Exclusive Interview with Comic Book Writer Jake Black

By Adam Dechanel

Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #15 Jake Black wrote the 15th issue of "Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century", which went on sale last Wednesday. The issue's story, "In a Flash", introduced comic book character Impulse (aka Bart Allen) into the animated Legion's continuity. Prior to penning this story, Black worked behind-the-scenes on TV series "Smallville". He's also written children's books featuring DC characters. Outside the DCU, Black's written for the TMNT franchise, contributed work to Marvel Comics, and wrote the card-backs to the super-successful "Hannah Montana" trading cards.

Q: So who are you really? What are some of your career highlights?

A: I started my career as an intern in the "Smallville" production office during the show's first season. Since then, I have been involved in writing a lot of projects related to the show, including the official websites (I was Chloe on for four years...), the trading cards, the magazine, a couple DVD features, etc. In 2003, I co- wrote a story in the Smallville comics, and that got my career in comics rolling forward. Since then, I've expanded as a writer. I've written several comics and kids books for the TMNT franchise, done a bunch of stuff for Marvel (mostly working on projects related to acclaimed sci-fi novelist Orson Scott Card). I've written kids books for DC ("Superman: Robo-Monster" and "Batman: Race Against Crime"). I'm also a member of the Writer's Guild of America's animation caucus, as a frequent writer for the Saturday morning cartoon "CHAOTIC" airing on FOX. You can also look forward to some content I did for Warner Brothers online. But my best-selling project has been the Hannah Montana trading cards which I wrote the cardbacks.

Q: Why an Impulse story out of all the DCU?

A: Bart Allen was born 1000 years from now. The Legion is in the 31st Century. It just seemed like a natural fit!

Q: How did you feel when Bart died in Countdown?

A: I like Bart, and I kind of expected him to die. There is a Crisis looming, after all.

Q: Do you collaborate with the other writers on plotting?

A: I have collaborated with a few other writers in the past -- most notably the "Smallville" gang when I was doing the comics and the short stories for the magazine. I also work closely with Orson Scott Card on some projects, but not in a creative collaboration exactly.

On my issue of "Legion", I worked out the story with editor Jeanine Schaefer, who I think the world of. She's hands down the most underrated person working in comics today!

Q: Did you enjoy the "Legion of Super Heroes" animated show?

A: I did. I liked the Imperiex stuff, and I'm a nut for any Brainiac stuff, so the series was great!!

Q: Why do you think fans should continue buying the book?

A: In a time when comics are full of events, it's nice to have a series that is always single issue stories "one-and-dones". Plus the Legion are a cool bunch of kids! And it's their 50th anniversary! What better way to celebrate?

Q: Is there more freedom to write stories now that Warners isn't continuing with the TV show? Will we see the JLU, Terry McGinnis, Static Shock, etc?

A: I don't know if there are more liberties or not. I only started after the show had finished. As far as the characters from the DCAU, I don't know. Would be cool, though!

Q: There are a lot of nods to the past of the Flash and Impulse in the "Legion" story -- who threw them in?

A: I did. I pitched the book shortly after Mike Wieringo died, and Mark Waid is a good friend of mine. So, I thought they would be fun nods to throw in -- acknowledge the characters' creator. And Geoff Johns made me really love Bart in "Teen Titans", so he deserved a nod, too.

Q: Will you be writing more Legion adventures?

A: If they ask me. But nothing planned in the immediate future.

Q: How did this story come to fruition?

A: I was in the DC offices in December, and chatted with Jeanine. She invited me to pitch some Legion stories, and that was her favorite of the pitches. She commissioned it, and the rest as they say...

Q: The "JLU" comic book started adding characters that didn't make it into the show so will we start seeing new Legionnaires in "Legion"?

A: Again, I don't know. Sorry I'm not more helpful here!

Q: Clark seems to have faded into the background -- will he be featured more in future issues?

A: I'm not sure. I think the plan has been to focus on stories between the show's two seasons where Superman wasn't around. That was what my directions were, anyway.

Q: Why did you decide to keep 'glitch' Bart alive? Will he be appearing again? (I hope!)

A: Because you can't kill people in a kid's book. ;-) I would love for Bart to make another appearance. But I think his story with the Legion is finished.

Q: How are you enjoying the Super titles right now?

A: I love the Super titles. Nut for Brainiac, and Supergirl is my favorite character of all time. I would do just about anything to write her! I think they've got stuff figured out in the Superman office at DC. Geoff Johns and James Robinson are both brilliant, so I think it's a great time to be a Superman comics fan!

This interview is Copyright © 2008 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.



The Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.

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Craig Byrne, president of the online “Lois & Clark” fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.

Check the Television section of this website for some “Lois & Clark” Interviews conducted by The Krypton Club.