Dan Jurgens

ComicsVerse had the honor of speaking with Dan Jurgens. He tells us about SUPERMAN 75, Booster Gold, and more at Ace Comic Con in Long Island!

The transcript, for clarity purposes, remains edited.

ComicsVerse: I’m Aaron Young, I’m talking to Dan Jurgens here. We are at Ace Comic Con in Long Island, New York, and you are watching ComicsVerse.

ComicsVerse: So it’s been 25 years since SUPERMAN 75, that’s correct, yeah? And that’s why you’re here. I saw the awesome panel that you had yesterday, and it’s just amazing how iconic this comic book still continues to be, and I’m just wondering: why you think this comic continues to hold a place in so many people’s hearts after so many years?

Dan Jurgens: Well, I think there are a couple of reasons. One is because if you go back to that time, it was, I think, still a unique event in comics history just in terms of all the attention that it got; both in the general public and the general media and everything else. I mean, it was a big happening.

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The second one is because it was a big happening, it sold a lot of copies. And so there are so many fans out there who remember quite fondly buying the books, reading the books, experiencing the story as it unfolded so, you know. And I think that you know, a lot of them were kids at the time or young adults. So all these years later, it still kind of brings back the warm fuzzies, and a little bit and nostalgia is a powerful thing. So it was a lot of fun then, it’s a lot of fun now.

ComicsVerse: Yeah, and I was thinking, I was looking at some of your, you know, classic art. We have some here. I was just wondering if there’s something really special about some of your famous art in that comic book that really struck a chord with a lot of people and I’m wondering how you were able to do that. You know, there’s some classic panels that everyone remembers, that are printed in everyone’s brain. And I wonder how do you think that those panels are what everyone remembers?

Dan Jurgens: Well, it was a big story, and if you look at SUPERMAN 75 specifically, it was all splash pages and you know. And what we had done with the entire storyline really is we started with an entire issue of four-panel pages than three-panel pages than two and then finally our splash page issue when then ended with a double page spread that became a triple page fold-out.

So when you’re working in that format, just with the splash pages alone, that allows you to create some of those moments that I think can be quite iconic. And, you know, when we were doing it, we knew we were doing something special, and we did what we could to make them memorable. And I think it held up that well.

ComicsVerse: So, moving on, you’ve created a lot of iconic characters in comics. My favorite is Booster Gold, and you’re written Booster Gold quite a few times, and I just wondered if you feel any sort of ownership over that character.

Whether you, you know, kind of have a sort of protective over that character. You know, have you ever had it where you’re, like, read an issue written by anybody else and you’re like, “Oh no, that’s not what Booster Gold would do!” you know, or whatever, or, you know? Just talk about that, I’m just curious.

Dan Jurgens: Yeah, that happens but for the most part, you know, I’ve done most of the stories that were out there. And when Keith Giffen and Marc DeMatteis, for example, were using him in JUSTICE LEAGUE, Keith always said, “We’re borrowing the character.”

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And I always looked at that as sort of like an Earth JUSTICE LEAGUE thing anyway which was just fine and I, you know, genuinely liked the dimension that Keith brought to the character, but for the most part, it’s something I do enjoy doing. I don’t know if ownership is quite the right word as much as kind of I suppose it’s true that I’m sort of protective of the character ’cause I can kind of know where it can go and what it can do.

ComicsVerse: Going onto the present, you’re going back to Booster Gold in Action Comics, and I mean I’m really excited about that, and I just wanted to know like you’re drawing that as well, you know. You’re going back to drawing, and you’re getting to draw Superman and Booster Gold together and so what are some of the things that you do when you’re drawing Superman, and you’re drawing Booster Gold, you know? Do you kind of think, “oh, okay, these are the qualities I need for Superman and these are the qualities I need for Booster Gold and I need to make sure that I capture those and capture how they kind of go off of each other?

