Dan Jurgens recalls Death of Superman, creating today and thoughts on other creators
Dan Jurgens is a famous comic book creator working on Teen Titans, Thor and countless DC comics. Jurgens is most popular for his work on Superman including the “Death of Superman” storyline. He is slated to appear at MegaCon later this month and I was fortunate to catch up with him for a few questions.
BRANDON JONES: Thanks Dan for making some time for me. Let’s look ahead to next year, the 20th anniversary of “Superman #75″ – The Death of Superman. Good and bad, how do you look back on this monumental event?
DAN JURGENS: It was a fun, great time. As an industry, comics were a bit more fun and loose back in those days and there seemed to be a certain sense of vitality, both with the product and in the marketplace.
In terms of the “Death of Superman”, we simply set out to tell a big, wide open story and I think we did that. From “The Death” all the way through “The Return”, it’s a saga that will never be forgotten.
Q: Is it rewarding to see two of your creations from this time, Cyborg Superman/Hank Henshaw and Doomsday, not only live on in the DC Universe, but be so important (Cyborg in “Tales of Sinestro Corp” and Doomsday in “Action Comics #900).
JURGENS: Very much so. As I creator, I think a character’s validity is sometimes proven through longevity and both those guys have definitely made the cut. I suspect they’ll be around for quite awhile.
Q: From the long resume on Superman to Booster Gold to the work on Marvel…what are the issues you are most proud of?
JURGENS: Wow. Well, of course, “Death of Superman” would be up there.
But, in addition to that, I wrote a lot of other good, strong Superman stories that provided insight to the character and added to the overall tapestry of the character. I did a number of so-called “quiet” stories that tended to be one-shots, but still managed to establish something of a dilemma for Superman that added to the character.
Whenever you spend that much time working with one character, the goal is to leave it in a better place than when you got there. I think I did so.
Booster was notable because, in an environment where it’s so hard for new characters to survive, he’s done so and even prospered.
I’d also have to say that I spent seven years writing Thor at Marvel and am very happy with the way that worked out. When I first started, there were a lot of people who felt that character’s time had come and gone. I’d like to think we made it work.
Q: You are switching from “Green Arrow” over to “Superman” with Keith Giffen, tell us how you try to define Oliver, flesh out who he is now?
JURGENS: I don’t think it’s any secret that DC wanted Green Arrow to be portrayed a bit more like he was on Smallville, which I think we succeeded in. Our Ollie was much younger and a bit more fun-loving than he’d been portrayed previously. Quite honestly, I think he was written as the oldest character in the DCU, and accumulated a lot of baggage along the way. I think he’s in a better place to move forward now.
Q: I think I briefly mentioned it, but you and Giffen will be the team on Superman. Do you approach the character differently in 2012? What should fans look forward to seeing?
JURGENS: Yeah, they’re certainly working on it and whatever they do is up to them.
Q: Okay, a lightning round – one sentence that describes some of the biggest names in comics, all of which you’ve worked with.
JURGENS: Tremendous talent, be it as a penciller, inker or writer and a fun guy to boot.
JURGENS: Marv has always struck me as a tremendously creative writer, capable of formulating wide open stories that are truly particular the main character(s), which is no easy task.
John Romita Jr.
JURGENS: The single best heroic action storyteller in comics.
JURGENS: Has a terrific, fluid art style and created a couple of great characters in Travis Morgan, the Warlord, and Jon Sable, that I wish were still appearing on a monthly basis!