A hero lost in time. A devastating threat unknowingly unleashed by a genius. A desperate mission, critical stakes, startling twists and a cast of some of the most unique characters in DC Universe. The New 52: Futures End kicked off on Free Comic Book Day with a special edition zero issue, and the series continues today with THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #1, an issue that somehow manages to be even more shocking than the issue that preceded it. If you’ve read either of them, you know that Futures End is utterly unlike anything that’s come before it in The New 52. And if you’ve already read both issues—and you’re anything like us—you’re probably locked in for the long haul.
But as great as the first two issues are, it’s fair to say that they both raise far more questions than answers. We don’t even fully understand the threat the world’s facing, although it’s clear that it’s a powerful one. So we thought we’d ask a few questions of our own…to Mr. Jeff Lemire, one of the writers on Futures End’s superstar creative team. While we can’t promise that he clears up all of the mysteries he’s raised, he does solve one of them—how he finds time to write so many great comics.
Cover art for The New 52: Futures End #1 (art by Ryan Sook)
Let’s start with one of the more obvious questions. You’re a pretty busy guy. How do you manage to fit a weekly comic into your schedule?
I’ve always been able to juggle a lot of projects at once. I guess it comes down to being a very organized person. The key is to stay ahead on everything so you have time to let certain projects sit while you work on others then you come back to them. Stagger the work load around.
With the weekly, it’s a constant though. You can never put it aside, because there is no time to let it sit. Each week we need to produce our pages. So for me the key is to prioritize this. I do my pages for Futures End every Monday night, and send them in.
How does the process of working with a writing team on a weekly compare with writing solo on a monthly? Is there one that appeals to you more?
It’s very different. I’m just one piece of a bigger machine. You kind of need to focus on your sections and your characters and let the other guys do the same. If you were to try and get involved with every piece of the bigger project, you just wouldn’t have time. But working with guys whom I respect and trust as writers makes that easier.
What was it about Futures End that appealed to you? I look at some of the DC Comics projects you’ve worked on prior to this, and Futures End is pretty different!
Well, for me it was the chance to work with the other three guys. I have a lot of respect for each of them. I grew up reading Dan and Keith’s DC work, and they were both heroes of mine. And Brian’s work at Vertigo in the last decade or so has been incredibly inspirational. So the chance to not just be a fan of these guys, but to work with them was too much to pass up. To get to know them better as people, but also to better understand and learn from each of their creative processes is a once in a lifetime chance for me.
And the book itself is the combination of all of our sensibilities, strengths and weaknesses as creators. It becomes something different from anything any of us would create on our own.
The New 52: Futures End #1 interior (art by Patrick Zircher and Hi-Fi)
How did the Futures End cast of characters come together? Did you go into it knowing that guys like Firestorm, Grifter, Frankenstein and Mr. Terrific were going to play key roles?
Well, I came in wanting to write more Frankenstein. I felt like I had some unfinished business with that character. When I left the Frankenstein solo book in 2012, I regretted it ever since, and wanted to get back to that character and tell the rest of his story. So that’s what I came in with.
The others became part of the story through the process of building this world and collaborating with the other writers.
Is there any character that you’ve particularly enjoyed writing?
Ray Palmer has been a blast. Writing Ray as The Atom was my first DC gig, so getting back to him has been terrific. He is a lot of fun five years later…a bit unhinged. All the shrinking and growing has messed with his mind a bit. So he’s still brilliant, but a little on the edge. I kind of think of him as our “Walter” from Fringe, for those who have watched that show. One minute he may seem totally insane and out of it, the next he comes up with something utterly brilliant.
Putting him in scenes with the ever-serious Frankenstein has been pretty fun.
You’re also writing two monthly comics for DC—Justice League United and Green Arrow. Will either of these comics cross over with Futures End?
There will be HUGE ramifications for Green Arrow in Futures End. I can’t say more than that!
Finally, what can fans expect from Futures End going forward?
While the initial cast is Batman Beyond, Frankenstein, Grifter, etc… the book really does encompass the entire DC Universe. It’s a huge story with a huge cast where we have the freedom to do pretty much anything. So there are a lot of surprises to come!