Zimmertainment Category

From the Philippines with Love: An Interview with Red Hood and the Outlaws artist Julius Gopez

Written by on Jun 11, 2013
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Julius Gopez is an artist for DC Comics. He has done work on such titles like Fringe, Gears of War, Ravagers and is now on Red Hood and the Outlaws. He was nice enough to speak with us about his career thus far.

1.) How did you begin working for DC?

I did try to penetrate comics on my own, without an agent, but it turns out to be very hard for me.  Since I am living here in the Philippines, I cannot go to conventions, and an agent got me work at DC. I have lots of samples on every genre just to be sure that i will be getting a shot at any available project DC may have. My agent took my samples, and I got a shot.

2.) What led you to want to join the company as an ongoing artist?

DC is one of the main publishers of comics; any artist would want to join DC. It’s an artist’s dream come true.


A) Did your work on Fringe and Gears of War series allow you to show

them your talent?

What talent? Lol. Talent for me is keeping up with time and style. An artist should be a step ahead of time and style, and I am still learning and still educating myself. I haven’t polished the gift I was given just yet.

B.) Are you a fan of either of those series?

I haven’t read comics for a long time. I read old stuff from DC, but I read comics because i want to study how the artist interpret a story.

3.) Tell me about how you found yourself working on Ravagers?

I was excited because I got to draw Superboy and Fairchild. I wish I could draw them again and again.

4.) What attracted you to those characters?

First, they are famous. I mean it’s a level up status for an artist to drawfamous characters. It is a finer moment for me to draw comics but it’s my finest moment to draw well- known characters. I’ve been drawing these characters since I was a boy, and when it came to me drawing these characters, I felt I was back in the old days when I got to lay on the floor just me and my pencils doing my own story in my head. While drawing them, I used to make my own sound effects. I am very happy with my time drawing them.

5.) Who was your favorite to draw?

Of course, Superboy.

6.) Explain how you, Tom DeFalco and Howard Mackie worked together?

They just sent me the script, and the script was so precise and descriptive that there was no need for any further explanations.

7.) Tell me how you ended up on Red Hood.

I guess some of my earlier work put me where I am now.

9.) Did James Tynion IV have any input in bringing you on board?

I guess somebody else has the authority to put people on teams together.

10.) What attracted you to the project?

Again, they are famous characters. Red Hood is making me a bit famous too. Lol. As I read along the story, the characters seem to become more and more real after each issue.

11.) Explain your collaborative process with James……

He is very good at describing scenes. He doesn’t need to explain because it is already very clear in the script.

12.) What do you hope to bring to the book? Are you staying on the for

the long haul?

I am hoping that is the case. I am still hoping that I can bring something to the series. I am still trying to find out what can i contribute with the characters and the story on an artist point of view. I hope I will be drawing Red Hood for a long time.

 13.) Can you explain what exactly will happen to Jason?

 He seemed to have had his mind completely wiped clean! That cannot be!  I do not think I am at liberty to reveal anything. Sorry.

 14.) What other projects do you have coming up? Any new DC work?

 I am not hearing anything about projects after Red Hood. So, keep your fingers crossed!


Tommy Zimmer is an upcoming writer of short stories, comic books, journalism/media reviews, screenplays, and anything related to writing. On zimmert101.wordpress.com, you can view his latest work, and see what exciting things he is currently doing!!


More photos from C2E2—- courtesy of Fanboy Buzz in accordance with Bestow Productions

Written by on May 1, 2013
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Photos courtesy of Fanboy Buzz’s Tommy Zimmer and Bestow Productions’ Paul Sanders, Alex Sanders and Todd Day.


Fanboy Buzz in accordance with Bestow Productions brings you—- C2E2

Written by on Apr 30, 2013
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Courtesy of Fanboy Buzz’s Tommy Zimmer and Bestow Production’s Paul Sanders and Alex Sanders.


Windsor Signing- Catching Up with the mind behind the Justice League of America, artist David Finch

Written by on Apr 16, 2013
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David Finch is an artist currently with DC Comics. He is a Windsor native, and the current artist on Justice League of America. He currently just finished his run on Batman: The Dark Knight and has completed a few covers for the new series Katana. Mr. Finch was nice enough to speak with us again since we last saw at Detroit FanFare.

TZ: What are you doing now? Katana covers, right?

DF: I was doing them but Justice League of America’s really taken over my life.

TZ: How difficult is it doing all the inking now? Last time I spoke, you have taken over all the duties….

DF: It’s actually a lot more gratifying, and it’s nice to see the finished product from start to finish. I have worked with some great inkers but it’s nice to have it just be my own work.

TZ: What can you talk about coming up?

DF: They are all going to fight, and that’s comin’; all mayhem and destruction.

TZ: Is that going to play into “Trinity War”?

DF: I think it’s no real secret JLA is really designed with Justice League in mind. I don’t think revealing too much to say something’s going to come out of the match-ups between the rosters in the first issue. I don’t even know what’s coming up….

TZ: Geoff keeps a tight lid on things…?

DF: Yah. But frankly, I don’t want to know what’s coming up. I want to know where we are now, and be where the characters are. A year out, it takes me out of an event.

TZ: What’s your favorite character to draw? Is it still Green Arrow?

DF: Right now, it’s Martian Manhunter. It may change again.

