Exclusive Interview with Comic Book Writer Jake BlackBy Adam Dechanel
Jake Black wrote the 15th issue of "Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century", which went on sale last Wednesday. The issue's story, "In a Flash", introduced comic book character Impulse (aka Bart Allen) into the animated Legion's continuity. Prior to penning this story, Black worked behind-the-scenes on TV series "Smallville". He's also written children's books featuring DC characters. Outside the DCU, Black's written for the TMNT franchise, contributed work to Marvel Comics, and wrote the card-backs to the super-successful "Hannah Montana" trading cards.
Q: So who are you really? What are some of your career highlights?
A: I started my career as an intern in the "Smallville" production office during the show's first season. Since then, I have been involved in writing a lot of projects related to the show, including the official websites (I was Chloe on smallvilletorch.com for four years...), the trading cards, the magazine, a couple DVD features, etc. In 2003, I co- wrote a story in the Smallville comics, and that got my career in comics rolling forward. Since then, I've expanded as a writer. I've written several comics and kids books for the TMNT franchise, done a bunch of stuff for Marvel (mostly working on projects related to acclaimed sci-fi novelist Orson Scott Card). I've written kids books for DC ("Superman: Robo-Monster" and "Batman: Race Against Crime"). I'm also a member of the Writer's Guild of America's animation caucus, as a frequent writer for the Saturday morning cartoon "CHAOTIC" airing on FOX. You can also look forward to some content I did for Warner Brothers online. But my best-selling project has been the Hannah Montana trading cards which I wrote the cardbacks.
Q: Why an Impulse story out of all the DCU?
A: Bart Allen was born 1000 years from now. The Legion is in the 31st Century. It just seemed like a natural fit!
Q: How did you feel when Bart died in Countdown?
A: I like Bart, and I kind of expected him to die. There is a Crisis looming, after all.
Q: Do you collaborate with the other writers on plotting?
A: I have collaborated with a few other writers in the past -- most notably the "Smallville" gang when I was doing the comics and the short stories for the magazine. I also work closely with Orson Scott Card on some projects, but not in a creative collaboration exactly.
On my issue of "Legion", I worked out the story with editor Jeanine Schaefer, who I think the world of. She's hands down the most underrated person working in comics today!
Q: Did you enjoy the "Legion of Super Heroes" animated show?
A: I did. I liked the Imperiex stuff, and I'm a nut for any Brainiac stuff, so the series was great!!
Q: Why do you think fans should continue buying the book?
A: In a time when comics are full of events, it's nice to have a series that is always single issue stories "one-and-dones". Plus the Legion are a cool bunch of kids! And it's their 50th anniversary! What better way to celebrate?
Q: Is there more freedom to write stories now that Warners isn't continuing with the TV show? Will we see the JLU, Terry McGinnis, Static Shock, etc?
A: I don't know if there are more liberties or not. I only started after the show had finished. As far as the characters from the DCAU, I don't know. Would be cool, though!
Q: There are a lot of nods to the past of the Flash and Impulse in the "Legion" story -- who threw them in?
A: I did. I pitched the book shortly after Mike Wieringo died, and Mark Waid is a good friend of mine. So, I thought they would be fun nods to throw in -- acknowledge the characters' creator. And Geoff Johns made me really love Bart in "Teen Titans", so he deserved a nod, too.
Q: Will you be writing more Legion adventures?
A: If they ask me. But nothing planned in the immediate future.
Q: How did this story come to fruition?
A: I was in the DC offices in December, and chatted with Jeanine. She invited me to pitch some Legion stories, and that was her favorite of the pitches. She commissioned it, and the rest as they say...
Q: The "JLU" comic book started adding characters that didn't make it into the show so will we start seeing new Legionnaires in "Legion"?
A: Again, I don't know. Sorry I'm not more helpful here!
Q: Clark seems to have faded into the background -- will he be featured more in future issues?
A: I'm not sure. I think the plan has been to focus on stories between the show's two seasons where Superman wasn't around. That was what my directions were, anyway.
Q: Why did you decide to keep 'glitch' Bart alive? Will he be appearing again? (I hope!)
A: Because you can't kill people in a kid's book. ;-) I would love for Bart to make another appearance. But I think his story with the Legion is finished.
Q: How are you enjoying the Super titles right now?
A: I love the Super titles. Nut for Brainiac, and Supergirl is my favorite character of all time. I would do just about anything to write her! I think they've got stuff figured out in the Superman office at DC. Geoff Johns and James Robinson are both brilliant, so I think it's a great time to be a Superman comics fan!
This interview is Copyright © 2008 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.
IntroductionThe Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.
