JMS to Dive Headfirst into DC Universe

While it's still early in convention season, the biggest news thus far was arguably the WonderCon announcement in February that superstar writer J. Michael Straczynski ("Amazing Spider-Man," "Babylon 5") – a Marvel-exclusive creator for many years-- was coming to play in the DC Comics sandbox.

Known to his fans as JMS, the writer chose not to re-sign as a Marvel exclusive earlier this year, and announced in San Francisco that his first work with DC would be released later in 2008. On Monday, solicitations for DC's June titles were released and there was no sign of JMS. Instead of waiting for another four weeks for the July solicitations, CBR News contacted the fan favorite for an update.

JMS told CBR News, "In my talks with [DCU Executive Editor] Dan [DiDio], the writing on the project they want me to do would start probably July, so it won't come out until the fall, most likely."

And while JMS said it was still too early to reveal what titles he will be working on, he did share a few details. "I'm not at liberty to divulge [which titles] at this time," teased JMS. "What I can say, in general, is that I'll be starting on one established title in July, and folding into a new title that would be launched in early 2009 that will be very highly visible."

JMS also shared that both titles are ongoing and "set inside the DC Universe."

As CBR News was fishing for more clues, what better place to start then with Aquaman, perhaps the most classic DCU character currently without his own solo series. However, when asked if would have any interest in telling Aquaman's story, specifically the return of Orin, JMS responded, "Not at this time." Although he added that Aquaman does have a place in DCU. "Absolutely, he does. It's a matter of finding a setting that maximizes his potential as a character," offered JMS, who is currently writing Marvel's otherworldly warrior, "Thor."

Sticking with returns, we next asked JMS about The Flash and once again, with one version in mind, Barry Allen. "I'd love to bring back Barry," said JMS. "To me, a Silver Age guy, he will forever be the guy I think of when I think of The Flash."

With Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern all currently in the hands of some of DC's biggest writers, we ventured one more hypothetical, the remaining member of the Big 7, also currently without his own book, the Martian Manhunter. To which JMS responded simply, "Could be interesting."

One character JMS does not hide his feelings for is the granddaddy of them all, the Man of Steel. "Superman has always been my number one iconic hero," said JMS. "My house is filled to the rafters with Superman stuff, from books to statues, to collectibles and memorabilia. You name it, particularly of the Curt Swan/George Reeves variety.

"As a kid from the streets, without a lot of options growing up, the idea of someone who could do anything, who could fly where he wanted, and nothing could hurt him, was very attractive," continued JMS. ""I grew up a DC kid for the most part, though I also loved a lot of what Marvel was doing. So it would be fun to play in the larger elements of that particular pond."

JMS said the major difference, he sees, between DC and Marvel is that DC characters always seemed to be "somehow the slicker of the two, more polished and less rough-hewn, less prone to self-doubt. And there's something to be said for both approaches."

The creator of the Hugo Award-winning "Babylon 5" television series also revealed that he had at the moment no "specific" plans to expand that particular universe within his new arrangement with DC, a publisher that has released canonical B5 stories in the past.

JMS also has two creator-owned books forthcoming from Image Comics, "Final Justice" and "Ten Grand." Explained the writer, "'Final Justice,' which is a revised title, is a somewhat conventional superhero universe with a very unconventional approach behind the lead character while 'Ten Grand' is a semi-supernatural story with a very film noir, 'Sin City' kind of vibe.

"[The Clint Eastwood-directed, Angelina Jolie-starring vehicle] 'Changeling' wrapped and is slated for November and I'm putting the final touches to 'World War Z' so Paramount can take it into prep. And I'm waiting for word on 'They Marched Into Sunlight' in terms of putting the script into prep for Tom Hanks' company. I've also placed two major projects with studios in the last week, which I hope to announce soon."

CBR News asked JMS if he could provide any teases about his lone remaining, ongoing Marvel series, the top-selling "Thor," to which he responded, "He is not a Skrull."

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