Nova week: Doug Smith interview, part 1
Today, as part of our Nova Week celebration, we’ll have the first part of our interview with Doug Smith, creator of the Nova Prime Page. Look for Nova coverage to continue as we rocket toward the release of “Nova” Annual No. 1 on Feb. 13!
Matt Price: What was your first exposure to “Nova”?
Doug Smith: I was one of those lucky readers who were able to experience Nova from the beginning in 1976. I was 12 years old and made my weekly trek to the local grocery store (back when newsstand distribution was the major outlet for comics). I was sitting on the floor making my pile of new comics when I saw something new. It was an incredible cover of a super-hero flying through the air surrounded by a montage of cool action scenes. And it was a first issue! I knew this because it told me so in great big bold letters. I had never collected a series from #1 and had never been able to follow a super-hero from his first appearance. Not to mention that Nova had the best costume I’d ever seen! So I picked it up and I was hooked for life.
MP: What appealed to you about the character?
DS: Richard Rider turned out to be me! I could relate to him on a level that I had never been able to before. Rich was an average kid trying to get through school and life the best he could. To me, he wasn’t a loser. He had a girlfriend, friends, a normal family life, etc. His biggest failing was a lack of self-confidence. And being in junior high at the time, I could really relate to that. And suddenly, Rich Rider is granted super-powers along with that great uniform! It was the ultimate wish fulfillment for a young reader like me. The best part was that Nova was still Richard Rider. His personality didn’t change with the new powers. He didn’t all of a sudden have all the answers and all the confidence in the world but he still was determined to use his powers for good. I loved that!
MP: Can you explain the story of “Nova” for those who aren’t familiar with the character?
DS: Nova is the story of Richard Rider, a 17 year old from Queens, New York. After being harassed by the school bully (Mike Burley) at the local ice cream shop, Rich was hit by an energy beam sent by a dying alien named Rhomann Dey. Dey was from the planet Xandar and was the leader of the Nova Corps which was Xandar’s military. He was gravely injured in battle with another alien named Zorr who had almost destroyed Xandar. Dey transferred the Nova powers to Rich Rider so he could finish the fight for him. As Nova, Rich Rider could fly at incredible speeds, was invulnerable and had super-strength. The Nova uniform that came with the powers allowed Rich to survive underwater and in space and its helmet could scan radio frequencies. Nova fought criminals on Earth and even developed his own rogues’ gallery including the Condor, Powerhouse, Blackout and the Sphinx. After defeating the Skrulls in the Xandar/Skrull War, Nova chose to give up his powers in order to return to his family on Earth.
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