For the last couple of months, I’ve been getting confused and irate readers correcting me whenever Dan Jurgens or I cite the “mystery of the Black Beetle,” pointing out that Hector, a member of Jaime Reyes’ popular supporting cast in the Blue Beetle monthly comic, was in fact implied to be the Black Beetle and that there IS no mystery.
While Booster Gold writer (and the character’s co-creator) Dan Jurgens has never denied that Hector is the Black Beetle, he has made several statements intimating that when the villain’s identity is revealed, it will be someone that Booster (and his fans) will recognized and be shocked by. Frankly, Hector doesn’t seem to fit that bill to me.
Still, nobody had ever really talked to Matt Sturges about what it is he intended for Hector, and for the Black Beetle character, when he wrote that loaded sequence last year at the end of Blue Beetle. But now that Blue Beetle has returned as a second feature behind Booster Gold, and both titles are featuring Black Beetle as the villain in current or upcoming stories, I thought it was time to catch up with Sturges (and Dan Jurgens) about the past and future (no pun intended) of the character.
Blog@Newsarama: OK – So I can see this being a bone of contention with our new friends in the back half of the book, and I’m just going to get it out there right away: The Black Beetle. At what point was his identity decided? Is it something you, Jeff and Geoff always knew or is it something that came in later?
Dan Jurgens: My general impression is that Geoff and Jeff did not have a definite plan in mind for the Black Beetle. Whatever it is, we started making some plans that work in with what we want to accomplish on the book.
BLOG@: More to the point, I guess – are you familiar with the plot developments in Blue Beetle that led many of that book’s fans to assume that they know who Black Beetle is?
DJ: I am now. We’ve made it quite clear that the Black Beetle is playing a game of misdirection, however.
BLOG@: Matt, They’ve solicited the Black Beetle as an upcoming villain in the Blue Beetle stories; is that going to be a single-issue or multipart thing?
Matt Sturges: Black Beetle and his shadowy master are going to cause both Booster and Blue Beetle a lot of hurt in the near future. Blue Beetle’s first encounter with the Black Beetle will take two issues to tell. It makes writing the scripts a pain, because I usually just type BB when I mean Blue Beetle, but obviously I can’t do that when the other one is around. God, he’s a pain.
BLOG@: Are you watching/reading Booster Gold to see where the unfolding “mystery of the Black Beetle” goes in that title?
MS: I get to read the scripts beforehand so I know what they’ve got planned. It’s extremely handy having the same editor, the estimable Mike Siglain, making sure that everything lines up properly. If we both came up with entirely different resolutions for the Black Beetle mystery, that would be pretty awkward.
BLOG@: A lot of readers think it’s pretty clear what your plans were for the character based on Hector’s actions in the final issue of the Blue Beetle monthly comic…meanwhile, in Booster Gold, the character has always been shrouded in mystery. How straight are you going to play him?
MS: The ending of the Blue Beetle monthly plays directly into the ongoing story of the Black Beetle, let’s put it that way. The way Blue Beetle #36 ended with regards to Hector was intended to cause speculation, which it has, which is good. And we’ll get some more information about Hector very soon.
As far as how I play the Black Beetle, I’m following how he’s been portrayed in Booster Gold, in terms of how he talks, how he behaves, that sort of thing. The character’s evolved a bit since his first appearance, so I’m rolling with that.
BLOG@: I’ll admit to having been an intermittent reader of the old Blue Beetle series, especially its second half. Had this character ever appeared as a Blue Beetle villain before, or had Jaime only dealt with him in Booster Gold?
MS: No, he’s an entirely new character the Geoff Johns created for Booster Gold, so he has no legacy. He’s very much about the future, and what’s GOING to happen. That’s something I really like about him. So much of the Blue Beetle ethos is anchored in the past, it’s nice to see a new piece of it evolving from the other direction.