Catching Up with
Fastest Man Alive (Part 5)
Part 1 | Part 2
| Part 3 | Part 4 |
Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Iím sort of torn between
"Iím a Vertigo
"Iíve got an unbelievable love of the DC Universe" ... .
I suppose I should ask
you a couple of questions about Aztek.
You and Grant wrapped that
up last year, and Aztek has a found a home over in the JLA.
Are there any plans for
him beyond that?
Well, Aztek was a curious
one, you know, because we were both Vertigo guys, and we said to DC,
"Weíd like to do something in the DC Universe," and at that
point Iíd JUST sold them Red Son and Grant was considering JLA. And
[this was] just before anything was decided on that, that he was going
to be the writer. And they said, "Well, make up a character,"
and we made up Aztek, and we liked it and everything.
We had a good time doing
it, and it really—it was a weird one, because it actually really
started building a massive audience as of about issue 5 or something. It
started off O.K., and then after the fans really got behind it, ... [at]
that point, which was really weird, theyíd actually decided to cancel
it. Most titles donít get cancelled until around the teens, you know.
But sales on Aztek were O.K.; they werenít terribly bad. They were
about break-even point, but they came up with this decision to cancel
And there [was] a kind of
huge campaign of "save Aztek," where DC—they normally get ...
maybe about eight letters [a month] for a book, and there was something
like a herd of 50 letters coming in a week in the "save Aztek"
campaign, you know?
So there were a few
hundred letters piled up, you know? But they still decided to cancel it
anyway. By that point, weíd already planned for him to be in the JLA,
but we decided that he should really be out of the JLA as soon as
You know, Grantís
actually going to be revising the membership in issue 16, and we thought
itís unfair on the readers to actually— If Aztek doesnít have his
own book anymore, he really shouldnít be in the JLA, Ďcause
the JLA should be the top guys, you know? So we actually decided. We
made the decision to remove him from the JLA in issue 15.
So weíre not killing
him off or anything, but weíre taking him out BECAUSE he doesnít
have his own book. And really, what happens to him from there, I
suppose, will just be [up to] if anyone wants to use him or write him.
We certainly donít have any plans to.
Because ... it was a bit
odd, what happened with the [letter] writers, you know? I think if Aztek
had been given another six months or something, it couldíve been a
kind of Starman thing or something. ĎCause people were really digging
Yeah, I think it was
really building up a following there.
Yeah, it was. It was
really weird because, like I say, there was eventually more letters
coming in on Aztek than Superman and Batman. Because [letter] writers
were having this "save Aztek" campaign. Which was really nice;
I mean, we really appreciated it and everything, but the powers that be
decided that the book shouldnít be around any more for a while for
reasons. Nothing we can do about it, you know? Theyíre the guys who
are putting out the book.
Well, letís talk about
another JLA character. Letís talk about Zauriel.
When should we expect to see
Of Paradise Lost?
All right. Well, what
weíre doing is Grant introduced story elements in JLA 6 and 7, and,
consciously, it was one-half of a story.
[T]he two of us devised
the character about a year ago to be the new Hawkman, Ďcause the new
Hawkman had been cancelled, and we decided that we would come up with
another Hawkman and introduce him through JLA. So Grant wrote the first
half of the story, and Iíve written a three-part thing called Paradise
Lost, which involves the JLA and the war on God—the second revolution
in Heaven. And it ties up all the events of that storyline and ends with
Zauriel becoming Hawkman and joining the JLA. And that leads directly
into JLA 16, with a new line-up—you know, the big line-up of new
So we should be expecting
to see it around November-December?
Yeah, the first issue is
actually in the new catalog. Itís in the new Diamond catalog, [Previews].
Oh! Well, see? I should have
done my research before I asked.
[Laughs.] Though itís
actually been slightly overshadowed because we must have picked the
worst month of all time. Because youíve got JLA: Year One and Uncle
Sam both out in the same month.
Oh, thatís right.
So, if anything—I mean,
itís going to be a JLA Special, Paradise Lost, so itís going to sell
well anyway, you know? I mean, itíll do O.K.
So with those three
issues, then, he becomes a character; he becomes Hawkman in the JLA. And
hopefully at some point—!
said he should be in
the JLA for a year before they try and launch him in his own book, we
reckon. And let him build up a following, because I think the fans are
ripped off by big companies too often; ... as soon as people seem to
like a character, suddenly heís in his own monthly book, you know? I
think itís better to let someone build a bit of a following, and Grant
and I both agreed that this should happen with Hawkman—the new Hawkman.
Whoís going to be the
artist on Paradise Lost?
Well, Iíve just seen
the first issue of it, actually. I just got the whole thing in letters,
and itís amazing. Itís a guy called Ariel Olivetti.
His stuffís always been
good—you know, really good—but this stuff is astounding. He really has
done a brilliant job, period.
Iíll be looking forward to
Heís the greatest guy
in the world, as far as Iím concerned. Heís done a great job here. I
mean, Iím actually getting lost in the art of some of the stuff Iím
looking at now Ďcause I really canít complain. Every fax I get sent
over Iím really delighted with.
Yeah, Iíve seen a lot
of his stuff—the Marvel books that heís been doing [like Sabretooth
& Mystique and The Last Avengers Story], the one-offs over the past
year [like JLA Annual # 1]—but Iíd really love to see some earlier
stuff that heís done. Iím sure he has a history in comics.
Heís done some Lobo, I
think, as well, but thatís more cartoony-looking. But this stuff
heís done is great. Itís a bit of Simon Bisley, but itís more kind
of human as well. It looks really good. I think itís good. Itís
going to be a nice-looking book. Thatís why Iím really pleased with
how itís come together.
I can see that. Have you
seen Wim Wendersís film Wings of Desire?
Yeah, yeah. I have now
Yeah, I think
subconsciously Iíve probably pinched the Zauriel thing from there,
Ďcause thatís exactly the plot. You know, referring to the girl and
The stuff that we saw in
JLA, it seemed to have a lot of that to it. I was wondering if maybe you
were going to consciously rely on some of those images or try [to evoke]
that distance between the angels and the humans that you get in the
film. Is it going to be a visual book, or is it going to be a cerebral
book, I suppose, is what Iím asking.
Ah, itís kind of going
to be both. Itís going to be as close to Vertigo, I think, as DC
Universe is going to get, but still with the Justice League and plenty
of images thrown in for good measure.
I mean, I think Grantís
doing that in JLA anyway, Ďcause what heís doing is heís having a
really intelligent look at these iconic characters, when I think most
writers if they were given JLA would give it that shitty dialogue—you
know, where itíd be "Kill him!" and "I am your
brother!," that usual stuff. And Grantís really getting in it and
really making these characters real.
I think Iím just trying
to kind of continue what heís doing but give it maybe more of a
Vertigo flavor because of the background of the story—the idea of the
second revolution in Heaven and demons and angels and everything. Itís
a weird time, because Iím sort of torn between "Iím a Vertigo
guy" and "Iíve got an unbelievable love of the DC
Universe," you know? And I think thatís reflected in this.