Comic book writer, artist, and creator Dan Jurgens may be most famous for having killed Superman back in 1992, for which he won the National Cartoonists Society Award for Best in Comic Book Division, but it's his work on Justice League and the creation of the lovable, screw-up and corporate shilling superhero Booster Gold that has made me a fan for life.
This September, along with artist Aaron Lopresti, he re-launched the Justice League International, brought along Booster Gold for the ride, and gave D.C. Comics another bestseller. In an exclusive interview with positivelite.com, Jurgens is kind enough to take time away from his busy writing schedule to answer all of my questions about my favourite new comic book Justice League International!
Michael Burtch: First up, congratulations on the success of Justice League International #1! Diamond Comic Distributors is reporting it charted at #24 on the sales chart for September and Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnston has speculated that with low returns and Britain's sales factored in, JLI is more likely sitting at an even prettier #19! You must be very proud of JLI's sales and overwhelmingly positive reviews! How did you come about being attached to the title?
Dan Jurgens: Yes, I'm very happy with the way JLI performed, not to mention all the New 52 books. It's been great to be a part of it.
In terms of how I first became connected with it, I'd had some general discussions with Bob Harras regarding the kind of stuff I like to do and general books and characters I feel comfortable with. Not long after, they asked if I'd like to write JLI and it was a total no-brainer to take.
One of the things I love about your configuration of the JLI is that your team is an almost equal 50-50 split between men and women and has a lot of ethnic diversity, both big, big pluses in my book! What are your thoughts on the criticisms the rest of the 'new 52' have faced over the lack of diversity in their titles?
You might be talking about two different things here. First, in terms of any lack of diversity in the characters themselves, I think it's pretty clear that we're trying to add more character diversity to the books. It isn't something that happens totally over night, but we're certainly making progress in that direction.
Second, there was a great deal of talk regarding the lack of female creators as part of the effort. By now, people have come to see that that were more things in the pipeline featuring women like Amanda Conner and Nicola Scott. In addition, I don't think there was enough attention paid to the fact that we have creators with a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds, working in a variety of countries across the globe.
I have to admit that I groaned and rolled my eyes at first over the inclusion of Godiva in the new JLI, but after reading issue #1 she became my favourite character! How on earth did you decide to use this (formally laughable) character in JLI and are you aware that she's, at least in my eyes, totally become a gay icon! The woman screams diva!
We tried to make her fun and interesting, and probably have some more treats coming up. Stay tuned!
Obviously I'm a big homo myself so I'd be remiss if I didn't ask this; might we be seeing a gay hero or villain popping up in the pages of JLI anytime soon?
Maybe you already have. Who's to say? I think we have some interesting things cooking.
With such a large, diverse cast of characters in JLI, who's your favourite character to write and who's closest to resembling yourself?
Godiva has become a favourite, as has August General in Iron. Guy is up there as well. As for who's most like me, gosh... Booster, maybe? But even that's a stretch.
Rumour has it that Booster Gold is Canadian now ah! Can Canuks expect a JLI adventure in Canada anytime soon?
Eh? We actually hit the shores of Canada, very briefly, in issue 3.
People have a love/hate relationship with Government. The United Nations for instance has been investigated for promoting forced-abortions and coercive sterilizations with the United Nations Population Fund, and the United Nations Security Council have been accused of lacking uniformity in responses to humanitarian interventions. How great a role can we expect the United Nations to be playing in JLI and how political might your stories get?
This isn't going to be a book about the UN. However, I do think there's a lot of room for commentary regarding the scepticism people currently hold for all sorts of institutions. We see such polarized opinions today that it's a natural topic to plumb.
Um, and just out of curiosity, how much does a Superhero get paid by the United Nations to be in the International Justice League anyway?
That's something we're going to touch on a bit later. We're focusing on pulling the team together at this point.
In JLI #1 you reveal that the identities of the team are public knowledge. This really captured my imagination! I instantly started to wonder how being a superhero with no secret identity might be really dangerous but also really fuckin' annoying. Or, vice-versa, perhaps totally fuckin' awesome! Will we see this explored more in upcoming story lines?
Yes. I don't want to play the celebrity card for these heroes too strongly, but they are going to be the most accessible heroes in the DC. Like anything, that comes with positives, as well as negatives.
You've previously said in an interview that "the [JLI] line up is constantly subject to change". There was a lot of speculation initially that the raven haired mystery woman that popped up in early promotional cover art for JLI #1 might have been Donna Troy or Gypsy. Some have suggested it might even be the super powered Greek heiress Alexandra. You've only publicly denied that she's not Donna Troy. Can you give us any further hints about her identity and if Donna, Gypsy, or Alexandra may be making an appearance in JLI in the future? Just how big can we expect the JLI to get?
The only thing I'll say is that there's a story waiting to be told and we have every intention of getting to it.
Lastly, let's play my favourite game: Fuck, Marry, Kill! I name 3 former JLI characters and you have to decide which one you'd marry, which one you'd have killed, and which one you'd make sweet, sweet love too! Your blasts from the past are Crimson Fox, Tasmanian Devil, and Dr. Fate! Go!
No blasts from the past allowed-- doesn't fit the New 52! Godiva [to fuck], Ice- the most genuine of the bunch [to marry, and to kill] none of 'em! Who could possibly want to kill any of these guys? Even Guy Gardner has his good points.
My thanks to Dan Jurgens for taking the time to speak to positivelite.com. To stay up to date with Dan Jurgens and his many projects, you can visit his website at http://danjurgens.com or follow him on Twitter at @djjurgens. Justice League International #3 goes on sale on November 2nd.