Jersey Gods Creators Glen Brunswick and Dan McDaid Interview
- Published on Monday, 31 May 2010 17:04
- Written by Andrenn
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Glen Brunswick and Dan McDaid are the creative forces behind the excellent Jersey Gods series. Though the series has ended with issue #12, that didn’t stop me from talking to these 2 and getting some insight into the creation of Jersey Gods as well as the future for the Gods of Neboron and here are their answers. Lets take a trip to Jersey with the creators of the Gods.
Andrenn: Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Glen.
Glen: My Pleasure. Thanks for offering me the opportunity.
Andrenn: I thought it would be good to talk about the cancelation of Jersey Gods, because there are still a couple of questions surrounding it. First of all, did you decide to cancel the series because of low sales or did the low sales dictate you end the book?
Glen: We cancelled the series because the sales dropped to a level that it no longer made sense for us to continue anymore.
Andrenn: You’re ending it with #12, was that the most logical endpoint for you of the series?
Glen: My original outline went to issue 12. Creatively I had to get to that issue before I was willing to let go of the reins. There is tons more I’d like to do with the series, but I feel like it stands on its own now that we got to finish the first outline.
Andrenn: You said that you would love to do a mini-series in the future if the sales for the books and final two issues were good enough. Do you think you would take the route that Jim Valentino did with Shadowhawk and have Jersey Gods be a running series of mini’s instead of being an ongoing with story arcs?
Glen: Whatever makes sense financially--mini-series might work--maybe graphic novels. I just need to figure out how to be able to afford to pay the creative team and recoup my investment. Hell, I’d write the book for free if I could cover my costs. I love these characters!
Andrenn: Would you be up for spinoffs like a Helius or Rushmore mini-series?
Glen: Both those guys would be fun to write in their own series. Helius would be a hoot! He’s like the James Bond of the Gods! Maybe Dan should write that—he’s English, you know.
Andrenn: Are there any back stories you still feel need to be told? Like with the Great War backups early on?
Glen: Yeah, I’d like to tell the origin of the Gods—how they got their powers and fill in the gaps of the history of Neboron. Union and Fusion play a significant role in how the gods evolved. I'd love a chance to tell that story someday.
Andrenn: Do you have any Jersey Gods stories that you have thought up and are ready to tell in the future? Maybe you could tease some of your ideas for future Jersey Gods work?
Glen: I had the idea to bring Barock’s dad back from the grave to cause all kinds of trouble for the gods of Neboron, and Earth as well. The wedding of Barock and Zoe was another story arc I wanted to get to. I also had a fun idea of crossing Jersey Gods over into the world of Richard Starkings’ ELEPHANTMEN book.
Andrenn: Jersey Gods is being released in 3 separate TPB volumes, but many fans (myself and Rokk) love hardcovers. Any chance of there being an oversized hardcover collecting all 12 issues? You would already have two sold!
Glen: I’d love that! That would be an Image decision based on the sales of the trades.
Andrenn: You are excellent at blending super hero action with fun and interesting comedy. Is that something you strive for every issue in order to achieve that perfect balance or does it come naturally each time you write an issue?
Glen: I put a lot of thought into balancing the character moments with the action. I’m trying to write something that I would really enjoy reading myself. I try to make each issue accessible and engaging. Thanks for the compliment.
Andrenn: When originally creating Jersey Gods did you envision it as more a comedy story or super hero story?
Glen: I always planned to straddle the line between adventure story, situation comedy and romance. That was the plan anyway. Everyone wants to put you in a box. Good entertainment sometimes combines a number of genres. The trick is you have to do it well to succeed.
Andrenn: Writers are often inspired by other stories and characters for their own stories. Jersey Gods does deliver a wonderful homage to Jack Kirby’s New Gods. We have the good gods in the Walkers like the New Gods of New Genesis. We have the evil gods in the Orbitors like the denizens of Apokolypse. Barock plays the role of Orion. Helius plays the role of Lightray. Have you always been a huge fan of Kirby’s Fourth World characters? What inspired you to write Jersey Gods?
Glen: I do love Jack Kirby. The Fourth World is probably my favorite of his works. So this is a tribute to Kirby as well as a jumping off point for my own thing. I always wondered what NEW GODS would have been like if Kirby had retained his partnership with Stan Lee. In the back of my mind was the idea that if I did this type of story I would try to be closer to that accessibility that Lee brought to Kirby’s work. I also wanted to do this with a romance angle from the non-powered female protagonist’s point of view to add something fresh to the mix. Zoe turned out to be one of my favorite characters to write.
