Bruce Jones Talks About Signing with DC
Monday, July 19, 2004

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It was, as far as announcements of DC exclusives go, pretty unexpected: Bruce Jones, who’d pretty much returned to comics with his work on Incredible Hulk at Marvel was jumping ship, and moving to DC.

While many other creators who’ve signed exclusive contracts with DC saw work published by both Marvel and DC (among other companies), Jones was like another recent DC signee, Joshua Middleton, in that both came off of their exclsuive contracts with Marvel, and moved immediatley to an exclusive relationship with DC.

“Something’s always changing at Marvel,” Jones told Newsarama when asked why he made the move. “It’s a changing kind of company, usually to their credit. No, my relationship with Marvel was great from the start and remained that way to the day I left. Everyone up there was always very good to me, very caring and behind my stuff. I made a lot of friends that I’ll miss a lot in day-to-day contact, but plan not to lose touch with-- though some have moved on to other endeavors entirely.”

As Jones explained it, moving to DC after an exclusive run at Marvel wasn’t due to doors closing at the publisher, but rather, due to a desire to spread his wings, and play with different toys. “I still very much enjoyed working with Axel Alonso on the Hulk and felt I still had lots of Hulk stories in me,” Jones said. “As far as I know, so did he. It was not a decision I made lightly. But through no one’s fault, negotiating a new contract with Marvel took months longer than I could eventually afford. Meanwhile, I’d been in contact with Scott Dunbier at Wildstorm and others throughout my two year run at Marvel, including Karen Berger at Vertigo, various editors at DC and other companies who expressed interest in working with me. In the end, it had less to do with personalities and more to do with the opportunity to play in a new sandbox. I’ve just been a very lucky guy.”

In regards to what Jones’ departure means for the Hulk, Jones will complete the work solicited to date, with a minor change. As the writer told Newsarama, August’s two double-sized issues (#75 and #76) will ship, wrapping up many, if not all of Jones’ storylines that have been running since he came onto be book in with issue #34.

As previously announced The Incredible Hulk as a regular series will still go on hiatus in September, replaced by Hulk & Thing: Hard Knocks, a four issue miniseries with art by Jae Lee. The miniseries will end in December, though after that, Jones is unsure what work of his will see print. He’s completed five issues of a six issue arc which would follow Hulk & Thing, and an artist had been assigned to it, but, according to Jones, Marvel has elected not to employ his services for the last issue of the arc.

“Perhaps they felt my departure would have more impact ending with the conspiracy note, I really don’t know,” Jones said. “I do know its well neigh impossible to leave one company and begin work for another and leave everyone happy. Comic book scheduling is hectic at best, and switching companies just exacerbates that. I did my damnedest to give everyone a leg up, and I believe the same was done for me. It was an amicable parting if a sad one.”

Speculation persists that the Hulk may in fact be retooled in early 2005 in order to be brought back closer to the Avengers line of titles (and given a more superhero feel than was evident in Jones’ run) which are currently going through their own shakeup as a result of Brian Bendis’ “Avengers Disassembled” storyline.

While Jones’ run on the Hulk was controversial among long-time Hulk fans for its conspiracy storyline, as well as what many detractors saw as X-Files riffs which often kept Bruce Banner, rather than the Hulk front and center, Jones’ take on the series brought in new readers and attracted attention to a book that previously, had been languishing near the middle of the Top 100. The decision to bring Jones on to the title was championed by editor Axel Alonso, who promised Marvel’s Editor in Chief Joe Quesada that he could make the Hulk a Top 20 book again, which, for much of Jones’ tenure, it was. As Jones hinted earlier, given that situation, it’s hard to leave.

“You always regret leaving something you enjoy. Marvel gave me tremendous latitude on Hulk to tell my particular brand of story, and I’ll always be grateful to them for that.”

As for Jones recently announced upcoming Marvel work, the October-launching Tomb of Dracula revamp which Jones had written, the series won’t be appearing with his name on it, as he understands.

Moving to his DC work, as DC’s press release revealed, Jones is already working as the new writer for Wildstorm’s Vigilante miniseries and an arc of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. And there’s more planned. “I’m doing some things for Karen Berger at Vertigo that she would prefer to wait to announce.”

Speaking of Berger, moving back to DC gives Jones an opportunity to work with the editor again, not for the first time, as fans who only know Jones as the recent, buzz-generating Hulk writer may think. The idea that Jones is the new “hot young thing” in comics is something that still can give the writer a chuckle, since he’s been in the business for well over 20 years.

“I did some artwork for the DC war titles when Joe Kubert was editing the books, and a Catwoman job or two,” Jones said. “Plus, I worked on a book called I, Vampire where I met Karen Berger. And a few other projects over the years, some drawn, some only written.”

That’s right – Jones is also an artist.

Anyway, speaking to his on the boards project first, Vigilante, while he wasn’t able to offer too much about the series, Jones did hint that the project won’t be quite the same thing as originally announced by the publisher during last year’s convention circuit, that is, a mysterious hunter of criminals who mostly went after white-collar baddies, such as the DCU equivalent of Ken Lay.

“As Marvel did with Hulk, Wildstorm offered me the opportunity to make pretty much of a clean start with Vigilante - to find my own way with the book and put my personal stamp on it,” Jones said. “That was extremely appealing. And I saw the chance for significant layering and characterization with the various lead players - a big inducement for me. The principals all had ‘legs’ which you’ve got to have to keep a title going for more than a few issues.”

In terms of other work forthcoming from DC, Jones said that while there are DC characters he’s itching to get his hands on; it’s also fairly easy to predict where readers can expect to find him for some of the work he’ll do. “For better or worse I seem to be stuck with the ‘horror writer’ mantle,” Jones said. “My feeling was always: a good story is a good story, who plays the parts in what genre is somewhat secondary. But it’s nearly impossible not to get pigeon holed in any form of the entertainment business. Just ask Stephen King. That said I’m clearly drawn to the kind of artistic climate a line like Vertigo offers. If I can get the right toy truck, I’d love to tear up the town with it. Stay tuned.”

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