Have you ever wondered why a writer or artist takes a specific direction with a character or a plot in an issue? As much as we love running interviews here on Comic Vine, we thought it would be cool if we got some writers and artists to provide page by page commentary on their upcoming books, to give readers an insight into the creative process.
This week we caught up with writer Jai Nitz whose first issue of SILVER STAR is set to hit comic shops today, November 9th 2011. But who exactly is, Silver Star? For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Silver Star was one of Jack Kirby's original comic book concepts. This intergallactic hero spends his days living in secrecy, protecting the world from ultimate destruction, massive space monsters and superheroic wars -- and he doesn't get a whole lot of recognition for doing so.
Below is page by page commentary of Nitz's SILVER STAR. Check it out below and let us know if it's a book you'll be putting on your pull list.== TEASER ==
Jai Nitz: From our (me, Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross, and our editor Joe Rybandt) first conversations about Silver Star we wanted to show him as an operative who works for the US military. Later in the book we define that role, but I wanted to start with action. We picked Libya because it was, at the time of me writing the first issue, a new theater for American combat. I didn’t want to use Afghanistan or Iraq because they’ve become too common as a backdrop. With Kaddafi just being killed, it’s weird timing.
Another from-the-beginning choice we made was that the six issues Jack Kirby did of Silver Star in the 80s were cannon. They happened and they were the foundation of our book, but we didn’t want this book to read like Silver Star #7. So I came up with a storytelling device that let the reader know immediately that Silver Star had been a secret superhero since Nixon and for every President in between. It adds a little hidden history to the character.
[Agent Walker] was created by Busiek for the Kirby: Genesis book, but this story takes place before the events in Kirby: Genesis, so we wanted to show he had a backstory that was relevant to that book.
[Silver Star likes to teleport into a janitor's closet in the Washington Monument]. That’s an homage to old Superman stories (TV, comics, radio) where Clark would change identities in the broom closet. It was supposed to be a little whimsical thing. But then I thought it would make a cool visual to show Washington DC, but not getting stuck with the same stock image of the White House. I also like the idea of having a secret headquarters in a building that isn’t big enough to hold a secret headquarters. Why not defy some expectations and have some fun?
[Agent Dunn is] my creation. Kirby created Floyd Custer, a government agent/handler character for Silver Star, but he got killed in the second issue of Kirby’s run. Kurt and I have talked about that. I think we both created characters who wouldn’t be killed immediately because of ol’ Floyd Custer.
[Readers will be introduced to] ..."new” characters. We meet Bradford Miller (Morgan’s dad), Dr. Walter Hammer (the military doctor in Vietnam in the 70s who originally diagnosed Morgan Miller’s powers), Norma Richmond (Silver Star’s indestructible girlfriend), and Tracy Coleman’s sarcophagus. We don’t see her because she’s trapped inside and has never been out. All four characters were created by Kirby and introduced in the original Silver Star series.
Halfway through issue one, Norma drops a bombshell; she’s leaving. That’s the core of the story to me. The Silver Star, the most powerful man in the world, a man who can rearrange atoms, a man who could fly through the sun, a man who could do anything, just got dumped by his girlfriend. How will he react? That’s compelling to me. He just sort of sits there and takes it. Right. He doesn’t know how to deal with it. Being as powerful as he is, his first reaction is always restraint. He never wants to lose control because of how dangerous that would be. So he doesn’t do anything… at first.
[Later in the issue we see Silver Star fight] a Jack Kirby monster! He didn’t have a name, and he only had three tentacles, so we dubbed him Triopus in the script. I had an idea for a monster fight from my original outline over a year ago. Kurt found the giant monster on a Kirby design sheet and I got to use it. We set this entire scene in the ocean because it was an aquatic monster. I think I originally envisioned it as a Kaiju attacking Tokyo or something. I think it turned out better, and decidedly more Kirby. Also, Johnny D. blew my mind with his Triopus finished art. I think it’s incredible. Oddly, Kirby’s Silver Star was pretty gruesome. Lots of characters (and civilians) get blown up or ground into pulp. I think Johnny and I stuck to the artistic intent Kirby had with Silver Star. Also, if you go back to the beginning, every Kirby comic is violent. Kirby, a WWII vet, drew a lot of superheroic fights, but he also drew a ton of war comics. Kirby was no stranger to action and violence in comics.
You can pick up your copy of the first issue of SILVER STAR in stores today, Wednesday November 9th. What do you think of the story so far? Is it something you would be interested in reading?