From out of today’s Dark Days: The Forge #1 comes a bunch of new and returning ideas to the DC Universe, but one of them comes directly from the mind of one of its writers. Well, from him and DC Publisher and master artist Jim Lee.
Now I have your attention.
After speaking with James Tynion IV about the beginning of DC’s summer event in Dark Days, we continued chatting about his new book arriving this October: The Immortal Men — how it came to be, who it’s about, and how much work Jim Lee has already put into the character design (psst. Scroll all the way to the end.).
MS: Tell me a little bit about your new ongoing with Jim Lee coming out of the Dark Matter brand: The Immortal Men this fall. How did that come to fruition?
JTIV: Honestly, it started with a phone call from Jim’s assistant who said that Jim Lee wanted to meet up with me to talk about a new project. I thought he was calling me as my publisher to offer me any one of the books, what have you. I walked in there with a few ideas, because I’d gotten an inkling that they might be looking for some new books.
But Jim sits down and says, “So, I’ve been thinking a lot about Immortal Man,” who’s this old DC character. They’d thrown a bunch of old characters up on the board that didn’t have a lot of ties to current iterations — characters you could take and do something new with.
He says, “I’m thinking about what it means to be building something over many lifetimes, like how a cathedral isn’t built in one man’s lifetime. It’s built over several. What would an immortal build?”
And on top of that, the question came up about what if it wasn’t just one? What if it was a whole group of them? He also really liked the idea of different houses, like in Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. It’s the idea of creating these different philosophies that these different groups adhere to.
MS: Sounds like things really blew up fast.
JTIV: Yeah! In the course of this conversation, I’m realizing that he’s not asking me to pitch a book. He’s brainstorming with me, for a new series, that HE’S going to draw. And then my brain starts exploding while the conversation is happening and I’m trying to keep up.
So we start throwing ideas back and forth, like the idea of these heroes plucked out through time, and the idea of a super-hero team as a cathedral built over several generations. Like a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen of hero archetypes over time, but modernized in the modern era, so they’re not wearing old-fashioned outfits in modern day.
But they all come from these eras and have backstories from these different eras. And then there’s the idea that there’s a secret history of heroes in the DC Universe that gave up on being in the public eye like the heroes we know and love. It’s this sort of dark secret of heroes at DC. And villains, as well.
MS: I know it’s still early, but what can you tell me about the main characters?
JTIV: Where we are is talking about this family of five immortals that each became immortal at the dawn of human civilization and each have the superhuman ability to make someone else immortal — to give them one piece of their immortality. These people with extraordinary abilities are chosen based on their philosophy, because each of the five immortals have their own philosophy on how to keep humanity alive generation after generation. And they’re conflicting views.
The main group is built by the eldest brother of the family, who believes that it’s individual action — heroes — that keeps humanity alive. The next eldest, his sister, believes that it’s competition and conquest — the idea that you have to want to beat the next person. That’s what drives humanity to succeed. And there are three other houses with their own philosophies about saving the world. But saving the world does not always mean being a hero.
There are a lot of big crazy ideas in this and we’re having so much fun putting it together. The cast of heroes we’re building for this is really amazing. Coming up with new super-heroes with new abilities for Jim Lee to draw is one of the most fun things I’ve had to do in my career. I’m really, really excited for this book and I hope everyone else is too!
The collaboration between Jim Lee and James Tynion IV for the Dark Matter brand — The Immortal Men — debuts this October. Catch your first glimpse in print today in Dark Days: The Forge #1!
AND… as a special treat: take a look at a bunch of Jim Lee’s preliminary designs for the series.