In 1964, DC Comics released its first 80-Page Giant, beginning a tradition of unleashing supersized versions of the publisher’s favorite titles which has continued — albeit sporadically — for the past 48 years.
This time around, Adam Glass, the supervising producer of the hit genre TV series “Supernatural,” answered the JLA roll call and is framing a multi-part story of mythical (and mystical) proportions in 2011’s “JLA 80-Page Giant.” With a story based on a classic European tale — which Glass would not reveal — “JLA 80-Page Giant 2011” also features chapters written by Marc Bernardin (“The Authority”), artists Frank Mastromauro, Joe Prado and Puerto Rican comic creator Roberto Cruz.
And with a cover by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau), a team of artists will be handling interiors, including Ig Guara (“Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers” and the forthcoming “Flashpoint: Grodd of War”), Scott McDaniel (“The Great Ten” and the forthcoming “Static Shock”), Tony Shasteen (“DCU Halloween Special”) and relative newcomer Emanuaela Lupacchino.
Glass told CBR News he is writing two chapters of “JLA 80-Page Giant 2011,” one featuring Batman and Plastic Man and the other with Ragman and Green Arrow, along with the book’s conclusion. A long-time fan of the DCU, Glass also shared a few guarded thoughts about working with superstar writer Geoff Johns on his forthcoming “Flashpoint: Legion of Doom” miniseries.
CBR News: Did you grow up being a fan of DC Comics?
Adam Glass: What’s funny is that I grew up in the Bronx. I’m 42 and I grew up in this neighborhood where I remember being four or five years old and reading through my friend’s comic books. There were always books around. I would spend my summers up in the Catskill Mountains, and one summer I found a box up in the attic of this old hotel out of the “Shining” that my family owned. It was filled with books like “Superman Family” and “Batman Family,” a lot of books from the fifties and sixties. I also loved watching the “Batman” TV show with Adam West when I was a kid.
As I got older — and when I say older I mean 10, 11, 12 — I started buying them in the candy store for myself. The ones I still have or I remember, and this is when I got really serious about it, were ones like “The New Teen Titans” by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. There was one issue I remember in particular, when Robotman from Doom Patrol is there with Kid Flash and Robin and Cyborg. What’s really cool about that is that I now know Marv Wolfman and he’s a really great guy.
“Judas Contract” was a huge storyline for me as a kid. Robin becomes Nightwing! That book had everything. I remember that book really speaking to me. I was a pre-teen myself, and all the stuff they were dealing with in that book like Deathstroke, Terra and Raven. But the basis for everything for me was Batman. Just Batman, Batman, Batman. I just love Batman. Any time I could get a Batman doll or Underoos, I was there. They didn’t have as much as they do today but whatever there was, I got. There was just something about Batman. Which I am sure is just like millions of other kids.
That’s the coolest thing about doing “JLA 80-Page Giant.” When DC offered me the chance to do a story, they said they wanted weird team-ups. I’m Christmas shopping with my daughter and we’re actually stopping by the comic book store to pick up my books. My phone rings and they’re like, “It’s Jim Lee and Dan DiDio for you.” I was like, “What? Really? Jim Lee is on the phone?” I actually met Dan at Comic-Con [International] and we’ve stayed in touch, but I didn’t expect anything. I’d done all this stuff for Marvel, and I was obviously writing “Supernatural,” and then I just got a call from them and they said, “Would you be interested in doing a book with us?” I said, “Of course, I would be.” They put me in touch with Eddie Berganza and Eddie says to me, “We’re doing this huge 80-pager JLA like we do every year and we want to do weird team-ups. Teams that people wouldn’t expect together. We’d like you to come up with an idea for the book, the whole concept, and then we want you to write three of the chapters.” And I said, “Can I do Batman?” He said, “Of course, you can do Batman.” I was like, “I’m sold.” This was my chance to finally write Batman. So that’s really what got me juiced to do it.
So, which weird team-up do you have for Batman?
You know, when you say weird team-up and then you look at Batman, what’s a weird team-up for him? He teams up with everybody in “The Brave and The Bold.” So, it’s funny — I did Batman and Plastic Man, which we’ve seen a million times before in “The Brave and The Bold,” but I wanted to do a little bit of a darker story and do a little bit more of a psychological story with them. So I picked that. The other team-up I picked, and I really like this one a lot, was Green Arrow and Ragman.
I love Ragman. I love both of them. I love Ollie. I love his bluntness and how he speaks his mind and he doesn’t care. I should say, the one thing we tried to do with the whole book was really try to dive deep into the psyche of these heroes, come up with a common link for each of them and tie them together in this adventure.
I can’t say too much about how they all tie together, but that will play itself in the book. To get back to Ragman and Ollie, it was a really fun team-up to do. Ragman has always been one of my favorites. I grew up a Jewish kid in New York and there ain’t that many Jewish superheroes, so I really dig Ragman. His story has really always appealed to me.
