BLUEJACKET: Pulp Hero Meets Global Economy

"Hawaiian Dick" writer B. Clay Moore, together with "'76" co-creator Seth Peck and illustrator Chris Samnee, is bringing a new action hero to life in September. But is Bluejacket more Doc Savage or Donald Trump? CBR News spoke with Moore about "Bluejacket," which premieres as a short story in "Pulp Tales," a one-shot from BOOM! Studios benefiting comics artist Josh Medors as he battles with cancer.

"Bluejacket is a guy who used his fists and the help of some specialized experts (his 'Men of Adventure') to battle crime back in the thirties," B. Clay Moore told CBR News. "At some point, he ran into something that turned him blue and seems to have extended his life well beyond normal--a story yet to be told."

By virtue of his uncommon longevity, Bluejacket came to establish a Bluejacket "brand," originally designed only to support his crime-fighting activities. "His fight against evil has blossomed over the decades into a huge corporation, which provides support, but also exists to turn a profit on the Bluejacket name," explained Moore. "Bluejacket merchandise (toys, cereal, clothes), Bluejacket-related media (books, comics, movies, cartoons), Bluejacket theme parks...all of these are overseen by Bluejacket, Inc., and their current CEO, former Bluejacket kid sidekick Rusty Haynes. The first Bluejacket series will examine what happens when business intrudes on adventure."

Moore indicated that, perhaps not surprisingly, the hero's business responsibilities would intrude more and more as the corporation grew. "In recent years, Bluejacket has found himself spending more time on the business end than he'd originally intended, and he's working to get back out in the field with his Men of Adventure," he said. "Over the course of seven decades, a lot guys have worn the "Men of Adventure" tag, but his current crew is perhaps the sharpest ever, and includes the very first female Man of Adventure, Dr. Nicole Shaw."

The short story in "Pulp Tales" will be an ultra-compressed action-adventure, according to the writer. "The idea behind the book is to jump into the middle of a two-fisted pulp style tale, so what we've done is jumped in toward the end of a Bluejacket adventure," Moore said. "In the space of a few pages, we introduce Bluejacket's supporting crew (his 'Men of Adventure,' including one woman), wrap up a tale involving an Aztec were-jaguar, and meet the Bluejacket board of directors. Chris handled all of the art and color, and it's just beautiful stuff. Wait until you see the Bluejacket trophy room."

The writer also revealed that, while readers will be meeting Bluejacket for the first time in September, the character's history and modern adventures have been in development for some time. "Seth Peck ('Sorrow,' ''76') and I have been kicking the idea around for a couple of years now," Moore said. "We wanted to create something with wild ideas and crazy fun concepts that we could just have a lot of fun with. We're both fans of books like 'Hellboy,' as well as classic adventure heroes, and we thought it would be fun to do something in that vein, but cranked up to eleven. Seth's brain is like a soft pink file cabinet for crazy ideas, and I often lean on him when I need to insert something clever and fun into a story."

Moore continued, "We'd originally started developing the character with artist and pal Kalman Andrasofskzy, but Kalman never really felt connected with the character, and soon became swamped with other work (like 'NYX' for Marvel), so we approached Chris Samnee about taking over. Chris is a fan of fun adventure comics, and has been itching to draw something more action-oriented, after doing a lot of 'real world' stuff for Oni, Vertigo and DC. He designed the cast, and is now as much a co-creator as Seth or I."

"Bluejacket" is debuting in a short story in BOOM! Studios' "Pulp Tales" anthology, but Moore said that further plans for the series have not yet been finalized. "BOOM! isn't publishing the series, but it was Mark Waid's suggestion that we debut the character in the 'Pulp Tales' anthology, since it seemed to fit the theme, and would serve as a great intro to the character," he said. "As for when the 'Bluejacket' book might debut, we're not completely sure at this point. Best guess is early 2009."

Moore was also happy to include the "Bluejacket" short in "Pulp Tales" as a show of support for fellow creator Josh Medors, who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. BOOM! is donating all proceeds from the comic to Medors and his family to help with medical bills. "As a full-time freelance creator, I can certainly sympathize with Josh's situation," Moore said. "And Seth and Chris agreed it was the perfect place to introduce Bluejacket, in the name of a good cause. Dan Taylor is editing the project, and a couple of friends are also doing stories in the book, so we feel right at home."

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