The Wonderful Wreckage of Oz
Jul 16, 2017
by Vince Brusio
In the upcoming Action Comics #987 (JUL170323) and #988 (JUL170327), Superman is about to be waist-deep in what is being referred to as “The Oz Effect.” Since the Man of Steel doesn’t live as a hermit, and has a life outside of the cape that he wears, repercussions are about to touch people in his life, which makes fighting his new enemy all the more complicated. Who wouldn’t want to take the brunt of violence instead of having it dumped on their loved ones? Writer Dan Jurgens talks to us about the impending quagmire for Superman in this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview.
Vince Brusio: What is the significance of the cover image for the Action Comics #987-988 solicitation? We have twisted bodies arranged to form the Superman “S.” Not exactly a pretty picture. It’s showing civilian pain, not Superman’s pain. So, things are about to get medieval for everyone, and this is a literal snapshot of the upcoming nightmare?
Dan Jurgens: The cover to Action #987 deals with the pain of one of the main characters in the story.
I wouldn’t say we’re about to get medieval, necessarily, but we are going to go deep on one character’s history. Those experiences will be tremendously important to Superman’s future.
Vince Brusio: The identity of Mr. Oz is said to rock “the Last Son of Krypton to his core.” So, in essence, Superman’s physical battle is being complicated by a psychological one. A one-two punch that got its start going back to DC Universe: Rebirth #1. From the sound of it, the man who’s more powerful than a locomotive will get run over by one at hypersonic speed. That must be fun to write, but torture for Superman. How do you show the anguish? How do you convey to artist Viktor Bogdanovic that what you want the audience to see is Superman not knowing whether he’s coming or going?
Dan Jurgens: Anytime I write a story, I try to help the artist understand the most crucial, emotional points of the story. Sort of saying, “This is it, everything all in one panel and we have to hit the reader between the eyes.”
It’s often about pacing and building up to that one major point in the story that says, “This is it. This is what it’s all about.” And that point, it’s up to Viktor, Patrick Zircher or whomever is drawing the story to pour their soul into it in order to touch the reader. Fortunately, I’m working with very talented people who do exactly that.
Vince Brusio: While the focus of Action Comics #987-988 is on Superman, and how he’s going to juggle “The Oz Effect,” Superman at the same time doesn’t live in a bubble. There are other people in his life, and they’re going to feel ripple effects whether he likes it or not, yes? Given the nature of the problem, though, is there a point where collateral damage may be unavoidable?
Dan Jurgens: You’re right, Superman doesn’t live in a bubble, and this is a story that will rock the worlds of Jon and Lois as well. At its core, this is something of a family story that should affect everyone.
Vince Brusio: With Action Comics shipping twice monthly, how does that affect your writing? You’ve been writing comics for years, and you’ve no doubt been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt. But “The Oz Effect” looks to be some prime real estate. Did you have to arrange the deck furniture any differently to devote more time to this story, as it’s carrying a lot of weight? Can we peek into your office to see how you wave the magic wand?
Dan Jurgens: Believe me, I wish I had a magic wand to wave. It’d make things a lot easier!
In all honesty, writing a book that comes out twice a month can be a grind. At the same time, it has advantages in that it allows us to tell a story somewhat differently. I can take an occasional detour or spend a bit more time on a secondary element than I would if we were monthly. Plus, I think it keeps events more current in readers’ minds and that’s an advantage as well.
I’ve worked on monthlies, annuals, specials, weeklies and virtually anything you can imagine. Part of making that work is to find the advantages of each format and make it an asset. That’s what we’re doing with Action Comics, especially on “The Oz Effect”.
Vince Brusio: Where are you now in terms of self-satisfaction in writing adventures for Superman? As a professional, do you feel that you still have yet to put your best foot forward? Or have you already reached the top of the mountain? What does Dan Jurgens have to say about his involvement in the life of Superman? And what would Superman say about that?
Dan Jurgens: I’m very, very conscious that any of us are only as good as our last bit of work. We are constantly judged by what we’re doing now and not what we did 10, 15, however many years ago.
In terms of Superman, I’d like to think that I have a good, enduring understanding of him and his supporting cast as characters. At the same time, I have to be capable of finding fresh ideas and new perspectives. It’s a bit of a balancing act but it’s certainly one I enjoy.
At the end of the day, I’d like to think it’s a mutually beneficial relationship and that if he could respond, Superman would say the same thing.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.