Chuck Kim and the Return of the 80-Page Giant

Reintroducing its classic, extra-sized issues, DC Comics is releasing "Justice League of America 80-Page Giant" on September 30, returning to a tradition the publisher began in 1964 with "Superman 80-Page Giant" #1.

Originally, the 'Giant' issues showcased DC icons like Superman, Batman and The Flash and contained reprinted material, specifically from the Golden Age. Following a successful run through the sixties and seventies, the specials were put on ice for nearly two decades. Then, from 1998 to 2003, a second wave of 80-Page Giant specials flourished in the marketplace.

DC is looking to re-create the magic once again with the release of three 80-Page Giant specials this fall with the first coming this week. With a "Justice Society of America" edition scheduled for November and a "Batman" one slated for December, "Justice League of America 80-Page Giant" hits stores this week.

Writers, including Chuck Kim, Josh Williamson and Rich Fogel, are teaming up with artists like Mahmud Asrar and Adrian Syaf to tell a massive tale starring legacy JLA villain, Epoch, who first appeared in "Justice League of America" #10 in 1962, and the Time Commander, another classic DCU supervillain who first appeared in "The Brave and The Bold" #59 in 1965. The new 80-Page Giant also features appearances by Superman, Dr. Light, Samurai, Green Lantern, Red Arrow, Cinnamon, Green Arrow, Firestorm, Bride of Frankenstein, John Stewart, Vixen and the Shining.

CBR News spoke with Kim, whose career has spanned editing James Robinson and Tony Harris' "Starman" to most recently working as a writer on NBC's "Heroes," about the project, and learned the writer couldn't be happier about his assignment and more importantly, what DC characters he was able to include in his story.

CBR News: How did you get involved in this project? Was this a story you pitched, or did DC come to you?

Chuck Kim: DC came to me. [Editor] Eddie Berganza pitched me on writing part of the issue. Without revealing too much, it's a very classic Silver age-y story concept, which are among my favorite sort of comics to read. I love stories with scads of characters, and this one definitely has that. So I jumped at the chance. Eddie's been very good to me over the years, and we've remained great friends since we were both working together in DCU editorial. Plus, he always puts out great stuff and really allows his creative teams a lot of freedom. So when the stars align and we have the chance to work together, I'm always very eager to do so.

Have you been trying to get back to the Justice League since you wrote the "JLA Showcase 80-Page Giant" in 2000?

Honestly, that would be a pretty lofty goal. This is DC's flagship title in many ways, its best and brightest characters all lumped into one book. I just consider it an honor to get to be a part of even a tiny bit of its history. So no, no plotting to get back in, just giddy to be asked.

Do you have a favorite JLAer?

Actually, no, I have favorite writers, not characters. I tend to pick up books based on their creative teams and less on the super heroes. Batman as a character I can leave or take, but Grant Morrison on Batman? I'm so there. In fact, I was completely thrilled when I got permission to use a character in the "JLA Giant" that Grant created.

That being said, I'm a total sucker for certain villains, like the Injustice Gang. It must be a Legion of Doom/"Challenge of the Super Friends" thing.

What can you tell us about your story in "Justice League of America 80-Page Giant?" Who are the featured JLAers? And the villains?

Hmm... I hate spoilers. What I can tell you is that most of the characters are on the cover. There's a whole gaggle of them. There are a few writer/artist teams in the Giant, and in mine, I used Green Arrow and Firestorm. And that Grant Morrison character. And a very cool villain. I wasn't even sure I'd get to use him, but I figured I'd roll the dice anyway. And I got him.

Does your story tie into what's been going on with the current, ongoing "Justice League of America" series written by Dwayne McDuffie, Len Wein and James Robinson?

No - this does tie into certain events, but I don't think it's too tied to those stories.

What did you think about the news that James Robinson was coming onboard as the new ongoing writer of "Justice League of America?"

I can't wait to see what he does. I got to work with James on "Starman" years ago, and the guy is amazing. He really knows how to make these characters live and breathe. He's definitely one of the best comic book writers working today. So as a reader, I'm very excited.

Are you co-writing your story with Josh Williamson and/or Rich Fogel or do you each have separate stories?

We each had our own stories. Eddie gave me tidbits and teases of the other writers' stories, and they sound just so fun. I really like being surprised, so I just found out enough to make sure my story wasn't too much like their stories. That's my biggest fear. That and showing up to school for final exams and suddenly realizing I never attended a single class - in my underwear.

What artist are you working with on the project? What can you say about his work?

His name is Justin Norman and he's just great. He's great with action, but his faces also convey a lot of emotion. And the colors really bring out the mood as well. I feel very lucky.

I understand you're not back on "Heroes" this season. Was this a mutual decision?

It was all very friendly and no hurt feelings, no "defriending" on Facebook or anything like that. I know some of the stuff planned, so I'm actually looking very forward to watching the new season as a viewer and getting to be surprised along with everyone else.

What else are you working on?

Right now I'm working on some of my own original ideas, some on my own, some in collaboration. I really don't want to say anything more because I'm very superstitious I would never want to jinx myself. I'm also pitching some comic ideas that I've had for years and just have never been able to let go of. Again, jinx and all that stuff. But if it gets the green light, you'll be the first to know.

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