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Exclusive Interview: Paul Jenkins on BOOM's new hero battle book, Deathmatch!

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Contributing Editor
created 11/19/2012 - 6:46pm, updated 11/19/2012 - 8:10pm

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4148 Next month, BOOM! Studios is preparing to unleash onto the comic book world a scenario that, they say, no other comics company can boast: an arena of super-doopers beating the snot out of each other, these fights being to the death. Thus the title: Deathmatch!

CBN Managing Editor Byron Brewer sat down with writer Paul Jenkins (DC Universe Presents, Batman: The Dark Night, Stormwatch) for an exclusive peek into what may be coming our way from BOOM! in December.

Cosmic Book News: For those unfamiliar explain to us the concept behind Deathmatch.

Paul Jenkins: The basic premise is that we have 32 of the world’s most powerful or intelligent heroes (Supes), villains (Fears), and neutrally aligned (Neuts) people all locked up together. None of them know why, or how this has even happened. They are suddenly participants in the Deathmatch arena, in which they are forced to kill each other to survive into the next round. No matter their feelings about these death matches, as soon as they enter the arena, they seem to be brainwashed into competing to the death. The identity of their captors is a mystery, and the technology keeping our combatants in the prison seems nothing short of supernatural. Trust me, we are in for a wild ride as the main characters do their best to find out what is happening before there is only one person left alive. And when readers find out what is really going on their heads will explode. Boom! (See what I did there?)

4151 Cosmic Book News: Lol. There must be a great difficulty in creating a world full of new superheroes only to see most of them die. There will ultimately be one winner, correct?

Paul Jenkins:Yeah ... I hate killing some great characters but this is our rule: when they are dead, they remain dead. Something tells me that if a character remains dead, the fans will actually embrace it because we all know dead does not usually mean dead for long in this business.

Cosmic Book News: Is there an ultimate big-bad involved here? What if anything can you tell us about this character?

Paul Jenkins: The people or person running the prison and the Deathmatch arena ... their identity is a complete mystery. And there seems to be no way to combat them – the technology behind the prison is capable of holding the 32 combatants and keeping them there, as well as forcing them to fight to the death.

Cosmic Book News: Is there some cosmic arena these matches take place in? Is there a hero gathering Secret War-like or are there adventures that naturally lead up to these hero vs. hero clashes?

Paul Jenkins: The arena adapts, literally: it seems to change with each match to create a level playing field so that the winner is determined not by who is necessarily the strongest. For example (using mainstream characters) how would Spider-Man fare against Superman? Well, what if the arena was full of pockets of Kryptonite

4153 Cosmic Book News: For fans of these type stories how does this differ from Civil War or Avengers vs. X-Men?

Paul Jenkins: Think of it as the NCAA basketball tournament (or the FA Cup for my compatriots): it is a staged series of battles, not a philosophical disagreement. But I feel another way we can differentiate is that our results are definitely going to be final: you lose, you die. And you don’t come back. Plus, I think we have a little more latitude sometimes than the Big Two to do more challenging stuff. We can have our characters do very extreme things, if necessary. 

Cosmic Book News: As a creator and storyteller, how do you keep these sorts of stories from becoming monotonous or one-note?

Paul Jenkins: By making stuff blow up, thereby cracking the Internet into a large number of small pieces. And by focusing on the meaning to the characters, not always who has the greatest powers. Though that is, of course, pretty cool and the reason we are doing this.

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Cosmic Book News: What is it like working with artist Carlos Magno? Why is he right for Deathmatch?

Paul Jenkins: Ha ha! I feel the only answer to that is, “Have you seen his art?” Carlos is a great artist, and it’s a pleasure to work with him. 

Cosmic Book News: Besides Deathmatch, what current or future projects have you excited?

Paul Jenkins: Humberto Ramos and I have a great series, a labor of love we are working on called Fairyquest (which can currently be purchased in prestige form at www.fairyquestbook.com). I love that series so much, and we’re bringing it to BOOM! for solicitation into the direct market. I have a couple of new projects also in the works, but can’t reveal them just yet.

Deathmatch #1 hits shelves in December!

 

I wish to thank Mr. Jenkins for his time as well as thanks always to Filip Sablik, VP of Publishing and Marketing for BOOM! Studios, who helped make this interview possible.

 

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