] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Aquaman Shrine Exit Interview with Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker's superb run as writer of the Sea King comes to a close today, with the release of Aquaman #40, the final installment of the "Maelstrom" storyline. Jeff has always been generous with his time when it came to talking with the Shrine, and to celebrate his part in Aquaman history, we've conducted this "exit interview" with him. Enjoy!

The Aquaman Shrine: You said somewhat jokingly that your initial goal coming to the series on the heels of Geoff Johns was "not to screw it up." Obviously you more than met that goal with Aquaman remaining a fan favorite series as well as garnering critical acclaim and making more than one "Best of 2014" year-end list. How would you characterize your run now that its reached is penultimate issue?

Jeff Parker: I'm probably not the right person to analyze it that way, but I hope we continued the book thematically by building on what was there and opening up more possibilities. I didn't want it to suddenly feel like a different book. I did want to continue the greatness of Mera and show a very functional couple having adventures.

AMS: DC Comics is going through a huge transition period with the New 52 brand ending in March. Aquaman is one of the elite twelve original series that will reach #41 in June and while that's quite an honor for the series, many fans feel your run was all too brief. Did you feel you had adequate time on Aquaman or are there stories you had planned that you regrettably won't get to tell? What do you think you'll miss about working on the title?

JP:  I could have definitely gone longer, but I'm very happy the timing worked out for me to do everything I wanted with Maelstrom. That couldn't have come together better, and I know Paul was glad to be able to draw the entire thing. He really brings the magic in this final arc. 

AMS: You, Paul Pelletier, and Sean Parsons really seemed to click as a creative unit a few issues into the run. Did you sense a change in your writer/artist relationship as the series went on?

JP: We got into a kind of shorthand because when you work together a while you sort of know what the others are going for without it having to be spelled out. Let's get Rain Beredo in there too, he really brought his excellence to the look of the stories, he’s a powerhouse as well. The only thing I still haven't solved is how to make Paul take it easy on himself. I can craft a scene to be very simple and low key, give him a few easier days of drawing, and he'll still find a way to make it a lot of work!

AMS: As we said earlier, your grand finale is also the end-cap to the New 52 era of Aquaman and anyone reading "Maelstrom" can tell you plan to end big. Without spoiling anything, what can readers expect from #40 and how did you arrive at your conclusion?

JP: It’s really about Arthur getting some wisdom, seeing the truth behind what was fantasy on his part. I often show him as a mature realist, and it was fun to put him on a course that he couldn’t be objective about, it’s him being reckless. And Mera can see that, but rather than try to talk him out of anything, she goes full bore with him. And that adventurous side clearly comes from the person he's searching for, Atlanna. 

In the end he may not get what he wants, but he gets answers--the uncertainty that has always haunted him is gone. Also he gets pounded by a Volcano God.

AMS: We're hearing that Aquaman will be a visual and tonal departure from the first 40 issues come June. Do you think DC is looking to push the envelope a bit, perhaps seeding the green for a more congruent comics/cinematic portrayal of the Sea King going forward? What in your opinion works for Aquaman and what doesn't? 
JP: I think they don't want everyone to get too comfortable so Aquaman is naturally part of the shaking up--and there's no need to worry as the team of Cullen and Trevor will certainly kick butt. I don't know if they're going to try to synch up to the movie stuff--if it were me I would just do that in a separate book so you could have your cake and more cake.

As I said in the past, I think readers lose interest when Aquaman is underwater all the time and the whole supporting cast is people with fantasy names. He's the bridge between two worlds, and I think you have to keep that balance to get the most mileage out of his concept. Pulling away from Atlantis every now and then lets you revisit it as the wonder of the world it should be, it should always be this amazing section of the DC universe. 

AMS: What are your upcoming projects? Where can fans who were reading your work for the first time on Aquaman find you next?

JP: I think you’ll be hearing about my next DC book very, very soon. I'm sorry I can't give you an exclusive today! You deserve it for pushing Aquaman so hard, thank you for that.

AMS: Was it fun?
JP: If anyone can’t tell how much fun I had, then I did it wrong! I really had a good time. 


The Aquaman Shrine thanks Jeff Parker once again for sharing his thoughts with us, and wishes him good luck on his next creative venture. Aquaman was in quite capable hands during his tenure, and he, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, Rain Beredo, and the rest of the team have contributed mightily to Aqua-History.


Gareth said...

Thanks Jeff for a great run, very sad to see you and the other Killer P's exiting the title. Hope to see you working with the Sea King and/or Mera again really soon.

Joshua Rainey said...

I liked Jeff Parker's run as writer. He added nice little touches that gave Aquaman and Queen Mera a bit of texture. Issue 28 is one of my all time favorites, when they attend Arthur Curry's high school reunion. I think people forget he lived on the surface before becoming Aquaman because they write him like he's always lived underwater and ruled Atlantis. I do like it when he's out of the ocean. Also one of my favorite moments is when he's fighting Gorilla Grodd and he says something like, "I dont hit you a hundred times like the Flash. I just need to hit you once." That line alone proves how much he's a badass. Sorry to see Jeff Parker go. I wish him all the best.

KJ Sampson said...

Really, really enjoyed Parker's take on Aquaman. There was maybe one dud in the run...one of the annuals, maybe.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Sounds like he had more stories to tell. Not to be negative, but I wish editors and TPTB would just step back and let people make good comics. Nothing against the new guys, but if it ain't broke...LEAVE 'EM ALONE!

Great interview!


Lucien Desar said...

I really enjoyed Jeff Parker's writing for Aquaman. It was fun, evocative, and just great story telling. The last issue was - AMAZING - and I would say that it created cannon as far as what happened to Arthur's mother and how devoted Mera is to Arthur.

KJ Sampson said...

Agreed, Lucien. This was an even better send-off than Geoff Johns'.