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Powerpuff Girls' new creators aim to "honor" the franchise while "injecting some tiny creative pieces of ourselves in there too"

The first issue is due out in July 2024.

Cover of Powerpuff Girls comic book 2024
Image credit: Dynamite

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They’ve got sugar, spice, and everything nice – plus a dash of Chemical X to boot – but there is something else that the Powerpuff Girls will be getting this summer that makes them bona fide superheroes; their own comic book! July 2024 sees the launch of the newest Powerpuff Girls comic, giving two new creators the chance to put their spin on the beloved franchise.

The pair behind the upcoming Powerpuff Girls comic are writer Kelly Thompson (Birds of Prey, Black Widow) and artist Paulina Ganucheau (Wonder Woman, Zodiac Starforce), both of whom, in addition to being fantastic comic book creators, have gone on record to say that they are huge fans of the Powerpuff Girls. Their new comic book is set in the same continuity as the original cartoon and previous comic book adaptations. However, the stories told in this run, just like in the original cartoon, will be predominantely self-contained - no need to bone up on your Powerpuff Girls lore.

We chatted with the two to find out what they’re bringing to this new comic book series and what it’s like to play with some of their favorite childhood characters.

Powerpuff Girls cover one clean
Image credit: Dynamite Entertainment

Popverse: The Powerpuff Girls has an important place in animation history – it helped shape Cartoon Network as we know it today. I know you’re both huge fans of the show. How do you approach that kind of legacy while still wanting to put your own spin on the characters?

Kelly Thompson: I think with characters as famous – iconic! – as the Powerpuff Girls you really have to get the voices right before you can even consider trying to do something “extra.” Ideally, anytime I take on a project with existing beloved characters I try hard to get that voice right and then I really try to step back and see what I can add, as a creator, that will be interesting and – in a perfect world – only something I can do. We don’t live in a perfect world so I don’t always nail that last part, but I always aim for that.

Paulina Ganucheau: I feel the same. The Powerpuff Girls are something you can instantly identify, so needing to stay true to who they are is essential. That being said, I think there is definitely still room to inject some tiny creative pieces of ourselves in there too. I’ve been a fan of The Powerpuff Girls since I was a child so it luckily comes really naturally. Since I grew up drawing and loving them, they’ve already played a very important role in my artistic journey as it is, so it feels really cool to come back to them again as a professional.

What keeps The Powerpuff Girls relevant and interesting to audiences and readers so long after their initial release? How do you capture that in a comic book?

Thompson: I’m a firm believer that what people fall in love with – in a timeless way – are characters. Once you really connect to them and fall in love, I don’t know that it ever goes away. People are always excited about new stories for characters they love – especially those they fell in love with when young. So much of geek culture is rebuilding/rebooting/rebranding/re-experiencing our beloved favs by new creators – The Powerpuff Girls are no different.

Ganucheau: Exactly. When something is great, the world can’t deny that. The Powerpuff Girls are great!

Powerpuff Girls cover 1 alt clean
Image credit: Dynamite Entertainment

You’ve talked before about making your version of The Powerpuff Girls appeal to all ages rather than focus on young kids. How important was it to the upcoming comic book to maintain the “works on multiple levels” humor from the original show? Do you see the comic as being aimed at kids or us grown-up kids who watched the show when we were younger?

Thompson: Well, I think that’s a bit of a misnomer – an all-ages book, by definition, IS for kids, because it’s for everyone. I think when I talk about doing something “all-ages” as opposed to “middle grade” or “early readers” it’s because you want something that can appeal to kids of all ages on a base level – iconic characters, fun/funny stories about heroes going on adventures, bright colors/shapes/ideas – but that has a secondary level that wouldn’t necessarily be visible to a young reader but would be appreciated by an older reader. Sometimes those are jokes. Or a more complicated emotional element, or touching on something thematic that is more complex or darker. Sometimes it’s also just a visual narrative device. If you can work on both levels I think it can help elevate the material, and is one of the very things that has kept The Powerpuff Girls so viable over the years - the themes are relatable whether you’re 10 or 100.

Ganucheau: I’ve been re-watching the classic Powerpuff Girls episodes in preparation for this book and the first thing that stuck out to me, besides remembering how much I love this show, was how smart all the writing and scenarios were. It never felt too dumbed down and still remained incredibly accessible. It was interesting taking in something I loved as a child with a different outlook. It really proves that The Powerpuff Girls has really always been for everyone and Kelly does an amazing job at continuing that legacy.

The first episode of The Powerpuff Girls aired back in 1998 in a very different pop culture landscape. How does that impact the stories you try to tell in their comic book adventures? Will your take on The Powerpuff Girls have a modern spin or feel more nostalgic in its tone?

Thompson: Hmmm. I don’t think of the Powerpuff Girls as being a “very 90s (or early aughts) project” – it feels quite timeless to me in both story content and in the visuals. But the visuals especially. PPG heavily uses a sort of UPA styling (I think they actually call it “UPA revival”) which has a vintage quality right from the jump. And I think it’s that vintage quality plus the creative design and saturated colors of the girls themselves that give PPG such a distinctive identity. And by not tying itself too closely to any one period I think it’s helped keep it viable and flexible over the years.

Ganucheau: Absolutely. It doesn’t suffer from feeling too much like any era at all. It’s always felt like it exists in its own universe and time to me.

Powerpuff Girls cover 1 alt clean
Image credit: Dynamite Entertainment

Which of The Powerpuff Girls’ impressive selection of villains are you most interested in bringing to the upcoming comic book? Are there any that you feel wouldn’t make the transition to comic book format? Also, just cause I’m curious – which is your favorite?

Thompson: Mojo Jojo is definitely my favorite of the Puffs’ villains. He’s hilarious with an incredible design – and I like that he has a softer side that we often get to see in unexpected ways. I think HIM is genuinely terrifying, and the Rowdy Ruff Boys are terrific in the right story. Mojo Jojo and HIM both get an issue – and issue three features an all-new villain! I hope he’ll make the leap to reoccurring rogue – a girl’s got to have a dream!

Ganucheau: I’m a sucker for HIM. As Kelly said, he’s scary! And I love that, haha. Sedusa is another favorite of mine. Her design is so fun. She has always reminded me of a classic Sailor Moon monster of the week baddie.

Did you rewatch any specific episodes when planning this series for inspiration or just to remind yourself of the tone you’re going for?

Thompson: Yeah, I read/re-read a ton of Powerpuff Girl comics and I also went on a few episode binges. It was honestly some of the most fun I’ve had while in research mode -- just cackling away in my living room at the comics and episodes – not a bad gig if you can get it!

Ganucheau: Truly awesome we sometimes get to rewatch cartoons and call it research, huh? Yeah, I absolutely did the same. The early seasons are etched into my brain forever so it’s been a blast. The Powerpuff Girls show is such a good time and a visual powerhouse. Doing my best to honor that is my goal and I hope the fans enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed working on it!

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