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Interview: Dan Jurgens Talks about FUTURES END and how the Series Affects Today's Titles

Crazy things are coming up. The future is looking a little dreary for the New 52 characters.

FUTURES END kicked off last weekend during Free Comic Book Day with THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #0. We got a look at an extremely bleak future, set thirty-five years from now. To try to prevent these horrible events, Terry McGinnis, Batman Beyond, ended up being sent into the past. This was five years from today's current events but also seven years too late. Now with the weekly FUTURES END series, we're getting a look at what just might be coming up and things are getting pretty crazy.

There are several writers collaborating on the weekly series, including Dan Jurgens, Keith Giffen, Jeff Lemire, and Brian Azzarello. We had the chance to ask Dan some more questions about some of the things that happened in the first issue as well as what these future revelations might mean for today's titles. We also have a first look at the cover to issue #14 and the solicits for issues 14-16.

There will be some spoilers for THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #1.

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COMIC VINE: The Zero issue and first issue feature a lot of characters. We see Grifter in a big role in issue #1. What stands out about his character that made you guys choose to use him?

DAN JURGENS: A lot of it was, we decided first that we were going to be telling a story set five years from now. Once we decided on that, that’s really when we started to talk about what characters would fit into it, how we would make it work, and who it might be. As we talked about it more and more, we started to sort through things. We actually wrote a bunch of characters’ names up on the board. Some never made the grade, we said, “No, that won’t work out for this reason or that reason.” One name that kept sitting there was Grifter. A lot of it is because we all like Grifter’s look. We love that red mask and everything. Finally Keith said, “Hey, I think I know something I could do that would make it work.” We went for it from there.

CV: I do think it’s cool that you guys aren’t using the big A-list characters. They’re always in all the events so it’s nice to see some of the underdogs step up. Hopefully.

DJ: Thanks. Some of it is it gives us the freedom to tell a little more potent story. I think we have a better shot at doing some real character development. At the same time, obviously Batman already has his own weekly ongoing. For us it means more freedom and I think more freedom, ultimately, means a better story.

CV: Going back to Grifter. Since this is set in our future, will we find out what he’s been doing between ’now’ and issue #1?

DJ: That’s going to vary from character to character. I mean, in some cases, we might go back and start to fill in some of the blanks and get fairly specific. In other cases, and I think Grifter fits more into this category, simply allude to what they’ve been up to on his mission. That might come through in just bits of dialogue. If you look at #1, there was a bit of dialogue or two that referred to doing things in the past. That allows you to kind of put those building blocks together to make an assumption as to how he got where he is now and what he’s been doing.

The New 52: Futures End #2
The New 52: Futures End #2

CV: How much backstory was created? For example, it’s mentioned Green Arrow had a lab. Was a certain amount of history outlined for the main players that will appear in the series?

DJ: Yeah, definitely. You have to do that. In the case of Green Arrow, because Jeff Lemire is also writing the GREEN ARROW book, it was something that was fairly easy to do. There are other characters who don’t necessarily require it, but ultimately, we’re going to tell the story of a world five years from now.

One of the things we’re flat out saying is there was a fairly major war that involved, you know, the entire globe. That is going to set these characters up for differences, changes, and evolution. So yeah, there will be time to time we refer to something in the past that way. But we don’t want to be overt about it either because otherwise you find yourself stuck in constant flashback mode. It’s really a trick of telling a story of where they are and letting the readers know a bit of how they got there. But not dwelling on it.

CV: What about aging certain characters, who decides on what changes are made, like Ollie having a full beard? Is it up to editorial, the writers, or the artists. Or a combined effort?

DJ: In a case like this, Green Arrow is a little bit unique because Jeff Lemire is the book’s current writer. What we do have is Ryan Sook doing all of our covers. He’s doing absolute brilliant work. He’s also doing our character design. When it came to something like Green Arrow, that would have been decided on mostly by Jeff and Ryan.

Other characters we have, we all weighed in on. I’m making a public apology to Ryan Sook right now. I know we drive him crazy. He’ll come up with a character sketch on someone and one of will say, “Gee, you made him blue. I don’t like blue, make it read.” The next guy will say, “I love blue!” And someone will say, “Put him in a pink dress.”

What we all do is, we’re all contributing thoughts and ideas and trying to bring these characters to a design standpoint that works. When it came to Firestorm, for example, Ryan had done a couple different sketches. The one we ended up picking, he looked at it more as, “Well I’ll just sketch this up and maybe I’ll put it out there for you all to see what it looks like.” We all latched onto it and thought it was great and where we wanted to go.


CV: Issue one deals with the death of a certain member of the Justice League. Why was this character chosen?

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DJ: That goes back to something I was just talking about. With Jeff Lemire as GREEN ARROW’s main writer. It wasn’t a case of us saying, “Gee, we want to kill someone. Who can we shock everyone with?” It was because Jeff is writing the character’s main book. He had an idea where he wanted the Green Arrow franchise to be and how he might be able to get us to that point. So we picked Green Arrow because that was a case where that book’s writer had a very specific idea. That worked for him, so it worked for the story.

CV: What about skeptical comic book readers that look at events like this? How much future continuity are you guys locking everyone into?

DJ: That is something you’ll have to carry everybody through forty-seven issues. Obviously, what we are building is a story with a beginning and a middle and an end. Once we get there, that’s when fans will get to look at it and say, “What does this mean? Is this the future we want? Is this the future that’s unavoidable? Is this something we want to embrace?”

All of those questions are part of reading a story like this. The whole idea of a story that is set in the future, that’s what makes it fun. Is that speculation of what is, what isn’t, what must happen, what will happen, what might happen? All of that. That’s the game.

CV: Is there a liberating feeling being in the future, where you can kind of do what you want? But at the same time, you have to look at where today’s characters are going to end up.

DJ: As we sat down with Dan DiDio, it was, what we do has to be logical. It can’t be so far out there that someone would say, “That character can’t be there in five years. Everything we present has to feel like it is something that really could happen, in terms of how this plays out. It isn't going to be, to pick an example out of the air, we're going to have, five years from now, have Bruce Wayne driving around in an ice cream truck selling ice cream. That's probably not a logical conclusion for that character, so no, it wouldn't work.

The thing we're trying to do and build is supposed to be a logical pathway for these characters. But to get into it further, that's still very liberating to write about. It's fun to be able to speculate about that. And if it's fun for us to speculate, we think it is for the readers as well.

Be sure to pick up THE NEW 52: FUTURES END each week.

Check out Ryan Sook's cover for issue #14.

The New 52: Futures End #14
The New 52: Futures End #14




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