TZ: You tend to reveal a lot of the physicality with Simon Baz and the Manhunter… was that intentional? I know you do that in a lot of your work….

DF: Yah. I mean, these characters are supposed to be opposing, and they are larger than life but not regular people. I want to get that across every time I introduce a character. The more room I can get to do that big splash page, I am happy.

TZ: What else are you doing right now?

DF: I am honestly doing nothing more right now.


Tommy Zimmer is an upcoming writer of short stories, comic books, journalism/media reviews, screenplays, and anything related to writing. On zimmert101.wordpress.com, you can view his latest work, and see what exciting things he is currently doing!!

Windsor signing- Interview with Green Arrow, Animal Man and Justice League Dark writer Jeff Lemire

Written by on Apr 16, 2013
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Jeff Lemire is the current writer behind Green Arrow, Animal Man and Justice League Dark. He recently finished a crossover with Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing entitled “Rot World” and finished a major storyline in Justice League Dark. He is about to begin co-writing with Geoff Johns a few issues of Justice League of America. Mr. Lemire was nice enough to speak with us.

TZ: How did you get into comics?

JL: I started self-publishing my own stuff I wrote. I went to Kinko’s, and stapled it together to shop it around. Then, I got a publishing grant in 2005 from the Zurich Foundation for my first graphic novel. From there, I submitted some stuff to Top Shelf.

TZ: What work at Top Shelf do you think really got you noticed?

JL: I did The Essex County Trilogy of graphic novels. There were some editors at DC and Vertigo that really liked that book.

TZ: Who did you pitch to at DC?

JL: I pitched to Bob Schreck, and then I ended up getting Sweet Tooth. That all kind of led me to doing more DC Universe stuff. Those were all sorts of gradual steps over almost ten years.

TZ: What do you prefer doing more: writing or drawing?

JL: I love drawing my own stuff. I love the complete control that comes with it. But, I love working with artists because I love the collaborative aspect of writing with other artists.

TZ: How did you get into Animal Man?

JL: DC came to me with a few options. I loved the Grant Morrison stuff, and I had a lot of affinity for the character. They liked my vision for the character.

TZ: How did you decide what to change in the mythos?

JL: You always try to keep what you love from the old stuff but also try to make it accessible to new reader. So, it is a balancing act.

TZ: What was it like working with Travel Forman?

JL: I think he’s a genius. He brought a lot to it, and he really helped establish the tone of that book.

TZ: What made you leave Frankenstein?

JL: It was Justice League Dark being offered to me, and there were so many of my favorite characters that I couldn’t say no. I also knew I could also eventually work Frankenstein in so I could kind of get the best of both worlds.

TZ: How is it working with Mikal Janin?

JL: He’s such a great guy, and I think he’s a really wonderful artist.

TZ: Have you guys ever met one another?

JL: We met for the first time back in Atlanta because he’s in Spain.

TZ: What stuff do you have coming up for Justice League Dark?

JL: We have a big storyline coming up I am working on with Geoff Johns.

TZ: Are you taking over co-writing Justice League?

JL: We are doing a story together.

TZ: So, it’s a crossover?

JL: It will be… yah.

TZ: Is that involved in Trinity War?

JL: Definitely. They will probably announce it soon.

TZ: What do you have coming up in Animal Man?

JL: We finished the big “Rot” storyline. So, what I am really trying to do is move the book away from Swamp Thing, and do stories really specific to Animal Man again. I am really focusing on Buddy Baker’s celebrity now.

TZ: What made you want to take on Constantine?

JL: He’s been one of my favorite characters that kept me reading comics since I was a kid, and when I was offered it, I couldn’t say no.

TZ: Did editorial approach you for it because I know Robert Vendetti was originally on it…?

JL: Rob’s a good friend of mine but they announced he was doing Green Lantern. So, he had to make a decision, and I had already been doing the character on Justice League Dark. So, it seemed like a natural thing but I am only like co-plotting the first five issues of Constantine. I am not heavily involved in it. It’s more Ray’s book.

TZ: What do you have coming up?

JL: Green Arrow obviously, and I have a new Vertigo book called Thrillium I am writing and drawing. It’s a sci-fi love story.

TZ: What’s coming up for Ollie?

JL: The Komodo storyline is our first arc, and then we get to reinvent a classic Green Arrow villain which I am really excited about.

TZ: Could it be Count Vertigo?

JL: Perhaps.


Tommy Zimmer is an upcoming writer of short stories, comic books, journalism/media reviews, screenplays, and anything related to writing. On zimmert101.wordpress.com, you can view his latest work, and see what exciting things he is currently doing!!

Windsor Comic Signing: Interview with Detective Comics artist Jason Fabok

Written by on Apr 11, 2013
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Jason Fabok is the current artist on Detective Comics. A Windsor native and graduate of St. Clair College, Fabok has also worked with David Finch on Batman: The Dark Knight and for Aspen Comics. Mr. Fabok was nice enough to speak with us.

TZ: How did you get your start in comics, Jason?

JB: I went to St. Clair College for animation program, and I knew I wanted to make a leap into comics when I was there but I didn’t think they had the proper training. I knew David Finch lived here in Windsor. So, I contacted him to see if he would teach me a few things, and that turned into about 6-8 months of lessons. From there, we created a portfolio, and he felt my work is strong enough. We sent it into DC, and I guess the rest is history.

