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Interview: Justin Jordan Discusses LUTHER STRODE

The violent yet gorgeous series is wrapping up its second volume and the writer shares his thoughts on its conclusion, a third volume and much more.

Luther Strode's second limited-series is quickly reaching its end and with Jack the Ripper on the loose, it seems safe to assume the sixth and final issue of THE LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE will be a brutal delight. Last week, we sent writer Justin Jordan a slew of questions about the series -- ranging from thoughts on the final issue to Strode's potential future -- and here are his extensive answers! One thing is clear: the dude really wants to write Lobo, so make it happen, DC!

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Comic Vine: Volume 2's conclusion is unfortunately right around the corner. How was writing this volume different than writing the 1st?

Justin Jordan: Different. For a lot of reasons. It’s tricky continuing something, at least for self confidence. And the book ended up being a very different kind of book, because it’s more or less one long action scene.

But from a purely logistical level, I wrote this book while writing….six other books? Eight? I mean, not all at once, but the workload was fairly intense, whereas I had nothing to write during Strange Talent but Strange Talent. So that was different too.

And Legacy, the third and final series, is going to be different again. If Legend was me riffing on the Punisher, Legacy is closer to James Bond, of all things. I am not sure I can pull it off.

CV: How would you describe the final issue?

JJ: Brutal? Say that in your best Nathan Explosion voice. We’ve opened up for the final issue, so it’s got 28 pages of actual story. There’s a spread in there that’s basically a Where’s Waldo of MURDER. I was just reading the final issue script again, and I really like it. I don’t, always, and never do when I first get done, so coming back and not feeling like I suck is good. Hopefully, readers agree.

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CV: Tradd Moore's art is downright surreal at times. What's it like seeing him bring your work to life?

JJ: Fun. I mean, getting Tradd on the title was pure serendipity of the best kind, because I thought he was good and he was about a thousand times better than that. Plus, Tradd and Felipe have some sort of weird mind link, so the working process is really smooth. Just pure fun.

CV: What other title would you love to see him illustrate?

JJ: Lobo. Written by me. Obviously.

CV: Sometimes Luther's eyes go completely red or black. Is this just to help emphasize different emotions?

JJ: That’s the Mark of Cain. But when someone’s eyes do or do not do that is a big clue into their mental status.

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CV: Please tell me you have plans for a 3rd volume. Or maybe an ongoing if we're extra lucky? Pretty please?

JJ: No ongoing, but we are doing another series which, as mentioned above, will wrap up the trilogy. Basically, we don’t have enough story for an ongoing, and we’re not fast enough to produce a book monthly.

We’ve discussed, not with any real planning, the idea of maybe doing an anthology thing set in the Luther Strode universe. Examine some of the history and stuff as well as giving other people a chance to play in our sandbox. But if that ever happens, which is a not insignificant if, we’re a couple of years out.

But it could be cool.

CV: What inspired you to create the Luther Strode universe?

JJ: Two things, basically. One was the idea that from a certain (very skewed) point of view, some superheroes are fairly close to horror movie slashers. I mean, Jason Voorhees is out for revenge on people like the ones who wronged him, and if he decides to kill you, there’s not much you’re going to do about. Also true of the Punisher.

The other was, basically, what if those Charles Atlas style bodybuilding courses actually did give you superhuman powers. Because while the Atlas ads weren’t too bad, a lot of others were basically promising exactly that.

So those were the high concepts. The less high concept, I guess, was that I kind of wanted to do a teenager gets superpowers story that’s…well, not realistic (realistic doesn’t really apply to a book where a guy’s guts get kicked through his mouth) but maybe naturalistic. What if Peter Parker didn’t have Uncle Ben? Or Supermanwithout the Kents.

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CV: If you could do one crossover with Luther, who would you pair him with and why?

JJ: Hmmmmm. I actually think a crossover with Hack/Slash would have been cool. Cassie and Vlad would surely mistake Luther for a slasher and hilarity, bloody, bloody hilarity, would most certain ensue.

CV: Would you ever want see Luther Strode expand into other types of media?

JJ: Oh sure. I would love to see a Luther Strode movie. Or actually, a television show with some short seasons. If they can do with Hannibal they could do it with Luther. Maybe someday.

CV: What's your favorite ongoing series at the moment?

JJ: Hah now, see, this is a question that is going to get a different answer depending on what series I just read that I really liked. So today, the answer is Hawkeye. Yesterday, might have been Revival. I tend to go in more for minis, though.

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CV: I'll be blunt... it really sucks that Deathstroke was canceled so shortly after you jumped on. If you were given more time with Slade, where would you have taken the character?

JJ: I talked a little about this when we talked about New Guardians, but I would have developed his supporting cast. One of the problems with a character like Deathstroke is that you absolutely need someone to bounce them off of. Supporting cast is generally important, but a lot of characters can stand relatively alone – Batman, for instance.

But Deathstroke is an antihero at best, so you need other points of view to contrast him against, I think. Beyond that, I’d have liked to have taken him into the DCU more. I’d have liked to have seen him going up against some of the established heroes. I think it would have been great fun to have him crossover with Kyle Higgins' Nightwing, for an assortment of reasons.

CV: And since we're talking about Slade -- how do you think he'd stack up against Jack (who is quite awesome, by the way)?

JJ: Jack would be fucked. Maybe not right away, because Jack is good, but Slade is very, very smart and is probably on a par with Luther and company in physical prowess. So eventually Slade would just put a bullet in Jack’s bandaged noggin from half a mile out.

CV: Is there anything else you'd like to say about THE LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE or your other work?

JJ: Well, I hope people enjoy it. And the first issue of Strange Talent of Luther Strode is available on Comixology for the frees, so people can check it out if they do the whole digital thing:

CV: Thanks!

THE LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE #6 comes out June 12th.

You can follow Justin Jordan on Twitter @Justin_Jordan

Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. This is the part where he shamelessly plugs his Twitter page in hopes of getting a new follower or two.