Alex Ross & Jim Krueger interview

 height=(WoW JUL 08)

Alex Ross and Jim Krueger have worked together on such books as Marvel's Avengers/Invaders and Earth X, DC's Justice, and D.E.'s Project Superpowers. This month, they collaborate on D.E.'s Black Terror. They recently told Westfield's Roger Ash about this new series.

Westfield: For those who don't know him, who is the Black Terror?

Alex Ross: One of the coolest and slickest-looking heroes from the '40s - the pre-Punisher. Black Terror was one of many strongman heroes with a sidekick with the same costume who cut an impressive figure in an otherwise Day-Glo-colored world of superheroes in the '40s.

Jim Krueger: He's probably one of the first heroes that dressed like a villain. One of the first to push the boundaries of what people could expect a hero to look like. Plus, he wore the skull.

Back in the day, he was a druggist who created a certain combination of herbs and medicines together to create a formula that made him super strong. We're sort of messing with that formula now, especially in this limited series.

Back in the 40s, he was mild-mannered. But really, mild-mannered doesn't play so well anymore. Where's the passion in mild-mannered, you know?

For the Black Terror, though, it's about to get a lot worse for him. His response to the events to come in the limited series, as readers have seen so far in Project Superpowers, will be the opposite of mild-mannered.

 height=Westfield: What can you tell us about the new series? Any story hints?

Ross: Black Terror does what I believe a moral superhero would do if thrust into the complicated world of our present day America. He seeks out justice and responsibility from the highest authorities within the free world.

Krueger: A big part of what he's going to be doing in this limited series is dealing with the fact that the ol' red, white, and blue is not nearly as white as it used to be. And that this fight is not nearly as black and white as he thought it was. Part of what launches this story is his search for his ward, Tim.

What I think is important about how this is different than other "hero from the past" type stories is that it is not just the world that has changed. The Black Terror has changed as well. The limited series is as much about who he is as it is about him going up against the president (that's a hint, right?)

Westfield: How do you two work together?

Ross: I tell Jim what to write and he writes it. No, really. Let Jim set the record straight.

Krueger: Well, Alex is the top ten Wizard writer for his work on Avengers/Invaders... The irony, or the other side of the coin I suppose, is that on Justice, in my scripts, I told Alex what to draw. So, it's a pretty even match up.

 height=Westfield: You're working with a number of older characters here and in Project Superpowers. What is the appeal of these characters for you?

Ross: I like simple prototype superhero designs and knowing that these are some of the earliest characters makes them an intriguing counterpoint to the most well-known classic superheroes.

Krueger: Working with the initial creations, the beginning players in the battle for good and evil, makes for stories that are more primal and emotional. Plus, to a degree, these characters have a place in the pantheon, the history of comics. So when we do really terrible and evil things to them, it means more.

Westfield: Are there any other projects you're working on that you'd like to mention?

Ross: A one-shot of Kingdom Come Superman for this year's end that is part of the conclusion to my Justice Society of America Kingdom Come storyline.

Krueger: I just finished a giant graphic novel for Fox Atomic that I'm really proud of, have an issue of Buffy Season 8 that I'm writing, and a Serenity story for MDHP that'll go up on MySpace soon. There's also Tomo (eight books all together) which I write for some buddies out of Disney for the faith based Zondervan Manga line. I have Clockmaker to finish (all drawn, colored, and lettered). And the same goes for Dracula Vs. Capone.

There's more, not all of it in comics, but nothing I can officially mention yet.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Ross: Please give to the ASPCA. Animals are better than people.

Krueger: Wouldn't that be the AABTP?

Anyhow, yes, give to the ASPCA, but not all animals are better than all people. Lassie is, I suppose. Mighty Joe Young is great, too, especially the old one, but he wasn't real either, so that shouldn't count. The monkeys that went on those early space missions are pretty up there, too, I think.

But Shamu the whale? I'm better than Shamu.

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