Andrenn: Concepts evolve a lot before the final product is done, how much did Jersey Gods evolve before you had the final product?
Glen: I spent about a year developing it on my own. When Dan came on board, he’s such a huge creative force and talent, we spent a few more months together fleshing out the world before we were ready to move to the first issue.
Andrenn: As a writer, how did you approach creating a world from scratch, building up the Neboron planets citizens, cities, creatures, etc?
Glen: One piece at a time--you try different things and see how they fit together. Then you continue to build. You just have to give yourself the flexibility to be open to good ideas when they present themselves. Nothing is set in stone until its set in stone.
Andrenn: I wanted to touch on some recent developments as of issue #11, starting out with the less spoiler-rific stuff. (A warning to anyone who hasn’t read issue #11, don’t read beyond this point if you don’t want spoilers!) first there was the scene with Lurella and Rushmore, they seem to be a couple now (or at least she’s partial to laying on him, I don’t know how this works on Neboron) was this something you where planning on all along or a development you came up with later?
Glen: This is one of those things that happened while we were in process with the series—not in the outline. I was talking with Rushmore one day, in my head, and he mentioned that he always had a crush on Lurella. Who was I to stand in his way.
Andrenn: How will Lurella’s father react to finding out his daughter is (literally) in bed with the enemy?
Glen: It won’t make him happy. But it’s not like he’s a happy guy anyway.
Andrenn: Speaking of Deltus, I have to mention that final page. I know issue #12 is a little bit away but could you give us any hints at what’s going on? Zoe being brainwashed, a robot Zoe, Zoe being Minog in disguise all this time?
Glen: I like that Minog idea of yours. I wish I’d thought of that. Nah, I can’t hint at all. It wouldn’t be fair.
Andrenn: Is this Deltus’ end game plan? His ultimate plan to kill Barock once and for all?
Glen: Deltus wants to punish Barock severely…and then kill him!
Andrenn: Also about Deltus, I noticed he’s a revenge based villain, do you think his rage over the loss of his son still fuels him or now it’s just blind hate at this point?
Glen: I think that he believes that the loss of his son is what motivates him. But that’s only one aspect of him. He likes being a leader of Cumulus—the city that values material things in the Neborian culture. Pride and ego drive him as well. He’s a complex villain.
Andrenn: One moment that’s been nagging at me since issue #1, Helius mentions Barock loved something once and Barock gives him a death glare. What was that about? Are you going to reveal it in #12 or is it just a big mystery we’ll never solve?
Glen: Issue 12 will reveal all!
Andrenn: Helius made a statue in memory of his son, Hector, this was a very important character moment. How did you come up with this moment as a logical one for Helius?
Glen: I don’t know. It just felt right for him as a character moment. I felt it was an opportunity to grow Helius as a person. It’s one of my favorite moments in the book.
Andrenn: Which character do you think has grown the most over the last year of Jersey Gods?
Glen: Helius! But Zoe and Barock have exhibited quite a bit of growth as well.
Andrenn: Looking back on Jersey Gods’ past 12 issues, what where your favorite moments and characters to write?
Glen: I really enjoyed the two dinners that I wrote with Zoe’s parents—the first with Zoe alone, and the second with Zoe and Barock announcing their engagement. I love her parents and getting to rev them up was a highlight for me. I’ll bet that’s not what you expected me to say.
Andrenn: You have other creator owned books such as Killing Girl and the Gray Area, do you find creator owned work to be most satisfying?
Glen: There’s nothing like being your own boss and creating your own worlds.
Andrenn: Was Image the ideal company you wanted to publish Jersey Gods through or did you contact other companies first?
Glen: I’ve always had a great relationship with Image—they were first in my mind to do the series.
Andrenn: You mentioned that you and Dan will be working on something in the future. If you can’t spoil what it is, can you at least hint at it? Or secretly tell me in an e-mail, I promise not to tell.
Glen: It’s a fun “What if” action-adventure story about what happens when a writer’s creation enters his real world. I can’t say anymore. More details as soon as I can, I promise!
Thanks tons, Andrenn!
Dan McDaid is Glen's partner in crime on Jersey Gods, drawing the series since issue #1. When contacting Glen I asked Dan questions as well and here are his answers.
