RICH INTERVIEWS: Daniel Hoins Creator/Writer of Thunder Woman, Co-Writer for Power Company

First Comics News: When and why did you get into comics? 

Daniel Hoins: While I’ve always been aware of comic books and comic book characters since I was very young, I never really got into comics proper until around the time the first Spider-Man movie came out, back in 2002. That movie was HUGE back then. I also enjoyed visiting bookstores at the time, and my favorite was one called “Books-A-Million”, and because of the movie, I became curious. I really liked the DK Ultimate Guidebooks because they allowed me to quickly get into and understand superhero comics quickly and easily. And then I began reading the comics themselves, but instead of the single issues, I went for the trade paperbacks. The ones that particularly got me were Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s “The Ultimates,” Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s “The Authority”, Grant Morrison’s “New X-Men,” “Ultimate Spider-Man,” and “Hellboy.” 

1stWho is Thunder Woman and what are her powers? 

Daniel: Thunder Woman is the super-heroic persona of Samantha West, a young woman from a mixed race family who is a research associate at Newport University in the fictional county/city of Newport, Connecticut (think a blend of Boston and New York City). She works at the history and archaeology focused branch of NPU’s school for humanities, and as a research associate, her work consists of a mixture of teaching various history and folklore classes while assisting the more senior NPU faculty with their work, which can include research and accompanying them on special expeditions or historical projects. Her position means she is potentially on track to becoming a professor, and she is considering pursuing a doctorate.

She gained her powers as Thunder Woman when she and some fellow NPU faculty accidentally entered the dimensional realm where the Olympians and Greco-Roman mythical creatures dwell, and in the process foiled an attempt by the goddess Hera to usurp the Olympians with a pantheon of her own. Part of this involved her temporarily gaining divine powers, and as a reward for the role, she played the Olympians allowed her to return to Earth with a portion of those powers, and the ability to switch between her human body and a semi-divine one at will. 

When in her Thunder Woman form, Samantha possesses vast superhuman strength, stamina, and toughness. She is immune to all forms of conventional biohazards and has none of the basic human needs except for sleep, and she heals much more quickly and completely than a normal human. In addition to these gifts, Zeus granted her the ability to supernaturally manifest and control weather phenomena like wind, lightning, rain, hail, tornadoes, and more. She can use this power to propel herself at supersonic speeds. Lastly, Zeus also had Hephaestus implant one of his thunderbolts into her body. This allows her to generate, project, and control electrical energies independent of her weather powers. 

1stWhy is Thunder Woman part of Power Company?

Daniel: The Kickstarter for The Power Company #1 started shortly after I joined ICC: Independent Creators Connection, a Facebook group dedicated to allowing creators to showcase their work and meet and connect with other creators. Thunder Woman had already made an impression via an event held by Carlos Raphael and Tony Klapper called “Clash of Champions” (which is how I got to know both of them), and then I saw that the PC#1 Kickstarter had a tier where you could have a character of your’s appear in the comic for a guest appearance as part of a team of heroes that defend the White House from a diversionary assault by members of the villain group Damage Inc. 

Normally these tiers tend to be hugely expensive, but this one was priced just low enough to be an option for me, and I felt that this would help to cement Thunder Woman as a character. This is also part of how Eric Bennett’s Steel Wolf got to be a part of it. This, plus our combined sponsorship of another friend’s character, Midnight Owl, helped to make the Kickstarter successful, and Carlos did a lot to promote this. 

Originally Coalition Comics had Joe Davis and Dorphise Jean as members, but they had to leave the group. Carlos approached Eric and I about joining Coalition Comics due to our passion and dedication, and after some consideration, I accepted his invitation, and brought Thunder Woman along to join the Power Company proper. 

In-universe, well, I recommend reading the Power Company comics, starting with #1, to find out. 

1st: Which Marvel or DC character is Thunder Woman closest to power wise? 

Daniel: The characters that I’ve always compared her to in my mind when it came to her strength and toughness were Alpha Flight’s Sasquatch, the DCAU version of Superman, and Robert Kirkman’s Invincible. She’s an upper tier character, but just below the level of power characters like Thor, the Hulk, and DC’s major flying bricks occupy. However, I’d say her weather control is at least on par if not greater than Storm’s, and her electrical powers at least as powerful as anything Thor can dish out, and with a greater variety of techniques. 

1stIn Power Company which member would be the best pick for a chance to beat Thunder Woman? 

Daniel: I tend to dislike pitting heroes against one another. It may be an old staple of superhero comics, particularly Marvel, but seeing people pit otherwise heroic and good characters against one another always bothered me, and that’s not helped by how prevalent it’s become in the past fifteen years or so. 

I also ascribe to the viewpoint that in fiction, any character can beat any other character and that it’s up to the writer to make it at least plausible. Battle board style logic has no place in writing in my opinion, though that should not be an excuse for a writer to completely ignore all logic either and have a normal human hurt a character who could otherwise withstand a tank shell, or for a competent but otherwise normal human land a hit on a character capable of moving and reacting beyond the speed of thought. 

But, with all that said, to answer your questions more directly, I would say Steel Wolf would probably be the best candidate, as he has the strength to overpower her, the toughness to withstand her attacks, and furthermore knows her and how she fights better than any of the other members, owing to their past experience with one another that predates the Power Company. 

