The Vigilante is one of those classic Golden Age DC heroes that keeps being reinvented for each generation. He’s gone from kerchief-wearing cowboy to battle-ready quasi urban commando in his years in the DC Universe, and now, Bruce Jones and Ben Oliver are bringing a new Vigilante to the DCU, and this time he’s more killer then hero.
First Comics News: Let’s start with the obvious, why is this character the Vigilante, when there is already another Vigilante running around the DCU?
Bruce Jones: I think that will be answered early on in the series. Ours Vigilante is cut from a wholly different cloth than the other(s) with an agenda and vibe that sets him apart from the traditional superhero of the DCU-or any U for that matter.
1st: While this series in no way related to the previous Vigilantes, is the story or plot related to Micah Ian Wright / Carlos D’Anda previously announced 6-issue Vigilantemini-series for WildStorm?
Bruce: No. This is strictly the Bruce Jones/ Ben Oliver version, a whole other take from the previously announced Wildstorm project. We went pretty much in our own direction for this one. It’s a wild ride. Buckle up!
1st: I ask because visually they look is very similar.
Bruce: It may appear that way at first blush, but I think you’ll soon see the very marked differences. Ours is a darker, more psychological approach.
1st: How did you get involved with this series?
Bruce: I met with editor Alex Sinclair at the San Diego Con when I first signed my new contract with DC. We hit it off right away. He took April and myself over to La Jolla to meet the Wildstorm folks and have lunch and talk about new projects. He was very open to a new approach on the character and, well one thing lead to another and here we are! Alex has been a dream to work with, by the way. Very sweet guy. And a great colorist to boot!
1st: Is this just planned as a mini-series or are there plans beyond the initial 6 issues?
Bruce: It’s planned as a mini with an eye toward leaving an open-ended last issue that hints at the possibility of future story lines more directly involved with the DCU, possibility arcs to include Superman, etc.
1st: With both the Adrian Chase and Pat Trayce Vigilantes there was a common plot that they were going after people who had escaped justice on a legal technicality. Is that still the case with the new Vigilante?
Bruce: In part it is, yes. However, there’s a central character in our series the focuses the entire series and, in fact, plays a major role in both the structure of the arc and the underpinnings of the Vigilante character himself. This individual goes a long way toward providing clues about how and whyVigilante became the person he is. Hopefully it’s weaved through the story skillfully and readably. I sure as hell tried my best to.
1st: The Adrian Chase Vigilante was roughly based on Don Pendleton’s Executioner novels. Is there any of that in this version or is he just a serial killer who preys on street criminals?
Bruce: I remember those Don Pendleton books with great nostalgia and was reading them before the idea of a comic was even conceived. But our story is very much a departure from the Pendleton books with a history all its own. I’m not sure I’d classify our character as a “serial killer” and he doesn’t’ limit himself to only street justice…as you’ll see.
1st: Do you see this Vigilante as a hero or villain?
Bruce: That is the question. I know how I see him, but I don’t want to reveal that until the series has run its course for fear of swaying readers from their own deductions. This is not an easy character to pigeonhole, I can tell you that!
1st: Why set the story in Metropolis?
Bruce: As I mentioned, should the books do well, we wanted to take advantage of both Superman and some of the other DCU characters that are connected with that city. Also the legendary look and mythos of Metropolis were a natural for the tale we chose to tell.
1st: When you go to the trouble of setting the series in Metropolis why create the Lansky character instead of using Jimmy Olsen?
Bruce: Because where Jimmy goes Superman and Lois inevitably follow and we didn’t want the reader thinking in that vein quite yet…only that those characters might and could be an eventual possibility.
1st: We have a pedophile, a prostitute, a biker, a serial killer as well as a mystery. So I assume your target audience is 5 and under?
Bruce: Yes, we’re out to scare babies everywhere. Seriously, though: I think our target audience is anyone who likes a deeply layered, psychological thriller firmly grounded in the action genre.
1st: Were there ever plans to do this as a mature reader comic?
Bruce: Well, it is pretty mature, really. But all mainstream comics have matured a great deal in recent times, it’s just inevitable if you’re going to keep up with a more and more complex and demanding audience whose age group is increasingly more diversified. Comics are as sophisticated as any other form of entertainment out there today, really, I think it’s comes down more to a matter of personal taste than worrying overmuch about censorship or public opinion about what a comic is suppose to be. The medium has just evolved so rapidly, so exponentially.
1st: There were two scenes with a much more intense look at crime and violence then is ever usually seen in Metropolis. What types of limits were placed on what you could and could not do?
Bruce: No limits really. But I’ve been around for a long time and editors and publishers tend to trust my instincts about such things and know they’re likely to get something pretty dark with a Bruce Jones script from the get go. But dark doesn’t have to mean excessive or exploitative. I concentrated on making this a character-driven piece where morals and morality are at the forefront of the theme. People die, but not willy-nilly.
1st: For a title called Vigilante there is very little of him in the first issue, the Vigilante’s victims appear in the comic more then he does. Is it this way through out the series?
Bruce: We’re getting into spoiler territory here. Let me just say that readers will have no complaints about the amount of “screen time” regarding the title character.
1st: The supporting cast also gets a lot more attention then the Vigilante himself, will that continue?
Bruce: They will continue to get a lot of time but not necessarily more than Vigilante himself. Stay tuned.
1st: As the story progresses, I get the feeling that the mystery will be less who is the Vigilante and more why does he kill. Is this a fair assessment, or am I missing the point?
Bruce: Yes and no. How’s that for skirting the spoiler issue?
1st: What can you tell readers that might have missed the first issue, to make them rush to their local comic shop and pick up a copy of Vigilante #1, before the second issue ships on November 2nd?
Bruce: I worked very hard to make each successive issue more exciting than the last, to keep toping myself and upping the ante, so I don’t think there’s going to be a problem with readers who happen to miss the first issue going back and picking it up, at least I hope so. Sooner or later this is a story that just gets under your skin… sort of like a friendly tumor. You’re going to want the whole set, trust me!