TZ: What project at DC have you been most happy with?

JF: Right now, I am doing Detective, and I am really proud of that because it’s something I can really spread my wings on as the books progress and we do more stuff. John Layman’s been giving me more freedom with designs and my art. So, it’s fun to really express myself that way. One of the proudest things was working on Dave’s Dark Knight. To get to work on your mentor’s book really makes you feel like you’ve really made it.

TZ: You probably already had a fair amount of confidence going into it, I imagine.

JF: Yah but I had tight deadlines, and from that, I was offered a contract with DC, and it all came together from there

TZ: How did editorial approach you about doing annuals such as Justice League International and Batman?

JF: What happened was I signed a contract, and they didn’t have anything for me to work on right away. But, Mike Marts in the Batman office had faith in me that I would do a good job on those books, and I almost saw those books as a tryout. They had specific deadlines for me to get stuff done, and kind of tested me. I felt I proved I could do a monthly, and they gave me Detective right after that.

TZ: How was it like working with Scott Snyder?

JF: There’s a reason he’s one of the top writers at DC. He was very humbling, and wanted to work together as a team. He gave me a lot of freedom as well. I think when a writer has trust in you and allows you to express yourself artistically, that’s the best to work with. You seem to get a better product in the end.

TZ: How did they approach you afterwards to work on Detective?

JF: It was right after I had done the Batman annual, they had approached me if I wanted to do a big project. They said Detective but it was coming down the road. They gave me the JLI annual, and I wanted to get it done because I knew what was coming down the road. I felt honored that they had enough faith in me to give me one of their flagship books, and every month I think I am getting better and better. Right now, my confidence is up, and that’s all things you are looking for.

TZ: What was it like working with Dan and Geoff?

JF: It was different because they write very much in a Marvel style where it’s very little description of anything, and allows you to play around with the story. I find I like a little bit more of guidance in the way. But, it was cool because I got to try it, and see how I liked that style. It pushed me outside of my comfort zone so I had to think more visually about my storytelling.

TZ: What do you like about working with John Layman?

JF: We have a good rapport and good communication between each other. He asks me what I want to draw, and then he writes to my strengths. I think that’s why the book is working and selling. He knows I like big shots, big splashes and large artwork. You couldn’t ask for anything else, really.

TZ: What’s been your favorite villain to draw in the Bat universe?

JF: I’d have to say the Penguin which is a strange choice because he’s a goofy character. I’ve loved him since the old ‘60s television show, and he’s always been one of my favorites. It’s a fun character to draw, and I am trying to bring a bit more humanity to him. He’s definitely my favorite right now.

TZ: The main conflict in Detective right now has been between him and Oglivy. Is that going to reappear back in the books as a main conflict?

JF: He comes back big in issue 18, and Oglivy’s a lot of fun. I enjoy drawing that character, and fans seem to be connecting with him. When someone tries something different, people don’t like it at first but John slowly introduced that character throughout the different issues, and so he will becoming bigger and bigger.

TZ: What do you think Oswald’s feelings will be?

JF: That’s kind of the main plotline of issue 18. It’s kind of Penguin vs. Penguin. It’s a lot of fun, and one of my favorite issues to draw. Leading into 19 (900), and will be leading into the next issues.

TZ: Will Zsasz be appearing? I notice there are scratches and scars….

JF: He may be appearing.

TZ: What’s with the Man-Bats?

JF: At first, there wasn’t really any plan to do anything. They wanted the 900 to be a part of the story. I just finished drawing that issue, and it’s my favorite thing I have ever drawn. It is kind of that “go nuts on the art” book, and I am excited for people to read it.

TZ: It looks as if you are moving more towards scifi rather than the usual crime drama….

JF: It is but John’s done it so the story will have consequences in the next arc. He didn’t want it to feel like a total break in the story to throw you off.

TZ: What else do you have coming up?

JF: Finishing up Detective. Fan response has been pretty good so we are going to be moving into a next arc, and I am pretty excited to draw that.


Tommy Zimmer is an upcoming writer of short stories, comic books, journalism/media reviews, screenplays, and anything related to writing. On zimmert101.wordpress.com, you can view his latest work, and see what exciting things he is currently doing!!


Windsor Comics Signing: Interview with writer Tony Gray

Written by on Apr 11, 2013
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Tony Gray is the writer/artist behind Legacy Comic’s The Incredible Conduit. He is also the writer/artist behind white plastic and is a co-owner of the Windsor-based Legacy Comics. Mr. Gray was nice enough to speak with me back at the signing about his career and what’s coming up for him.

TZ: How did you get started in comics?

TG: I actually got started in comics watching the old Speed Racer cartoon as a kid. I started drawing, and drew a Donald Duck head. It looked like him, and everyone said it looked like him. My calling was found early. So, I started moving onto the superhero strips like Spiderman and the Spirit. I got involved, and my dad was a collector as a kid. It was part of our family thing where after hockey, my dad, my brother and I would head out to go to all the different convenience stores to find Spiderman at the lucky spot in town. When I look at every comic, I remember when we ended up at Kresge’s, and ate mashed potatoes and gravy.

TZ: What made you want to start Legacy?

