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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Aquaman Shrine Interview with Dan Jurgens

Now that Aquaman and the Others is half a year old, the Shrine thought it was time to check back in with our pal Dan Jurgens to talk about the book and where its going:

The Aquaman Shrine: Now that we're six months into AQUAMAN AND THE OTHERS (for readers, at least), can you tell us how, if at all, writing the book now is from when you started? Are there parts or characters that you've found are easier or harder to write than you expected?

Dan Jurgens: While writing a solo character, I have always found that my thought, approach and attitude to the book generally stay the same.

Group books are different.

My experience with group books is that I often start out with a fondness for one or two of the characters and then, quite unexpectedly, end up focusing on a couple others.

When I first thought about writing the book, I probably would have said that Ya’Wara might well be emphasized. However, I have found the Operative and Prisoner-of-War to be very compelling. Quite honestly, their backgrounds are so wide open with possibilities and so enigmatic that I think there’s a great deal of story material to be mined.

AMS: What's it like working with Lan Medina and Allen Martinez?

DJ: It’s great.
Lan is working very hard to give each of the characters a particular personality and style. Their body language, the way they stand, where they stand in relationship to all the others… all that is part of the visual storytelling that’s crucial to a group book.

Drawing a team book is always a challenge and we really appreciate the work that working getting from both Lan and Allen.

It’s also nice to know that they’re there month after month, without interruption. When we collect these stories into TPBs, I consider it quite an accomplishment to have the entire book drawn by one guy. That, unfortunately, is a rare treat these days.

AMS: Do you coordinate at all with Jeff Parker or the editors to make sure you don't accidentally duplicate story threads or themes between the two Aquaman books? This has not been a problem any Aquaman writer has had to deal with before!

DJ: Jeff and I talked in the beginning in order to make sure we didn’t have storylines or character concepts that were going to bump into each other. After that, we depend on editorial to make sure everything proceeds in the right way.

AMS: Mera made her first appearance in the book in issue six. Do you have a desire to use her more as part of the team, or keep her out of the book generally?

DJ: I see Mera as part of the team, though not necessarily in the most comfortable way.
We’ve seen the rather strained relationship she shares with Ya’Wara before. At the same time, it’s not like Arthur would leave her at home and say, “Hey, Mera. I know you’re incredibly competent and all that, but I’m going to go hang out with Ya’Wara and the Others now and, quite frankly, you don’t fit in the group so you should stay home.”

So, yes, Mera will be around.

AMS: Do you view The Others as a team where members could come and go, ala the JLA or the Avengers, or are they more a family unit, like the Fantastic Four? Are The Others these people exclusively in your mind?

DJ: I think that different members of the group would answer that in different ways.

Prisoner-of-War needs the group to stay balanced. He depends on them being so he doesn’t end up alone, listening to all the voices bounce around in his head.

The Operative needs the group because he’s trying to atone for some of the things he’s done in the past. I generally think he’s been involved in a lot of areas of gray—episodes where he had to do things he has later come to regret. The group offers him a chance for missions with a more clear cut choice between right and wrong.

Ya’Wara is more of an individual who’d rather be in the Amazon.

Arthur used to think of the group as something he could leave behind, but Vostok’s death taught him otherwise. When Vostok told the team that he had been on the moon for a few years waiting for them to call, it was kind of heartbreaking. Arthur won’t make that mistake again. 

AMS: For people who read AQUAMAN but maybe not AQUAMAN AND THE OTHERS, what does this book offer to fans of the character that the former doesn't?

DJ: This is a book about relationships. These characters are all from very disparate backgrounds and they have come together in order to support each other and accomplish a wider mission.
Their stories are told against a backdrop of high adventure and intrigue with great attention paid to who they are as individuals. With the exception of Aquaman, they don’t appear elsewhere, which makes anything possible. 

Thanks as always to Dan Jurgens for taking time to chat with the Shrine. Remember Aqua-Fans, Aquaman and the Others #7 hit shelves today!

1 comment:

Darrin and Ruth said...

Great interview. We are thoroughly enjoying Aquaman and the Others. Personally, I think it is the second best book DC is doing each month. Guess what is the best :-) The first story arc from Dan Jurgens' was exciting and the second is off to a great start. Really liking Lan Medina's art. Love seeing Mera in the book!