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DF Interview: Writer Justin Jordan bids farewell to Luther Strode
By Byron Brewer
For five years, Luther Strode and Petra have been on the run. Now the time for running is over, and the Murder Cult is going down. The road to Cain starts in the double-sized debut of Legacy of Luther Strode #1, coming from Image Comics in April.
Writer Justin Jordan (Spread) and artist Tradd Moore (All-New Ghost Rider) reunite for Legacy of Luther Strode, the final chapter in the popular Luther Strode trilogy. To prepare for this august event (in April), Dynamic Forces chatted with Justin Jordan.
Dynamic Forces: Justin, so why has the decision been made that this coming miniseries is the last go-round for Luther Strode?
Justin Jordan: Back when we first started Strode, we were just breaking into the business, so that first series was intended to be able to stand alone; there’s a complete story there. But as I wrote, I could see a bigger story there that we could tell if we were lucky enough to be able to. And we were! But that story was just that, a story. It had a beginning, middle and an end, and we wanted to keep to that. One thing that a lot of television shows do is stay on past their prime. I kind of admire the British model where they (often, anyway) tell the amount of story they have and get out.
So that’s what we did with Strode.
DF: Tell us a little about the coming storyline.
Justin Jordan: Basically, Luther and Petra are on the trail of the murder cult that gave Luther his powers. So it’s a worldwide brawl leading Luther to Cain, the cult’s founder.
DF: Are there any lingering plot threads or questions that you have put off answering that are going to be addressed in this series?
Justin Jordan: Yeah, definitely. I mean, if you want to know what the deal is with Cain and the cult, and get a sense of how they’ve operated and why they do what they do, this is the book. If you want to see who the Bound, the mummy looking guys from the first issue, are, then this is the book.
DF: As creator, are you pleased with the way that the Luther Strode saga will be ending?
Justin Jordan: I was just rereading the script for issue one of Legacy as I prepared it for lettering, and it’s a better book than I remembered writing. I mean, I got some confidence in what I’m good at as a writer, so I never thought the book sucked, but it’s hard to have real perspective when you’re in the process. Forest, trees. So yeah, I’m happy with how it is shaking out. Tradd and Felipe are doing insane work on it, so even if I screw it up it will at least LOOK good.
DF: Let's go back a few years: Tell us how the character and this great legacy of literature came to be.
Justin Jordan: Basically, there were two ideas that mashed together to produce Luther Strode. One, the obvious one, was the old Charles Atlas style exercise ads, which focused on transformation and turning the tables on bullies. Some of those ads (not usually actually by Atlas) basically promised superhuman powers, so I thought: what if …?
The other bit was the notion that, if looked at from a certain skewed and twisted point of view, some superheroes and some slashers aren’t that far apart. The only real difference between Jason Voorhees and the Punisher is that The Punisher talks and uses guns. So I decided to make that overt – you can see it most strongly in Luther’s original costume.
DF: Are there any things, Justin, you did with the character that you would today change, or conversely anything you never did with a character that you wish you had?
Justin Jordan: Honestly, no. It’s not that the Strode books are perfect, but they represent the best I was personally capable of when I wrote them, and so I’ve been really happy with them. I’m not a writer who spends a lot of time looking back, you know?
The closest I come with that and Strode is that there are threads that I wouldn’t mind pulling on, as a writer. Going down the rabbit hole. But, and this is a big but, there’s a reason I didn’t pull those threads the first time. The books are designed to be lean.
DF: How important has Luther Strode the character been to the comic book career of Justin Jordan?
Justin Jordan: I wouldn’t have a career without Strode. So totally central to me being in comics. And, you know, Tradd and I are good friends, and that also wouldn’t have happened without Strode. So the book is one of the better things that has ever happened to me.
DF: Any co-creators along the way you would care to mention, ones whom you feel really added significantly to the legacy of this great character?
Justin Jordan: Oh, both of them, Tradd Moore and Felipe Sobreiro. The book is ours, not mine. I mean, Tradd and I work out the plots for the books together, and edit the scripts and generally make it impossible for us to remember who said what. So yeah, this book flat out wouldn’t exist without them. And I need to thank Fonografiks for lettering the book and, frankly, teaching me the value of great lettering.
DF: Justin, so this is REALLY Luther Strode's last hurrah? This isn't like those 12 Rolling Stones "final" concerts, is it? (laughs)
Justin Jordan: Never say never! I may need money some day. I will say this is for sure meant to be the last book, and I can’t right now see any stories with Luther that NEED to be told. I am not necessarily against visiting the past of the Luther Strode world there – there’s a lot of history that could make for good stories.
But right now, this is the send-off.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Justin Jordan for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions, AND congratulate him on the legacy of comic book material that is Luther Strode. The Legacy of Luther Strode is set to launch from Image Comics on April 1st!
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