TG: I was doing Saturday Afternoon, which was a daily and a Sunday strip. I also did a strip called Mick and Me. So, I pitched it to Marty Beneteau who was the editor of the Windsor Star, and I thought it would be cool to do a Windsor-based superhero like an old superhero strip. The company Legacy picked up the rights to publish the strips, and if they thought there was money to be made, I wanted a share. So, I bought part of Legacy Comics, and I am now part owner. I am doing The Conduit, White Plastic, The Feral Ones and Gray Matter.

TZ: How did you come up with the Conduit?

TG: I designed the character with the old Spiderman book. The costume was based around that look. His powers became based around the costume which I thought was really cool. It has like the Conduit symbol like an hourglass symbol which is a recycling of energy and power. The design of the costume sort of generated the power of the Conduit which is to absorb and generate energy whether it’s solar, hydro, electric, any kind….

TZ: How did you meet Mike Michalski?

TG: He was working at CTV, and he came up and covered a couple of the events I was at. I met him through that, and he’s a really talented writer full of great ideas. I was doing a storyline for Conduit #2 that took place at Chrysler, and one of his buddies was someone I sanctioned to draw by Chrysler. I actually used real people at Chrysler, and one of his friends said Mike Michalski’s a reader of your stuff. He and Al with the headphones were in it. They wanted to know the story ahead of time, and so they would take me out for free lunches.

TZ: What’s coming up next with The Conduit?

TG: At the end of issue #3, it becomes Tales of the Incredible Conduit. When I say an adult book, I don’t mean an adult book. It’s a more grown up book, and the art is more along the line of gray washes. He gets a new costume which amps up his powers, and he’s working with the government. It’s a lot bigger story than catching muggers.

TZ: It’s becoming more serious….

TG: It’s a bit more serious, and he’s a much more powerful character.

TZ: Was that because of the demographic switch?

TG: I was really surprised because I really just started The Conduit as a local lark, and it ended up where I was getting more and more mail. I thought I would listen to what the readers want, and they were asking to beef it up a little bit. Now, he’s like a hulking 6 foot 4 with powers ten times he had.


Tommy Zimmer is an upcoming writer of short stories, comic books, journalism/media reviews, screenplays, and anything related to writing. On zimmert101.wordpress.com, you can view his latest work, and see what exciting things he is currently doing!!

DFF: Interview with David Finch

Written by on Dec 17, 2012
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David Finch is a comic book writer/artist best known recently for his work on DC Comics’ Batman: The Dark Knight. In January, Finch will leave the book to join Geoff Johns on Justice League of America. When Finch was in Detroit for the annual FanFare convention, he was nice enough to speak to us about his comics career.

TZ: What drew you to work on Justice League of America?

DF: It was a chance to work with Geoff. It was just the opportunity.

TZ: How did you get into illustrating?

DF: I did actually know I liked to draw. I was a high school dropout. Art seemed like the way to go. I didn’t know whether or not I was good.

TZ: How did you learn how to draw?

DF: I went to the library, and pick up lots of work. I got feedback from artists in Detroit, and was pretty obsessive. I sent stuff, and got multiple rejections. I then ran into people like Marc Silvestri.

TZ: What were your first major projects?

DF: I did CyberForce and a crossover with Joe Qaesada. I talked to him about Marvel. It’s a small business.

TZ: Why did you want to move to DC?

DF: I never wanted to leave Marvel but I always wanted to do Batman. Marvel’s like family but I hit a point where it was time. I went to DC, and they are like family now.

TZ: What is your work process?

DF: I work at home wake up, get up and work on the computer entirely. I send a .jpeg preview, and then am finished. They then go to colors. Working on the computer made me have more control; it’s nice to have that control.

TZ: How did Jason Fabok hook up with you? I interviewed him in October, and he said you were his mentor…..

DF: Jason emailed me with samples, and he’s fairly local. I had him at the house, and started working with him. He learned very quickly as it was only a few months. He wanted to work with Aspen, and his first DC issue was Superman/Batman. They were happy, and he did a couple issues of Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman Annual and now Detective Comics.

TZ: What interested you in taking on Batman?

DF: I naturally gravitate to darker characters. Gotham. Batman’s suit. It’s all dark; he’s very interesting. It all comes from his builds and guts.

TZ: What made you change to Justice League of America?

DF: I had done Batman for a while, did single character stories and moved to bigger ones.

TZ: Was it the multiple character scenarios?

DF: Multiple characters make it more difficult to showcase each character.

TZ: Who’s your favorite that you have been drawing?

DF: Green Arrow. He’s a real guy, and I like his whole demeanor.

TZ: Can you give fans any previews of what’s to come in the book?

DF: It will have a big story impact. I want it to be iconic and over the top. The script is coming from a pretty honest place. It’s important to make sure they’re real and honest.

TZ: What else are you working on?

DF: I am doing the covers for JLA and Katana. I am also doing covers for an unannounced project.

Thanks Mr. Finch!


Tommy Zimmer is an upcoming writer of short stories, comic books, journalism/media reviews, screenplays, and anything related to writing. On zimmert101.wordpress.com, you can view his latest work, and see what exciting things he is currently doing!!


Bringing the Entire Team Together: An interview with Justice League Beyond co-writer and inker Derek Fridolfs

Written by on Oct 25, 2012
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Derek Fridolfs is a writer and inker for DC Comics. He is best known for his work on Detective Comics, Batman: Streets of Gotham and Batman: Arkham Unhinged. His most recent project has been Justice League Beyond, and he was kind enough to speak with us about the book.

