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WAITING FOR TOMMY - DAN JURGENS
By Richard Johnston

Dan Jurgens is an oddity. No, I mean it in a good way, stop looking at me like that. Some see him as old fashioned, others as a damn fine storyteller, others as both. Instrumental in a number of the more memorable comics events of the last couple of decades, including Zero Hour, which saw Jurgens on six of the top ten books that month -- still an industry record. Jurgens is, however, completely the type of comics creator you'd expect New Marvel to have no time for. Except there he is, month after month, writing Thor. And even those who have been unkind about his previous works, have very good things to say about it. The title has undergone changes that put Amazing Spider-Man's totemic origin to shame, yet despite critical acclaim (some grudgingly given), Thor has stayed out of the comics media's eye. That should change.

In one of two well-timed pre-San Diego ComiCon interviews, Dan talks about his current work, the state of Marvel, his relationship to his work as a creator, and teases about a new Top Cow series and something for DC, for which he's pulling out the pencils to draw again.

RICHARD JOHNSTON: Dan, as writer on Thor, you're been defined as one of the "flapping dinosaurs" left at Marvel. Basically, fairly long-term creators on the title, who've survived the coming of "New Marvel", prospered even, when almost all around you, save Peter David and Tom DeFalco, have seen their books taken away from them. And both have come close. How come you've prospered so?

DAN JURGENS: Flapping dinosaur? Thanks for the compliment!

As for why I've survived...I dunno. Maybe because I duck when the bullets are flying?

It might be because we're trying to do some new things with Thor. One of the things Tom Brevoort and I talk about quite often is the desire to do things with Thor that haven't been done before. It certainly isn't the same old, "smash the troll with the hammer" type approach that is more typical of the character. We're exploring the notion of gods on earth and how people react to that. I'd like to think the powers-that-be appreciate our efforts.

RICHARD: There's a feeling that New Marvel seeks the New as much as it does the Marvel. Do you feel you've had to revamp yourself as much as you have the title to stay on the book? if so how? Or is it very much a case of "always doing what I've always done - told stories"?

DAN: Revamp myself? Damn...that's a hard question to answer. I'm one of those people who's terrible at self analysis.

I think creators always undergo a somewhat natural transition as they move through their careers, be it in comics or anything else. I've rarely sat down to force a change in my pencilling style, though I don't draw like I did five or even ten years ago. There's a natural evolution there that can take place a variety of ways.


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As an example, suppose I'm drawing a guy in a suit walking into an office. Let's say I've drawn that same type of scene ten times before. Eventually, you get bored enough with that same scene that you force yourself to draw it a different way. Maybe a change of angles or bathing the scene in shadow...anything different. All of a sudden, that opens up a new avenue so you push it a bit and pretty soon something new emerges.

And to be honest, sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Every single pro has an example (or more!) of a thought or idea that made it onto the page that causes you to curdle like moldy cheese when you see it in print.

As for a change in writing styles, I think I try to avoid being repetitive. Within the context of style, every writer has tendencies and habits, but the goal is not to make it repetitive in terms of ideas and plots. If I wrote Thor like Superman, I'd be doing every single Thor reader a disservice.

So, have I revamped myself to stay on the book? Somewhat, I suppose, though it's less a conscious act than it might appear. I'm trying to keep the book fresh, and have hopefully done the same to me in the process.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 Continued Here...

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