In May, DC Comics will be updating several of its war-themed properties in G.I. Combat, the new series announced as one of six titles comprising its "Second Wave."
The new G.I. Combat ongoing will feature The War That Time Forgot, an action-adventure story by writer J.T. Krul and artist Ariel Olivetti. The series will also feature a rotating slate of back-up stories that includes The Unknown Soldier by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Dan Panosian, and The Haunted Tank by John Arcudi and Scott Kolins.
Krul's story will revamp a concept that first appeared in DC Comics in the 1960's. In it, soldiers came upon a land of dinosaurs and utilized their military training to battle the beasts.
Krul, who is currently writing Captain Atom for DC, was also recently announced as the writer of Superman Beyond, a sequential story that will appear beginning in April as part of DC's digital-then-print series Batman Beyond Unlimited.
In this first part of our interview with the writer, we talked to Krul about his War That Time Forgot stories that are being featured in G.I. Combat.
Newsarama: J.T., the War That Time Forgot series is such a classic, with its stories of soldiers using modern warfare tactics to battle dinosaurs. Will these new G.I. Combat stories follow the same general plot of the original?
J.T. Krul: It's close to the original. The big difference is that it's a contemporary story with modern day soldiers, but just like the original, they find themselves thrust into this area of the world where dinosaurs are roaming free.
It's a very intense, big action tale of survival. It's a very primal story about soldiers reverting back to the most basic skills of survival that they're trained with.
Nrama: So these are American soldiers?
Krul: Yes, it's American soldiers, and they're in a different part of the world. They're sent there because there's an area where the satellite imagery doesn't work. So they go into this area almost as a recon mission, to find out what's going on. And they get trapped. And they find themselves bombarded by dinosaurs.
Nrama: What attracted you to writing the revamp of this property?
Krul: I knew the story of "The War That Time Forgot," and I started talking about it with Joey Cavalieri when we were working on Men at War. We actually started talking about it then. Quite honestly, it provided an opportunity to tell a very different kind of story from a lot of the stuff I do. I tend to write introspective stories, where I have a lot of the story being told in the mind of the characters, like Captain Atom. A lot of it's in his head, and it becomes almost this philosophical story about what he's dealing with.
So this is a chance to tell a story where it's about what happens, where I can just kind of let everything run free and do a completely different kind of story that's very action-heavy.
And it's an opportunity for Ariel Olivetti to just do some really big imagery of soldiers fighting dinosaurs.
One of the things I keep coming back to is the movie Predator, which I really loved growing up. And this story is similar to that, with soldiers thrust into this really, really incredible challenge and dangerous environment, as they try to stick together and survive and make it out alive. That's what it's about.
So it feels like an opportunity to do a very visceral story, and that was part of the appeal for me.
Nrama: Have you seen any of the pages yet? What do you think is the visual feel of it?
Krul: I haven't seen the pages yet, but I saw the cover for #1 that Brett Booth did, and it's fantastic.
It's a very grounded book. It's very grounded in reality. But something I had to keep in mind was how these soldiers would react, having come from the DC Universe. If you and I came across an alien ship that had crashed, and an alien came out, it would be the most mind-blowing experience you could ever imagine. But if we're living in a world with Superman and Green Lantern and all of the bells and whistles that a comic book universe like the DCU has, it kind of softens that impact. If you already believe a man can fly and he has a red cape and he's from another planet, seeing dinosaurs might still be an awe-inspiring sight, but it might be more tempered than what we'd experience.
So I'm trying to approach it that. It's very grounded in reality, but it's also within the DCU.
Nrama: Is it a challenge to write 14 page stories?
Krul: Yeah, that's been a little bit of a trick. It was an adjustment to go from 22 pages down to 20 when they made that change. Now, writing 14-page installments, is another adjustment. It's just a matter of making sure that I end each chapter with a great cliffhanger or a great action note that's going to propel the story forward and draw the reader into the story so they want to come back for the next round.
I love that I get to share a book with Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, because they do great work. So I'll piggyback on them a little bit, and they'll piggyback on me, I guess, as we do our stories. So it's fun to be part of that, because it's almost like I'm part of a bigger team on the book itself.
Nrama: Then to finish up, J.T., is there anything else you want to tell fans about The War that Time Forgot?
Krul: Just that, if you like dinosaurs fighting soldiers and big action and the intensity that comes from that, I think you're going to be really happy. I'm trying to really make it open with a lot of big imagery and a lot of big action set pieces. We'll have things like pterodactyls fighting helicopters, and T-rexes and triceratops and tanks. And we're also taking a dinosaur that existed and we're tweaking it a little bit for the DCU to make it into a different kind of threat for the soldiers, to bring a different element to the book, just to have fun with stuff. We're just hoping to present this in a different way that we think is going to be very cool. I'm excited for readers to check it out.
Check back with Newsarama for part two of our interview with J.T. Krul, when we talk about his new Superman Beyond stories that begin in April.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!'