TZ: How did you come to be involved with the book?

DF: When Batman Streets Of Gotham was nearing the end of its run, we had been discussing with DC what we might like to do next. We were interested in co-writing and doing the art together, and being fans of the DC animated universe (with Dustin already involved doing covers for Batman Beyond), we were interested in doing something with Batman Beyond. Eventually that turned into launching Justice League Beyond.

TZ:  Did you both want to specifically do Justice League Beyond or were you interested in one of the other stories?

DF: I think our main thing was we were interested as long as it had Batman Beyond in it. Whether that was a solo title, a team-up title, or the League title with him on the team. We were interested in Terry, Bruce, and whatever supporting cast would be built up around them.

TZ: You seem to be real fans of the original series as the story you are crafting is heavily tied into the series and Justice League. What are your thoughts on the original series?

DF: Absolutely am a huge fan of the entire DC animated universe and the continuity they were able to establish over the various series all tying in together. I imagine when they started out; their goal was just to tell great stories for Batman. And as each series ended and they moved onto another, they realized it could all tie-in and be one large universe and story they were telling. That they were able to figure this out as they went and still make it all fit and work together, is something we as fans appreciate. And which is the reason why we choose to refer back to those series as the comics move forward. I like to think of the comics as extensions of those shows. Moments and episodes that we’re fans of, can find ways to influence and relate to the stories we’re doing.

TZ: What informed your decision to use a lot of the previous continuity?

DF: I think there’s always been the question or the concern from the fans about where or how the comics take place. In what universe or what continuity. And by referring back to past episodes of the various animated series, I hope they’ve found their answer. That we’re trying to have this be as referential to those shows, while also having a chance to expand and introduce new things. So it’s definitely tied into the DCAU, and not to be mistaken for what is going on in the new52.

TZ: How did you adjust your artwork for the book? It seems to be a bit different than your work on previous Bat-books….

DF: Dustin probably can answer this best. But from an inker’s point-of-view, since I’ve been inking him as long as I have now, I really didn’t see much of a change or adjustment. Maybe his pencils are a little more streamlined or looser for Justice League Beyond, but only because we’ve got a working shorthand to what each of us can bring to the art together. And the Beyond universe is pretty futuristic, slick, and clean; so less gritty as his art has looked on the previous Batman books or American Vampire.

TZ: How do you both approach plotting a book?

DF: It’d be easy to say there’s some distinct fascinating approach to how we handle it. But really, it’s just a lot of conversing back and forth between each other. We’ve tended to keep late working hours into the early morning, and have been known to spend time instant messaging thoughts back and forth through the night. Also when we’ve traveled to conventions together, is an opportunity to sit down and brainstorm stories. This has gone on for years, and then it’s just putting all the thoughts down on file, sending them back and forth until the stories form.

TZ: Now moving to the current narrative, what attracted you to using Kobra as the main villain? They always seemed like a large threat but the reader really gets a sense of that in this book…..

DF: I always felt that they were a huge threat that got introduced towards the end of Batman Beyond before the show stopped. That they never reached their full potential on the show, and maybe they could’ve if they had continued into another season. And since they’re not often used in the regular DC titles, they’d make for an interesting threat to the Justice League. Anytime you do a team book, you’re looking for a big threat that would need a League to come together to face. Kobra has the numbers and the history of Batman (Terry) fighting them in the past, so I thought they’d make for a global threat.

TZ: As the issues went on, you reminded your readers this book was definitely tied into the past with a lot of flashbacks and surprise guests. What made you decide to do that? For new readers?

DF: As much as I tend to preach the approach of trying to tell good stories instead of worrying what universe or reality the comics need to be placed in…the Justice League Beyond book ended up being one that did have a lot of previous continuity that newer fans might be unaware of. It rewards those that know the Batman Beyond show as well as all the previous DCAU shows, so there’s something there for the hardcore fans. But hopefully it’s still engaging and interesting enough for those that might be new to the title or the characters. And maybe nudge them in the direction of finding the old episodes to expand their interests.

TZ:  I was also curious about the surprise guests. Some of them such as Amanda Waller did not stick around too long….. what made you decide to include them?

DF: Actually she’s still around. She hasn’t left just yet and you’ll be seeing more with her. But yeah, this title has an opportunity to have a lot of characters come and go throughout this story, as well as others coming up. And it’s also one of the draws on working on a title like Justice League Beyond. You’re working in a future universe. There’s all sorts of new and old characters to get introduced to or catch up with.

DF:  As the book moves on, Kobra’s true plans are revealed…… how did you decide to enhance the threat beyond just earth? It almost reminds me of Justice League #1…….

I tend to relate Kobra much like fanatical terrorists of today. They’re not your casual villain that is in it for monetary reasons. This is an organization that is willing to sacrifice themselves, as well as the world, in order to achieve their goals. And I see that as no greater threat. Once you’re no longer worried about your own survival or others, then there’s no way to win through reasoning. And in order to do so, it would allow for our story to stretch outside of Gotham or Metropolis, to the galaxy and alternate universes. It’s also one of the things that will continue to be addressed in later Beyond stories. We’ll be exploring as many other areas as we can.

TZ: Why did you decide to include characters like Darkseid and Orion? They are very DCU characters, and Kobra was really just a threat limited to the Beyond-universe…..?

