As many of you know, and if you don’t you must be living in pre-historic times in a cave with etchings of a giant bat in it, Dan Jurgens is a legendary comic book artist, writer and creator who has influenced the genre and fandom for over a quarter of a century. He’s worked on Superman, Thor, Doctor Solar as well created enduring characters like Booster Gold and Hank Henshaw the Cyborg Superman for DC Comics among several others.
He is most well known for his work on the Death of Superman in the 1990s and is currently working on DC’s Time Masters: Vanishing Point mini-series that has strong links to big events like Final Crisis, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, and sets up DC’s next big event in Flashpoint.
I am so pleased that Dan Jurgens agreed to a far-ranging comics interview on his current and previous work that has touched so much of fandom. His responses were nothing short of lightning quick and remarkably candid. He is quite fan-friendly and a true professional.
This is the first of a 3-part interview I had with Dan.
Since he continues to work on Booster Gold in his current Time Masters mini-series, I thought it would be fitting to start with Michael Jon Carter.
When you initially created Michael Jon Carter and his Booster Gold persona about 25 years ago, he was a very different character than he is today. How was the initial Booster conceived?
Dan Jurgens: In the early days of Booster’s career, he was really only concerned with himself. While it’s true that he performed feats of heroism, he generally did so in order to bolster himself in the eyes of corporate sponsors and the public in general.
Now he uses that persona as something of a secret identity. In reality, he has become the guardian of the timestream.
Nexus: The first Booster Gold book ran about 2 years. What do you think contributed to its cancellation? Was the industry being very different back then a contributing factor?
Jurgens: A number of things probably contributed to the book’s demise.
One of those factors is the fact that I was quite inexperienced as a writer. I had written a couple of issues of SUN DEVILS but hadn’t written, much less launched, an ongoing.
Beyond that, the character was probably somewhat ahead of his time. He seems to resonate a bit better in a more commercial world where someone who tries to crash a White House dinner can end up with a reality show.
Nexus: Despite the relative short-lived nature of Booster Gold’s (and Blue Beetle’s) 1980s comic book series, he became quite popular by being affiliated with Justice League International and becoming part of “Blue and Gold” with Ted Kord. Did you think the JLI creators went too far down the laugh track with Booster to the point that he didn’t resemble what you had intended?
Jurgens: I always looked at the JLI books at that time as “Earth Keith”. I’m not saying the stories weren’t part of continuity–only that the stories dealt in the extremes of characterization in order to set the characters apart from one another.
Booster isn’t an idiot. Neither is Blue Beetle. But they were content to act the fools.
Nexus: You returned back to Booster Gold in his self-titled book over 20 years after the first series was cancelled. How did your return, initially only on art and then as writer as well, come about?
Jurgens: Mike Siglain, who was editing the new venture, gave me a call and asked if I’d like to get back in the saddle again. I talked to Geoff and Dan DiDio around the same time and we decided to give it a go. It’s been great fun.
It was always understood at the time that if and when Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz should leave, that I’d step in.
Nexus: What does it feel like to work with your creation again? You’re both at very different stages in your lives then you were the first time around.
Jurgens: I’ve had a great time. While Booster has certainly changed, in many ways, he’s still the same basic guy we first cooked up so many years ago.
Nexus: You’ve recently left Booster Gold’s solo series and it’s been turned over to the JLI collaborators. Are you following Booster’s exploits in his own book and Generation Lost? What do you think? It’s not as slapstick as I would have expected based on the 1980’s JLI material. So that, for me, is a plus.
Jurgens: No, it’s not as slapstick. I think Keith is very adroitly walking the tightrope of having Booster act like he did back then, while obviously being a far more accomplished hero.
And with the Generation Lost book, Judd has made him something of a leader, which I think is cool.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of our 3-part interview with Dan Jurgens. Tomorrow we talk Time Masters. Also, check out Dan’s new website for more fun stuff: www.danjurgens.com
Tags: Booster Gold, Dan Jurgens, JLA, Time Masters