Jeff Smith Interview

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(WoW #296)

Jeff Smith is the popular creator of Bone. For his first project since completing Bone, Jeff brings us Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil from DC. Westfield's Roger Ash contacted Jeff Smith to learn more about this project.

Westfield: What about doing a Shazam project appealed to you?

 height=Jeff Smith: The character is one of the few I really liked as a kid. And until just recently in the DC mega cross-over, Captain Marvel hasn't had much done with him - leaving him unspoiled in the modern world of grim and gritty heroes. The other reason Shazam appealed to me is that I thought the first thing I do after Bone should be completely different and unexpected.

Westfield: How much is this mini-series related to the original story of the same name?

Smith: Pretty much in name only. I mean, the original serial is nearly legendary in comics circles; the first truly long form story in comic book format. It was serialized over two and a half years or something like that. But when I sat down and went through the old comics, it was awful. The thing is unreadable! Modern audiences would never accept such a goofy story, so I cherry picked all the cool things I liked and built a new book.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the story? What characters are appearing in the book.

 height=Smith: The story really centers on Billy finding out that he has a sister - a sister that he didn't know about - and the adventures he has trying to find her and bring his family back together. Dr. Sivana is in the story, of course, and Talky Tawny - you know me - a talking tiger? That's the main reason I took the gig! Mr. Mind is behind the Monster Society of Evil, just like he is in the original, but I have to warn old time fans, I am making some changes to that character. I can't say any more than that, but well, I had to do something - so fair warning.

Westfield: When does this take place in Billy Batson's career as Shazam?

 height=Smith: Shortly after the Wizard has given him the magic word. In fact, Billy is still a bit unsure of who Captain Marvel and Talky Tawny really are. I had a lot more fun with Billy than any of the other characters. Except maybe Mary. The two together are a lot of fun.

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

Smith: A science fiction project is coming together now, but some of the ideas are still a little far out. I'm still trying to get a handle on it.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Smith: Shazam!