Yo Joe? Raskin talks 'Industry of War'

[Industry of War]After a successful premiere at the Wizard World convention in Philadelphia earlier this year, Jordan Raskin's "Industry of War" story, which serves as a back up to industry veteran Mark Texeira's "Psycthe" 2 part mini-series, is set to debut in early 2003. Each story will be 15 pages in black and white, hearkening back to the "Batman: Black & White" mini-series and more recently, Dave Lapham's "Stray Bullets," and Raskin found some time to speak to CBR exclusively about his newest creative venture.

When it comes down to revealing the little secrets behind the series, Raskin is loathe to go into much detail but he definitely has his sights set on whetting the appetites of fans. "I don't want to go into too much detail because I've got to leave something for the readers to find out for themselves," Raskin told CBR News. "This story is told in such a way that information is given out at specific moments over time to make you want to know what happens next. To give it away now would make the book become a why bother. As for what the book is about overall- well that's easy. Two undercover military agents hunt down missing experimental bio-symbiotic weaponry created for the foot soldier, which mistakenly gets into the hands of the general public. Their 'official' orders are to save innocents if possible, but keep the situation from the media spotlight at all costs. During the course of their detective work, the agents discover the latest weapon on their list was programmed with an assassination mission during the gulf war, just prior to it being shelved for it's malfunctioning design. Years later, it's mistakenly found by a newly 'reformed' ex-gang member recently released from prison. It drives him insane with the desire to complete it's long awaited mission while protecting him from various gangs who want him dead. The agents must track him down and stop him, investigate the details of the assassination plot, all while uncovering the origins of the weapons and the conspiracy behind them."

[ ]This isn't just another sci-fi/conspiracy story, as Raskin contends, this is a story with a deeper meaning. "In a word, morality," says the writer of the main theme being explored in "Industry of War." "While this story has a sci-fi foundation, at its core is the more human story of Eddie Vierra. He's been thrust into a severe situation not of his choosing and when push comes to shove, we'll see what kind of a man he really is. Is he really a reformed ex gang member? Can a leopard change it's spots? Can morality be learned later in life? It's a question, I've found, most people have to answer at least one point in their life. Granted, not with these extreme situations." Raskin smiles and adds, "But hey, it's the situation that makes it more exciting, right?"

The whole idea behind "Industry of War" was actually born out of a friendship and a television program on storage costs, an unlikely combination to ignite the imagination if there ever were one. "Well this story is actually co-written by myself and my high school chum, Andrew Lelling," reveals Raskin. "Andy and I used to play role playing games back in high school and we had some amazing chemistry when it came to brainstorming plots. So I tapped him from his mundane everyday existence as an attorney (I hope he's reading this). As far as the origins, I actually came up with the idea while watching a 60 minutes episode on the costly storage of dated supplies from wars long over. It got my imagination going and I took it from there. I could have written this by myself, but I'm more interested in putting together the better story and I've found two heads are better than one. Yes, it's all about making the fans happy! Again, that's all I can say because I don't want to give the story away for the readers."

[ ]However, one story that he can give away to readers is that of how he met Mark Texeira. "Oh Mark and I have known each other for a long time now. We met back in the early 90's when Ray Lago (fantastic painter and illustrator) and I shared a studio space in Manhattan. Tex stopped by with a mutual friend of ours on their way back from the Marvel offices and we've kept in touch every since. It was Mark's idea for us to do this project together. He's wanted to produce something creator owned for a while now and the timing was just right for both of us."

Jordan Raskin isn't quite a household name among comic book fans, but he does have a quite diverse professional comic book background. "Well I don't have a huge history in comics so I'm always amazed and flattered when anyone says they know my work. My brief work in comics comprises of 'Predator: Race War' for Dark Horse, 'RipClaw' one-shot for Image, 'Dixie Snakeyes' for Penthouse Comix, 'Batman' and 'Batman Chronicles' for DC. I spent an equal amount of time working in advertising and animation (which pays better!). I've been the Background Designer for 'Courage the Cowardly Dog' for Cartoon Network and I'm currently the Background Designer for the new upcoming re-launch of 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.' In between that, I'll be working on my book. I'll be putting up more sneak peek work from my book on my Web site when I get the opportunity."

[ ]As previously mentioned, Raskin's story is a backup to a two-part mini series and while some may think that the story ends right there, the scribe explains that doesn't have to be the case. "Well that's really up to the fans and retailers to decide," concedes Raskin. "Mark and I tentatively want to do these two issues together for the launch to see what kind of response we get. But it really boils down to sales. If we make enough to continue to pay our bills while we work on future issues, then we'll keep it going. Like I said, my story is based on a completed screenplay so I have a tremendous amount of material to draw from. I can keep this going for at least 10 issues, if I can afford to. After all, there is more than one weapon system missing and each individual weapon is a different story with a different set of circumstances and different characters."

For more on the Mark Texeira's "Pscythe," click here.

CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland contributed to this story.

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