writers. He said what projects were available, so I guess there was a little bit of choice because there were a few other things they were looking for and Stephanie as Batgirl was one of them. When he said one of them was Batgirl, and that it was Stephanie they wanted to do It with I told him I was definitely interested in resuscitating and reviving and kind of reshaping her a little bit. She definitely needed some TLC at that point. So it wasn’t my idea to do it, but of the options available that was the one that stood out the most.
DCM: Even though your Batgirl comic achieved critical acclaim, it was cancelled and eventually lead to Barbara Gordon taking up the Batgirl mantle again. What lead to the cancellation, and were you shocked when you found out about it?
BQM: That’s a very hard question to answer. Certainly not shocked, but disappointed, but there are rarely things that happen in comics where the writing is not on the wall. Definitely, that vibe was already in the mix but it certainly wasn’t a shock at the end. I’m thankful that they gave me enough time to wrap my arc near the end, before the reboot. Not everybody had that opportunity, or enough time to do that. As far as those affairs go, I think how it happened with our Stephanie Batgirl book was the best way that could have gone.
DCN: Now that Stephanie’s being brought back into The New 52. As the last writer to touch her, is there anything you’re looking forward to seeing happen with Stephanie, or any advice you could give for other writers?
BQM: I think technically Grant was the last one, because he had that way after the fact Leviathan Batman Incorporated story that had Steph in it, but as far as advice wise it’s a different world in The New 52
So it’s just finding Steph’s place in that. I mean, I was able to find Steph’s place with you know, editorial cooperating in the 2009 run, so I just want to say best of luck to everyone moving forward.
DCN: Just one more question, since I know you have a panel to get to. Is there anything you have on the horizon at DC or anything you want to let fans know about?
BQM: Not necessarily new at DC, but we are close to the end for Season Eleven of Smallville we just had a new arc start called Chaos, we’re only one week deep in that. It’s the miniseries format that we’ve stuck by. Comic wise, I just had Space Mountain come out through Disney Kelly Jones on art, who did a bunch of Batman stuff for DC in the 90’s so I’ve got him doing an all-ages book, which is awesome!. Then watch Defiance season 2 and Dominion season 1 on SyFy, both on June 19th. I write for both of those, which is weird because it’s like writer Bingo on the same night.
DCN: Alright, thank you for the interview!
BQM: Yeah, no problem!