Other Power Company characters that could be of use against her would likely be Fivestar and Forecast. The former because his strength, toughness, and energy powers would allow him to go toe-to-toe with her, the latter because his weather powers would allow him to counter many of Thunder Woman’s most powerful and useful abilities. 

1st: Which villain or villains does Thunder Woman fight in “Power Company”? 

Daniel: In The Power Company #1, she does battle with Brimcoal. She is also seen vaporizing some of the Necromage’s minions. 

1st: Does or will Thunder Woman have her own comic? 

Daniel: Right now, Thunder Woman’s sole comic appearance is in The Power Company #1. In #2 she will join the team in full. She is also slated to appear as a member of another team of heroes called “The Remarkables.”

As for her own comic, my current goal is to begin work on a Thunder Woman graphic novel in 2019, and so right now I am working to finish developing and fleshing out Samantha’s character and the world around her. 

1st: What inspired the creation of Thunder Woman?

Daniel: Thunder Woman was originally created to be my character in a shared superhero fiction setting on DeviantArt called “Angel Falls.” Many of her elements, such as her mythological roots, were part of an effort on my part to distinguish her from the more science-based heroes that the setting had at that point, and to add an element of mythology and folklore that I felt was lacking at that time. 

Thunder Woman is an amalgamation of many of my favorite comic book heroes. I drew upon elements of Superman, Captain Marvel/Shazam, Thor, Wonder Woman, Storm, Invincible, and even Spider-Man and Captain America for her.

1st: Will you be creating more characters to add to Thunder Woman? 

Daniel: I have mostly completed the selection of characters that occupy her world. I still need to develop more of a human supporting cast and antagonists that aren’t supervillains for her though. 

1st: Who are in Thunder Woman’s rogue gallery? 

Daniel: Thunder Woman has an incredibly huge rogues gallery. A friend of mine recently asked how many villains she has, and after putting all of the names into a spreadsheet I ended up with over 90!

She has 7 foes that are either recurring archenemies or are the big bads of major story arcs, 20 recurring major opponents, and a bunch of lesser villains that are either jobbers, limited to certain stories I have planned, or are members of teams she comes up against. Her primary archnemesis is Hera, the mad queen of the Twelve Olympians, who is hell-bent on revenge against her for Samantha’s part in stopping her attempt to replace the Olympians with her own “Heratheon.” Her other major recurring opponent is Helregin, an enigmatic amoral supergenius who is obsessed with eradicating death and suffering from the human condition, and believes that the thunderbolt inside Thunder Woman is the key to achieving this. 

1st: How has Thunder Woman changed since 2010? 

Daniel: For one, she is no longer a part of Angel Falls, but instead resides in my own fictional setting, the “Extraordinary Mythos,” a hybrid/fusion of almost every single superheroic character, concept, and setting that I have created since I first started creating my own characters back in 2004. Her personal corner of it has ballooned in size and has been altered to coexist with the other superhero characters and settings that I merged together to form the ExMythos. Her design has also changed greatly over the years, and she has gone through five distinct designs, the fifth being her current version that will appear in The Power Company #2. The version of her seen in The Power Company #1 is her fourth design, which was a major overhaul from her original look. 

1stWhat comics did you read as a child and do you now? 

Daniel: I really didn’t read comics growing up. I was very well aware of superheroes as a kid, but I never really liked what I saw then in all the ads and merchandising. I felt the characters all looked too grim and mean, less like heroes and more like the monsters and villains that heroes were meant to defeat.

The first comics I read were when I began entering my adolescence. A friend of mine at the time had been given a collection of late 80’s and early 90’s comics, and so whenever I stayed over one of the things I did was read them. And I hated them! Mostly because the visual storytelling was confusing and nonsensical to me, and the characters were ridiculous looking to me. The only ones that I enjoyed were some issues of the late 80’s series “X-Men vs. Avengers,” which had much better art in terms of storytelling and layouts, and had characters I thought were much more interesting than any of the ones I saw in the 90’s comics. 

Really, if it wasn’t for those late 90’s/early 00’s comics that I mentioned earlier, I probably would still hate comics because of the art of guys like Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. I’ve grown to appreciate Lee’s work more I’ve matured, but Liefeld still makes me cringe. 

I don’t read as many comics or as often as I used to at my peak, which was between 2008 and 2012 when I was consuming entire omnibuses at breakneck speed. I simply don’t have the time for that sort of thing, though I do try and maintain a surface level knowledge of everything that is going on, thanks to groups like scans_daily. 

1st: What is your full-time job? 

Daniel: I am a communications coordinator for a local real estate association. 

1st: What would you like to say to the fans of your comic work?

Daniel: That I am honored and humbled by the idea that the things that I create bring such enjoyment and inspiration to them. I am so used to being a fan and consumer of comic and superhero media that the idea of being on the other end of that relationship is still a very strange one to me. And yet, whenever I see someone make some fan art, or say how much they enjoy my stuff or are inspired by it, I can’t help but feel this fountain of brotherly love and joy well up inside me. Few things make me happier than feeling and witnessing the loving connection of fellow human beings, and being a part of that web of love. 

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