Joining us in this episode is Josh Trujillo, the incredible writer behind Blue Beetle: Graduation Day. Want an exclusive look into Josh’s approach to writing Blue Beetle? You’ve come to the right place! Episode 4 pulls back the curtain on Jaime Reyes, and takes you on a deep dive into the character and the world of our favorite insectoid hero.
Josh: Hi there! My name’s Josh Trujillo. I’m the writer of Blue Beetle: Graduation Day and I’m here with DC for Episode 4 of our Q&A series. I’m gonna answer some questions from the fans, so let’s get started!
Q: Which Blue Beetle comic series is your favorite?
Josh: For Jaime, I really like the John Rogers/Keith Giffen/Cully Hamner run. There’s two volumes of it that are out in comic shops again, it’s great. It’s the first series I’ve ever followed from Issue #1 all the way to its conclusion, and all those comics are at my mom’s house, so they’re just full of like, humor and heart and big action … and you just feel like Jaime is the most important character in the universe, so that’s what I’ve always gravitated towards.
Not to say anything — I’m a big fan of all the series, but that’s the one in my heart.
Q: I’d like to first say it is both important and wonderful to see a character of Latin(x)/Mexican representation getting the same attention as other prominent characters. What do you hope will be the legacy that your work with Jaime/Blue Beetle will achieve for Latin(x) representation and what advice would you give a possible DC content creator who hopes to do the same wonderful work that you are doing?
Josh: Well that’s very flattering! You know, I hope my legacy is to kind of elevate Jaime, get him closer to that Wonder Woman/Batman/Superman status. For me, he’s the most important, the coolest character in the DC universe, I wanna share that with people. I wanna get people excited. And as for a possible DC content creator … I’d say keep making stuff you’re passionate about. Make stuff for your community. Be authentic to yourself. I think people really gravitate towards that truth and that honesty, and that’s always guided me.
Q: If you could have Jaime go up against any established DC villain, who would it be and why?
Josh: You know, back during the Death of Superman times, Ted Kord got REALLY beat up by Doomsday, so I feel like Jaime has a grudge — you know, has some beef there. So I always wanted to see Blue Beetle vs. Doomsday.
Q: Out of the three, who do you think is the biggest thread to Blue Beetle: Silverback, Catalyst, or Paco Testas?
Josh: You know, this is an interesting questions because these are not the major Blue Beetle villains. But for me, I think it’s probably Catalyst.
Q: What do you think Jaime can learn from Ted Kord – and do you think there are some things Ted can learn from Jaime?
Josh: Ooh! You know I think Ted really leads from his intellect — his brains, his smarts … and Jaime really leads from his heart. So I think there’s kind of an interplay there. So I think Jaime could learn a little more tech skills, I think that would help him in kind of navigating his heroic journey, and also like, he gets into Khaji Da a little better that way too.
Q: Every writer changes some characteristics of a character. What would you say inspires your characterization of Jaime?
Josh: You know, I definitely pull from my friends, my life for Jaime. He’s kind of a wide-eyed kid who has a lot of heart and is trying to find his place in the world — that’s what Graduation Day is all about, and so I kind of lean into that. Reminds me a little bit of myself, reminds me a little bit of my little brother … and so I just try to pull from my family and the community in my life.
Q: Ever thought about giving Jaime a love interest?
Josh: Yes! Read Scarab War.
Q: I’m curious when creating Graduation Day, when did the concept of Scarab War come about, or was it something you and the rest of the creative team always had in mind, and did knowing you were writing a follow-up cause any changes to the story of Graduation Day?
Josh: Yeah so I’ll say when I first wrote the script for Graduation Day, we didn’t know we would get to do a follow-up. And so there’s a little bit of an epilogue in Graduation Day that tees up what we’re doing in Blue Beetle #1 and Scarab War … so that’s something that, if we WEREN’T going to have a follow-up, I would’ve changed that last page into something with a little more closure. But I like that it’s kind of a tease of what’s to come.
Q: When you’re working on a character that is not as well established for many DC fans, how do you balance exposition and story to make sure all readers know who the characters are and what is happening but also moving the story along at a pace that keeps it compelling?
Josh: You know, I try to go by the rule of “every comic is someone’s first comic”, so you do try to put in a little more exposition. You try to explain that Jaime’s attached to Khaji Da, that his best friends are Paco and Brenda, that he’s from El Paso but he lives in Palmera City. So there are a lot of things you constantly have to refresh and remind the reader, but hopefully it doesn’t get in the way of the story we’re trying to tell.
Q: What is your favorite part about writing Blue Beetle?
Josh: Oh gosh. I love writing Jaime, but I love writing his supporting cast — that’s something that gives me a lot of inspiration. Paco, Brenda, his family, Milagro, his new tias, Gloria and Marisol, Ted Kord, even Victoria Kord. So I like kind of having this big cast because Blue Beetle’s all about family and community, and they’re as big a part of the story as he is.
Q: What do you think Jaime brings to the Blue Beetle Mantle/Legacy?
Josh: You know, I think Jaime really brings his heart. I think he leads with it, I think his compassion and his empathy really set him apart from some of the edgier heroes out there. That’s what I’ve always loved about him — he has this real humanity even though he’s now part alien.
Q: Big Blue Beetle fan here! What are some of your sources of inspiration for Graduation Day?
Josh: Like Jaime, after graduating high school, I didn’t have all the answers. I didn’t have a plan. But also, I didn’t have a sci-fi magic scarab attached to myself. So I tried to pull in that aimlessness, that uncertainty, because Jaime has all the potential in the world. He has the most powerful artifact in the DC universe attached to him, but he doesn’t know what to do with it yet. So I think a lot of us who are just kind of coming into our own adulthood are still kind of navigating that.
Q: Looking forward to what Blue Beetle has in store for the rest of the year! Any favorite Blue Beetle villains besides The Reach?
Josh: Okay besides The Reach, I love La Dama, I love Maxwell Lord, I love some of Kord’s villains … I love the Mad Men, you might see some of them popping up in Scarab War, and so yeah! I love the expanded weird cast of characters. Everyone from Silverback to Coyote … and hopefully we’re gonna see a lot more of them coming up.
Josh: Thank you DC fan community for all of these questions! It was a lot of fun talking Jaime. And congratulations to @CKComics — you won a signed copy of Blue Beetle: Graduation Day signed by yours truly!
You can look forward to more Jaime adventures in September. Blue Beetle #1 kicks off our Scarab War storyline, and you can watch Blue Beetle in theaters this August.