DF: Of course you have to keep in mind that Kobra, Darkseid, and Orion, have all shown up throughout the DCAU (as well as the DCU comics). Kobra might be more limited in their animated appearance to just the Batman Beyond series, but elements from the New Gods and Apokolips have shown up in the Superman series as well as the Justice League shows. But really it comes down to…I’m a huge Kirby fan and all the characters he helped create and work on during his run at DC. This was a chance to do a story that brought in a lot of Kirby elements, and we’re still not done showing all of them at this stage. Just like Kobra has a history with Terry, Darkseid and Orion have tangled with Superman (and Bruce). So it’s a chance to bring in some larger elements into the story in new and interesting ways, that might not usually be affiliated with the Beyond universe.

TZ: What informed your decision to bring Darkseid back? He seemed to have been gone after the final episode of Justice League Unlimited……

DF: I’ve just been wanting to write the character. And thought it would be interesting to see what happened to him after the end of the Justice League Unlimited series. And if Darkseid were in the story, it would bring in all sorts of New Gods elements that go hand-in-hand.

TZ: With Orion’s current status as of late in the recent issue of Wonder Woman, how are you approaching the character going forward?

DF: The Beyond universe isn’t tied in with the New 52. We’re our own separate universe and continuity, so we have nothing to do with their approach; just like they have nothing to do with ours. I’m just as curious as anyone else to see what they plan to do with him. As far as what happens with Orion in our story going forward, we’ll just have to wait and see.

TZ: Has there been any interaction between Brian Azzarello and your team?

DF: No. Our first story arc was already written and completed before the New 52 launched, not that it would’ve mattered.

TZ: Who is your favorite character to work on in the series? While all the characters are spotlighted, you guys seem to like both Terry and Superman the most……

DF: The answer when working on team books, is that they’re all one family of characters, and hard to pick favorites. And while it’s always a lot of fun writing anything with Terry and Old Bruce (since Batman Beyond was the show and comic that Justice League Beyond was able to spin out of), I still have fun writing every single character on the team. They all have unique personalities and different ways each of them interact with each other. It’s always fascinating seeing how they’ll respond in any given situation.

TZ: Going back to the story, what sort of threat does Kobra bring to the team?

DF: They bring numbers, determination, and resolve. They want nothing less than to destroy the earth to achieve their goals. And that will always be a great threat to the League and to the world. It’s up to the League to find a way to stop them with what limited resources they have. This isn’t the large Justice League Unlimited team from the show. It’s a much smaller League that still hasn’t found a way to stop Kobra, and time is running out.

TZ: What made you want to have the team join forces with Apokolips….?

DF: It was a way to get the League away from the familiar cities in the Beyond universe. And to show how great a threat Kobra poses that they were able to force the New Gods and the forces of Apokolips to team-up, and it still resulted in the destruction of New Genesis. And it would make for an interesting visual. It’s not often you have to set conflict aside, join forces with your enemy, to fight an even greater threat.

TZ: With the last page of the recent issue, the conflict between Superman and Darkseid seems to be brewing up again…. How much of that will be coming into the future issues?

DF: Darkseid isn’t done in our story, but fans might be surprised how we see him next.

TZ: How do you balance all the characters in the story? It seems pretty difficult but you both seem to manage that quite well…..

DF: That’s the real juggle of a team book. Finding ways to use as many of the characters and give them enough screen time. I’m always amazed how other comics with teams are able to do it. You just have to plan how to feature the characters the best in the limited space they have. And just because some might not be in the story a lot at the moment, doesn’t mean they won’t have bigger roles later.

TZ:  Speaking of balancing character, you have opened up new backstories for Warhawk and Aquagirl? What made you want to look into the past of these two characters?

DF: The Beyond: Origins was something introduced by our previous editor. It was a way to introduce (or re-introduce) the members of the League to the fans, in back stories. It just happened that a lot of their origins could tie-in with what was going on in the current Kobra story. And it’s a chance to answer questions about how each of the members joined the team or what their lives were like before the League. Most of them also have a very parental theme to them, as we get to see how their parents shaped who they are.

TZ: Are you going to continue exploring backstories like that with more characters?

DF: Definitely. We still have origins for Micron, Barda, and Kai-Ro. And after that…more…

TZ: Will Aquaman be showing up? With your emphasis on Marina, it seems to be possible?

DF: He’s definitely not dead after his last appearance in the comic. He and the armies of Atlantis weren’t able to stop the giant snake from surfacing. Where we see him next, we’ll have to wait and see.

TZ: Will their romance be explored as the main Justice League Beyond story continues?

DF: Various relationships will be seen as the comic moves forward.

TZ:  How much collaboration goes on between you and the other writers and artists? Will there be any future crossovers?

DF: We’re each working on our individual titles and corners of the Beyond universe. But that doesn’t leave out the possibility of ways for things to crossover.

TZ: Finally, what’s coming up in the book? What do want readers to take away from it?

DF: I’d say one of the big things that fans seem to have the most question about, is why the League isn’t larger. And that will be the next focus as we move forward.

Thanks Mr. Fridolfs, and stay tuned soon for an interview with the artist and co-writer behind the series Dustin Nguyen!

