Booster Gold finally makes his return to the DC Universe this week in Action Comics #993. And Dan Jurgens, the character’s creator, gets to write and draw the action. Booster is featured in this week’s issue, as well as Action Comics #994, in the two-part story arc “Booster Shot.”
Speaking with CBR, Jurgens teased details about the time-traveling story arc. He also looked back to Booster’s secret origin, and how a breakfast with then-DC Comics Executive Editor Dick Giordano turned into the arrival of one of the most popular new heroes of the ’80s. And, with the release of the landmark 1,000th issue of Action Comics just months away, Jurgens also shared his excitement for the project. He’ll be co-writing the once-in-a-lifetime event (edited by Paul Levitz) with Peter Tomasi, Geoff Johns and Superman director Richard Donner.
CBR News: Since Booster Gold is the DC Universe’s pre-eminent time traveling superhero, take us back to 1986 when you first introduced Michael Jon Carter to comic book readers. Let’s start with his name. Is it a nod to John Carter of Mars?
Dan Jurgens: It is really nothing more than a coincidence. While I certainly liked the ERB John Carter of Mars stuff, it wasn’t any kind of conscious decision. I went with it more for the sense of rhythm it had than anything.
When you first brought him to your editor Janice Race, did you know what you had with Booster Gold? Or did you pitch him to someone else at DC Comics?
Oh, Booster was pitched in a very different way. I was actually at a convention in Dallas late in 1985 and was set to have breakfast with [former DC Comics Executive Editor] Dick Giordano one morning.
During the course of that breakfast, Dick asked me what I’d like to do next. We talked about a couple of things, and for a bit it looked like I’d be moving on to Batman. But then I said, “I want to write more. And I have this idea…” At which point, I started to lay out the general idea for Booster Gold.
Dick went for it on the spot. He basically said, “Get me something in writing – a paragraph will do. But we’ll do this.” It basically became a reality that quickly.
What did you like about Booster as a concept? Are (and were) you surprised by his popularity more than 30 years since his debut? Readers seem genuinely stoked that he’s making his return to the DC Universe.I thought he’d fit the DCU because he was different than most anyone else he had. He was also of the time, in that celebrity culture was being elevated through things like People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight. Things were changing a bit, and I always thought that, like athletes, movie stars and more, that a hero might play that to his advantage. As for how people are reacting to his return, yeah, it’s nice to see. I hope they like the story.
Booster also enjoyed a magical run in Justice League International in the ’80s alongside Blue Beetle, Batman and Mister Miracle. Why does Booster work so well within a team dynamic? Will we see some of that with Superman in Action Comics? This is a pretty serious storyline, as the Man of Steel continues to prove once and for all if Oz’s story is true.
Characters with different or extreme personalities tend to work well in group books because it helps them stand apart. Booster, Blue Beetle and Guy Gardner were classic examples of that.
As for how well Booster and Superman work together in Action, well… what if they don’t?
Given Superman’s mission, which is to go back in the past to see if Jor-El really survived Krypton’s destruction and Booster’s decision to get involved, it seems reasonable to assume that there might be some conflict between them. And Superman may not care for Booster’s irreverent personality in such a situation.
But this is a story that goes far deeper than just Superman. Both characters are explored, and we’ll find out what, if anything, can bring them together.
It’s kind of weird in a way, because if you go all the way back to Booster Gold, Volume One, Superman was a part of Booster’s origin story. Right about then, John Byrne came to DC to reboot Superman, and we had to do some surgery to the book so it fit what John was doing.
I still have the unused pages from the book, which are still waiting for the Booster Gold hardcover so they can see print. No. That is not a hint. Uh-uh. Not at all. Nope.
We’ve read the solicitations for Action Comics #993 and #994 but what else can you share about what brings Booster to Supes’ aid in the arc?
As I mentioned earlier, Superman is trying to find out if Mr. Oz, who claimed to be Jor-El, is truly his father. The only way to find out is to go back through time to the moment of Krypton’s destruction to see whether or not Jor-El survived.
Booster realizes this is a dangerous endeavor (What if Superman should get caught there?) and intervenes, which Superman does not appreciate.
You’re writing the two-part story, and drawing it. Realizing full well that must be exhausting as a creator, why was it important for you to take on both duties?
I never intended to be a full-time writer, and have been looking to get back to drawing for quite some time. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, as we were rearranging a few schedules anyway. I jumped in and went for it.
I had great fun doing it, but given the nature of a twice-monthly book, as well as writing Batman Beyond, it may be a bit before I do so again.
Was it easy finding Booster’s voice again?
Very. No one knows this, so please don’t repeat it, but there are aspects of the character that I obviously looked within to find. That’s true of many writers and their first characters.
What do you love about Booster’s design?
I’ve always thought it’s a great color combination and a simple, straightforward design. It fits the character and his personality. It’s simple. It works.
Looking ahead for Booster, what can you share about his role in the DC Universe after this story? Are their plans to give him his own series again? Is this a trial to see how he is received? If he does get his own series again, do you want to serve as writer or artist or both again?
If the story is well received and a lot of people want to see more of the character, well… we aren’t idiots, you know? I’m sure DC will find a way to get it done.
As for any involvement I’d have, we’ll see. It’d have to be positioned as something that could really work.
Finally, looking even further ahead, but not too far, Action Comics #1000 is coming up fast. What can you share about your plans with Peter Tomasi, Geoff Johns and Richard Donner for the upcoming landmark issue?
Yeah! It is coming up fast! We’re looking to make this a very, very special book, just as Action Comics #1000 should be. It’s amazing to think that the book and characters that started it all are on the verge of that very historic moment. It’s great to be a part of it!