Upon the announcement of J. Michael Straczynski’s arrival at DC at this year’s Wonder Con, discussion soon turned to his proposed work on Brave and the Bold. A little while back, Newsarama spoke with the writer about proposed team-ups he’d like to see in the title, he gave a list that was...well, somewhat offbeat, and something that generated lot of discussion among fans.
That list..? Something of a red herring. While JMS may one day want to pair Vertigo and DC characters and more, but as has now been revealed, Brave and the Bold will see something more.
Using the book as his platform, Straczynski will be taking on and introducing the group of heroes commonly known as the “Archie heroes”, that is, the super-hero characters that were generated by Archie Comics beginning in the ‘40s (and who have had various incarnations in the decades since). Among the more famous of the characters are The Shield, The Web, The Comet, The Fly, The Jaguar, and The Black Hood.
We had occasion to speak to Straczynski just before the official announcement and got a little bit of insight into the project. We’ll be bringing you more from Straczynski (and more on the history of these characters) after San Diego.
Newsarama: Right off, tell me about your personal relationship to the Archie hero characters. Are they a group that you yourself fondly recalled? How did the prospect of your working on the characters come to DC?
J. Michael Straczynski: I enjoyed the characters a lot as a kid, and had a real fondness for them born of nostalgia and the sense that they were just really off-beat and interesting characters. I wasn't as keen on the later incarnations or reinterpretations of them, because I thought they went a bit afield of what made them compelling, but never lost my fondness for the originals. When it was decided I'd start with B&B at DC, Dan mentioned that they were working on getting some of these characters and that I could, if I wanted, fold them into the DC universe by way of this book...not as later incarnations, or revisions, but as themselves, rebooting their origins from the start. I thought it was a terrific and exciting idea, as I love the idea of rediscovering or redefining heroes, as evinced in The Twelve. So for me, this is a seriously fun thing to do.
NRAMA: Will the characters be part of the wider DC Universe proper?
JMS: That's not my call, but it's my understanding that yes, they want to re-introduce those characters into the DCU proper.
NRAMA: You mentioned "The Twelve"; does the process of reinventing a character come naturally to you?
JMS: I don't know if it comes naturally...I don't think there's a DNA tag for character reinvention...but it is something that I enjoy doing a great deal. You try to figure out what worked in the original iteration, then ask, "Okay, if that writer were alive today, creating this character in the current political climate, what would he or she look like?" You have to be respectful of the original intent.
NRAMA: Were there any of the new versions that presented themselves immediately, or did it require a lot of thought and research for each one?
JMS: I'm still in the process of doing my research, since the final go-code only came recently.
NRAMA: How many of these characters will you be handling? Anything you can mention in terms of specific characters?
JMS: I'm still awaiting the final list of cleared characters from DC. Once that list is in hand, I can answer more intelligently.
NRAMA: Since I have you hear . . . I also have to ask . . . we all recall that there were Babylon 5 comics at DC in the past. You're working with DC . . . you see where this is going, right?
JMS: There have been no discussions about a B5 comic with DC, though the long-overdue graphic novel may now get finished.