Dan Jurgens: I think, yeah, so for example, we have a six-part story coming up, and it’s in Action Comics and features Superman and Booster. And so I think the general idea is that you look at the way they’re portrayed and the body posture and just the facial expressions. Superman is a little more regal.

Superman is, you know, he’s always in control of his situation whereas Booster is much more informal and Booster is much more lighthearted, and I wouldn’t say he’s not goofy. It’s just like he’s the guy who’s always going to make light of whatever the situation is, so you try and come up with a visual distinction between the two.

You know, George Perez is someone who is always very good at delineating the differences between his characters just in the way they stood and inhabited the rooms. So you try and do that with something like that as well because Superman should always be the guy. I just leave it at that.

ComicsVerse: Yeah, and kind of continuing on your run on Action Comics. I just finished your Oz Effect arch, and I was just, it was some really powerful stuff there. Really the kind of stuff I hadn’t considered that you can kind of take with Superman, remember?

And for someone, you’ve been in the comic book industry for 35 years now, I believe since ’82 and written Superman for quite a bit of time. So how do you challenge yourself to keep on finding new ground to cover with Superman and these classic characters, Booster Gold, Doomsday, and not just go into your old ways and just really find new, interesting stories?

Dan Jurgens: I think it’s always sort of a balancing act because on the one hand, like when we came back with our first re-birth story, and we used Doomsday, I sort of had to be talked into it ’cause I didn’t want to look like a one-trick pony, right? And it was actually Jeff Johns who said, “No, go ahead and use Doomsday, you should do it. He’s in a movie right now, people want to see him.”

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So we did that, but I think the trick is to always to don’t do it unless you have something new to say. And part of it is, we have changed up the world of Superman a bit with the addition of John, and I think that has given him a certain freshness.

Dan Jurgens: And then in addition to that, I think we’re still re-establishing Superman’s world in the DC Universe and his role in the DC Universe. So you use that, and then you bring in both familiar and old elements because if you’re going to use the familiar, then the newer stuff that you bring to it makes it seem a little fresher. And so with all the sudden with the return of Jor-El as part of the Mister Oz story, it gives us something new to say about Superman and new directions to explore there.

ComicsVerse: Yeah. I mean, I remember reading the Action Comics and finding out, you know, a lot of people were thinking it was going to be Ozzie Mandias or something. And finding out it was Jor-El, that was, I mean, that was shocking. And what was the process of bringing back Jor-El, ’cause that was so bold?

Dan Jurgens: Well, I think it started out with the idea that Mister Oz was introduced into the Superman stories before I ever got there and that was, I think, the first story was done by Jeff and John Romita, Jr. And we knew he was there, he was this mysterious figure. We talked about who he could be. Jeff said, “well, I kind of had this idea where maybe it could be Jor-El.”

And I said, “what?” and so we talked about that. We explored other options, but it became clear to us, I think, that we thought there were new things we could explore and say about Superman by having it be Jor-El so then it is how did that happen, how do you build the story around that and that’s what we then came up with.

ComicsVerse: Yeah, and so now you’re in the DC Universe. You’re past the DC re-birth phase of Action Comics, so kind of where does this bring Superman and John? Where are they kind of at now since, you know, Superman’s world is kind of somewhat established now in the new DC Universe?

Dan Jurgens: Well, and I think you already used a keyword in established, and when we would’ve started re-birth, John was this huge new addition to the DC youth. So I think now what we’ve done is we’ve established him there, and people have now come to accept.

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And I think like the fact that Clark and Lois have a son and so now it’s very much a process of moving forward with that. I think people have a good idea of who John is as a character, Lois and Clark as well. And now that you have that understanding, you try and find new stories to tell, and I think there are a lot of great possibilities there.

ComicsVerse: Awesome, thank you so much for this interview. This has been great.

Dan Jurgens: My pleasure, always fine.

If you want to check out more podcasts, articles, and videos like this, go to ComicsVerse.com. Thank you, and that was Dan Jurgens!

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