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Interview: Ron Marz and Andy Lanning Join Project Superpowers

Interview by Nicki Faust


Project Superpowers from Dynamite 

On April 6, 2022,  Ron Marz (Green Lantern, Star Wars Darth Maul) and Andy Lanning (Guardians of the Galaxy, Legion) turn the entire PROJECT SUPERPOWERS UNIVERSE on its head! 

In Project Superpowers Fractured States #1, a mysterious amnesiac awakens in a sealed underground base, naked and abandoned. This John Doe emerges in the year 2052! A future where the entire nation has been torn apart! The United States is no more, ravaged by environmental disasters, and fragmented into warring regions. The Black Terror is now many - revolutionaries trying to save the republic. But who IS John Doe? Why can't he remember anything? And does his presence in this brave new world bring its salvation...or its doom?

Project Superpowers from Dynamite

Ron and Andy, the Project Superpowers characters have been through all manner of turmoil. Whether it goes back to their Golden Age WWII roots, their modern adventures, or now you guys are taking them thirty years in the future. What's your elevator pitch for fans on this exciting new chapter?

Marz: The world of our story is in rough shape. The United States has literally fractured into regional powers, some of them very much at odds with each other. Into that landscape we introduce a literal John Doe, a character who wakes up having no idea who he is, or how he got here. We follow his journey through this shattered America, as he tries to discover his own identity, and the true identity of America itself.

Lanning: For anyone who likes a good old-fashioned tale of classic Golden Age heroes cast into a dark dystopian future world where the country has literally fallen apart around them and malevolent forces have risen to take control of the divided states with a main character who’s got amnesia and must undertake a perilous journey across the dangerous, fractured landscape... then this one’s for you!

Project Superpowers from Dynamite

You two are no strangers to apocalyptic team-up adventures, following the rollercoaster ride of DC's big crossover Endless Winter. What kind of cataclysmic environment are our heroes facing in Fractured States?

Marz: Environmental collapse, climate crisis, a pandemic ... you name it, we've got it!

Lanning: What Ron said! We just looked around at what we’re facing in the world today, took it up a notch or two and we had a very believable apocalyptic landscape to play with. Which, now I think about it, is pretty bloody scary!

Project Superpowers from Dynamite

There are countless characters under the Project Superpowers umbrella. Which ones should fans expect this series to focus on the most?

Marz: Our main character is ... well, we can't tell you, that would ruin the surprise. We'll be getting glimpses of most of the Project Superpowers stalwarts, especially the patriotic heroes. We also show a very different version of Black Terror, which has grown from a singular character into an entire guerilla group. Of course, that does lead to the question of where the original Black Terror might be...

Lanning: Because the story focuses on the chaos that the United States has fallen into, the patriotic heroes, like The Flag, Man of War, etc feature. But we show other Project Superpowers mainstays too and hint at their fates in this sinister future, but it would be giving away the surprises if we tell more!

Project Superpowers from Dynamite 

It seems that this arc and characters are reflecting certain real world narratives and realities right now, as much good genre fiction often does. What inspired you guys to tap into some of those influences for this series?

Marz: When we were digging into the previous Project Superpowers material to see what kind of story fodder we could find, one of the things we noticed was the plethora of patriotic characters. Obviously, that makes complete sense, as many of them date to the 1940s, when America was fighting real-world fascism. That seemed like a viable avenue to explore, since America is dealing with its own fascist impulses right now. It allows us to dig into larger themes like the American dream, and what it means to be American. As you said, it's all presented in the guise of a superhero story, but we wanted to make sure we had underpinnings of some meaty stuff in there.

Lanning: Against the backdrop of the divided nation that Ron explains, we also wanted to use current world issues facing us today as springboards into a suitably dramatic and compelling futurescape: the impact of environmental damage, climate change, global pandemics, political division and a state of fearful paranoia are all great themes to tell a high adventure against as they give our heroes overwhelming obstacles to overcome. By creating such a dark and foreboding world for them to struggle against, it makes their heroism and resilience that much brighter in comparison. Because most of these Golden Age heroes were created during the war against the backdrop of the Nazis marauding across Europe and the Axis threat to the world, they work best when set against a vast scale that’s almost operatic in scope. We’ve attempted to put them into a world where they must draw upon all their powers and heroism to win out.

Project Superpowers from Dynamite

For fans that may be interested, how would you two describe your collaboration as co-writers? And how has it been working with the rest of the team, including artist Emilio Utrera?

Marz: I think Andy and I have very much the same story sense, so it's a pretty seamless collaborative process. We kick around story ideas, pass notes back and forth, and then usually Andy takes a first pass at the plot, I kick in some notes, and then I'll usually take the first dialogue pass, get notes from Andy, and then finalize the lettering script. We always end up with a story that's very much both of us. Emilio has been a real revelation, as we had not worked together before. He's doing very dynamic work, but the storytelling always comes first.

Lanning: I think Ron has summarized the nuts and bolts well but that sort of division of labour only happens after an intense and thorough planning session. This consists of Ron and I hopping on a Skype call. After an hour or so of comparing new comics, graphic novels and art books and catching up on the latest TV shows or movies we’ve seen, then picking over the latest things that have outraged or delighted us in the newsfeeds or on Twitter, and finally setting the world to rights before sharing a new recipe for a curry or cocktail we will find... we have about 5 minutes to figure out an idea for the latest issue and then things REALLY get started!

