By Jorge Solis
With his hit series, "The Legend of Luther Strode," Justin Jordan proves he knows a thing or two about writing teenagers with superpowers. Starting with issue #20, Jordan now takes over the reins of the "Superboy" series. I chatted with the writer about the upcoming story arc, "Blood And Steel," the themes behind his storytelling, and what readers should expect from upcoming issues.
MTV Geek: Tell me how you became involved in "Superboy."
Justin Jordan: They said “Hey, how would you feel about writing 'Superboy'?" and I said "Could be cool!" [Laughs] That’s all true, but not very interesting. I had read "Superboy" and "Teen Titans" for some stuff we were thinking about doing with "Deathstroke" and "Team 7," which I was writing at the time. I thought the character was interesting, so I was interested when the idea was floated by me.
If you just read "Deathstroke" and "Team 7," me writing "Superboy" doesn’t seem like an obvious choice, but the book is actually a lot closer to what I’d consider my strengths and certainly close to "Luther Strode."
Geek: Tell me about the upcoming story arc, "Blood And Steel."
Jordan: Basically, Superboy has been told a lot of stuff about himself, that’s he’s a weapon, that he’s an abomination, and so on. None of which is, you know, good. And he’s been thinking about who he is, who he should be, and he doesn’t have a conclusive answer to either.
So in this arc, he’s presented with a chance to go after some very bad people before they have a chance to do real damage, and he jumps on the opportunity. Because he thinks, at least right now, is that’s how he can rise above what he was, or at least what he’s been told he was; by making the world a better place. But being young and kind of cocky, he’s not inclined to wait for stuff to happen. He is making it happen.
Geek: Tell me about approaching the superhero mythology through a teenager carving out his own identity.
Jordan: It’s interesting. There’s an opportunity there to look at the superhero mythology – why do superheroes do the things they do, and do they really need to do them that way? Superboy is coming at this as a relatively blank slate, and he doesn’t have those same preconceptions. So we can look at them and play with the tropes and architecture of superhero comics.
Geek: Do you see any of Luther Strode in Superboy?
Jordan: There is definitely the idea that both of them are trying to carve out their own place in the world, and be more than what they’ve been told they were. There’s substantially fewer disemboweling in "Superboy," though.
Geek: Superboy has faced H'el and Oracle. What is his mindset now?
Jordan: Well, from the outset, he’s trying to be a better person. He’s made some mistakes like, you know, robbing banks, and he’s trying to get a handle on that. But mostly, he’s confused. He’s not sure what he should do, just how he should do something. So he’s kind of looking for what that something is. He finds it, but it might not be the best idea he's ever had. It's worse than the whole bank thing even.
Geek: Tell me about collaborating with artists R.B. Silva and Rob Lean.
Jordan: Well, it’s pretty damn terrific! I mean they produce some of the best looking art in comics right now, so it’s nice to be pretty. I think R.B. is doing a damn fine job with the storytelling too, which is important. There are artists who seem to click with my writing, and R.B. is one of them.
Plus, he makes me look good, which is always nice.
Geek: Was there pressure to take on a new approach in "Superboy" and do something "a bit different from what's done before," as you've said?
Jordan: I wouldn’t call it pressure. But, there’s not a lot of point bringing someone new on if you just want the same thing you’ve done. I liked "Superboy," but there’s some stuff there that I think hasn’t been explored as well it might have been yet. So I’m glad they’re giving me the chance to play with it a bit.
Geek: What can you tease about Superboy's romantic interest?
Jordan: Well, it’s not Dallas. In fact, she’s damn near the anti-Dallas. But you’ll have to wait an issue or so to meet her. Superboy has some stuff to do before he gets down to romancing the ladies.
Geek: What can you tease readers about upcoming issues?
Jordan: Well, issue twenty-one has one of the coolest looking villains in a while, and reveals a lot more about the Superboy/Dr. Psycho partnership. After that, we take Superboy some place he’s never actually been; someplace terrifying.
Geek: What other projects are you working on now?
Jordan: Aside from "Superboy," I’m doing "New Guardians" for DC and "Shadowman" for Valiant. We just finished up the second "Luther Strode" mini, and I’ve got a yet-to-be-announced creator-owned thing coming out….sometime.
Superboy #20 is out in stores now.