Superman’s Oldest Friend: An Interview with Superman Beyond writer JT Krul

Written by on Oct 11, 2012
Filed in: Zimmertainment  |  No Comments »

JT Krul is a comic book writer famous for his work on DC’s Green Arrow and Captain Atom. He also continues to write Soulfire for Aspen Comics. Mr. Krul was nice enough to speak to us about his work on DC’s Superman Beyond.

Tommy Zimmer: When were you approached to write Superman Beyond?

JT: It was just after the launch of the new 52, around the beginning of October. Ben Abernathy and I have known each other for some time, so when the opportunity came up, he thought of me. I got an email from Kwanza (Johnson) at the DC Digital division.  

TZ: What was your reaction when you found out that you’d be working with Adam, Norm, Dustin, Derek, and Howard?

JT: Getting the chance to write Superman was enough of a thrill for me. I had written only one brief scene with Clark earlier in my DC work.  He’s one of the most iconic heroes in all of existence.  Knowing that the project was linked to the other Beyond books by Adam, Norm, Dustin and Derek was such another positive – having the books stand together to make a splash on the comics scene.  As for Howard, he was the first and last name discussed.  Howard was finishing up on another DC project and Ben asked me what I thought. “Hell, yeah” I believe was my response.

TZ: How did Tom DeFalco’s Superman Beyond one-shot form the basis for what you’d do with the book?

JT: That one-shot did a great job of establishing Superman’s world in the beyond universe, and I really used it as a foundation for what I am doing in my book, both in terms of where Superman finds himself and the lack of people in his life these days.  I wanted to expand that feeling and explore the difficulties Kal-El would face.

TZ: How has Clark changed from New 52 Superman to the almost cynical Superman we see in the new book?

JT: I wouldn’t use the word cynical. Superman is the same person he’s always been.  The problem is Clark’s world has moved on.  From the people around him to even his chosen profession, it’s all gone.  Without those tethers, what does Clark Kent even mean any more.  That’s why when we see him, Superman has regressed back to the Fortress of Solitude, existing almost entirely as Kal-El, if we can think of his life in such compartmental terms.  He’s lost and alone.  It’s almost reminiscent of his mindset when he ventured away from Smallvile to build whatever his life would be.

TZ: Going to that same notion, Superman has suffered the loss of loved ones quite a lot. It has noticeably affected him… why does that idea of loss ones seem prevalent to the Beyond future the narrative takes place in? You see Terry and Bruce have already lost a lot…. It seems like a common theme rolling into the other stories….

JT: Well quite frankly from Bruce and Clark’s standpoint, it’s a natural part of aging.  Have a conversation with grandparents, and it almost always includes comments and thoughts on friends passing away.  The world they know is erasing itself, being washed over by new faces with new lives.  Think about a family neighborhood.  As the people get older, they start to see their friends pass away.  The houses are painted and updated and new families move into them.  Before long, the neighborhood doesn’t even look the same.  Change isn’t a bad thing, but it happens. 

TZ: With all the losses he has suffered, you have him questioning his role as Clark and Superman in the Beyond future….. Going forward, what are your plans to reinvigorate the character moving him almost back to who he used to be?

JT: That’s something you’ll see play out over this initial arc.  In many ways, it’s about setting up a new status quo, giving Superman a place in the world again – both in costume and out.  The story explores him going through this process of determining where he belongs and what, if anything, he has still to offer.

TZ: Now moving onto the current narrative, you have the Metropolis Police Department enhanced with almost Lex Luthor-like armor suits… why did you choose to enhance them so much?

JT: It feeds nicely into this narrative of Superman feeling somewhat obsolete.  Clark is no longer needed by the friends and colleagues around him because they have all died.  And even Metropolis seems to have moved-on.  They have their own Supermen ready and willing to face the challenges that await.  But as we see, there is more to being a hero than powers.  And that cuts to the heart of what Superman means to the world.  I’ve said it time and again, Superman’s powers are not what makes him super.  It’s the unwavering moral fiber in his heart.  He exudes everything that we as humans wish we could be on a daily basis – brave, honorable, generous, sympathetic and selfless. 

TZ: You made an interesting move bringing back Luthor in a limited form after Superman took down the deposed dictator in Paul Levitz’s Superman/Batman Annual… what made you decide to do that?

JT: The hero/villain dynamic between Superman and Lex is rivaled only by that of Batman and the Joker.  He is the ultimate nemesis for Superman, and even though he is dead – that can’t stop somebody as driven as Lex.  In the same way that Superman will never be free on Lois, he’ll never be free from Lex.

TZ: Moving onto his supposed daughter, why did you decide to give Luthor a daughter?

JT: Again, it had to do with trying to keep that dynamic alive and well in the beyond universe. And, I was drawn to this notion of Lex reaching out from beyond the grave – both to attack Superman once more, but also to do what he does best – manipulate.  This daughter is thrust into a new life and a new purpose all because of the sermon from the mount, where she is Moses and Lex is God.  He paints a picture of the world as seen through his eyes – one in which Superman is an enslaver of men.  She is his disciple.

TZ: What does she bring to the narrative and how does she reflect a human opposite to the Clark like Luthor did?