Emilio is a star in the making, he has great narrative chops and is producing pages like a machine! And, as he settles into the story, he’s getting better with every page, which is always awesome to see as a writer as you become more comfortable throwing wilder and more ambitious elements into the story knowing he will knock them out the park!

 Project Superpowers from Dynamite

Project Superpowers: Fractured States #1 (FEB220446) is available on April 6, 2022, at your local comic shop. 

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DYNAMITE
PROJECT SUPERPOWERS FRACTURED STATES #1 CVR A ROOTH
(W) Ron Marz, Andy Lanning (A) Emilio Utrera (CA) Michael Rooth
As the nation is torn apart, someone is murdering all the patriotic heroes.
  
A mysterious amnesiac awakens in a sealed underground base, naked and abandoned. This John Doe emerges to the year 2052, where the entire Project Superpowers Universe has been turned on its head. The United States is no more, ravaged by environmental disaster, and fragmented into warring regions. The Black Terror is now many - revolutionaries trying to save the republic. But who IS John Doe? Why can't he remember anything? And does his presence in this brave new world bring its salvation...or its doom?
In Shops: Apr 06, 2022
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #139

DYNAMITE
PROJECT SUPERPOWERS FRACTURED STATES #1 CVR B FRANK
(W) Ron Marz, Andy Lanning (A) Emilio Utrera (CA) Gary Frank
As the nation is torn apart, someone is murdering all the patriotic heroes.
  
A mysterious amnesiac awakens in a sealed underground base, naked and abandoned. This John Doe emerges to the year 2052, where the entire Project Superpowers Universe has been turned on its head. The United States is no more, ravaged by environmental disaster, and fragmented into warring regions. The Black Terror is now many - revolutionaries trying to save the republic. But who IS John Doe? Why can't he remember anything? And does his presence in this brave new world bring its salvation...or its doom?
In Shops: Apr 06, 2022
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #139

DYNAMITE
PROJECT SUPERPOWERS FRACTURED STATES #1 CVR C BORGES
(W) Ron Marz, Andy Lanning (A) Emilio Utrera (CA) Geraldo Borges
As the nation is torn apart, someone is murdering all the patriotic heroes.
  
A mysterious amnesiac awakens in a sealed underground base, naked and abandoned. This John Doe emerges to the year 2052, where the entire Project Superpowers Universe has been turned on its head. The United States is no more, ravaged by environmental disaster, and fragmented into warring regions. The Black Terror is now many - revolutionaries trying to save the republic. But who IS John Doe? Why can't he remember anything? And does his presence in this brave new world bring its salvation...or its doom?
In Shops: Apr 06, 2022
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #139

DYNAMITE
PROJECT SUPERPOWERS FRACTURED STATES #1 CVR D ANDRADE
(W) Ron Marz, Andy Lanning (A) Emilio Utrera (CA) Paula Andrade
As the nation is torn apart, someone is murdering all the patriotic heroes.    A mysterious amnesiac awakens in a sealed underground base, naked and abandoned. This John Doe emerges to the year 2052, where the entire Project Superpowers Universe has been turned on its head. The United States is no more, ravaged by environmental disaster, and fragmented into warring regions. The Black Terror is now many - revolutionaries trying to save the republic. But who IS John Doe? Why can't he remember anything? And does his presence in this brave new world bring its salvation...or its doom?
In Shops: Apr 06, 2022
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #139

DYNAMITE
PROJECT SUPERPOWERS FRACTURED STATES #1 CVR E WOOTON
(W) Ron Marz, Andy Lanning (A) Emilio Utrera (CA) Rus Wooton
As the nation is torn apart, someone is murdering all the patriotic heroes.
  
A mysterious amnesiac awakens in a sealed underground base, naked and abandoned. This John Doe emerges to the year 2052, where the entire Project Superpowers Universe has been turned on its head. The United States is no more, ravaged by environmental disaster, and fragmented into warring regions. The Black Terror is now many - revolutionaries trying to save the republic. But who IS John Doe? Why can't he remember anything? And does his presence in this brave new world bring its salvation...or its doom?
In Shops: Apr 06, 2022
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #139

DYNAMITE
PROJECT SUPERPOWERS FRACTURED STATES #1 CVR F BLANK AUTHENTI
(W) Ron Marz, Andy Lanning (A) Emilio Utrera (CA) Blank Cover
As the nation is torn apart, someone is murdering all the patriotic heroes.
  
A mysterious amnesiac awakens in a sealed underground base, naked and abandoned. This John Doe emerges to the year 2052, where the entire Project Superpowers Universe has been turned on its head. The United States is no more, ravaged by environmental disaster, and fragmented into warring regions. The Black Terror is now many - revolutionaries trying to save the republic. But who IS John Doe? Why can't he remember anything? And does his presence in this brave new world bring its salvation...or its doom?
In Shops: Apr 06, 2022
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #139

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Nicki Faust's heart is as cold as concrete in the Chicago winter. When not writing for PREVIEWSworld, Nicki is busy playing Limbo on Twitch, writing about the great robot uprising on Medium, and completing the untitled follow-up to the 2012 best-seller, Sue Storm: A Nude Photobook.   

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