NEW SG Interview: J.T. Krul – Captain Atom, Superman Beyond, Soulfire, and Green Arrow
Apr 2012 30

NEW SG Interview: J.T. Krul – Captain Atom, Superman Beyond, Soulfire, and Green Arrow

Posted In Blog,Comics,Entertainment,Interviews

by A.J. Focht

I got the opportunity to interview some excellent comic writers at StarFest 2012 in Denver. I sat down with J.T. Krul and we talked about his current projects: Captain Atom, Superman Beyond, and Soulfire, as well as his run on Green Arrow.

A.J. Focht: What’s happening with the New 52 Superman Beyond?

J.T. Krul: They approached me…I’ve never done Superman before, and it’s Superman, so… And the Beyond Universe is a real fun universe to play in, because it’s tied into everything else, but it’s also kind of its own beast. You have a little more leeway to play around with things. It’s not really an alternate setting, but a future setting. You can have a little more fun, and it’s a little outside the box.

A.J.: That’s great. I’ve always been a fan of the Batman Beyond series; it will be great to see what is done with Superman Beyond and Justice League Beyond.

J.T.: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. The first issue just came out last week, digitally, but also as part of Batman Beyond Unlimited #3. Superman is really at a crossroads in his life, because he really doesn’t know where he fits in anymore. Most all the people he knows are dead and gone.

A.J.: So it’s still Clark Kent, right?

J.T.: Still Clark Kent, but everyone he knows is dead. Bruce Wayne is the only other person he knows who is still alive. Lois Lane is dead. Lex Luthor is dead. He is not a reporter anymore. He is living in the Fortress of Solitude, but it is less of a home and more of a mausoleum. He is really struggling with trying to figure out what the next phase of his life will be, and how connected he is to Metropolis now that everyone he knows is gone.

A.J.: You’ve sold me already. I’ve always wanted to see how Superman would respond in the future since he is immortal and his loved ones aren’t.

J.T.: We actually have a great bit. When the first issue opens up, Superman has created a mausoleum to all things Kryptonian in the Fortress of Solitude. He has all those relics and artifacts from his home world that he has amassed over the years to kind of preserve his past. He is always about preserving his past because he never had one. And now with everybody gone, he has actually coordinated a part of the Fortress of Solitude that seems to be a relic of what Metropolis used to be for him. There is a section where there is a newsstand, a phone booth, and the globe from the Daily Planet. And, that’s just the opening scene.

A.J.: You did the first three issues of Green Arrow. Did you do the full storyline for all of those?

J.T.: Yes.

A.J.: So were you the one who decided to take Oliver Queen the way of a superhero Steve Jobs?

J.T.: That was a big discussion as part of the New 52. When the New 52 was getting established and DC knew that’s what they were going to do, they approached me and Dan Jurgens, for me to continue and for Dan to come on board. We had a lot of discussions about what is the essence of Green Arrow and what direction do we want to go. We talked about a lot of different avenues, and at the core what is he about and what could he be. It’s definitely different than what I was doing with the character in Brightest Day, and I’m really proud of that run. This is just kind of a different direction. Making him younger, giving his super identity back, and kind of going Steve Jobs with him.

A.J.: After you left, they have since switched the creative team on Green Arrow again. It feels like they are catering a little more to the female audience now with both the art style and the writing. While it’s good, I’m still sad you were taken off because you were doing a fantastic job with Green Arrow there for a while.

J.T.: I really like it. I mean, Oliver Queen is one of my favorite characters. It was a hard decision to leave him and go to something else. You know, I think the whole thing with the book going in a different direction is kind of cool. The greatest thing about the New 52 is that there is really a book for everybody.

A.J.: There really is a niche for everyone. I never saw it going over as well as it did.

J.T.: It’s cool because you’ve got your big super heroes. You’ve got your Justice League, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Batman.

A.J.: And the fact we can say Aquaman is a big super hero now, that’s something.

J.T.: I know. Aquaman is a top selling book right now. Then Wonder Woman and Action Comics. Then you have your dark universe where it is kind of like Vertigo coming to DC. You’ve got JLA Dark, Animal, and Swamp Thing. Then Demon Knights, kind of has that fantasy feeling.

A.J.: And then you’ve got your sci-fi section with Firestorm and your own, Captain Atom. Captain Atom has turned out really good. Before now, every time I saw Captain Atom, I couldn’t help thinking of Dr. Manhattan. And, if I’m right, he was originally going to be Dr. Manhattan before they decided to let Allen Moore create the heroes. Still, you’ve managed to start gaining popularity for a hero that had been all but forgotten about.

J.T.: Yeah, it had been twenty years or so since Captain Atom had his own book. I mean, Judd Winnick did a great job with him in Generation Lost. But when moving forward, there is definitely the Dr. Manhattan vibe is there by design. And, you’re absolutely right, in its original incarnation, Allen Moore was going to use the Charlton characters, and it was Captain Atom they were going to use for Manhattan. When DC decided they wanted to keep those characters; that’s when he changed them to all the alternate versions.

What we did was, we liked the power set that Dr. Manhattan possessed and what that brought to the table. But we wanted to keep Captain Atom as who he was, Nathaniel Adams an Airforce pilot. So the powers were there, and the looks a little bit too, in a way. We really wanted to focus on the story of a relatively ordinary person, an Airforce pilot, who gets godlike powers. A lot of the story is really about him dealing with those powers. We are not really what I would call a straight forward superhero comic book. We’re more of a science fiction story about a guy grappling with amazing abilities. What he can do, and what he can’t do. And most importantly, what he should do.

Working with Freddie Williams has been probably one of the best parts of the New 52 for me. We just really click together. Collaboration on the book has been one of the closest collaborations I have had since working with Michael Turner on Soulfire. The book has just come together really well. We find some really different types of stories, definitely outside the box and outside the mainstream.

A.J.: You are working on Captain Atom right now, and Superman Beyond is starting. Do you have any plans to pick up any other books?

J.T.: Right now I’m doing The War That Time Forgot, in the pages of G.I. Combat which is one of the new six coming out.

A.J.: Isn’t that going to be like All Star Western, where it’s going to feature a main story and then an off story, but with combat stories instead of Westerns?

J.T.: Kind of, yeah. My first story is a four-parter, and we are piggy-backing with The Unknown Soldier. And I know there are plans to bring in other combat stories as well.

A.J.: Any other projects?

J.T.: I am actually still working with Aspen Comics, who I’ve been working with pretty much since I first started. We are finishing up Soulfire Volume 3. We have a big event coming this summer called The Search for the Light. It’s going to run weekly starting in June and into July. Its five one shot issues that tie together that all lead into Volume 4 of Soulfire which is going to be the biggest one yet. We just announced that Mike DeBalfo is actually going to be the artist on it. It’s really going to be the story of Soulfire like you’ve never seen before. We will see a lot of characters returning, and almost the biggest threat we’ve ever seen before in the book.

A.J.: That’s four projects you’re working on. Are you insane?

J.T.: [After a good chuckle and some contemplation] They actually stagger pretty good so it doesn’t really bottle up. There are times it gets a little crowded, but luckily, if I schedule my time, I can make sure I get through it. But I like it. I mean, they’re all fun projects to do so as long as I can work them into my life and not make my life to unbearable, I’ll keep doing it. They are all great stories to tell, and any chance to do a comic is a great opportunity.

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