Alex Simmons is taking Jughead to places he’s never been before in the story J. Jones Semi-Private Eye. Alex stopped by First Comics News to talk about just what a semi-private eye is and catch us up on what causes he is working on.
First Comics News: What is J. Jones Semi-Private Eye about?
Alex Simmons: I’ve taken our favorite easy going, mellow, sometimes sardonic teen given him a love for the old noir detective films, and then dropped him into the middle of four funny, but dangerous mysteries. It’s given me a chance to have fun with him and his friends, and at the same time show his intelligent side. The stories worked for me, now I have to hope the readers like them.
1st: Jughead usually is looking for ways to get out of working, why work as a Semi-Private Eye?
Alex: Jughead doesn’t eagerly go looking for work. He’s just as happy to eat and snooze the days away. But the cases come to him — sometimes from a nerdish friend, sometimes from one with too many muscles to ignore.
1st: While on the subject what exactly is a Semi-Private Eye?
Alex: Remember now, Jughead is basically a fan who is content to watch the movies and eat the popcorn. But once his abilities to solve movie mysteries are successful against real ones, he’s got clients galore. So, he kind of goes along with it, which means he’s only half into it … Making him semi, rather than full blown.
1st: When most people think of the Mickey Spillane or Humphrey Bogart gritty Private Investigator, wouldn’t they relate that more to a character like Reggie then Jughead?
Alex: Nah! At least not me. Reggie is more likely to be the villain, or a snooty client. I see Reggie as aggressive, not tough. And clever, but not necessarily observant and deductive. Jughead is quiet, calm, and independent. Not necessarily a loner, but comfortable with his individual identity. Those traits are much closer to the hard boil detective model.
1st: Does Jughead have one case over the four issues or is it four different cases?
Alex: It’s definitely four different cases. That gave me the opportunity to explore more of the Archie cast, and aspects of Jughead’s persona.
1st: Jughead is one active eater, how do you incorporate snacks into a hard boiled detective story?
Alex: You mean aside from snacking wherever he goes? I found a way. I’ll also mention that his voracious appetite is not always the focus of his stories. So I took advantage of that fact too.
1st: You are working with Rex Lindsey on J. Jones Semi-Private Eye. What’s it like to be reunited with Rex again?
Alex: Rex Lindsey was the first artist I worked with at Archie Comics. That was on ARCHIE’S WORLD TOUR. Rex did a fantastic job on that 4 parter, and he is on top of his game with this one. There’s a scene in one book where Jughead is floundering far out in the ocean, trench coat and all. Rex rendered the mood so well that I wished we could published his pencils.
1st: Is he drawing this in traditional Archie style or is he adding some darker film noir, 30′s detective, elements into the story?
Alex: Honestly, I have only seen his pencils, but I’d say his pencils have a lot of the proper atmosphere in them. Makes me curious to see what they’ll do with the inks and coloring.
1st: What makes J. Jones Semi-Private Eye so cool no true comic fans should miss it?
Alex: It’s the Jughead we all know and love, but with mystery, action, fun, and glimpses of a side of him they’ve never seen before. That and Rex Lindsey art! What more can they ask for? A rigorous foot rub?
1st: Before you go one last question, you are usually involved with some project or another to promote the arts to children. What are you working on currently?
Alex: Well… My Kids’ Comic Con (www.kidscomiccon.com) was on TV the other night with its founder, yours truly, it’s co-producer Gene Adams, indy artist and teacher Ray Felix, Archie Comics artist and designer Suzannah Rowntree, artwork (kids and pros), and three kids drawing their hearts out. All of this to help promote our online fundraiser at www.Kickstarter.com.
The voluntary work we do with kids, comics, art and literacy has been so well received up and down the east coast, that we were invited to work with hundreds of students, parents and teachers in Senegal, Africa. They have some resources to help us once we’re over there, but getting there, along with other artists, supplies, etc., is an expense we have to raise.
If we reach our goal, we’ll not only be able to manage the trip, workshops, and take our Color of Comics art exhibit, we’ll be able to do much more here in the states. So, this project is paramount in my mind right now. We only have until September 16th to make this particular fundraiser a success, and we could use a ton of help from comic book fans and professionals. They can find out all about it by going to our web site Home Page at: www.KidsComicCon.Con. I hope they will.