I can’t believe how long it’s been since this interview was conducted! J.M. DeMatteis shared his thoughts on Booster Gold #38 with Blog@Newsarama for this month’s Gold Exchange column, way back when the book was actually new. I’m going to let him speak for himself (with my help, of course) in order to get the story out there!
The Gold Exchange: This issue retains something that Dan Jurgens had done at the start of his run–once you get to a certain depth chasing a MacGuffin, there comes a point where it’s OK to just start the new issue with the story over with. What drove that in terms of Booster’s quest for the Almost-But-Not-Quite-Book of Destiny.
J.M. DeMatteis: Honestly, I think it was just time to jump into the next story. We’d pushed the Book about as far as we could. I thought Keith’s idea to wrap it up so simply, and so quickly, was great.
GX: Is the Vatican really the best place for these things? I mean, comparable to holding it at Rip’s lab or whatever happens next to Vanishing Point or Oa or something?
JMD: It’s their Book. They hired Beetle and Booster to get it back. Booster can’t just steal it and give it to Rip. (Plus, who wants to piss off the Pope?)
GX: Wow–Michelle’s kind of a raving, raging bitch here. Are you giving her kind of the J’Onn/Captain Marvel/Oberon role, in terms of being the designated character to just spend her time being sick of Booster?
JMD: She’ll certainly fulfill that function…but there’s much more to her and to the relationship with Booster than that.
GX: Max’s family has been all over the World Wars in this title, and always in close proximity to old DC characters! No wonder the dude has a complex about superheroes later in life.
JMD: Well, it’s the DC Universe. In the end, EVERYBODY ends up in close proximity to DC characters!
GX: Is this the first time we’ve actually seen Ernie? I don’t remember having seen him before.
JMD: Nope. We saw Ernie—well, one of the Ernies, anyway, not this particular one—back in the JLA days, both in flashback and as an adult.
GX: That said, I’m glad you gave him a happy ending! Superheroes so rarely get that, and when they do it’s often taken away from them by the next writer (or, in the case of Wally West, by the same writer after a major lapse in creative judgment).
JMD: Nothing beats a chiropractor/peace activist in my book…and I can’t imagine there’ll be any writers trying to undo this one!
GX: Apparently strange and possibly magical people appearing from nowhere to tell her that her son, Max, is a horrible bastard doesn’t stop Naomi from naming her kid Max?
JMD: I don’t think Naomi saw Rani as “strange and magical”: just a little girl who’d been traumatized by war. And if her gazillionaire husband wanted his son to take his name, there was no reason for Naomi to object.
GX: I like the tortured logic at the end of the story, but can we really just assume that General Glory came out of everything OK just becuase we’ve seen him at some indeterminate point in the future?
JMD: “Some indeterminate point”? He was a well-documented member of the JLI and had a long career—and a good life.
GX: It’s funny–I wonder, since as far as I can remember this Time Sphere is ultimately “the same” one that Booster ultimately uses to come back from the future, how many times it’ll be demolished and repaired before the end of it all!
JMD: I sure there are many more repairs to come!
GX: “…if I’d known this is where it would end up…” –ahh, but there’s the rub! How can he be sure that without his and Ted’s involvement it would have ended up there? Even Ted remembers this adventure, after all, so it’s clear it was meant to happen! (Time travel is fun)
JMD: The brain can push the time travel paradoxes just so far before it implodes. And, really, since no one’s done it yet—that we know of, anyway—whatever we say the rules are…they are!
GX: Speaking of–the recently-released solicitations for upcoming product imply that you and Keith are moving away from the time-travel element of the book’s premise. Any reason for that?
JMD: We’re not moving away from time travel. At the same time (no pun intended), every story doesn’t have to be about time travel.
GX: I forget – was there a Captain America analog in Hero Squared? Between General Glory and Savior 28, I’d like to round out the collection if there are any more. What’s so appealing about that particular icon that you reinvent him in a variety of ways, like Mark Waid does with Superman?
JMD: There may have been a reference to a Cap analogue in Hero Squared (collected editions still on sale. Buy ‘em now!), but we never actually saw him. And, honestly, I didn’t see The Life and Times of Savior 28 (collected edition still on sale. Buy it now!) as just a Cap analogue. He certainly had elements of Cap…but he was also Superman and Captain Marvel…and just about every other Golden Age Icon. That said, what makes Cap so interesting to me is that sizable gap between idealism—which he embodies—and reality. I think all of us of an idealistic bent experience that on a regular basis and we’re constantly trying to raise up the latter to the level of the former.
GX: Really, I’m kinda on Booster’s side in this one. Who wouldn’t want to punch Nazis, given the chance? They and zombies are the two best villains in all of fiction because in either case, you can do all sorts of horrible things to them and never feel any pangs of guilt.
JMD: Absolutely. But what we wanted to touch on—however briefly and comically—was the fact that the average German soldier wasn’t a Nazi. He was just another dumb kid dragged into another stupid, ugly war. But the evils of the Nazi regime were so profoundly awful that it’s almost impossible to separate the average soldier from the monsters behind the Third Reich. But if you like Nazi villains…stay tuned. (And that’s all I can say for now!)
GX: Any chance of getting Batista to design a new Rip Hunter costume? Except instead of “Rip Hunter, Time Master,” it can just be a suit that’s for his new secret identity as Boppy?
JMD: We’re saving that for the “Rani and Boppy” spin-off book!