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Talking SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH with Rob Williams and Philip Tan

Talking SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH with Rob Williams and Philip Tan

As they gear up for their big screen premiere, the Suicide Squad members also find themselves with a new comic series in the form of Suicide Squad: Rebirth. Launching just days before the movie, Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 is the perfect jumping on point for new fans, the curious, or long time Suiciders (I just made that term up). In order to get the complete scoop, I talked to writer Rob Williams and artist Philip Tan about all things Suicide Squad, from Harley Quinn to drawing violence in your local coffee shop.

Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 opens much like John Ostrander’s epic run opened back in the day, only this time Amanda Waller is defending the group’s existence to Barrack Obama. instead of Ronald Reagan. “It was a nod to Ostrander’s original run, and it was fun to put words into Obama’s mouth. How often to you get to do that?” Williams said. He also noted that special care was given to make the book new reader friendly, but still fun for those who have been onboard since the beginning. “We just try to do a high-octane adventure, which is what the Suicide Squad does best.”

Philip Tan added, “You are always trying to open the door for new readers.”

The first issue seems to put Flag as the moral center of the group… perhaps the only moral character in the group. He seems to be a man with a sense of honor mixed in with a bunch of very bad people. Williams was quick to point out that Flag wouldn’t be the only “positive” force on the team and that we would see Katana also fit into a somewhat good guy role. He noted though that all the character’s in the book would “blur the lines” between what was right and wrong. Flag might seem like the good guy, but he’s just our entry point into the world. “He’s Charlie Sheen in Platoon. He’s our eyes in this world of chaos,” Williams said. “These are the worst of the worst, they get the job done, but there’s a difference between the way they do things and the Justice League do things.”

Ever since she was added to the team, Harley Quinn has been the star of the show. Some have even said Suicide Squad is just a showcase for her, a chance to give her another title. Williams and Tan are certainly aware of the character’s popularity and why people are drawn to her. “I think she’s the biggest star in comics,” Williams said. “She’s chaos, but she’s also relatable. She’s smart, she used to be a psychiatrist,” Tan added. They both said she would continue to play a huge role in the series, and not just because of her popularity. “She’s fun,” Tan laughed.

Of course, drawing Harley Quinn or Deadshot blowing somebody’s head off can be a some what violent endeavor. In the first issue alone there’s some chopped off arms and more than a few head shots. Now, this might not be a big deal if you are locked away in your home studio drawing, but it’s a well known fact in the comic world that Philip Tan does most of his work in a coffee shop.”I’m sitting in my car outside a coffee shop right now,” he said. I couldn’t resist asking if he was ever concerned someone might look over his shoulder and see something violent and think he’s a little crazy. “I draw at pretty low key coffee shops and the people there just let me be,” he laughed. He said if he had to drawn something particularly violent, he might save that bit until he gets home.

With a a huge movie breathing down their necks, I asked Williams and Tan if they felt pressure, they are working on what is arguably one of DC’s most important books, after all. “It’s more opportunity than anything, not pressure,” Williams said. Tan pointed out that Jim Lee was steeping in on the next issue to join him on art duties. “Drawing with Lee is the biggest pressure. He’s one of the greats.” All in all, these guys seemed comfortable with the task at hand. They did tell me they had yet to see the movie, so they were working on Suicide Squad with their own designs, not the pressures of replicating a film. “We’re just giving it our best,” Tan said.

 Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 hits stands August 3 (two days before the movie, for those of you keeping track) and you can check out a preview of it below. The movie is looking to be a huge blockbuster and the comic is certainly good enough to follow suit.

Images: DC Comics

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