Andrenn: First, I wanted to ask about your art style. There are some obvious influences like Jack Kirby. Which artists influenced you and got you into drawing in the first place?
Dan: Probably anyone but Jack Kirby, to be honest. When I was growing up, I read (and loved) Romita Jr on Spider-Man, Jim Mooney, Alan Davies on Captain Britain, stuff like that. Then I hit puberty in time for the Image Comics and started aping that Liefeld/Lee style pretty hard. Luckily, not long after that Batman: The Animated Series started to air over here, and that pretty much set me on course to where I am now.
Andrenn: How do you feel your art has evolved over the last year of drawing Jersey Gods?
Dan: I've worked pretty hard to refine my line. In those early issues, it's all pretty scrappy, lines spilling out of panels, kind of rough looking faces. In later issues I've tried to balance the energy of that early stuff with a bit more focus. I don't want my line to be super-tight, but I'd like it all to hold together pretty well. I think the best drawing of the whole run is probably the very last page of the very last issue.
Andrenn: About the creative process of drawing Jersey Gods, what characters' look evolved the most as you designed Jersey Gods?
Dan: Barock, definitely. He's very crude, almost-ape-like to begin with, but as I got better he became more recognisably human-looking. Luckily, that works thematically as well - Zoe's influence softens him, makes him more approachable.
Zoe has changed a bit as well. In the first issue, she's Japanese.
Andrenn: Where there any designs you really liked but never got to use?
Dan: Tons of stuff, but I'm not going to tell you about it. One day, it will ALL get used. So wait and see.
Andrenn: Of all the characters and moments you’ve gotten to draw in Jersey Gods, what where your favorites?
Dan: I don't play favourites. But I love Helius and Rushmore - they're Barock's best friends, but they're both completely different. One hot-headed and sexy, the other more rational, cerebral. I'm really proud of those guys.
Andrenn: I’ve noticed you have had some pretty unique and interesting page layouts through Jersey Gods. Do you like to go for a more artist approach to page layout or to go with the basic Panel 1 Panel 2 lay out?
Dan: It varies depending on the scene. Very often, Glen would give me very spare panel descriptions and trust me to work this stuff out for myself. That's a really nice way of working, it lets the art take centre-stage to an extent. I'd let the story dictate whether we'd need the steady rhythm of a 6 panel grid or something wilder.
Andrenn: I wanted to mention Jersey Gods #12 which we’ve been seeing some previews of on your twitter. How do you feel about drawing the final issue?
Dan: Heartbroken, relieved, excited, drunk. Mostly drunk.
Andrenn: What are you going to miss most about working on Jersey Gods?
Dan: A steady income. Also, the characters. I'm not going to miss working with Glen, cos we're working on something else right now, and I'm looking forward to working with him on lots more stuff in the future. He really is an ideal collaborator, as well as one of my best friends. It's mawkish, but true.
Andrenn: Do you want to return to Jersey Gods in the form of a mini-series or something else in the near future?
Dan: Oh, definitely. I think a break is a good thing for lots of reasons, but I'd love to come back for more. We've got a doozy of an idea for a comeback as well.
Andrenn: All right I keep trying to work in a question where I can bring up side boobs, but damn it I’m only human, can we expect at least 10 % more sideboob in Jersey Gods #12?
Dan: Sadly, the answer to this has already been revealed, and it was "no". Sorry Andrenn. But I vow to get as much sideboob into my work as possible in future.
Andrenn: I’ve noticed some of your sketches of Marvel and DC characters. Is there any one comic from Marvel or DC that you have always wanted to draw?
Dan: It wouldn't be on to say "all of them" would it? I'm reading Walt Simonson's Thor at the moment - I'd love to have a crack at something like that.
Andrenn: Outside of drawing Jersey Gods, as an artist, what are some of your favorite things to draw?
Dan: I can't tell you how tempted I was to just write "cocks" here. The (less) childish answer is robots, monsters, guys with big guns, stuff exploding. The adult answer is the Dave Gibbons approach - I just like to draw a good story. That's what lubes my socket.
Andrenn: What future projects will you be working on in the near future? Anything else with Image?
Dan: Lots of stuff lined up - all of it top, top secret, none of it with Image. Stand by for future announcements!
I'd like to thank both Glen and Dan again for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer my questions. I've enjoyed Jersey Gods a lot and am excitedly awaiting the return in the future. You can get Jersey Gods volume 1 and volume 2 now and volume 3 will be out soon.