Villains take over the DC Comics universe this September, and an Oklahoma writer is among those spinning the tales of the comic-book bad guys.
Gates is a University of Oklahoma graduate who now lives in Los Angeles. He's written comics including “Supergirl,” “Green Lantern Corps” and “Man of Steel.” But in September, Gates and other DC writers are focusing on the antagonists of DC's super-characters.
Sterling Gates, originally from Tulsa, writes the “Killer Frost” issue shipping Wednesday.
“Killer Frost” takes over the book “Justice League of America” for the week, so its official title is “Justice League of America No. 7.2: Killer Frost.”
“The Killer Frost one-shot is an exploration of who Caitlin Snow was before she became the cryokinetic villainess named Killer Frost,” Gates said in an exclusive interview with The Oklahoman. “Caitlin was a young, brilliant scientist who unfortunately got mixed up with the wrong scientific crowd, and things really, really didn't work out for her. Now, as Killer Frost, she's constantly seeking out the hero Firestorm. Why she's doing that has been sort of a mystery, but by the end of the issue, readers will know exactly why she's always after DC's favorite nuclear man!”
The miniseries “Forever Evil,” by writer Geoff Johns and artist David Finch, is also being launched as part of Villains Month. With Johns, Gates is writing two more Villains Month stories: “Justice League of America No. 7.4: Black Adam” and “Justice League No. 23.4: Secret Society.” Those issues are scheduled to ship Sept. 25.
The story behind the “Secret Society” has been building for two years.
Revelations to come
“Longtime DC Comics fans know that the Secret Society has been building their elaborate plans across the ‘Justice League' books for the last two years,” Gates said. “In this issue, Geoff and I are going to show how they went about doing a lot of that, as well as reveal the secret origin of their leader, the mystery man known as The Outsider.”
“Black Adam,” meanwhile, follows up on the recent “Shazam” serial from the pages of “Justice League.”
“Our story is about a pair of siblings in the fictional country of Kahndaq. One of them is trying to effect change through peaceful means, the other tries to use magic to get what he wants. They get involved with Black Adam and — well, things don't go very well for either of them,” Gates said. “Geoff and I have really tried to tell a story that's topical to what's going on in our world today, even as we deal with the ramifications of the story he and Gary Frank did in ‘Shazam.'”
Gates said Villains Month and stories of the bad guys appeal to a part of human nature.
“We like getting a look at the dark and twisted corners of the world,” Gates said. “There's a thrill in it, and afterwards we can set the book down or turn off the movie and return to the relative safety of our normal lives.”
In addition to his Villains Month titles, Gates continues as writer of the ongoing series “Justice League of America's Vibe,” starring the Hispanic hero Francisco Ramon.
“I hope people are checking out Vibe!” Gates said. “I think it's a good book and I feel like we're really telling a wonderful story about a teenager who just wants to do good in the DC Universe. That's almost a rare thing in comics these days, stories of heroes who just want to do what's right.”