Back when the mid-season finale of White Collar was about to air, I lucked out and got a chance to email interview Joe Henderson, the show’s executive story editor. The Q&A was fairy well-received, so when I realized that the show’s midseason (aka Season 2.5) premiere was set to air this Tuesday, January 18 (at its new time of 10 PM EST on USA Network), Henderson and I found time to exchange info again. While last time we delved a smidge into comics, this interview is completely about White Collar. What makes this interview even more pertinent, the midseason premiere episode (Burke’s Seven) is written by Henderson.
Tim O’Shea: How long have you been itching to write an episode with the great homage-tinged title of Burke’s Seven?
Joe Henderson: This is something we’ve been wanting to do for awhile—the entire team working together in a con. But it was also something we really wanted to earn. Let the audience get to know the characters, build up an anticipation to see them all together, then find that moment where the stakes were high enough to justify it. With Mozzie getting shot, it became the perfect opportunity to bring everyone together.
Last week, I was chatting with comics writer Jim McCann, trying to pick his brain for interview ideas (my view of comics can sometimes be myopic, so I try expand the view where I can in a variety of ways). He mentioned to me that Joe Henderson, one of the writers/story editors on the USA Network series, White Collar, is a huge comic book fan. Normally, of course, I interview creators regarding upcoming projects here at Talking Comics with Tim. But with White Collar airing its midseason finale tomorrow night (September 7; 9 PM [for the East Coast]/8 PM [Central]), I thought I’d try something different and interview Henderson, partially about his comic book fan credentials, as well as what it’s like to work on White Collar. My thanks to McCann for helping arrange this, and Henderson, for his willingness to be interviewed, as he’s clearly a fan of comics (plus it was a blast to discuss White Collar with him).
Tim O’Shea: This interview originated with a suggestion from Jim McCann, who described you as a “huge comic book fan” (a characterization backed up by this GeekWeek article from January and your 2009 Witchblade story). Just to give folks an idea of your comic book affinity, can you single out some of your favorite creators and or characters?
Joe Henderson: First, a big thank you to Jim McCann, who is writing the awesome Hawkeye and Mockingbird that everyone should be reading.
The first name I have to mention is Mike Costa, who is doing an amazing job with GI Joe Cobra (IDW) and is a very good friend of mine. If you haven’t read Cobra, do yourself a favor a pick it up. Jason Aaron [O'Shea aside: Aaron's new column for CBR, Where the Hell Am I?, starts this Wednesday] and Jonathan Hickman are writing the most compelling comics I’ve read in a long time. Aaron’s grasp of Wolverine is fantastic—as far as I’m concerned he’s writing the definitive take on Logan. Hickman’s firing on all cylinders on FF and SHIELD is just crazy idea porn at its finest. Joe Kelly was wonderful on Amazing Spider-man—really, the whole writing team has been great since BND. Having said that, really excited to see Dan Slott take over and give it a more unified voice. Bendis‘ Ultimate Spider-man is the most consistently entertaining read out there. Can’t wait for [Matt] Fraction‘s Thor and [Ed] Brubaker‘s Super Soldier has been wonderful. At DC, [Geoff] Johns and [Peter] Tomasi have blown me away with what they’ve done with the Green Lantern universe and I thought Blackest Night was one of the most successful crossovers in a long time. I also loved all of Johns and Gary Frank‘s Superman stuff. [Paul] Cornell‘s work on Action Comics so far has been awesome—love what he’s doing with Lex Luthor. Fables [Bill Willingham] is always a great read…I’m forgetting tons of books I’m sure.