Friday, February 08, 2008

Chad's Jackass Comic Creator Interviews from 2001: Jeph Loeb

[And we continue looking at the jackassery of my 18-year-old self. Okay, it's probably hard to see it still because we're all used to the lame questions involving underwear and women, but it's still there. Unedited. New posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday.]

Thursday November 30, 2001
Interview With . . . Jeph Loeb!
Jeph was my very first “favourite writer” when it came to comics. I had a subscription to Cable and he was writing it and he was amazing. He and Ian Churchill were doing all sorts of crazy things: going to the future, fighting clones from another dimension, fighting the Hulk, hanging out with the X-Men. I even sent him a letter care of Marvel for a school project in grade 7 (which odds are he never got--damn you, Marvel!). After a year of reading his Cable, I also picked up his X-Force, which was great too, but it didn’t compare to his work on Cable. He made me the big Cable fan I am today--well, except for that patch where Liefeld came back and Casey and Ladronn left. And, I can’t figure out a graceful way to go into the interview after that, so here it is...

Me: Tell us a little about yourself.

Loeb: I was found in a field by a pair of mid-western farmers... wait... that's... Um... Live in Los Angeles, write and produce movies and television, currently writing Superman monthly and Daredevil: Yellow.

Me: How did you get into writing?

Loeb: I started in high school. It was easier than math. I could never understand math. Math bad. Writing good.

Me: What have you written?

Loeb: Movies, television, comics, magazine articles, the occasional poem, a terrible musical, animation. I can tell you what I DON'T do is write to Mother enough. Actually, I don't think there is any way I could write to her enough, so I pretty much just gave up.

Me: How was it working with Ian Churchill on Superman 176, since you two have a history of working together on Cable, Avengers and at Awesome Entertainment?

Loeb: The best. Ian and I have been friends since our Cable days. He is a tremendous talent. It was a very big change from the “McGuinness” look of Superman and I was a bit worried that the fans wouldn't take to him -- but, Superman fans never cease to amaze me. They loved him. I guess there is always an appetite for a more “realistic” (that's a funny way to look at it for me) interpretation of Superman and that's what Ian delivered on. He is also doing Superman #180 which features Dracula (yes, THAT Dracula). His artwork is quite spectacular.

Me: Have you found it difficult to write Daredevil: Yellow, while not just repeating the origin laid out by Stan Lee and later by Frank Miller?

Loeb: I write comics the best I can. I hope folks enjoy the work; some do and some don't. I usually write what I feel my artist can best deliver on. Daredevil: Yellow was a love letter to my father and to Karen Page and Tim Sale delivered above whatever I could have dreamed of -- so, I guess the answer is no.

Me: What did you think of Warren Ellis and Steven Grant's X-Man?

Loeb: I never read them. When I walk away from book, that's usually the end for me. I know what I would have done and that's enough. X-Man, which I co-created with Steve Skroce was a particularly unpleasant experience since Steve and I had one vision for the book and (then, Marvel Editor-in-Chief) Bob Harras had another. Bob was wrong. That book went from selling a 500,000 copies and in the top ten to a book that was ultimately cancelled.

Me: Would you ever want to do Cable or X-Force again?

Loeb: I'd never say never. Marvel is a completely different place now. Joe Quesada runs a very different ship. Much, much better. But both Cable and X-Force are very different too. So, the subject is fairly moot.

Me: In an interview you did for an issue of Cable (#37), you mentioned how your son loved X-Men and such. Does he find it cool that his dad is working on Superman do you think?

Loeb: Superman MUCH cooler. Batman nearly as cool. Spider-Man close too. When the movie comes out, I'm fairly sure that Spidey will crawl up closer to Superman. But, Superman is the best.

Me: Boxers or briefs?

Loeb: Dogs or legal papers? What an odd question. I guess I prefer the dogs, since legal papers bore the hell out of me...

Me: Cats or dogs?

Loeb: Again with the dogs? Okay. I'll play. Dogs.

Me: Winter or summer?

Loeb: Summer. I live in Los Angeles. I used to live in New York. Pretty easy to figure out why. Cold bad. Hot good.

Me: Any cool stories involving a chick?

Loeb: Please. I work with Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Fray). Chicks flock to him. I get to stand near his aura.

Me: I just handed you a gun and a case full of 100 untraceable bullets. Who or what do you use them on?

Loeb: Give them back. I want nothing to do with either.

Me: Do you find working with four others on Superman (including editor Eddie Berganza) to be difficult creatively sometimes? I mean, what happens if there's a big argument over the next storyline and how the big blue is portrayed?

Loeb: Hasn't happened. That's what makes working with Eddie so cool. He runs a great ship. We're all pals. I've never had a working experience like it and suspect I never will again. Eddie is the best.

Me: I know you've most likely been asked this far too many times, but are you and Tim going to do another Batman mystery mini?

Loeb: Yes.

Me: That one dollar you got paid for writing Fantastic Four with Carlos Pacheco: was it for the entire run or per script? And, was your wife a little peeved that you were writing a comic for only a buck?

Loeb: I think what folks didn't understand was I got paid a dollar for WRITING the comic, but I also now own the Fantastic Four and the trademark. So, I was paid ten million dollars for the movie rights alone. My wife couldn't be happier. She has a house the size of the Baxter Building. Oh, and my daughter can now turn invisible.

Me: Are you afraid that after you, Joe (Kelly), Joe (Casey) and Mark (Schultz) move on that a lot of the changes you made will be reversed and ignored the way changes in Superman often are?

Loeb: It's not my character. I get to play with someone else's toys. They're the best toys in the box, but they still belong to someone else. If I want to make sure nobody plays with what I've done, there is a wonderful creator owned market out there. DC has given all of us every chance to tell the stories that WE wanted to tell. If they afford that luxury to the next team, good for them. Hopefully, they'll tell stories that are about NEW subjects -- at least that's what we're trying to do. I mean, look at the last two years. We didn't UNDO what came before us. Yes, Lex Luthor is President of the United States -- but that hadn't been done before. We have brought back Bizarro #1 and Krypto -- but they hadn't been seen in 15 years. I think in many ways we’re remarkably sensitive to the previous team’s efforts.

Me: Any tidbits from upcoming issues you can talk about here. You know, help a long-time fan get some publicity, maybe?

Loeb: Only that Superman #178, January 2002 will change Superman's life forever. Last year, it was his origin we threw into question. This year... well... it's not very long to find out. But RESERVE a copy now. That book is woefully under-ordered. Or don't and you'll wind up paying $15.00 for it in March. Tee-hee.

Me: Who do you love?

Loeb: My wife and kids. And that question. That question is a very close second.

Me: Any final words?

Loeb: Thanks for giving me the time and a big THANKS to all the fans and readers who let me do this incredibly cool job.