When Dan Jurgens introduced Booster Gold to DC Comics fans back in 1986, not only was the time traveling superhero the first major character explored in proper DC continuity in years but the debut also launched the career of what would become one of the biggest names in comics.
After "Booster Gold" was cancelled in 1988, Jurgens went on to become the writer and penciler of "Superman" for much of the 1990s, overseeing a number of different events, including the landmark "Death of Superman" story arc.
Over the past 25 years, Jurgens has worked for both DC and Marvel writing and/or drawing nearly every mainstream superhero in both publishers' collective libraries, but his name continues to be most synonymous with the man from the 25th century: Booster Gold.
That's what made his latest assignment all the more golden. Jurgens was named as penciler of "The All New Booster Gold" when the title was spun out of DC's year-long weekly series "52" in 2007, and when writers Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz left the book after 12 issues, he picked up writing duties, as well.
Now carrying the heavy title and accompanying burden of a Time Master, Booster's adventures each month are normally focused on protecting the time stream against supervillains and various other ne'r do-wells. But beginning this week with the release of #26 (it should be noted the original "Booster Gold" series lasted just 25 issues), "Booster Gold" begins a two-issue arc tying into DC's blockbuster event "Blackest Night."
That also means the issue is tied to DC's "Blackest Night" in-store promotion, in this case an Orange Lantern ring.
Jurgens told CBR News that he didn't get an orange ring with his payment for "Booster Gold" #26, but said he's nonetheless thrilled to be bringing Michael Jon Carter to a larger audience, even if it means the eponymous hero has to face off against Black Lantern Ted Kord.
CBR News: This issue marks your one-year anniversary with "Booster Gold" as both writer and artist of the new series. Do you feel the character has changed since you first introduced him in 1986? Have you changed?
Dan Jurgens: The character has definitely changed. When we ended the series all those years ago, we made it clear in the last issue that Booster would one day evolve to a point where he'd play a substantial role in the DCU. I think we're clearly in the midst of that now. Booster is continuing to get a handle on the idea of being a protector of the time stream.
As for me changing, yeah, it goes without saying. When I first wrote Booster I was pretty green, having only written a few issues of "Sun Devils." "Booster Gold" was something of a learning process and I'm much more on top of it now.
I guess it goes without saying, but you must be pleased to see your creation once again becoming a driving force in the DCU. With the book tying in to "Blackest Night" for the next few issues, do you see that as a great opportunity to share what you're doing with an even larger audience, or is it more a burden as you need to more closely mesh Booster's story into the larger DCU?
Not a burden at all. Tying into an event is easily done if it fits the parameters of the title in question and works for the character. Fortunately, we were able to cobble something together that is a real natural for Booster. "Booster Gold" editor Mike Siglain, "Blackest Night" editor Eddie Berganza, Geoff Johns and I worked hard to make sure we had something that would fit well for Booster.
The issues see Booster face off against Black Lantern Ted Kord. With Blue and Gold being one of the most beloved of DCU partnerships, what can long-time fans of this dynamic duo expect from this storyline?
It's a bit of a trip down memory lane while also being a bit of a heart wrenching story at the same time. While Booster had come to grips with Ted's death, he certainly won't deal well with the idea of seeing his [friend's] body pulled up out of the grave and reanimated.
What is it about the Booster/Ted relationship that has resonated with fans over the years, and why do you think they play off of each other so well?
First of all, it harkens back to a time when Booster and Blue Beetle flew in the face of a strong direction in comics that was taking everything in a darker direction. We all remember those 'grim and gritty' years, of course.
The "Justice League" book sort of countered that with a fun approach that really built on what was happening with those two characters. In addition, it's worth noting that while buddy movies have typically been a strong genre, it's something that is rarely capitalized on in comics.
You've also been able to incorporate the new Blue Beetle into Booster's universe this past year as that relationship develops, as well. What are the major differences between a Booster/Jaime teamup and a Booster/Ted teamup?
History. Ted Kord and Booster shared a lot of years, episodes, stories and practical jokes together. That isn't easily replaced, though Jaime Reyes and Booster clearly have a good relationship.
Thanks to Booster's time traveling ways, the Booster/Ted story has been the benefit of some additional chapters the last few years. Any chance we'll see a "Blue Beetle: Rebirth" coming out of "Blackest Night?"
Never say never.
In the DCU, there are multiple Flashes and multiple Green Lanterns, heck even multiple Batmans. Is the DCU big enough for two Blue Beetles?
The DCU is probably big enough for multiple Blue Beetles, if other universes count. But that's all a story destined to unfold over time.
The January solicitation reveals that "after the shocking events of 'Blackest Night,' Booster Gold finds himself lost in time!" Can you share any details about the next arc and maybe tease what may be ahead for Booster in 2010? Is this the year that we're introduced to the "greatest" time traveler of them all?
Hmm... without giving anything away, I can only say that Booster gets confronted with a great historical dilemma. If you're really in charge of protecting the timestream and events that have happened in the past, how does that balance with the cost of human life?
Will we be seeing more of Michelle Carter soon?
Absolutely. Sooner than you think, perhaps.
Are you working on anything else these days?
Yes, but, sadly, it's too early to talk about it.
"Booster Gold" #26 is on sale now.