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DF Interview: Justin Jordan introduces unsleeping sleuth John Flood
By Byron Brewer
You might remember when Justin Jordan exploded onto the comics scene a few years ago with The Strange Talent of Luther Strode. Well, now it’s time for another epic project. BOOM! Studios brings us John Flood #1, written by Jordan, with art by Jorge Coelho (Polarity, Sleepy Hollow).
The story follows main character John Flood who no longer needs to sleep as a result of a government experiment. Sounds like a good deal, right? Well, think again.
Dynamic Forces caught up with the equally non-sleeping prolific Jordan and got the skinny on this exciting new mystery comic.
Dynamic Forces: Justin, our main character John Flood no longer needs to sleep and is in a constant dream state. Isn't that the basis for being a comic book writer? (laughs)
Justin Jordan: Hah, yes. That and cats. And beards.
DF: Tell us the origin behind this concept and how did it wind up at BOOM! Studios?
Justin Jordan: Basically, I got to think what it would be like to not have to sleep, and what you would have to be like to make it work. You will eventually die without sleep, but the important part of sleep seems to be the brain state we’re in during dreaming.
So what eventually was spawned out of that was a character who never slept but always dreamed. John Flood.
DF: Give us a little background on the main character, his relationship with "the government" and where this gets him please.
Justin Jordan: His background is murky, even to himself. As we find out, there are no real records on John Flood. He doesn’t pay taxes, there are no records of him existing. He just seems to have appeared about 10 years prior to the start of the book.
Now, Flood says this is because the government operated on his brain to make him unable to sleep, but his instability caused the project to be deemed a failure, so they dumped him on the street. Whether or not this is actually what happened is an open question. There’s certainly evidence both ways.
DF: Certainly, even as he decides to become a private investigator, being able to discern clues while not being sure what is or is not real seems a daunting task. How does he meet this one?
Justin Jordan: That particular problem is why he has to have assistants. We meet his last one, Lyta, in the first issue at the same time we see the new one, Alexander Berry, being recruited. Flood is very good at making connections and solving puzzles, because his brain operates in a sort of dream-like, non-linear way.
He’s just terrible at everything else. So the assistants make sure that he is staying more or less on task and not walking into traffic because he thinks the highway is a dance club. So his problems with reality are a constant issue.
DF: The partner always makes the PI. Tell us about "burly ex-cop" Berry.
Justin Jordan: Berry is a good man who, in his opinion, did a very bad thing. One that he did very publically in his role as a police officer. He was in a video that went viral, so in addition to guilt over what he did, he’s also got a healthy dose of unwanted celebrity.
He came to Los Angeles looking for some chance at redemption or, failing that, anonymity. No one is likely to be looking much at him if there are movie stars out and about. He takes the job with Flood because, well, at least initially because it’s a lot of money, but also because it might be a chance to make some kind of amends for what he did.
DF: Why is Jorge Coelho the right artist for this story? Did he do character designs for the piece?
Justin Jordan: Jorge is absolutely the right artist for this, just as Tamra Bonvillain is the right colorist. The book needed an art team that could do both precise storytelling – a lot of details here matter – but also get the right dream logic feel for the book. Jorge and Tamra can do that.
And yep, all the designs are by Jorge.
DF: As a fan of Sherlock Holmes and his ilk, I am really looking forward to this book. Are you a Holmes/mystery genre fan? Did you happen to read Anthony Del Col and Colon McCreery's mini, Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini?
Justin Jordan: I am. Crime and mystery is primarily what I read, so I love the genre. I’ve read all the original Holmes stuff and see a goodly chunk of the adaptations, from Cumberbatch to Rathbone. I haven’t read the Holmes vs. Houdini mini, but that’s a brilliant concept.
DF: Justin, do you think John Flood is the new Luther Strode? Will he be carrying the epic kind of stories Strode did, to your way of thinking?
Justin Jordan: Hah, who knows? It’s a very different kind of book, although there are some odd similarities as well. But the book does actually get pretty huge towards the end. I think, ultimately, it’s a more intimate book in its way, and definitely much, much weirder.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Justin Jordan for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. John Flood #1 from BOOM! Studios hits stores in August!
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