If you’ve been collecting comics for some time, then you likely have come across the names Dan Jurgens (Death of Superman) and Keith Giffen (Justice League International). This weekend, they launch their latest significant contribution to DC history in the form of The New 52: Futures End. A special zero-numbered issue will be available in comic shops everywhere for Free Comic Book Day, with the first issue of the weekly series shipping May 7. Below you can read a discussion I had with these gentlemen concerning this bold new venture.
What can you tell us about the format of The New 52: Futures End and what characters will you two focus on?
Dan Jurgens: By format, I assume you mean how are we working on the title?
Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Keith and I each worked on the overall story concept, direction and conclusion.
Once we did that, we started to talk about the various characters that might best fit a story set five years from now. As we started to zero in on the cast, we began to divvy up the characters. For example, Keith took Grifter, I took a somewhat younger cast, Brian took Batman Beyond, etc.
We divide each issue into five page segments, which we are very flexible on, and each take one of those segments to focus on our individual characters, all the while building the larger story.
Keith Giffen: By format I assume you mean how we break down the work? It’s, pretty much, a matter of filling each other in on what we’re up to then doling out pages as needed. I guess my primary characters are Grifter, King Faraday and Fifty Sue (not a typo) with The Ops (all female strike force featuring Voodoo) as secondaries.
Since we’re discussing this series on a site focused on Batman, fans will no doubt want to hear about Terry McGinnis. How will he differ from his animated counterpart?
KG: That’s a question for Brian Azarello.
DJ: There are certainly similarities, but on the whole, he’s very much a part of the DCU, right from the start.
Terry has had such a huge following since the Batman Beyond animated series. He’s been in various comics since, but did you think bringing him into regular continuity was overdue?
DJ: Brian was the one who first suggested our story take place five years down the road. As we then started to talk about various characters that might fit, Batman Beyond’s name got tossed out. It really became the centerpiece idea that would kick off the story.
KG: Overdue? Maybe. Then again, the animated series is a hard act to follow.
Did any sci-fi or horror movies serve as inspiration for the twisted, cybernetic versions of our heroes?
KG: Not really. not that I know of, but “Virus” got mentioned a few times after the fact. That and Mrs. Doubtfire.
DJ: We had our ace designer, Ryan Sook in the room, as we talked about various concepts and ideas. At one point he held up a sketch and asked, “Is this the kind of thing you’re talking about?” It was absolutely fabulous.
Remember how Lucy would yell, “That’s it” at Charlie Brown and cause him to tumble over backwards? That’s what we did to Ryan.
The other weekly series that launced recently, Batman Eternal, introduced us to New 52 versions of characters like Stephanie Brown and Carmine Falcone. Aside from Terry, are there any other characters fans can look forward to seeing for the “first” time?
DJ: Absolutely, and Keith can actually address that more because he’s working on some of that.
KG: Not from me. Although I pushed really, really hard for Casey the Cop. Google it.
DJ: We’re also reshaping existing characters and even introducing a few that are totally all new. Something for everyone!
I’m not sure how much you guys can say about this next one. Although set in a possible future, Futures End will likely have some lasting ramifications on the DC Universe as a whole. What kind of effect will it have months down the road? With Earth 2: World’s End coming this fall, I have a feeling DC is cooking up something.
DJ: Yes, we are absolutely cooking something up.Let’s call it Chef’s Surprise. Once we get everyone to the table, they’ll start to see what savory treats we have.
KG: Let’s just say that what’s coming is SO worth the wait.
Are there any other projects that you’re working on at DC that you would like our readers to know about?
DJ: I’m writing AQUAMAN AND THE OTHERS, the second issue of which comes out about the time you’re reading this. We’ve actually gotten to the point where Aquaman can support a second book as he leads a team of some very enigmatic and intriguing characters. It also touches on FUTURES END stuff.
KG: Justice League 3000 with J.M.DeMatteis and Howard Porter, which is more fun than I should be allowed to have (it’s got a Batman in it!) and Forever People with my Omac cohort Dan Didio (it’s got a Bat Cow in it!). No. Really. It’s really got a Bat Cow in it.
You two have been around this business for some time. Are there any stories you’ve contributed to that you would love to see adapted to an animated film? (We’ve already been graced with Superman: Doomsday, which I loved.)
KG: Oddly enough… no. I kinda like the stories I’ve been part of as comic books.
DJ: I did a Justice League story called DESTINY’S HAND that would be ideal for animation. We also did a Superman arc called TIME AND TIME again that would work great. There are a few others as well!