Lauren Faust and Her 'Super Best Friends Forever'
Lauren Faust is no stranger to super-heroic feats. Her work on The Powerpuff Girls is legendary among animation fans, but one look at her list of credits on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and you might find yourself wondering if this talented lady doesn’t have a few superpowers of her own. She managed the seemingly impossible task of juggling multiple roles, (developer, supervising producer, writer, story supervisor, storyboard artist, character designer, and animation director), while turning Pony into a hit series with massive crossover appeal. So when Cartoon Network decided to create a group of animated shorts based on the characters of DC Comics, it’s no surprise that Faust’s pitch for a series featuring Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Girl was quickly scooped up.
Super Best Friends Forever will join a flock of new DC animated shorts already airing between episodes of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series as a part of DC Nation—Cartoon Network’s superpowered hour of Saturday morning programming that kicks off each week at 10am.
Faust chatted with Gay.net about her unique take on these legendary female heroes and the potential future of this adorable new series.
How did you come up with the concept for Super Best Friends Forever?
My friend Brianne Drouhard, who is also doing a short for DC Nation based on Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, is a fantastic artist. For several years she’d been doing adorable fan art of Batgirl as this cute, teenage girl who’s just having fun being a superhero. I’ve always thought her take on the character was so entertaining and energetic that it would make a great show, and I’ve been telling her that for years. So when the opportunity came up to pitch these shorts I imagined bringing Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Girl together in a way that honored Brianne’s idea by using the same energy and fun she’d been using in her fan art.
Each of these shorts is only 75 seconds long. Was it a challenge to work within that time constraint?
Oh, yes! All but one of these scripts was twice as long as what you’ll see on the air. It was really a challenge because these shorts are so fast. There’s no time for poignant pauses or lingering on funny facial expressions, so the approach I took was that each short was long enough for one joke. There’s enough time for a setup and a punch line. We came up with several funny situations to put the girls in and squeezed as much humor out of those as we could, as fast as we could, and made the animation very clear so people could easily tell what was going on.
Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Girl have a large, loyal, and vocal gay fan-base. Do you think they’ll love Super Best Friends Forever?
I don’t know. I really hope so. When I’m making shows for people I feel like I’m making them for everybody. There are a few moments where some fans might feel like the shorts are a little too silly, but I’m not sure if that would appeal to one person more than another. I hope gay fans will enjoy my humorous take on these characters.
How are the stars of SBFF different from other versions we’ve seen of these characters?
To be honest, I took a lot of liberties and I’m very grateful to DC for letting me run with it. For example, my take on Supergirl is really different. When I looked at her I saw a girl who’s just like Superman in every way, but he gets all the attention and she’s totally chopped liver. I thought, if I was in her shoes that would totally piss me off. So that’s more of the angle I’m taking with her. She’s definitely got something to prove and is a bit of a hot-head in my version. She’s also more angsty and violent than the other two girls.
This version of Wonder Girl—her design—is a lot like I was as a teenager. She's a little too tall, and a little too skinny—she’s grown up, but not out yet. She’s Wonder Woman’s little sister, so she’s had a very formal upbringing as both a princess and a warrior. I’ve somewhat made her the leader of the group. She’s older and has more experience, but since she grew up on the island of Themyscira and not in the world of man she doesn’t understand things like pop culture references when the other girls bring them up. I thought that would be a fun character dynamic to explore with her.
This Batgirl is a total fan-girl. I loved the idea that Barbara Gordon was connected to Batman through her dad, so she’s always been a fan of the guy, this superhero, who “works” with her dad and she’s modeled herself after him.
Will we be seeing any other ladies from DC Comics in SBFF?
Yes, you’ll see a couple of female villains. Both Poison Ivy and Cheetah will be making appearances.
The buzz surrounding this project has been incredible. If given the opportunity, would you revisit Super Best Friends Forever?
Definitely. It would be wonderful to do another round of shorts, but I’d love to see it go to series as well. Then we could really open it up with bigger stories. I’ve got lots of ideas and I’d love the chance to bring more DC characters into the SBFF world. I’ve got ideas for Superman and I’ve got a great idea for Batman and Robin—specifically how they relate to the girls. If I got to do more it would be fun to go through the DC catalog and do a new funny spin on as many characters as I could.
You can see the first episode of 'SBFF' below.
Check out more of our favorite shorts from 'DC Nation' here.