FOR TOMMY - DAN JURGENS
By Richard Johnston
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.
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
Flapping dinosaur? Thanks for the compliment!
As for why I've
survived...I dunno. Maybe because I duck when the bullets
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.
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"?
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
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.
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.
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