Who’s Who at DC Comics-The New 52: Dan Jurgens

Who’s Who at DC Comics-The New 52: Dan Jurgens

By David Hyde Monday, August 15th, 2011
THE SOURCE: How do you write the first line of a new series? DAN JURENS: I don't know if it's as easy as, "How do you write the first line". The first line is dictated, or at least suggested by the characters, setting and overall sense of motivation and purpose in the first scene. It's a natural extension of what is already there. Conjuring up that very first scene, however, is crucial. How do you draw a first panel of a first issue? For me, the first panel, which is often a splash page, is always about instant communication. Ideally, it's something that brings the reader in right away. One way or another, be it a single, powerful visual or compelling scene, the first page should be an instant hook. How do you introduce a new hero? Something about a new character should be evident in his first appearance. It can be the way he talks, the way he moves, his power or lack thereof. While there's always more to be added to a character later, the initial appearance should be typical of him and him alone. How do you introduce characters? If it's a question of introducing characters, which sounds a little like it's supposed to mean supporting cast, that can be done more enigmatically. I think a writer wants to suggest that there's more there than meets they eye, that the characters have some sense of depth and backstory that makes them interesting. How do you draw a first appearance? When drawing the first appearance of a character it's important to give them some kind of visual identifier that makes them easily recognizable. That could be a style of clothing, a distinctive build, a cigarette... any number of things. But it should be clear and evident right from the start. How do you introduce a new villain? That depends on whether the reader is supposed to know they're a villain. Sometimes, the most effective villains are the ones who first seem to be squeaky clean and innocent. Though that, in and of itself, could be a tip-off! If not, however, I think a villain has to have presence. They have to feel like true heavyweights. What was the first comic you ever worked on? WARLORD #82. Who was the first character you followed? Batman was the first character I followed, due to the TV series. SUPERMAN was the first comic I bought, however, and therefore the first character I started following in comics. What was the first series you collected? I think the first series I really made a point of collecting, rather than just reading an occasional story here and there, was THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. I'm not sure, but as a kid, I think I kind of felt that I was getting more for my money with JLA because there so many heroes inside! Who was the first writer you followed? The first writer I consciously followed was Stan Lee. There were DC writers before him that I was attracted to, like Gardner Fox, but I wasn't really aware of it because they didn't have credits in those days. Who was the first artist you followed? That's a tie between Curt Swan and Jack Kirby. I remember liking Curt Swan's Superman more than the other versions and being awed by the power of Kirby's Marvel stuff around the same time. What was the first convention you attended as a fan? I attended a small Con in Minneapolis, right around 1980 or '81, I think. What was the first convention you attended as a professional? Chicago Con, 1982! What was the first comic book you read? BATMAN #156, with the classic "Robin Dies at Dawn" cover. A friend of mine had an older brother who had that comic and let us read it. I saw that cover and really thought it meant that Robin was dead and gone forever-- never to be seen again! The first comic I ever bought was SUPERMAN #189. What was your first job in the comic book industry? Drawing THE WARLORD for DC. On your creative process: In terms of my creative process, I'm still kind of reshaping that. Typically, I write and draw my own stories. When I do that, I don't see it as two different jobs, one writing and one drawing. I see it as one more organic process where one flows into the other. However, with the New 52, I'm writing one book and drawing another. For JLI, which I'm writing, it's a matter of really trying to hone in on Aaron Lopresti's strengths. I've always felt it's important for writers to establish some sense of mutual vision with their artists, and that means creating the right kind of scenario that allows them to excel. Aaron is doing incredible working and knocking the ball out of the park on almost every page. Within that context, it's a matter of building intriguing story and character situations right from the start, as well as building a little bit of fun into the story. For GREEN ARROW, which JT Krul is writing, it's a question of trying to get into JT's head a little bit to find out exactly what it is that's most important to him in terms of the characterization of GA, as well as the rest of the cast. We're trying to build a new visual identity for GA, to make him younger and more fresh, and that part of it is actually a lot of fun. At the same time, I have to make sure I give inker extraordinaire George Perez everything he needs to take the work to the next level.