Exclusive Dan Jurgens Interview (I): Justice League International (JLI) & DC Comics Relaunch

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I had the honor of interviewing legendary comics creator Dan Jurgens recently. This follows my 3-part interview with him last year where he talked about so many topics including Booster Gold, Rip Hunter and the Time Masters, and Superman, Thor and more.

I’m a huge fan of Dan’s work, and while in the DC Comics Relaunch we won’t be able to have him work on both sides of the creative team on ONE book as he did on Time Masters and is doing on Booster Gold, we’ll actually get him on TWO books in September 2011! He’s writing Justice League International with Aaron Lopresti on art while also drawing Green Arrow with JT Krul on writing chores. Both books are on my Top 19.

I am again pleased at how generous Dan was with his time. This is the first of my new 3-part interview I had with him.

Since the DC Comics Relaunch is dominating news nowadays, I thought it would be fitting to start with his Justice League International project.

Comics Nexus: What has become clear in the last few weeks has been that some creators had “winning” pitches that allowed them to helm a book as part of the September DC Comics Relaunch. In other cases, DC approached creators with the company’s own pitch about where it needed or wanted characters to be. Which was it for Justice League International (JLI)? Did you pitch for it or was it pitched to you? Can you tell us how a JLI penned Dan Jurgens book came to be? Did you get to choose the cast?

Justice League International #1 UPDATED (ships September 2011)Dan Jurgens: I don’t know much about the way in which other creators were approached. All I know is that I was first asked what my general interests might be, what characters I’d have interest in, what type of book, etc. I’ve always been attracted to “scope” books that allow for big, large concept stories. After those general discussions, they asked how I’d feel about JLI and it was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

Nexus: There was a mysterious raven-haired woman that was first on and then off the cover image released by DC for JLI. Is your story still in flux or was there another reason for the cover change? Will we still see her somewhere in your run? And, while you likely can not spill the beans about who she is, can you tell us whether she is a newly created character or a redesigned one?

Jurgens: One of the things we’re trying to do, overall, is introduce some new ideas and concepts to the mix. We want to have a little sense of mystery for the readers. Nothing wrong with creating a sense of fun here.

Will you see the “mystery character” during the run? When? Where? How?

Stay tuned!

Nexus: DC seems to have a lot of team books out in September. We know that JLI is going back to its international roots with your book. We also know that when Stormwatch was originally conceived in its Image Comics days it was also an international / UN sanctioned team book. How will your new JLI coexist or differentiate itself from other international or government-sponsored type DC books and the other 2 Justice League books released in September? Was the JLI’s role in the DCU part of the overall planning process for September shipping books?

Justice League International #1 (ships September 2011)Jurgens: To take the last question first, yes, the JLI’s role was part of the overall planning process for the September slate of books. As for how it will differ from the other JL books, JLA is very much an independent gathering of DC’s greatest heroes. JL Dark is squarely set with a different group of characters and type of story.

Nexus: I understand that the JLI book will not have heavy-handed or overt humor in it, but since Booster Gold is on the team it will have some humor in it. With no Booster Gold solo title in September, how will you balance the time-travel fantastic tone set in your current Booster Gold run, with the expected humor of a JLI book, with branching out and trying new things?

Jurgens: Humor is probably too strong a word to use in describing Booster. He’ll make a joke of things or drop a wise crack here and there, but I don’t think his stories are humorous stories.

The concepts of fantastic tones that you mentioned with regards to Booster’s title will be a part of JLI. I think this grouping of characters demand that sort of broad, big scope treatment. I want this book to be very visual and I keep telling Aaron Lopresti, who’s drawing the book, that I want to give him all sorts of room to blow things open.

For me, “balance” is really all about screen time for the individual members of the team. It’s a matter of trying to convey each member’s personality and character in an economy of words.

[Updated with the links to part 2 and 3.]

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of our 3-part interview with Dan Jurgens. Tomorrow we talk Green Arrow and a bit more on the JLI. Following that, the 3rd interview will focus on Booster Gold & Flashpoint. Also, check out Dan’s own website for more fun stuff: www.danjurgens.com

John is a long-time pop culture fan, comics historian, and blogger. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief at Comics Nexus. Prior to being EIC he has produced several column series including DEMYTHIFY, NEAR MINT MEMORIES and the ONE FAN'S TRIALS at the Nexus plus a stint at Bleeding Cool producing the COMICS REALISM column. As BabosScribe, John is active on his twitter account, his facebook page, his instagram feed and welcomes any and all feedback. Bring it on!