It’s not my fault this time!
Okay, so maybe I could have been a little more prepared for J.M. DeMatteis’ vacation, but only if I’d had access to my own time sphere so that I could find out about it before it happened. And if I had a time sphere, then none of my articles would ever be late, and I’d already know who the Black Beetle is!
Yeah, that’s right, I haven’t forgotten about that one.
Anyway, after returning to work refreshed and ready to razz the interviewer, DeMatteis caught up with me today about his and Keith Giffen’s most recent issue of Booster Gold, and talked about all manner of bwa-ha-happenings in Booster’s world. Join us, will you?
The Gold Exchange: So, what was the deal with the art this month? It’s all credited to Batista but a number of people pointed out that it looks like Batista finishing Keith’s layouts. The difference between the (presumably) Keith and non-(presumably) Keith pages was jarring. Is that going to be a frequent occurrence in the book?
J. M. DeMatteis: Keith did the framing sequence (at Rip’s HQ), Batista did the rest. I honestly didn’t find it jarring, but I can understand why some people might. I believe Keith’s participation was just a way to create some breathing room for Chris, deadline-wise.
I’m a huge fan of Keith’s art so, for me, the big news here is that he’s picking up the pencil again. We’re going to see lots more Giffen art in the months to come…but not in Booster Gold. That belongs to Chris!
GX: How long will the JLI adventures continue? I see that, as of the time of the solicitations just released for October, Booster is still wrestling with going back here to hang out with Ted every month…!
JMD: The JLI elements will weave in and out. We’re not turning this into “JLI Redux”…there will be other stories, set in other time periods, featuring other guest stars…but, at the same time, we want to be free to visit our old friends as much as we’d like.
GX: Speaking of which, what happened to your post-Formerly Known As the Justice League comments that you and Keith didn’t have anything left to say with these characters? Is it just the changes that the characters have undergone in the last few years that changed your mind or something else?
JMD: We meant those comments at the time, but we always reserve the right to change our minds!
A little while before Keith called me to ask if I’d like to work with him on Booster, I was experiencing some Justice League nostalgia-pangs, brought on by a couple of animated Brave and the Bold episodes I wrote, featuring some JLI characters. So the timing was perfect. Who knows? We may grow bored with the JLI era again; but, as far as Booster is concerned, he’s such a different character now than he was then that I think his potential is limitless. There are many stories yet to tell…with and without the JLI.
GX: The level of pressure that Rip (Booster’s son) Hunter is putting on Booster to play daddy with this kid from the future is unlike him in a lot of ways; is there a hint buried in there someplace that this girl is meant to play a role in Rip’s life?
JMD: Only time will tell! (You do realize we just make most of this stuff up as we go along, don’t you?)
GX: Is there any way besides “story contrivances” to explain how time is fixed—unless we need to go back and break something to set up a story…and you can’t take any items back to the future that have direct bearing on the past…unless of course someone wants to steal Blue Devil’s trident and change the history of DC’s magical heroes…?
JMD: Well, we’ve set up our own parameters for what works and what doesn’t re: time travel. I can’t speak for anybody else’s ideas on the subject.
GX: I actually think the “I Just can’t believe…how ugly you are” save is one of the better Booster saves during his traveling through the past. Particularly as you and Keith have been writing him these first couple of issues, it fits perfectly.
JMD: Bless you, my son.
GX: Is there a set timeline that DC has its writers working in? Being “Back in time for Cheers” puts this story pretty firmly in the timeframe of when you and Keith were actually writing the JLI book, but seems like it makes the characters older than DC is typically comfortable with.
JMD: Well, it could be a Cheers re-run. But you’re right…we’re keeping the JLI references clearly set in that era. I’m sure we’ll find out if anybody up the DC food chain has a problem with that!
GX: The absence of Skeets is one of the things that Booster fans often wonder about the JLI days (of course, thanks to Geoff Johns, we all now know that Max was scavenging the old boy for parts—but I digress…); was it really just that having a sarcastic, cybernetic sidekick (say THAT five times fast) was pretty much L-Ron’s territory and Skeets was redundant in that particular book?
JMD: Can I be honest? Back when we were writing the original JLI series, I knew absolutely nothing about Booster’s history (a brief pause while Russ faints). I’d never even heard of Skeets, so I didn’t know his not being there was even an issue!
GX: Do you have plans for Michelle? She and Daniel Jon Carter are currently appearing in Time Masters: Vanishing Point (by Jurgens & Rapmund) as Goldstar and Supernova, so the reference to having outgrown the Goldstar suit suggests to me that in the monthly there’s a plan afoot.
JMD: Let’s just say that Michelle’s costume—if not Michelle herself—will be playing a major part in an upcoming storyline!
GX: Next: The Darkstars! What version of The Darkstars? Because the name referred to something very different in the ‘90s (when this story is taking place) than it does now (a story that Keith had something to do with).
JMD: Well, the story doesn’t take place in the Now, it takes place in the Then. So it’s the Darkstars of that era. Not that I know anything about the Darkstars of this era! (Yes, it’s true: when it comes to DC continuity, I’m a total ignoramus. I depend on Keith and the editors to keep me up on things.)