Next Wednesday, 12/08/10, Next Men is back on the comic book shelves after a 15 absence. John Byrne had stopped by First Comics News to talk about the series when it was first announced. Now that the comic is about to go on sale, we contacted John to talk about the upcoming comic. How things came together and what new readers can expect.
First Comics News: The first issue is actually done and will be in the hands of readers next week. What was it like to come back to these characters 15 years later?
John Byrne: Like I never left! Well — okay, there was a brief moment when I really turned my brain in that direction again that I sort of panicked and thought “O My Gosh!! Where was I going with all this?!” But almost immediately the pieces started clicking back into place. One led to
another, and then another, and then another… and pretty soon it was all there!
1st: For long term Next Men fans, will it appear as if the story never went on hiatus?
John: I hope so! I did a new cover for this “first” issue, because I realized that the book would also have to serve as a comfortable “on ramp” for potential new readers, so I decided not to spend as much time with what I had originally planned for issue 31 — but I think “old timers” will find themselves sliding back into the saddle as easily as I did.
1st: The series was always set in the future; how far ahead of the current time is the series now?
John: Hard to say! I think we’ve pretty much PASSED the time frame in which I was originally seeing the stories as taking place — and without a lot of the cool stuff I “predicted” coming to pass. There is also a built in “twist” to the timeline that will become more apparent as we proceed, and that makes it a little difficult to peg the exact time it’s all happening.
1st: What are you doing about the issue numbering, are you starting over with a new number 1?
John: Yes and no! We’re doing something “cute” with the numbers.
1st: For new fans, what do they need to know about the Next Men to jump on with the first IDW issue?
John: Not a thing! If they have never even HEARD of the book before, they will be able to walk into the first new issue, no problem. That “on ramp” I mentioned.
1st: Let’s break down who the main characters are for the new fans…
What is Nathan’s role
John: Up until now he has been the unspoken leader — or maybe second in command, since Tony is really the one in charge. He’ll find his role shifting quite a bit in the first arc of the “new” series.
1st: Who is Jazz?
John: Jazz is the heart of the group. She’s all energy and emotion.
1st: What is Jack’s story?
John: Poor Jack! He’s had a hard row to hoe, both in what we have seen and what will be revealed to have happened since last we visited these characters. He is a man of tremendous religious faith, and might, I suppose, be described as the soul of the group.
1st: What should fans know about Danny?
John: Danny is impetuous and impatient. He wants everything to happen yesterday. Goes with being the youngest.
1st: What is going on with Bethany?
John: See is the lynch pin of the first new story arc. While the rest of the team is scattered, everything hinges on her. A few surprises, I hope, for new and old readers alike!
1st: The main villains are Sathanas and Senator Aldus Hilltop, are they the same person from different time periods or is that a misunderstanding?
John: Nope, that’s correct. They are the same person.
1st: Is there anything else a new reader should know before buying Next Men next week?
John: I suppose everyone should be reminded that JOHN BYRNE’S NEXT MEN is not an “all-ages” book. The last time out, we carried a “Mature Readers” bullet on the cover, and the content will be continuing in that vein