Antihero: written by Demitria Lunetta and Kate Karyus Quinn; art by Maca Gil: An Exclusive Preview
Welcome to an exclusive preview of AntiHero, the upcoming DC Comics original graphic novel which asks the questions: What choices determine if you’re a hero or a villain? When is it too late to make that choice?
Having read the entire story, I can say it’s fun, poignant, and digs deep into how the choices we make when young, even among tragedy, shape our future. The girls are under pressure at this pivotal point in their lives and that leads them down some paths they might later wish they didn’t take.
With all that’s going on in the world, a story that portrays their stress realistically but not as insurmountable will likely resonate, especially with Antihero‘s optimistic ending.
After checking out the Antihero preview, stay for a non-spoilery interview with writers Demitria Lunetta and Kate Karyus Quinn below
But, first, the Antihero preview. Note: this is the favorite scene of one of the writers.
Piper Parajo and Sloane McBrute are two 13-year-old girls with very different lives but very similar secrets. At school, Piper is pretty and popular, upbeat and always willing to help out her friends, whereas Sloane is a loaner, smart and snarky but with zero friends and zero interest in having any. Outside of the classroom, Piper is strong, really strong, like ripping the doors off of cars strong. She longs to be a superhero and tries to use her powers to do good, even if she tends to leave a massive mess in her wake. Sloane on the other hand is smart, like evil-genius level smart, and in order to provide for her mother, she puts those smarts to the use of her villainous grandfather.
When a mission to steal an experimental technological device brings the two girls to face each other, the device sparks, and the two girls switch bodies! Now they must live in each others shoes as they figure out a way to switch back.
Antihero: The Interview:
These two girls are very different people, as is evident from the preview. Is there one who you related to most?
Demitria Lunetta & Kate Karyus Quinn: We both definitely relate to Sloane the most, she’s cynical and introverted. She’s smart and sassy and a lot of bookworms (like us!) will relate to her. Piper, on the other hand, is bubbly and colorful and fun. We were both drawn to her because she is earnest and sincere, and even though she makes a mess, her heart is in the right place.
GeekMom: Did Piper or Sloane get to do something you wanted to do in middle school but didn’t, for one reason or another?
DL & KKQ: Piper and Sloane do EVERYTHING we would have wanted to do in middle school. Fight crime, check. Be part of an adventure, check. Have a fun Freaky Friday switcheroo, check. Meet Batman, check!
GeekMom: When the girls switched bodies, how did you approach the change in body language in directions for the artist? How did Maca Gil contribute to that?
DL & KKQ: We discussed several obvious visual indicators to remind the reader when the girls were switched. Piper always wears her hair in a ponytail, while Sloane has her down. Sloane wears her watch, Minnie, while Piper sports a necklace.
Maca really came through in crafting the girls’ expressions and body language as well. It’s amazing how she was able to convey who was who so effectively.
GeekMom: Obviously, one of the girls is white and one is Latinx. What did you keep in mind, especially after they switch bodies, to avoid any clichés?
DL & KKQ: We worked out each girl’s home life and school life while staying very aware that we didn’t want to stub our toes on the white girl or the Latinx stereotypes. We wanted the girls to feel real, and give them each a complicated, detailed backstory. We purposefully went over the top with the character of the Bear, but with Sloane and Piper, we just wanted them to be relatable. Hopefully, we managed to walk the line and avoid clichés.
GeekMom: What’s your favorite moment in the book? What was your favorite moment to write (if that’s not the same?)
DL & KKQ: We have different ones!
For Demitria, she loves when Piper and Sloane meet as superhero and villain for the first time. You can tell right away how different they are in that first fight.
For Kate, it’s when the girls get their new costumes at the end. The girls each make changes to the costume for the other and it’s a very sweet bonding moment. The favorite scene to write was the opening one. Openings are so tricky and our was rewritten several times! But in the end, with the help of our editors, we both think we nailed it! From the first panels, you immediately get a sense of who these girls are and how they see the world around them.
GeekMom: You’re both YA authors and this is a book for a slightly younger age group. What adjustments did you make in storytelling in this story?
DL & KKQ: There was a bit of debate over certain things, like if Sloane could take a pill to boost her muscles or if certain villainous acts were too bad, but overall there wasn’t a lot of that. We were both in the MG mindset when writing this. Demitria was actually relieved there didn’t have to be a romance subplot! And Kate loved getting into the middle-grade humor. Getting to add some slime to the final contest and make a joke about hamsters getting connected at the butt, tickled her own (somewhat immature) funny bone.
GeekMom:For both: Did you have a favorite comic story or character growing up, that perhaps influenced Piper and Sloane’s story?
Demitria: I LOVED anything superhero. Batman was, of course, my favorite. In the ’90s comics had a resurgence because of cartoons. I think the X-Men cartoon, as well as Batman: The Animated Series, had a huge influence.
Kate: I used to watch the Batman cartoon on the WB. It was my favorite! I also loved the X-Men cartoon when it started playing on Saturday morning television. Although I had a little crush on Batman, the girl characters were always my real favorites. I always wanted more of Batgirl on my screen or Rogue from X-Men.
Antihero releases on April 14, this week and is already available for pre-order at all major outlets.
Disclaimer: GeekMom received a copy of the book for review.