The last chapter I get to do ties the story all up. Each chapter is seven pages and then I have seven pages at the end to tie it all together and explain what happens to them happens. Who was behind it? Why did these heroes have to team-up? What’s the conclusion to the story?
Can you share any details about the overarching story?
There’s a Big Bad and all of these heroes are put in these pairings and a situation. At first, they don’t know why they are together. But as the story plays out, they realize why they have been put together and realize they must defeat whatever has been put in front of them so they can eventually get out of this thing that they’re in. It’s sort of like “Labyrinth,” where they have to run this course and get through to the end so they can take on the Big Bad.
As a Co-Executive producer on “Supernatural” with an upper case “S,” you’re no stranger to telling stories with a supernatural, lower case “s,” twist. Is that what landed you this gig with DC Comics?
Yeah, I think so. This story in particular does have a lot of supernatural elements. That was sort of the idea of me being offered this book was to sort of bring that supernatural element to it. But with that said, being a long-time “Justice League of America” reader, I think there have always been supernatural elements used in these stories. I went back and read some of the stories from the past, and there was a lot of stuff with the Spectre and Zatanna. I’m just taking a lot of the stuff that’s been laid out before and doing another version of it. I don’t think I’m introducing supernatural to DC Comics or JLA. I think there is a rich history of it already.
The artists on “JLA 80-Page Giant” are relative newcomers to American comics and many, if not all, are European. Does that give the book a particular feel?
There are so many great American artists, so I don’t want to knock on them because I think those guys are just amazing. But what I really like about these European artists is that they are just so hungry and they have just such a love of American comics. They grew up reading them and have a great understanding of them. When you see our book, this will probably make a little more sense to you, but the framing of our story comes from a classic European tale. I think what happens is because of that the European artists were actually perfect for this book.
Comics have just become so international and there are just so many great artists from all over the world. Look at Joe Prado from Brazil. It’s just awesome to see all the international artists and show how much comic books now stretch the boundaries of everything: culture, class, everything. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, white or black, Catholic, Jewish. Everyone loves them. So it was really cool to see everybody’s interpretations of our characters.
I know you’re sworn to secrecy, but I have to ask you about your involvement in this summer’s, “Flashpoint” writing the three-issue “Legion of Doom” miniseries. Were you a fan of the animated “Super Friends” back in the day?
Look, I’m super excited to be a part of something as big as “Flashpoint.” It’s just awesome. To be working with Geoff Johns, one of the best comic book writers in the last 10-20 years, is just amazing. The whole series features so many great writers and great artists. It’s going to be huge, and what a way to jump in! It’s funny, because I’ve been doing work for Marvel and hopefully I can do some more with them down the line, but to get into DC and first do Justice League and then Legion of Doom is fulfilling a childhood dream.
You asked and yes, I grew up with “Super Friends” with the Darth Vader head in the middle of the swamp and Ted Knight delivering his signature line, “Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice.” So, yeah, when they asked me if I wanted it, I was like, “Oh yeah, I’m in.” When they started telling me what their plans were for it, it was a no-brainer.
You’ve been working on “Supernatural” for Warner Bros. for some time now, and this looks like the start of a beautiful relationship with DC Comics. Can we expect some more projects from you at DC?
Yes, we’re talking about a lot of other stuff. Right now I’m just focusing on making “Legion of Doom” awesome and kick-ass and I think after that there will definitely be some more stuff. As I said, there have already been a few things we’ve talked about here and there.
Look, everyone wants to write Batman, so don’t get me wrong — if the opportunity ever came, I would jump on it in a minute. But I think, even the stuff I did over at Marvel was Deadpool and Luke Cage. And when I started with Deadpool, he wasn’t as huge as he is now. I like the second-tier, third-tier characters. I would do a Ragman in a minute. Those are the types of characters I would love to explore, I’d really like to take some of DC’s second and third-tier characters and find ways to bring them into the mainstream.
Did the fact that you’re writing “Supernatural” play into you writing for DC Comics at all? Like some type of corporate synergy? Or was this flat-out a relationship you developed at a con?
Look, I have to be honest, at the end of the day, did it hurt? Probably not. But I didn’t feel it all. Warner Bros. is a great company and I’ve been working with them for a long time, so I’m glad to find another way to keep working with them. One day I’d love to create a TV show or a movie for Warner Bros. Writers, the more we can do different types of writing, the better. I want to write until I draw my last breath. That’s what I do and that’s why I keep doing all of these different things, because they all feed into each other.
But to get back to original question, I think it’s two-fold. I’ve done some stuff with Marvel, so I had some comic book credibility. And I have written for a genre show and “Cold Case” and some procedural stuff for Warner Bros., so I think I’ve finally gotten to a place where this makes sense. While I don’t think it hurt, I don’t think because I worked for Warner Bros. is what closed the deal.
“JLA 80-Page Giant 2011” is scheduled to hit stores on April 6
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