FOR TOMMY - DAN JURGENS
By Richard Johnston
is an end to the current story we're telling, which will then
help define the next story. As long as we're consistent with
the character and honest about it all, I think we'll keep
had a problem that has hurt us and the readers, it's the unsettled
art situation on the book. So many people have come and gone
that we haven't been able to maintain the character's identity
that we had when JR and Andy Kubert were on the book. I'd
like to think we have that settled now with Scot Eaton on
board, who's doing some incredible work for us.
The Lai Brothers being dropped from a comic to be replaced
by Scot Eaton. Is this history repeating itself?
If so, it's a total coincidence. I had wanted Scot on the
book before I even heard the Lai brothers were a possibility,
as he was just leaving CrossGen. When they didn't work out,
it was natural we turn to him.
his name came around the second time, it never even occurred
to me that he'd replaced them at CrossGen.
thing happened to me as the guy who replaced me on Cap also
took over Tomb Raider. it happens...and it's usually a coincidence.
Over ten years ago, you killed Superman and brought him back
again. How do you feel the impact of that story affected the
industry as a whole? Would you change any aspect of it in
I think the main impact of the story is that it drove the
Superman books, as well as other titles, to tell ongoing stories
that turned into continuous, episodic storytelling for the
characters. While I feel it worked for that story (and many
others we did) it ultimately became our downfall as well.
We ended up building a vehicle for storytelling that was impossible
to stop. Instead of the story defining the format, the format
defined the story. We became victims of our own success, as
people kept looking for us to do the Next Big Thing With Superman.
want to be too hard on us though, as I believe there were
a number of nice stories mixed in over the years as conjured
up by all the different folks on the books.
changing anything in retrospect, I don't thing so. Looking
back, and taking into account that you have to measure the
past by the yardstick that existed at the time, I think it
all hangs together quite well. We told a story that entertained
one helluva lot of people. As the whole industry, if not world,
waited to see how we'd bring Superman back, we knew we were
likely to disappoint more people than make them happy. Fortunately,
we beat the odds with the four Supermen, and that only added
to the success.
The last time I travelled to the US, I was asked lots of fun
questions by Customs. I was going to a comic convention, he
asked me just how much his black bag sealed Death Of Superman
was worth. I told him about 10 dollars on a good day. It took
me a while to get through Customs...
That's your own damn fault for shattering his illusions! You
should have told him it was worth far more.
What's are the weirder things that have happened to you, regarding
that mass media event?
Probably the death threats at the time. Mike Carlin and I
were both contacted by bodyguard services. Not that I needed
one, but I always thought it would be cool stuff to strut
around with two monsters behind me in black suits who were
just looking to crack skulls.
time I needed them was a Con in NY in which there was totally
insufficient crowd control. The crowd in front of the table
grew and grew until I couldn't see anything in the con hall
except people trying to get at me. The table I was at was
against a back wall, and the weight of the crowd kept pushing
it back, until it was pushed into me so hard I really couldn't
breathe. Around that time, just I was starting to freak, security
cleared them and moved me to a roomier area.
were wild times.
The royalties on that event alone should have set you up a
nice retirement fund. Does that give you security within the
insecure world of Marvel right now - and when it comes down
to it, why do you still want to work in comics and not retire
to your own private island?
I'm a storyteller. It's what I do.
got into this business to make money. When I started, royalties
were little more than a notion. The idea that great financial
reward would exist alongside creating comics was basically
ridiculous. I wanted to write and draw stories and that hasn't
guys in this business actually dislike the process of working.
I enjoy it. There's a certain satisfaction that comes with
sculpting a good story, just like that there's a certain satisfaction
that comes with drawing a really good page or panel, that
can't be beat.
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