Spotlight SquadCast Interview with The Steve Orlando of Comics

Welcome back to another spotlight interview. In this session, we spoke with comics writer Steve Orlando.

Steve has recently fulfilled his exclusive contract with DC Comics and is planning his expansion into lots of new types of projects and genres. He is well known for his work on Midnighter and Martian Manhunter, but also wrote Justice League of America, Unexpected, Electric Warriors, Wonder Woman, and others. He has written Crude for Image Comics, and Dead Kings for AfterShock Comics which were well reviewed here at Pop Culture Squad.

His latest bold project is a collaboration with artist Davide Tinto called Commanders in Crisis, and it debuts this week from Image Comics.

We has a wide ranging discussion of his past work, his influences, and how he views himself in society. It was a wild conversation and one that defies the written word. I tried to pull some highlights as you will see in the abridged transcription below, but this is an interview that needs to be heard.

Steve is a fascinating man and incredibly talented writer who knows what he wants to say and has done an excellent job of accomplishing that up to this point.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below. We hope you enjoy the conversation.

Squadcast Highlights:

Pop Culture Squad: You said that Commanders In Crisis “is a fight for comics as they need to be.” What does that mean?

Steve Orlando: Commanders in Crisis will give you hope. It will talk about the current moment, and it will do so with some wild comic book s#!t that you could never see at DC.

PCS: What was it like working with Philip Kennedy Johnson on To Kill A Man, soon to be released from AfterShock Comics.

SO: I love working with [Philip]. We make each other better. I am very proud of that book. I think it’s one of the best if not THE best thing that I have been part of as a collaboration, and a lot of that is because [Philip] and I aren’t precious about s#!t. We sort of know when to lean in and lean out so that everything feels real and authentic.

PCS: What do you look back most fondly on about your time with Midnighter?

SO: I am really happy with a lot of the things that we go to show in the book… It’s complicated by at the same time I know it’s helped a lot of people and I am proud of a lot of the firsts that we got in that book…”

In the interview we talk about his time in Russia and his respect for the “culture of extremes” that he witnessed there and how that factored into setting both Crude from Image Comics and Dead Kings from AfterShock Comics in that country.

SO:“… I saw some of the most outgoing people I’ve ever met in my life and I also saw some of the most evil stuff I have ever witnessed…”

PCS: You take on topics and issues that are often out of what would traditionally be considered mainstream. How do you think of your role as a voice in society as an LGBTQ+ creator?

SO: Any marginalized creator’s job is to essentially give us the depth that any other character has. That we are people with many facets, sexuallity in this case being one of them.

I’ve been told that I am the “Bro” of LGBTQ+ writers. I don’t even know what that means… I swear more than others and I do like writing about people getting punched in the face but who fuckng doesn’t?

PCS: What is the comic that enthralled you?

If we’re not making you think then what the f#$& are we doing?

SO: It’s probably Flex Mentallo because it’s a comic about the power of creativity, and it’s about ideas and optimism in the face of overwhelming odds. Despite me swearing a lot and being a cynic, I do want to believe in those things. I just do it in a vulgar crass way.

Look for our advanced review of Commanders In Crisis shortly, and you can follow Steve on Twitter and Instagram