John Ostrander is one of those old school vets you’d like to have a drink with at a Comic Con. He’s seen a lot. Done a lot. And now he’s bringing his old school sensibilities to a new school full of iPad readers with the DC book Wonder Woman #23.1: The Cheetah (JUL130174). John assures us that his first love is to Barbara Minerva as Cheetah. He’s happy to reiterate that the kitten’s got claws…and she uses them. Often.
PREVIEWSworld: Cheetah has been trying to slash Wonder Woman's throat since the early 1940s. So what new insight are we going to learn about her vendetta against the Amazon princess in Wonder Woman #23.1: The Cheetah?
John Ostrander: This is the New 52 so this is a “new” Cheetah. There’s family and there’s background you’ve never seen before. It’s all tied-in to what you HAVE seen of Cheetah in the New 52, but a lot more info. And slashing. Lots of slashing.
PREVIEWSworld: What attracted you to writing this book for DC? Is John Ostrander's version of the character going to stand for the New 52 moving forward? Or, did you jump at the chance to play with the pussycat because there was no one around to tell you "no" because you're...John Ostrander.
John Ostrander: Actually, being “John Ostrander” has less traction than you might think. I read Geoff John’s take on her in the Justice League and his was a deadlier version of the Cheetah than we’ve seen before. As always, for me it’s not just the Cheetah, it’s Barbara Minerva. Who is she, what made her who she was? The Cheetah in this form is tied to who Barbara is – or was – and that’s who I’m interested in. That’s what we’ll see. And slashing. Lots and lots of slashing. Did I mention that?
PREVIEWSworld: It always helps to look back in order to best gauge how to move forward. So which stories/books did you sit down and canvas before approaching this project? What would you point out as “The Grail” for historical reference?
John Ostrander: Well, this IS the “New 52” version of the Cheetah so my main point of reference was her appearance in the Justice League. BUT if you don’t know the character at all, you‘ll learn everything you need IN the story.
PREVIEWSworld: How will you make us care about this character? What is it about her personality that makes us turn our heads, and then want to turn the page?
John Ostrander: Some characters are compelling even if we don’t “care” about them that much. The Joker is certainly one of those. The character of Hannibal Lecter is one of those. I put Cheetah in that category. A glittering malice makes us want to see what she’s doing next. Barbara was a villain before she became the Cheetah; she traded on the confidence in people, including Wonder Woman’s. She cultivated it so that she could use it.
PREVIEWSworld: Have you been in contact with other creators in an attempt to "get on the same page" when it came to Villains month? Or is this you flying solo? What's the method behind the madness?
John Ostrander: There’s method to my madness? Well, certainly they brought me up to date on the event, Forever Evil, and we’re tied to that. We reference a little what is happening in Belle Reve. Beyond that, it really is a solo story. With slashing. Lots and lots of slashing. I think it’s important to mention that.