[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Matthew Cody and ask him five(ish) questions. Matthew’s graphic novel ‘Zatana and the House of Secrets‘ is out February 18th!]
Aurora: How was it creating a middle grade book featuring super heroes?
Matthew: In some ways, it was like coming home. My first novel, Powerless, was inspired by the literally thousands of comics I read as a kid. Getting invited to do that again with the actual characters I grew up with was a real honor. It’s ironic then, that Zatana and the House of Secrets is more a magical mystery and less a traditional superhero story. But that’s the great thing about these characters – they can be used to tell all sorts of tales!
What inspired your story?
I’ve always thought that Zatanna could be an awesome middle grade hero. A girl who casts spells by speaking backwards? That’s just perfect. But beyond how cool the character is, this is a story about family and the power secrets can have over our lives. Superheroes are all about secrets – secret hideouts, secret identities, but secrets can also be perilous. So what if one day you found out that your dad had been keeping secrets from you your entire life? And what if one of those secrets was that the house you’d grown up in wasn’t the house you thought it was at all – it was something magical, mysterious . . . and dangerous.
What can graphic novel lovers expect from the read?
Real relationships between family and friends – and just how hard both can be to navigate. But also magic! So, so much magic! The artist Yoshi Yoshitani really created some breathtaking work in this book.
If you had one super power, what would it be?
Flight. Any other answer is suspect.
What is next for you in the comic and graphic novel world?
I’ve got a couple of ongoing kids’ comics I’m working on. The first of these, called Cat Ninja will be out in bookstores from Abrams McMeel in October. It’s about a cat who is indeed a ninja. But you can read it now on the website GetEpic.com.