Exclusive Dan Jurgens Interview (II): Green Arrow, JLI, & DC Comics Relaunch

Today we have part 2 of our new 3-part interview with comics legend Dan Jurgens. Our first part yesterday gave Justice League International the spotlight.

Today its Green Arrow‘s turn, a book which is also part of the DC Comics Relaunch and on my Top 19 from September 2011 DC offerings.

JLI slips in a bit too. 🙂

Comics Nexus: How different is your creative process when you are writing one book (JLI) and drawing another (Green Arrow)? Do you have to change your approach to storytelling?

Dan Jurgens: One of the things DC is trying to accomplish here is to get creators talking again.

Over the last several years, the medium has become very much a “script first” style of writing. The writer would write a full script, turn it in, often without knowing who was going to draw it, and really not have any contact beyond that.

I’m a firm believer in “plot first” writing. The writer writes something that is short of a full script and the artist then gets to actually pace the story and get a little more control over its flow and visual elements. That makes for a more dramatically visual comic.

Green Arrow #1 (ships September 2011)When writers and artists talk, you get a far greater sense of collaboration. That builds cohesiveness and enthusiasm within the creative team and, in turns, creates a better product. My approach has changed in that I want to find out what JT is trying to communicate-what’s most important to him and for the story and characters-and get it in the book while making it visually compelling.

Nexus: What attracted you to art chores on Green Arrow? Were you a fan of Oliver Queen? And, how involved are you with JT Krul in shaping where Oliver Queen is taken story-wise?

Jurgens: I am a huge fan of Oliver Queen. I have always found him to be one of the most compelling characters in the DCU. In terms of personality, Ollie has often been given more definition and character than a lot of them.

Bob Harras and I first talked in general about GA and what kind of book it might be, what would work, what might not, etc. We talked about the idea of greater creator collaboration, of working plot/pencil/script, etc. That was part of a very broad DCU discussion and it was a couple of weeks later that they asked if I’d like to work with JT and draw the book.

Since then, JT and I have had a number of conversations about the tone of the book, the type of guy Ollie is, the supporting cast and where we want to go. JT is a tremendously nice, dedicated guy and he’s working very hard to make this happen.

Nexus: How involved were you in the redesign of Green Arrow and the look of the characters, rogues, and backdrop for the book?

Jurgens: I took the first run at a redesign of the character. Then Jim Lee took it and added/adjusted a couple of elements for the final design. As for the supporting cast, rogues, whatever, that’ll be me, along with suggestions from JT, in coming up with the final look.

Nexus: Superman has Lex Luthor. Green Lantern has Sinestro. Batman has Joker, Penguin and so many more. Who do you think is Green Arrow’s arch enemy? Is revitalizing or even creating an interesting and enduring rogues gallery for Green Arrow a priority for you an JT Krul?

Jurgens: His main villains would probably Merlyn and Count Vertigo. Merlyn is interesting because he’s an archer and therefore an obvious sort of “opposite”, though I wish he had a different name.

JT and I have spent an incredible amount of time talking about what we wanted to do in terms of villains and are working overtime trying to build some interesting adversaries for GA.

Nexus: Since you are a writer and artist you have a unique perspective on both disciplines. What is it like working with JT Krul on Green Arrow and Aaron Lopresti on JLI?

Jurgens: It’s occasionally good for me to get away from just writing and drawing my own stuff. I have enjoyed writing for others, whether it was John Romita, JR., Andy Kubert, Steve Epting, Ron Frenz, Stuart Immonen or a number of others and I’ve enjoyed drawing stuff put together by other writers.

Whenever I work with others that way I tend to learn something. They’ll often bring something to the table I might not have thought of and that’s great.

Right now, I love seeing what Aaron is doing with some of the characters’ individual personality traits on JLI. He’s creating a nice, visual language for the book that he’s carrying over from the GENERATION LOST stuff. JT is building some very nice stuff for GREEN ARROW that will give me a lot to play with.

[Updated with the link to part 3.]

Tune in tomorrow for Part 3 of our 3-part interview with Dan Jurgens. Tomorrow we talk Booster Gold, Flashpoint and more. For more on Dan, check out his new website: www.danjurgens.com

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