If you’ve been reading comics for a while, the name Dan Jurgens should not only ring a few bells but bring up memories of tons of awesome comics from the 80’s to the present. With such entries into the world of comics such as The Death of Superman, Zero Hour, a short but awesome run on Teen Titans, as well as the creator of Booster Gold, Jurgens’ work has been enduring to say the least.
I had the pleasure of corresponding with Mr. Jurgens for an interview where I got some insight into the man behind Booster Gold, some grand Superman stories and much more. Please, enjoy the following interview and a huge Thank You to Dan Jurgens for taking the time to talk to us.
As a comic writer and artist, which part of creating comics do you enjoy more?
I don’t see it quite like an “either/or” proposition. I consider myself a storyteller and both aspects appeal to me a great deal. When I write for others, I’m almost always amazed by what the artist comes up with. When I draw from someone else’s script, I find it fascinating to get inside that writer’s head and I still enjoy writing and drawing my own material. In the long run, it’s all about telling a good story.
What was the comic that made you want to become a comic creator?
I don’t know that I can pin it down to any specific comic, but there were certainly a run of creators whose work I really enjoyed looking at that fired up my curiosity as to what made them work and why. The first was Neal Adams and he was closely followed by Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Dave Cockrum, Mike Grell, Walter Simonson, Paul Gulacy, Jim Aparo and many, many more. It was around that time that I started to notice the differences in writers as well and certainly began to appreciate their differences. In terms of specific comics, the first comic I ever bought was Superman #189. The first comic that really rocked me was Batman #217, because it featured Robin going away to college and Batman closing up the Batcave and moving from Wayne Manor into Gotham itself. That felt really important at the time!
Who would you say are your biggest influence/inspirations as an artist? As a writer?
I don’t know if I can pin it down to one. I think there were so many tremendously talented and wonderful creators that quite a wide variety had a great effect on me but I’d also say that I was certainly inspired by those who were writer/artists. Guys like Simonson, Grell, Chaykin, Starlin and so many more proved that writer/artists were every bit as viable as those who only did one aspect of the job, and that compelled me to take on both.
What is it about comic books that you think are compelling as both an art form and a method of storytelling?
They are certainly their own unique form. What I like about it is that the reader sort of controls the flow of the story. They can speed up or dwell more on the imagery, as they prefer.
When you were first starting in comics, was there something or someone you wanted to draw or write?
Again, there were quite a few but I was probably more motivated by the Justice League level characters.
Is there still a character or story, not limited by company or license that you really want to write or draw?
Fortunately, I’ve been able to do just about everything I’ve wanted to do. There are a few characters that I’d like to have spent a little more time with (Spider-Man being the classic example) but am quite satisfied with what I’ve been able to do.
Is there a book or character you’ve written/drawn in the past that you’d like to return to?
It’s always nice to go back to Superman. I have a great time with Booster Gold. I could work on Legion forever. In reality, it all depends more on the goal of the publisher. If they want to go in the same direction as me, great. If not, it doesn’t work no matter how much one loves the character.
Having been a big part of the Superman creative team on multiple titles, what is it about the Man of Steel that is so enduring?
I think Superman serves as such a great example that it makes him fun to write. Plus, with a power level like his, he’s tremendously fun to draw!
From the Death of Superman to Action Comics #1000, how has your approach to Superman changed, if at all?
I think, as I’ve aged along with the character, that I have become more interested in the human aspect of his story. As I always say, “When written correctly, Superman is the most human of all the people in the story.”
For me, Superman should always be the Last Son of Krypton. With the exception of Supergirl, I think he’s better off without other Kryptonians. Add too many and it waters him down. General Zod can be compelling, but only in small doses.
What contribution to the Superman mythos of yours would you say you are most proud of?
Well, certainly, the importance of “Death of…” stands out but it could well end up being Jon Kent. When I first pitched the idea of Clark and Lois having a baby in the Convergence special to DC, I specifically said that he could represent the future. As things stand now, that appears to be happening.
With Blue and Gold hitting spinners racks at comic shops, how’s it feel to return to Booster Gold in a brand new mini-series?
It’s always fun to return to Booster. We’re having so much fun with this book. I’m very pleased to have Ryan Sook on board as artist and Jamie Rich and Brittany Holzherr as editors. It’s been a pleasure to work on this book.
As the character’s creator, what about Booster is fun and/or interesting to write?
In many ways, it’s the fact that he’s different from anyone else in the DCU. Plus, I think the fact that he and Blue Beetle are essentially starring in a buddy movie is fun as well. It’s a tremendously underrated type of story format in comics that always seems to work, when given a chance.
What do you think the fans love most about Booster Gold?
His faults. Booster isn’t perfect. He’s like the rest of us; someone who made a mistake in his past and now wants to make up for it but he doesn’t have the power level to do so cleanly, so he ends up doing it in awkward fashion. Also if he makes a few bucks along the way, so much the better.
What should both fans and newcomers expect when they pick up the first issue of Blue and Gold?
A good time!
Seriously, when I first mentioned this to people, I said it would be a fun, bouncy read and that comics need more of it. I’m committed to that idea.
What else is on the horizon for Dan Jurgens?
Working on quite a few different things right now, none of which we can announce yet but, in the meantime, it’s BLUE AND GOLD with some really fun stuff coming up as part of it. If people don’t fall in love with it by issue #4, they certainly will with that issue.
And stay tuned, as some of those announcements will be coming up before long!