I first interviewed Jason Latour in 2010, just as his artistic side was hitting the big publishers with a little bit of "Daredevil" and a thick slice of Vertigo Crime, and he teased a little project he was writing called "Loose Ends."
It's now 2013, and Latour has gone on to draw stories in "Scalped" and "Captain America" and "Wolverine" and "B.P.R.D." and that "Loose Ends" project? Well, that's still not quite finished, even though we've seen three-quarters of the series released.
Latour and I will talk about that next week in Part Two of this new interview, but the bigger Latour news is that he will be taking over from Ed Brubaker as writer of the "Winter Soldier" ongoing series beginning in February. As announced last year, Latour will be joined by artist Nic Klein and the new creative team will continue the adventures of the man formerly known as Bucky. It's not Latour's first writing work for Marvel; he penned a well-received issue of "Untold Stories of Punisher MAX" and he has a Quentin Quire/Steve Rogers story in the next issue of "A+X." We'll talk about that latter story, too.
But first, we discuss how Latour got where he is, and what it's like to work within the boundaries of mainstream superhero comics. As always, Latour has plenty to say, and the wit and wisdom to say it well. Assuming you're on board for references to 1980s cartoons and schlocky crime movies, which I totally am.
Tim Callahan: We do one of these in-depth conversations every year or two, but now we have some additional craziness to talk about, like how you're writing an ongoing series for Marvel. Does that feel weird to you? Is that what you dreamed about when you were drawing all those inky pages for the Vertigo Noir book and mumbling, "Writing sounds good right about now"?
But I'm not so into pointless kitsch as an exercise. So with all this stuff I'm trying to step back and find a new entry point or an angle on getting back to what's relevant or relatable about it. I love Captain America for example, but to a lot of people he's probably broad, cheesy Vegas Neil Diamond. And in that sense it's like being a music producer who's looking to re-kindle or find what's great in an old star and bring that into the present. Even if that's an exploration of why it's not. So I try to let it evolve organically and not worry so much about answers as much as interesting questions.
For some reason, the two VHS tapes our family owned -- or maybe just the ones we watched the most -- were "Superman III" and "48 Hours," and if that's not mainlining the TBS Superstation sensibility, I don't know what is.
Do you really see Captain America as Neil Diamond-esque? I've never thought of him that way at all, though I guess the glitter of the chainmail is only one step away from sequins.
If Cap is Neil Diamond, who is Quentin Quire? And how much can you really explore in, what, 10 pages in the "A+X" issue?
Y'know, I first heard The Police's 'Roxanne' by way of Eddie Murphy in a jail cell. Still prefer it.
No, I don't see Cap as Neil Diamond at all. An older Springsteen maybe. To a kid like Quentin Quire there probably isn't much difference. He'd only see the stage persona and never realize the guy cut his heart out to make Darkness on the Edge of Town when he was young. You can't explore a lot in 10 pages, no. But insights might be possible.
Join us next week for Part Two of the interview, where we talk about "Loose Ends," learning from great comics, and more!
In addition to writing reviews and columns for COMIC BOOK RESOURCES, Timothy Callahan is the author of "Grant Morrison: The Early Years" and editor of "Teenagers from the Future: Essays on the Legion of Super-Heroes" anthology. More of his thoughts on comics can be seen regularly at the Geniusboy Firemelon blog.