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DF Interview: Dan Jurgens on creating Doomsday, Rebirth, Batman v Superman, Action Comics and the return of … Superman?
By Byron Brewer
If someone mentions the name of writer/artist Dan Jurgens and you do not automatically think “Superman,” you have not been a comics fan very long.
Jurgens has not only brought some of the Man of Steel’s most memorable adventures to life, he actually killed the Kryptonian via his monstrous creation Doomsday, a storyline reinterpreted for live action in the film Batman v Superman. Now, with the coming of Rebirth to the DCU, Jurgens again finds himself leading the Supes pack by taking over the book that introduced the hero: Action Comics!
In the following interview with Dynamic Forces, Dan Jurgens talks about all of these topics.
Dynamic Forces: Dan, what was it like to see your creation Doomsday – famed “killer” of Superman in the DC comics – on the screen in the current blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice?
Dan Jurgens: Seeing Doomsday on screen was a great thrill. It was a tremendous amount of fun to see not only a character that I designed, but to see scenes that I’d drawn replicated. Zack Snyder did a tremendous job of interpreting some of what we did as he translated it to the big screen.
DF: Doomsday received fame through the media of 1992 for his role in the “Death of Superman” storyline. In this age today of instantaneous social media, Doomsday is known globally. That must be an awesome feeling for a comic book creator?
Dan Jurgens: Any time you see some of your work or characters translated to another form of media, be it animation, video games, TV or film, it’s a thrill. It’s very gratifying to know that you did something that not only touched readers at the time but had the legs to touch a new generation years later.
DF: I heard there was a very interesting story behind the creation of Doomsday, one that involved you, Louise Simonson, Jerry Ordway and a few others. Can you tell our readers about that tale, please?
Dan Jurgens: Well, it’s fairly well known that we were originally looking at doing the wedding of Lois and Clark in Superman #75, but that we had to delay that.
I went into the meetings with two ideas scrawled on a legal pad. One was, “Death of Superman”. The other was “Monster destroys Metropolis”. As I recall, Jerry Ordway and I had talked on the phone a couple of days before the meeting and even talked about the idea of “Death of Superman”.
But as we got to talking about different ideas, I think I’d mentioned “Death of…" once or twice and it never took. After throwing other ideas out Jerry did as well and we started to hone in on it. At the time, I had no idea of combining the two ideas but we eventually moved in that direction and the monster became Doomsday. All the artists in the room were asked to sketch up a quick idea or design of what Doomsday might look like and mine was chosen.
As we built the story, there were a lot of twists and turns in the way we constructed it. Story ideas were added, taken out, altered, put back in, taken out again, etc. Creation is rarely a linear process and this one was especially so. The key to it all came into play when we moved beyond just the “Death of…” story and added “Funeral for a Friend” behind it. That’s when we were really able to key on what Superman meant to the world.
DF: By the way, congratulations on taking over Action Comics, one of the two DC flagships to many minds (including mine). How did this come about?
Dan Jurgens: As part of DC’s Rebirth effort, we were looking at a couple of different ideas in terms of a Superman book I’d do. Action Comics was the result and I’m thrilled with that. I’m particularly tickled that we’re picking up where the numbering left off prior to the launch of the New 52, with #957. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again— Action Comics is probably the most important title in the history of the industry. It launched Superman. As far as I’m concerned, that makes Action Comics #1000 the Super Bowl of comics.
DF: Is it true that in Action you will be writing about the Superman of your series, Superman: Lois and Clark? If that is so, and for those who have not followed that series, can you summarize its status quo please?
Dan Jurgens: Yes, that’s the case.
In essence, this is the story of the pre-Flashpoint Superman now in the current DCU. He’s married to Lois and they have a young son, Jon. They’ve been here for years with Superman working behind the scenes to keep people safe and perform his usual heroics. None of the Justice League knows he’s here.
At the same time, Lois has been involved in doing good work by way of being a freelance writer. She has several books to her credit, each exposing various crimes and wrongdoing under the anonymous label of “Author X”.
DF: Will Jonathan Kent be a part of the storyline?
Dan Jurgens: Absolutely! Jon’s a tremendous addition to the grand tapestry of Superman.
DF: Back to Doomsday, I hear in Action the Man of Steel will square off against Lex Luthor … AND DOOMSDAY … much as he does in the BvS film?
Dan Jurgens: Let’s put it this way…
Superman finally has to come out of hiding because someone has released Doomsday in Metropolis. At the same time, Lex Luthor is there proclaiming himself as the new Superman.
Put all that together and you have fireworks!
DF: Dan, although you are known as a “Superman guy,” you have written for the “Bat books.” If you would, your overall assessment of both BvS and DC’s Rebirth initiative.
Dan Jurgens: I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for fans to jump on a great new chapter of DC Comics.
For me, “Rebirth” means that we have an opportunity to really hone in on and identify the traits that make these characters great. It’s a chance to give readers the very best versions of these characters and place them in the best possible light.
I’m very excited to be a part of it!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Dan Jurgens for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.
For more news and up-to-date announcements, join us here at Dynamic Forces, www.dynamicforces.com/htmlfiles/, “LIKE” us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/dynamicforcesinc, and follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/dynamicforces
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