Jeff Lemire made his name in comics with the small slice of life series Essex County. Since he burst on the scene though, he’s grown into one of the most skilled and prolific creators in comics. With a career that ranges from small towns to the Justice League to the X-Men and back, he written almost every genre and some major characters. Now, he’s prepping to launch his newest creator owned series, the horror mystery Gideon Falls. We got to chat to him about Gideon Falls, as well as what’s to come for him in 2018!
How was Andrea involved in the creation of the series?
When Andrea and I decided to work on a creator-owned book together I started searching around for a story to work on and this old Norton character I had as well as the other things that never really came together finally all clicked into place. And then seeing Andrea realize these ideas visually make it all come together for me.
What made Andrea the right artist for this series?
I love working with him. Gideon Falls is creepy and weird and I needed an artist who could take the concepts and push them further, and Andrea has always done that on the books we have done together. He takes my ideas and pushes them to new places I never imagined, then I take that and work it back into the story and the whole piece leaps and changes In ways I never anticipated. That is true collaboration.
This is now your third major collaboration together. What’s the creative process like between the two of you?
It has been wonderful. We had a great chemistry on Green Arrow and on Old Man Logan, so we just get to take that and now push it all even further with no restraints and no restrictions. We can build our own world and go wherever it takes us.
Do you find yourself writing differently for each artist you work with?
A little bit. At the end of the day I write the way I write, but depending who the artist is, it takes on a different tone and feel and then becomes its own thing. I’d say it’s more about finding the right artist to work depending on the idea, rather than changing or adapting to them.
What’s the difference in working on a book you own versus your work at DC and Valiant?
Well, that is a complicated question, because it’s very different to work at DC and to work at Valiant to begin with, and then very different once again to do a creator-owned book at Image. Valiant is great. Warren Simons at Valiant gives us 100% freedom to make the characters our own and we get to create freely, so it is very much like doing a creator owned book. Things at DC or Marvel are more complicated. It is a shared universe and there are more people involved and more people’s opinions you need to take into account and work with. That can be frustrating at times, but it can also be very rewarding. It really depends on the project. But with Image and creator owned work you never have to worry about any of that. You succeed or fail on your own terms and only have to answer to yourself and your collaborator. After working like that it is very hard to go back to work for hire.
You just announced the end of Descender as we know it. First of all, was that a tough announcement to make?
Heh…there is MUCH more to that announcement than meets the eye. But I can’t say anything yet. Stay tuned…all I can say is that Dustin and I are still totally reenergized by, and totally committed to, the world of Descender and we have a BIG change coming that I think will surprise and excite fans as well.
You did hint that the series isn’t completely going away. Can you hint at the form the series will take moving forward?
Nope! Stay tuned. We’ll make an announcement soon, but we need to be careful as we don’t want to spoil the story and want readers to discover the things we have planned as they read them.
Black Hammer was just a monster hit last year. What’s to come in that universe in the next few months?
LOTS! I am expanding the world and enjoying every minute of it. Black Hammer proper, our main story by myself, Dean Ormston and Dave Stewart will continue in April in Black Hammer: Age of Doom #1 and we also have the next mini-series, Doctor Star and The Kingdom Of Lost Tomorrows coming soon, with art by Max Fiumara. And as of now we have two more Black Hammer spin-off series in productions. When you have 80 years of super hero comics to draw from as inspiration it’s not hard to get excited and want to explore different aspects of the genre.
I have to fanboy a little too, because your Bloodshot made me spin 180 degrees on that character. Can you tease us a little bit about what’s to come in Bloodshot Salvation?
We have a big Deadside arc coming. So Bloodshot will be teaming up with Shadowman to explore the supernatural side of the Valiant U, which is a place we haven’t taken the character yet.
What do you like about writing the Valiant universe?
Total freedom to make these characters my own and to expand their world and mythology. They put total trust in me to take Bloodshot where I want to take him. It’s not hard to get inspired when you are given that trust.
I was also very excited to see your return to the DCU. Frankenstein was actually the first I’d read of your work back in 2011. Can you tease your upcoming projects with DC Comics?
Right now it’s just The Terrifics with Ivan Reis and Evan Shaner and also The Inferior Five with Keith Giffen. I’m really excited about Inferior Five. Keith is one of my favorite artists and one of my heroes so it is a thrill to write for him. I am also drawing 5-page back up strips in that book myself which is fun. But I think that will be it for me at DC for now, I am more interested in focusing on my creator owned books at the moment.
What are you reading right now?
I am reading Michel Fiffe’s COPRA which is brilliant and made me want to do a Copra/Black Hammer crossover series SO BADLY. Michel is a brilliant creator. I also just finished a great graphic novel published by Self Made Hero called The Smell of Starving Boys by a cartoonist named Frederik Peeters. It is a really strange and mesmerizing weird war story. Both highly recommended.
Descender #27 in stores February 21st.
Gideon Falls #1 in stores March 7th.
We would like to say thank you to Jeff for taking the time to chat with us.