Justin Jordan plans to get weird with “John Flood.” After talking to the “Strange Talent of Luther Strode” and “Green Lantern: New Guardians” writer about his new creator-owned series, it seems like he’s on the right path. Debuting August 19 BOOM! Studios, the eponymous hero of “John Flood” is a man who has spent the last decade awake and living in a world where he can’t tell reality from dream-like imagery produced by his brain.
The six-issue series marks Jordan’s second title at BOOM! following the conspiracy-laden “Deep State.” To bring readers the adventures private investigator who now has unusual intuitive abilities thanks to a government experiment that eradicated his need to sleep, Jordan teamed with another BOOM! alum, “Polarity” and “Sleepy Hollow” artist Jorge Coelho.
Flood and his stories exist is in a constant dream state, but he’s grounded by his partner in crimefighting Alexander Berry. The two form a working relationship where Flood floats in the ether while Berry keeps him tethered to the ground. This comes in handy when as they investigate a case that might involve a serial killer whose body count numbers in the thousands.
CBR News spoke to Jordan exclusively about how he deals with dream logic as a writer, John’s gig as an investigator and how the character’s unusual abilities help and hinder him professionally.
CBR News: John Flood is dealing with abilities that make him unsure what’s real and what’s a dream. How does he deal with this major status quo change?
Justin Jordan: Well, it’s not for Flood a new status quo — we find out in the second issue he’s actually been like this for quite a while now, more than a decade. But he copes with his condition reasonably well. It does give him some benefits, because his thought processes don’t really work like regular people’s, so he’s able to make connections others miss. He’s totally in touch with his intuition.
Now that said, he would really, really like to sleep. A decade of uninterrupted days has made him a little whippy, although it does allow for lots of time to develop all sort of interesting (and not) hobbies.
Can you name a few of John’s unusual hobbies? Do they come into play during his investigations?
Oh, you name it. He’s got twenty four hours a day every day to fill, so he gets into whatever interests him. This can be any from locksmithing to cooking the cuisine of a single island in the Indonesian archipelago and everything in between. And indeed, he’s able to use them in some (hopefully) surprising ways.
How did his abilities lead him to this gig as private investigator?
He realized that his abilities actually gave him a leg up when it comes to solving problems. He can work on cases 24 hours a day, and because he has to fill his days (and nights) somehow, he’s amassed a huge amount of knowledge. So that, plus his ability to make connections meant it was more or less the only job he could do. He’s just too weird and erratic to do much else.
What can you tell us about John’s cohort, the burly ex-cop? How do they play off of each other?
Alexander Berry is much, much different than Flood. Berry is a solid guy. If stuff were going bad, he’s the guy you’d just instinctively turn to. He’s everybody’s rock. And his job here is mostly to keep Flood as kind of grounded as he can, and to be muscle when he needs to be.
But, you know, he’s got more in common with Flood than he’d realized or admit. They’re both broken men who basically end up doing the only things they can do and trying to build a new life with what they have left.
This story focuses on John tracking someone who may be responsible for thousands of murders. How well-equipped is he for a case of that magnitude?
Berry is part of his attempt to get ready for it — someone who can kick some ass if the need arises. But one of Flood’s biggest problems, and one that’s not immediately obvious, is that being locked in a constant dream state has made Flood really disconnected from his own life.
He knows, intellectually, that his life is real and stuff is really happening, but since he’s locked in this state where he can’t really tell the difference between what’s really real and what his brain is throwing at him, he emotionally views the world as a dream.
That has a lot of subtle effects, but one of them is that he doesn’t really feel the danger he’s putting himself — and for that matter, Berry — in. So he’s underestimating just how smart and dangerous a person who has killed thousands of people over twenty years without getting discovered let alone caught must be.â€¨â€¨This will, of course, eventually bite him in the ass.
Dream logic and dream states can be tricky because usually there aren’t usually any hard and fast rules. Do you have any set up for “John Flood?”
I am not by nature a… damn, I’m not sure how to frame it. I’m not a weird writer. You know how Grant Morrison and Ales Kot can write these weird, trippy things with all these surreal flourishes and such?â€¨â€¨I am not that guy. I just don’t have the right kind of mind for it. But for “John Flood,” I am trying to have that kind of mind. But, paradoxically, I have a set of rules to help me accomplish it. Well, hopefully accomplish it.â€¨â€¨So yeah, I’ve worked out how Flood’s mind works, and how he makes connections and what the unseen threads are in his ideas, and what the things he sees mean. Or don’t mean — sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
How has it been working with Jorge on this book? What made him the right artist for this particular project?
He’s got this right mix of being able to combine the surreal with the everyday that just felt right for the book. I’ve wanted to work with him for a while, so it’s awesome to finally be able to do so. And so far, I’m very happy with how it’s going.
Were there any difficulties conveying the dream state to Jorge in the script writing process?
[Laughs]. Yep. Not on Jorge’s end, but as I mentioned above, for me that kind of writing is difficult. Which is, of course, part of the reason I did it. But I’m still working out the best method for it. Right now I’m leaning toward some general description of it in the script, and then working with Jorge during layouts.
Back when we talked about “Deep State” you mentioned that BOOM! greenlit all three ideas you pitched. Is this one of those and can you say anything about the next one?
It is! And I probably can’t. I will say that it is very, very different than “Deep State” and “John Flood.”
“John Flood” #1 by Justin Jordan and Jorge Coelho breaches shops on Aug. 19 from BOOM! Studios.
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