JT: In terms of how Lucinda compares to Clark, it boils down to a view of the events that occur around them.  Superman never feels like a victim.  He is always able to empathize with others, seeing the world through their eyes.  It’s part of his endless compassion.  He sees the struggles people face and wants to help them – well, help them help themselves.  As for Lucinda, she’s got a different kind of chip on her shoulder than her father did.  Lex saw Superman as the only thing in his way, but Lucinda sees the world itself as an obstacle.  She sees it as being unfair.  She is bitter about the hand that’s been dealt to her and views those around her with derision. This is why she is easily manipulated by Lex’s story.  He weaves a tale where her woes are the result of necessity because of Superman’s malice.  Lex is almost telling her that the world isn’t against her – Superman is.   

TZ: Will she be sticking around for the near future? Do have plans to make him one of Superman’s biggest enemies in this future?

JT: Luthors have a tendency of being resilient, so she could be around for a while.

TZ: To you, what role does Solomon Grundy add to the narrative? I was somewhat surprised when he was revealed to be working with Luthor’s daughter…..

JT: Writing in the Beyond Universe, the cast of familiar faces is somewhat limited – most everyone is dead and gone. I was thinking about what characters might still be kicking around and Solomon Grundy immediately came to mind.  I don’t see him as working with Lucinda.  He’s living in his own world with his own agenda.  And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to see Superman and Grundy brawl?

TZ: Why did you choose to leave Superman in a tight spot so much he needed Bruce to save him?

JT: I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to have Bruce put on the cowl one more time to come to the aid of his oldest friend. 

TZ: With Bruce recently having some physical problems in Adam Beechen’s Batman Beyond, I am wondering how much you coordinate with each other…?

JT: We do try to coordinate our books.  Editorial keeps track of such stories and Adam and I have talked on several occasions about the world we are sharing.  In terms of continuity, the Superman Beyond arc takes place prior to the events in both Batman Beyond and JL Beyond, so that health concern wasn’t an issue for my story.

TZ: Do all have any plans for any future crossovers?

JT: At some point, I think a big crossover between all three books would be a blast, though no plans are in place at present.

TZ: Going back to Bruce, why did you decide to bring him out of retirement to aid Superman?

JT: I wanted to have that World’s Finest moment and the notion of presenting Bruce in a suit somewhat reminiscent of the one featured in The Dark Knight Returns was again too much fun to pass up. I wouldn’t expect to see him hopping around rooftops all the time. Terry is the Batman now.  This was a special case where Superman had his back against the wall and needed some support from an old friend.


TZ: He also seems to be in a new bat suit…. Is this really Bruce Wayne, an impostor, or something else?

JT: Nope.  It’s Bruce, albeit utilizing an enhanced suit to give him the means to be effective.

TZ: What do think Clark at his age sees in Bruce Wayne? Bruce was very reluctant to let Terry join the Justice League Beyond or even let him leave Gotham…..

JT: Superman (like Alfred) has always seen the importance of Bruce having a pupil to mentor – from Dick to Jason to Tim to Terry.  They bring a sense of hope for the future that would be missing from Bruce otherwise.  As for Bruce not wanting Terry to join the JL, part of it is the protective nature of the relationship.

TZ: Going off of that, will Bruce or Terry play a large role in the upcoming issues?


JT: Nope.  This was just one chapter in Superman’s story.  That’s not to say you’ll never see Terry or Bruce pop up again in the future, but this is Superman’s book.

TZ: Do have any plans to resurrect some more of Superman’s past enemies? We’ve already seen resurrections of Lex, Metallo, and recently Solomon Grundy……

JT: Moving forward, you’ll be seeing both new villains and old featured in the book.  I don’t want to mention any names, but the second arc really has everything.  It’s a big epic story for Superman and the symbol he represents.

TZ: How do you decide which characters are alive and dead in this future? What informs your decisions on that?

JT: That’s not up to me.  It’s DC’s sandbox.  I’m just building in it.  As I develop new stories, I determine which characters I want to use – sometimes I can; sometimes I can’t.

JT: I don’t think too much about the new 52 when it comes to the Beyond Universe.  If there’s thing I can touch upon that add a connective tissue that’s great, but this really another world for our heroes. TZ: How do you see the Beyond universe relative to the New 52? Do you see this as the future of the universe?

TZ: Going forward, what surprises do have for fans? What should we be expecting as the book continues on?

JT: Like I said, the next arc is even bigger than the first.  It focuses on a new threat to the Man of Steel, challenging the very thing he stands for – and it features some familiar faces that I am sure readers will enjoy.  And Howard’s art is just getting better and better.  He already was doing a great job, but I tried to give him a lot of fun and cool and different stuff to play with in the new arc.  It shows in the art.

TZ: What other projects do you have coming up?

JT: In addition to my work at DC, I am always working with Aspen Comics on a project or two.  Currently, I am writing the 4th volume of Soulfire with Mike DeBalfo and Nei Ruffino on art.  It’s a futuristic story where magic has come back to the world.  Imagine Lord of the Rings meets Blade Runner.  I’ve also finished my first novel, The Lost Spark, which will be debuting from Aspen around the beginning of 2013.  A young-adult, fantasy novel, the story centers on a teenage girl who must reconnect with the magic of a lost childhood toy in order to help save a grandfather who is losing his mind.  And, I’ve got a new creator-book coming out next year as part of Aspen’s 10-for-10 celebration of their 10th anniversary.

Thanks Mr. Krul! And check next week for our interview with Derek Fridolfs, co-writer and inker on Justice League Beyond.



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