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WAITING FOR TOMMY - DAN JURGENS
By Richard Johnston

Not long after that, Bob Harras was moved aside as the regime changed. Joe gave me a call and we discussed different types of stories in Cap...more "down to earth" stuff with an American context, which I thought would be a cool way to go.

There again, we needed to wrap up the existing storylines before moving on in order to play fair with the readers. But Marvel made the decision to move Cap over to Marvel Knights so we didn't get the chance. I think some of that was a reflection of Bobbie's standing within editorial, as it was shortly before she was let go, though I can't say for certain.

I'm not sure I ever felt totally comfortable on Cap, and sometimes you don't realize that until you've been off the book for a couple of years. Seems like editorial wanted one thing, while all the fans I heard from wanted him to hook up with Diamondback again. At the same time, no single character in comics was made more irrelevant than Cap by the events of 9/11.

RICHARD: Some saw that as the perfect time to relaunch the character. Others might not, reviewer Paul O'Brien described one issue as "a despicable piece of question-dodging, comfort food dressed up as insight, tired old propaganda posing as art." What inherent problems did you see with Cap in light of the tragedy, and indeed the way it was dealt with?

DAN: The problem with Cap is that no matter what you try, he's still locked into World War II. For me anyway.

The problem with having Cap busting up terrorists is that, when juxtaposed against the real world, he'll never win. You might write a story in which Cap busts up a terrorist plot, but if on the day the book ships there's a terrorist action, the story suddenly seems trivial.

We can accept the notion of Cap leading troops into a battle against the Nazis because he was a human flag and rallying point, a human touchstone to a national sentiment of the 1930s and '40s.


MASTER OF KUNG-FU: SHANG-CHI 8” BUST

That is not the present condition. How would the world react to Cap storming through Iraq? It's a tough story to do, just like it was tough to have Cap fighting the Vietnam war. If there's any ambiguity at all, Cap magnifies that problem.

In some ways, the best Cap stories are the ones set in the past because we at least have the perspective of history to aid us.

All this points out the fact that Cap is a very difficult character to write. He's a political character as well. And with most of the writers in comics coming from the left side of the spectrum (an odd notion considering that all comic heroes are essentially conceived on the right) I'm not sure Cap ends up an accurate reflection of where America is at. Not that that's among the criteria for Cap or any other character, of course.

RICHARD: Not the only character to have been caught up in the mires of modern society. Take your current title. The religious aspects of Thor, a god walking on Earth, have often been ignored by Marvel. You've seized it by the throat. Why, is there a danger of breaking the Thor toy, and no longer being able to put it back in its box for others to play with?

DAN: I don't think so. This is comics, after all. We've seen an incredible number of characters go through changes. Sometimes, those changes are ignored and the characters are later moved back to their original template. Other times, those changes continue to drive the character through unexplored directions and stories. The Hulk, Daredevil and Swamp Thing from years back are examples of this, as are numerous other characters.

It's a weird market out there. On the one hand, readers say, "You've broken the mold! This isn't the adventures of Banana Man I used to read! Give me the old Banana Man!" Once you do, the reaction is, "Geez. Is this all you've got? The same old Banana Man fighting Spam Boy stories?"

I believe the goal is to tell intriguing, interesting, accessible stories that somehow touch the reader, yet somehow define the main character(s). If we continue to do that, we won't "break" Thor or take him to a place we can't return from.

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

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