When last seen, Jordan Raskin was in San Diego leaping backwards to get out of the way as Mark Texeira came crashing through the table, bringing several pitchers of beer and a plate of cheese nachos down with the splinters. Waitresses were screaming, patrons were fleeing, and a mean-looking cook emerged from the kitchen with a meat cleaver and a mouthful of Spanish curses I’d never heard before. “It’s time to exercise the better part of valor,” I yelled above the melee to Jordan who looked like a deer caught in the headlights, or maybe that was my reflection in the spilled beer. Leaving Tex for the mob, the two of us hightailed it out of there and didn’t stop running until the sirens were no longer audible. So it was odd bumping into him at a bullfight in Tijuana this week. Didn’t know he had the stomach for the real thing. As the corrida de toros began, we sat down over Tecates and shot our own bull about his new project Industry of War.

“Why does the world need another goddamn comic book, anyway?” I asked, my notepad ever at the ready. Clearly the sun was already getting to me.

“That’s a good goddamn question,” said Jordan. “I think we should ask the goddamn fans that one.”

Surly towards fans, I jotted. Then I scratched that out and wrote, Surly towards me.

“Are you commenting on Bush’s industry of war? Because if you are, Billy Tucci will have your head!” It was the sun.

“This story was born over 10 years ago,” said Jordan. “Long before we heard about the son of a bush. Some of the plot has its roots in the first gulf war, but it’s not a political statement. It’s sci-fi entertainment with a political theme, but it’s not used as a soapbox for me to climb on.” Jordan sipped his beer. Clearly he was from New York. Everyone knows you don’t sip Tecates.

A horn blew signaling the end of the first tercio. I was missing the whole stinkin’ show. Jordan didn’t care?he was on a roll. “The gist of the story is something we’re all familiar with,” he said. “Everyday screw-ups. Only this one is on a monumental scale that effects the ‘everyman’ and the public at large. Ever bought a product only to have it break or not work the way it was intended?”

“Does marriage count?” I answered.

“You go to customer service,” he said, “and they all pass the buck of responsibility and you get no satisfaction. That’s a large part of the theme behind the concept of Industry of War. As a result of a large government screw up, experimental malfunctioning weapons that should never have seen the light of day are accidentally distributed to places where hapless people?and black marketers?can get their hands on them. Now the government has to quietly clean it up for fear of political backlash.”

“The sons of bitches!” I screamed, standing up.

Jordan pulled me back into my seat before the crowd could get me. “The story follows from the point of view of a victim of this situation. The72-pager that comes out November 30 follows act 1 of the original comic book script written by myself and my co-writer, Andrew Lelling. It collects the first two 16 pagers found in Mark Texeira’s Pscythe 1 & 2 and continues with an additional 40 pages of new material to complete act 1. Future issues will be broken down similarly. They’ll be big issues. This is so the reader will have a satisfying read in each issue. More bang for your buck so to speak. The story is completed and it has an end to it with the possibility for sequel (and even prequel) stories.”

I looked down again just in time for La Suerte de Banderillas. Three sons of bitches were attempting to stick a pair of darts into the bull’s back. I was on my feet again. “Bunch of pussies!” I yelled. With Tex absent, I figured it was up to me to start some shit, but I couldn’t concentrate. For all I knew Jordan was the next Hemingway, so I reigned it in. “What’s the story with the movie deal?” I asked all serious.

“Just finished a spec screenplay with Ron Shusett (co-creator/producer of Alien and Total Recall),” said Jordan. “We’re looking to take it out, but Hollywood is about to shut down until after the new year so we’ll likely have to wait. Time will tell. I believe the studios don’t like the comic creators to write their own movies. I’m taking a shot at it, but from what I understand, even if I wrote the next Star Wars, Hollywood would still want a ‘hot’ writer to replace me. We shall see, right? At the very least, acts 2 and 3 of the comic book will follow what was written in the screenplay we’re submitting. Act 1 follows the comic book draft I co-wrote with Andy.”

Jordan’s features were getting blurry. It was either the sun or a superpower he hadn’t mentioned. He didn’t look a thing like that guy I’d rescued back in San Diego. Clean living had paid off. I asked him about his origins. Every superhero has an origin and those issues usually go for a lot of money, especially if they’re professionally graded and slabbed. Don’t tell me I don’t know anything about comics.

“Going waaaay back, I started working for Evolution Comics in the late ’80s. They published a mini-black-and-white anthology called Dangerous Times and I drew a couple of issues of their character Vidorix the Druid. It was a great start for me and I learned a lot doing it. I even managed to ink myself for an issue or two. From there I landed a job at Dark Horse pencilling Predator: Race War. I wish I had been experienced enough to handle the deadlines back then. I drew a short story for Penthouse Comix called ‘Dixie Snakeyes’ and followed up with RipClaw for Image. In more recent years, I penciled and inked a short Batman story in an 80-Page Giant and a Lady Shiva story in Batman Chronicles. But for the most part, I’ve spent my recent years in animation as a background designer.”

“Why comics? Why not a real career?” said a pretty Mexican woman sitting next to us.

“Because I’m a fool,” said Jordan.

“This is my goddamn interview,” I yelled up from under my chair.

“Actually,” said Jordan to the woman, “because at heart I’m a visual storyteller. I’ve always loved the comics art form, but in recent years it’s been more about the storytelling than anything else. It’s my creative outlet. I’ve taken to film making, but it’s an expensive outlet. I’d like to continue in that direction at some point as even my comic book work is film influenced. Most people tell me looking at my work makes them feel like they’re watching a movie. I take that as a compliment.”

“Favorite Howard Stern moment?” I yelled from down there.

“When he got so pissed at the FCC that he packed up and left for satellite radio.”

“Who can hold more booze?Texeira or Keith Moon?” I yelled. “Who is the best looking female editor in comics? Where would you like to punch Rush Limbaugh?in the face or the stomach?” No one was stealing my interview, damnit! “If you had to build a monster out of spare parts, would you rather use John Byrne, Gary Groth or random road kill?”

The first 16 pages of Industry of War can be read at http://www.jordanraskin.com. The mug shots from the arrest following this story can be seen at http://www.cliffordmeth.com.

© 2004, Clifford Meth

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