Lemire and Lindelof "Time Warp" with Rip Hunter

After reviving classic anthology series like "Strange Adventures," "Ghosts" and "Young Romance," Vertigo announced in December that the DC Comics' imprint would publish the science-fiction anthology "Time Warp" #1 in March.

The 80-page one-shot features short stories by an indie-infused lineup of creators including Damon Lindelof, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Toby Litt, Mark Buckingham, Dan Abnett, Peter Milligan, Ray Fawkes, Simon Spurrier, Gail Simone, Rafael Albuquerque and Tom Fowler.

Lemire ("Animal Man," "Justice League Dark") and Lindelof, who co-created "Lost" with J.J. Abrams and Jeffrey Lieber and co-wrote the upcoming feature film "Star Trek Into Darkness," partnered last year for DC Comics' "Legends of the Dark Knight" digital series, telling an eight-page story featuring Alfred Pennyworth teaching young Bruce Wayne a lesson about crimefighting.

This time, Lemire revealed via Twitter that he and Lindelof are teaming on a short story about time master Rip Hunter, who first appeared in "Showcase" #20 in 1959 in a story by Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira.

Lindelof and Lemire have been tight since meeting in 2009 after the Hollywood heavyweight tweeted favorably about Lemire's creator-owned Vertigo series, "Sweet Tooth." The two became friends, which led to Lindelof writing the introduction to Lemire's critically acclaimed graphic novel, "The Underwater Welder."

Tomorrow, CBR News will present the first half of an exclusive conversation between Lemire and Lindelof about the end of "Sweet Tooth," which closes this week with its 40th and final issue. In the meantime, enjoy some bonus material from the interview, in which the two discuss their upcoming collaboration for "Time Warp."

CBR News: After Vertigo announced "Time Warp," Jeff revealed via Twitter that the pair of you are telling a Rip Hunter story. I realize it's early still -- and your story's only eight pages -- but what can you share about it?

Jeff Lemire: There's not too much to say just yet because we're just putting the story together.

Damon Lindelof: We've had very preliminary discussions about what kind of a time travel story we want to tell. Obviously, when you are doing a story that is short and sweet, it's just an appetizer. It's not an entree so we have to limit ourselves.

But one of the things that I learned working with Jeff on the Batman story that we did is that I have to try and think graphically in my head, in terms of what's going to give him some really, really cool things to draw. And I promise not to disappoint in that arena. But considering that he's twice the storyteller I am, I will lean very heavily upon his sensitivities of what the story is going to be, as well. I am really looking forward to the collaboration.

Lemire: Me too. I think it's going to be great.

You refer to this as an appetizer, and I've asked you both this question before, separately, but now that I have you both here together: When are we going to get an entree from the two of you? A full-scale collaboration on something longer than an eight-page comic book story?

Lemire: We're both so busy, so it's tough, but I would always be open, if we found the time, to develop something new together, whether it be in comics or some other medium. I think it would be really fun to work with Damon on something really big.

Lindelof: I would say that is something that I definitely want to have happen, especially if it's happening outside of the comic book world. It would be fun to do a graphic novel together, but if we were to do some kind of limited TV series or we had an idea for a movie that we wanted to do together -- I think it's important for Jeff to make his name in that space too.

As grateful as I am to J.J. [Abrams] for basically giving me my break, it was very early in my creative career. I think Jeff is much further along in terms of how he's developed as an artist and I wouldn't want it to be, "Damon Lindelof and this other guy are writing a movie together." Which is what it would be, because he's not really a brand yet outside of the comic book world. But when you look at the work that he is doing in the comic book world, I have no doubt that once he starts working in other media, he's going to be every bit as successful. When we partner, we'll be viewed as partners, which is exactly what it will be. Maybe it's three or four years down the line, but it is definitely going to be something that will happen. At least, that's what I hope.

Lemire: I hope so too.

How did you decide on featuring Rip Hunter in this story?

Lemire: Honestly, I'd done that Ultra the Multi-Alien story for another Vertigo anthology, where I kind of took another really obscure DC character and revisited him, and Mark Doyle, my editor, asked me if I could do the same thing for Rip Hunter just to give them a time travel story.

And correct me if I'm wrong, Damon, but you'd never really heard of Rip Hunter before we proposed this to you, right?

Lindelof: Yes, that's right. I'd never heard of him at all, and that was both tremendously intimidating and also exciting. Again, I feel like when you take characters that people haven't firmly imprinted on their mind, but they actually have existed through the years, and you try to retrofit a new story out of them, you actually have an opportunity like what Grant [Morrison] did with "Animal Man" and what Jeff is now doing on "Animal Man" where you are honoring the past but you're coming up with an entirely new angle to basically say, "This character actually deserves your attention." But the challenge for us to do that in eight pages is pretty exciting.

Lemire: I love doing that. It's the same reason I much prefer doing books like "Animal Man" or Rip Hunter than getting a chance to write Batman or Superman, because it's just so much more open. You can't really change [the big characters] too much at this point. You can add a little bit here and there, but the basic core has to stay.

Lindelof: Yeah -- God forbid you want Bruce Wayne to have a cocktail. [Laughs]

Lemire: [Laughs] Exactly! But a character like Rip Hunter is so open, we can really start all over again. That's a lot more exciting to write!

Check back with CBR News tomorrow for the first part of our exclusive presentation of Jeff Lemire and Damon Lindelof's discussion of "Sweet Tooth," which has come to its epic conclusion with the release of its 40th issue.

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