Talking Blue Beetle with Matt Sturges

Talking Blue Beetle with Matt Sturges

In the first part of our interview with Matt Sturges, we talked with the writer about his new DC exclusive contract, as well as his work on the Vertigo titles House of Mystery and Jack of Fables.

And in the discussion, we found out Sturges will have more work within the DC Universe coming up soon, with him emphasizing that fans of his time on Salvation Run would like what he's doing next.

Sturges started in comics as the co-writer of Jack of Fables along with Fables scribe Bill Willingham. Last year, he broke into the DC Universe when Willingham backed off a couple titles for health reasons and handed Sturges the reins of both the Shadowpact ongoing series and the mini-series Salvation Run.

Now, Sturges is the regular writer of a relaunched House of Mystery title for Vertigo as well as the ongoing Blue Beetle, which he inherited from departing writer John Rogers. With Rafael Albuquerque still doing art, Sturges took over the Blue Beetle series beginning with last month's Issue #29.

In this second part of our talk with Sturges, we asked about what's coming up for Blue Beetle, how much Jaime Reyes has grown up since he took over the mantle, and what DCU characters we'll see visiting the hero in his solo title.

Newsarama: How has it been fitting into Blue Beetle's skin? Have you been able to take over that series pretty easily?

Matt Sturges: While John [Rogers] and Keith [Giffen] were doing Blue Beetle, it was one of my absolute favorite comics each month. I was loving it. So when I first got the book, I was initially overjoyed, then the fear kind of set in. This is a book that's been extremely well done with a very distinctive voice. How do I come in after that and keep the integrity of the series without aping this very distinctive tone that already existed? So I kind of freaked out about that for awhile.

But then I just decided, I'm just going to start writing the book and see what happens, and guide it as best as I can. And that's pretty much how it worked out.

NRAMA: What's coming up in Blue Beetle? What can we expect from Jaime?

MS: At this point in his career, Jaime understands who he is as a person. And he understands the challenge that he faces, but what he's trying to work out at this point -- my take on him -- is that he is someone who's trying to figure out what kind of hero he wants to be. It's simple to say, I have these powers and I'm going to go fight the good fight. But he quickly learns that it can get a little more complicated than that. What the "good fight" is can mean different things to different people. And how you go about fighting that fight, there are as many different responses to that as there are costumes. This is something that he's going to struggle with a little bit in this first storyline.

NRAMA: It became official with the last issue of Teen Titans that he's part of that team now. Does that guide what kind of hero he wants to be?

MS: I definitely think so. Being a Titan is one of those things that is a training ground for future heroes, so that certainly plays into it. It's not something I've had an opportunity to address so far in my run. Right now, I have to make sure I'm featuring all the cast members of the book, but we have a Titans appearance coming up very soon.

NRAMA: Does Jaime have any other DC characters who are going to be showing up in the book?

MS: Yes, he does. In issue #31, he does a sort of impromptu team-up with Dr. Mid-Nite, which is very fun. And it's Dr. Mid-Nite coming in his role as doctor, not as hero. But he finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to do both at the same time. And that issue was a lot of fun to write. He was a character that I always wanted to do something with.

And then as I said, the Titans will be showing up. Traci 13 will be making an appearance. Of course, she's his girlfriend, so we have to keep them together.

It's been in solicitations, so I'd just say spoiler alert if you don't want to know, but the big new villain in this arc is the new Dr. Polaris, who showed up briefly in Justice League when all the people came and turned themselves in to keep from getting sent away to that horrible planet.

NRAMA: When Blue Beetle started, the flavor of the book was very much "new, inexperienced" hero. With him now having gone through some pretty major confrontations and joining with the Teen Titans, is there a danger of him losing his "newness?" Do you see him as more mature and experienced now?

MS: Well, there's always a tension of that with a teenage superhero. On the one hand, you want to see the maturation process. You want to see how this person goes from being that kid that another kid can hopefully identify with and say hey, this is something I understand and his problems might be some larger-than-life representation of problems I have -- you want to see how does that, then, mature into adulthood. But once you do that, he's not the teen superhero anymore.

So characters like that -- like Blue Beetle, like Robin, like Spider-Man-- always exist in this state of constant tension in terms of retaining the innocence that makes them the charming character that they are and actually allowing them to mature. And, you know, with a great character like Jaime, there's so much to do in that "middle" ground that I don't think I'll be able to cover during my run that I'll probably just leave it to someone else to worry about. [laughs]

NRAMA: Blue Beetle has gotten a lot of attention lately, with his Spanish issue and now the new writer, and it seems like the fans of this comic are very vocal about it. Have you encountered that since you took over as regular writer?

MS: Fans love Blue Beetle. There are some very vocal, very hardcore fans. And I totally get why. And I think coming on as the new ongoing writer, sure a lot of fans are trepidacious. Is this guy going to mess with our book and take it in a totally different direction that we don't like? And the answer is, I hope not. Read it and see. Give it a chance. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Related:

Matt Sturges: I ♥ knowing the code

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