INTERVIEW: Mystery is Part of the Fun in Justice League/Black Hammer

The crimefighters from the past meet the superheroes of the present, but it's not the crossover you might have expected. Instead of digging into its own past, DC has teamed with Dark Horse Comics to bring the Justice League and the cast of Black Hammer together.

Ahead of the series' debut on Wednesday, July 10, the book's two creators, Jeff Lemire and drawn by Michael Walsh, took some time to talk with CBR about Justice League/Black Hammer: Hammer of Justice, and what fans can expect when DC's most famous superteazm crosses paths with one of Dark Horse's newest.

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CBR: Are you able to tell us more about the story of this miniseries? How do the worlds of Black Hammer and the DC Universe come together, and how do the two groups interact with each other?

Jeff Lemire: The mystery of how they come together is part of the fun of reading, so I really don't want to get too plot specific here, but I have always loved the DC universe. I've written extensively for DC before I went off to focus more on creator-owned work and build the Black Hammer universe. So, the chance to now bring these two passions of mine together was too much fun to pass up.

Michael Walsh: There are a bunch of great characters, and they meet, and some of them fight, and it's really fun. Jeff, as always, really brings a bunch of great character moments and nuance to the book.

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Going in, what should DC fans know about the cast of Black Hammer, and do they have to read anything in preparation for the crossover? For Black Hammer fans, will this story carry over anywhere else once it's completed?

Lemire: I was very conscious of making this as "new reader friendly" as possible. This first issue (and the series) are totally accessible to anyone who hasn't read any Black Hammer books yet. I tried to make it a great introduction to the Black Hammer universe and the DC Universe at the same time. Having said that, it will be rewarding to long-time Black Hammer fans, too, and not retread old ground.

Walsh: As a fan of the Black Hammer universe already, it was absolutely thrilling to read the scripts for these issues. There are some great callbacks for readers of the original Black Hammer series, but it's also completely accessible for anyone new to the franchise.

What is Black Hammer co-creator Dean Ormston’s level of involvement in this project? How has it been working with Michael Walsh after having partnered with Ormston for the majority of your Black Hammer run?

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Lemire: Dean has always been the artist on the main Black Hammer series, and that certainly won't change. But since I've expanded the universe and done so many spin-offs, I've had a chance to work with a lot of incredible artists and see their interpretation of this world too. Dean has been very supportive of that as well.

Working with Michael has been a blast. I have been a big fan of his since his work on X-Files, and he actually lives very close to me, so it was nice to be able to finally work together. Michael's work on this book is incredible, and he is coloring it all himself, too. It's thrilling not only to see him draw Black Hammer characters for the first time but DC characters too.

Michael, how are you approaching this project and these characters? Black Hammer has largely been defined by Ormston’s art. Does this fact inform the lines and colors of your work?

Walsh: Jeff and Dark Horse have been really receptive to me doing my own thing. There's been a cornucopia of talent on the variant covers, and on the Black Hammer limited series, I love to see all the different takes on this world and am honored to contribute something new and unique. I'm also a huge fan of Ormston's work and tried to stick pretty close to his character models while still maintaining my own distinct storytelling and personality.

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In the colors, I've really been stretching some new techniques mixing textural, moody work with big bombastic super-heroic effects. With the DC stuff, I really tried to stay as close to the character models as possible and work within the established parameters of the DC universe.

Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice #1, by Jeff Lemire and Michael Walsh, goes on sale July 10.

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