Question and Answer Interviews:
- Interview with Christopher Priest about the Superman vs. Deathstroke story in Deathstroke #8 (November 2016)
- Interview with Sterling Gates about the 'Adventures of Supergirl' digital-first comic book series (January 2016)
- Interview with J. Michael Straczynski about Superman: Earth One - Vol. 3 - Writer J. Michael Straczynski talks to us about the third volume in the Superman: Earth One graphic novel series (February 2015)
- Interview with Jim Krueger - Writer Jim Krueger talks to us about his The Dark Lantern story in the Adventures of Superman comic book title (November 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 Interview with Bryan Q. Miller - Writer Bryan Q. Miller talks to us about his work on the Smallville: Season 11 comic book title (October 2012)
- Supergirl Interview with Mahmud Asrar - Artist Mahmud Asrar talks to us about his work on the monthly Supergirl comic book title (July 2012)
- Superman/Batman Interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov - Joshua Hale Fialkov answers our questions about The Secret 3-part story in Superman/Batman #85-87 (July 2011)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates - Sterling Gates answers our questions about where Supergirl is headed post War of the Supermen (June 2010)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates & Jamal Igle - Adam Dechanel chats with the Supergirl comic book team about the Maid of Might (March 2010)
- Behind the Scenes of the Super Friends - Four part indepth look at the Super Friends comic book title with artists J. Bone and Stewart McKenny (February 2010)
- Interview with Landry Q Walker and Eric Jones - The writer and artist discuss Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade (May 2009)
- Interview with Elliot S! Maggin - Legendary Superman writer and novelist discusses his career (January 2009)
- Interview with J. Bone - Artist discusses Super Friends comic book (November 2008)
- Interview with Mark Bagley (September 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #18 (September 2008)
- Interview with Jake Black (May 2008)
- Interview with Cary Bates (June 2008)
- Interview with Jack Briglio - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #14 (May 2008)
- Interview with Ken Pontac - Writer discusses Justice League Unlimited #44 (May 2008)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13 (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #11 (February 2008)
- Interview with Fabian Nicieza - Writer on Superman comic books (June 2007)
- Interview with Danny Fingeroth - Writer of the book Superman on the Couch (May 2007)
- Interview with Jesse McCann - Writer on the Krypto The Superdog comic books (December 2006)
- Interview with Matt Haley - Artist on the Superman Returns comic book movie adaptation (November 2006)
- Interview with Ethan Van Sciver - Artist on Superman/Batman (September 2006)
- Interview with Mark Verheiden on taking over the writing duties on Superman/Batman (April 2006)
- Interview with Matt Idelson on taking over as Superman group editor (March 2006)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb on Sam and Superman/Batman #26 (February 2006)
- Interview with Roger Stern (December 2005)
- Interview with Marv Wolfman (November 2005)
- Interview with Gail Simone (May 2005)
- Interview with Greg Rucka (April 2005)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (January 2005)
- Interview with Glenn Whitmore (November 2004)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (September 2004)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (September 2004)
- Interview with Ron Garney (September 2004)
- Interview with Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark (May 2004)
- Interview with Ed McGuinness (March 2004)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (March 2004)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Superman: Red Son] (March 2003)
- Interview with Min S. Ku (September 2001)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (May 2001)
- Interview with Joe Casey (April 2001)
- Interview with Mike S. Miller (September 2000)
- Interview with Denis Rodier (August 2000)
- Interview with Grant Morrison (December 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 2] (November 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 1] (April 1999)
- Superman vs. Terminator - A Chat with Fight Promoter Alan Grant. (January 2000)
- Superman: The Dailies (1939-1940) Graphic Novel Review.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 1) - Superman is reborn... again.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 2) - Eddie Barganza on taking the character in a new direction.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 3) - Jeph Loeb discusses writing the Man of Steel.
- Lex Luthor For President - Forget Superman. An updated Luthor's new enemies are Gore and Bush.
- Superman: Last Son of Earth - Steve Gerbern Interview - The writer discusses flip-flopping the Man of Steel's origin. (August 2000)
Krypton Club Interviews:
When Lois & Clark started production in 1993, there was an obvious relationship between the comic book people and the Hollywood people.
A trade paperback Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was published, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the cover. It included reprints of comic book stories that were the inspiration for Lois & Clark, helping to define the characters. Comic's included are: The Story of the Century (Man of Steel miniseries #2), Tears for Titano (Superman Annual #1), Metropolis - 900 mi (in SUP #9), The Name Game (SUP #11), Lois Lane (in ACT #600), Headhunter (AOS #445), Homeless for the Holidays (AOS #462), The Limits of Power (AOS #466), and Survival (ACT #665).
A number of comic book writers and artists had roles as extras in the episode I'm Looking Through You (Season one, episode 4). Their presence was immortilized in the Sky Trading Card #34.
Craig Byrne, president of the online Lois & Clark fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.
- Interview with Roger Stern (June 1995)
- Interview with John Byrne (June 1995)
- Interview with Mike Carlin (July 1995)