Exclusive Interview: Jim Starlin Talks The New Stormwatch, Lobo & More
I have a very personal respect and appreciation for the name and talents of the writer/artist/cosmic comic crafter Jim Starlin.
In my high school days, I lost someone very close to me and it sent my life into a tailspin. Reading the imaginative and cosmic works of Mr. Starlin (Captain Marvel, Warlock) helped anesthetize my mind and got me through the roughest two years of my life.
It was my absolute pleasure to see that Mr. Starlin will be creating cosmic fun for readers again in DC’s re-revamped Stormwatch title.
With that in mind, I sat down exclusively with Mr. Starlin in one of the many nexuses of the universe and picked his brain on the coming cosmic wonderfulness he will soon bring to the book.
Cosmic Book News: To many, myself included, the name "Starlin" equals cosmic comics. How do you approach putting a book together as writer as opposed to one where you may also be artist?
Jim Starlin: I sit down to the computer keyboard, as opposed to the drawing board. But seriously, there's little difference. I either generate the project myself or are given an assignment (write Stormwatch). Then the story gestates in the ol' head until I'm comfortable with it and I write a plot synopsis. Then it's waiting to get the green light to actually write or start drawing the project. I don't bother writing panel descriptions for something I'm drawing myself, because the visuals are already in my head or on thumbnails by then.
CBN: What do we need to know, as new Stormwatch readers, jumping on board with your first issue (as I assume many will)?
Jim Starlin: Mainly that everything you know about the series is about to change on page #3 of issue #19. Dan DiDio brought me onto Stormwatch to do a major revamp of the title and I took the charge seriously. When DC Comics reinvented itself last year, they revamped 52 titles all at one time: a massive and insane task. They managed to pull it off quite well in most of the books, as sales figures will attest. But everyone at DC sort of felt that Stormwatch hadn't cut it from its very inception. So [artist] Yvel [Guichet] and I were set loose on the project with next to no adult supervision, and have had a great time creating a new Stormwatch.
CBN: I know there are great changes coming to the team of Stormwatch and to the book as a whole. But will the remaining familiar characters - Apollo, Midnighter, Engineer - be the same ones we have been following since the coming of the New 52?
Jim Starlin: No, they've all got new outfits or, as in the case with Apollo and Midnighter, their old costumes back again. They're all new characters with new origins. There will be new characters added to the team as time goes on. The Weird is a new teammate from issue #19 on. Others will be added as the continuing story dictates.
CBN: I see Lobo will be coming. Any other DC space characters slated to appear in Stormwatch (Adam Strange, New Gods, et al)?
Jim Starlin: I mentioned the Weird already and there will be a new and retooled Jenny Sparks/Quantum. Her name is Jenny Soul now and she will be quite different from her predecessors. Lobo shows up early in the Stormwatch series because the lead-off story was originally supposed to be a Lobo/Comet miniseries. That didn't work out and so the plot got converted into the beginning of my run on Stormwatch. You've got to stay flexible in comics these days, always expect the unexpected. It's all part of the fun of being a cartoonist.
CBN: Will the Earth your version of Stormwatch is safeguarding be the primary New 52 Earth?
Jim Starlin: That's where the DC Comics universe is set these days, so yes.
CBN: Any plans to connect at some point in the future with the Green Lantern books or Keith Giffen's Threshold?
Jim Starlin: Stormwatch is supposed to be a covert operation, which means no one is supposed to know they exist. So I'm planning on keeping the team somewhat segregated from the rest of the DC Universe heroes and villains for a while and let the readership get comfortable with the new characters before they start interacting with DC characters outside Stormwatch.
CBN: So who is the "new" team's big-bad? Any plans for Darkseid?
Jim Starlin: There are plans for two major threats for Stormwatch to confront. But I'm going to have to song and dance a bit around this question because I'm the last person (for obvious reasons) who wants to drop spoiler bombs. The first big menace shows up on the first page of issue #19. Big menace #2 doesn't come on stage until #24 (I'm a little ahead of schedule on the writing) and when he does, this baddy makes a grand entrance. Can't say who he or she is at this point. But this bad guy's arrival, once again, changes everything.
CBN: Thus far, the DC Stormwatch has not journeyed into deep space but hung around Earth addressing alien visitors. Will this new team travel into the Last Frontier?
Jim Starlin: As it so happens, my debut adventure has Stormwatch heading off on an away mission on another planet. As I said earlier, the story was originally supposed to be a Comet/Lobo tale and they both hang off Earth. So that is where Stormwatch had to go.
CBN: What does the future hold for Stormwatch, the team and the book?
Jim Starlin: Well, everyone is getting a new back story. I'm not going to plop these tales out right from the beginning of my run. They'll be displayed for viewing as the series progresses. I'm starting out with laying out Apollo and Midnighter's story first, over a number of issues and will work my way through the other characters as the opportunity presents itself.
I've been spending a lot of time in South Africa these past few years (my wife's from Cape Town), so two of the revamped characters have their origins set there. One's Hellfire, the other's a brand new character named Xiomar. No, that's not a made-up name.
The full roster for Stormwatch, as of issue #19, will be (revamped old characters) Apollo, Midnighter, the Weird, the Engineer and Hellstrike. New characters: Storm Control, the Forecaster, Force, Jenny Soul and Xiomar (who gets a new code name down the line). The Shadow Lords will also return.
CBN: Any other projects you'd like to promote or discuss?
Jim Starlin: I have an illustrated science-fiction novel, entitled Mindgames, coming out from 215 Ink this summer.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank Jim Starlin for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us as well as thank DC’s Alex Segura and Alex Nagorski who helped make this interview possible.
Jim Starlin’s re-revamped "Stormwatch" hits shelves April 3rd with issue #19!
And be sure to follow Jim Starlin on his official Facebook Page.