Jeph Loeb is a busy guy. Not only is he one of the most successful writers in comics today, not only is he actively working as a Hollywood producer and screenwriter, but he is also hard at work producing the hit WB series Smallville. I first interviewed Jeph with Brian Saner Lamken way back in 2000 for the first issue of Comicology Magazine, conducting one of the most exhaustive interviews with him yet. Since then, Jeph's success in the comic book industry has grown substantially. He was gracious enough to take a few moments out his limited leisure time to chat with forcesofgood.com

Did you always want to be a writer?

I think I always wanted to be a storyteller. Whether it was through writing, telling stories, filmmaking - that was my passion. Still is.

How did you get into comics?

I came in backwards. I was working as a screenwriter (still am) and I was going to do a movie about The Flash. That fell through, but I met Jeanette Kahn who was then the head of DC Comics. She asked if I weren’t going to do the movie, would I do a comic book for DC. That turned into my first work, Challengers of the Unknown, which has just been collected as a trade paperback collection. (Unabashed plug.)

You started your writing career, scripting such fan favorite films as Teen Wolf and Commando. How did you break into the movie industry?

Again, not the usual way, I guess. I went to Columbia University’s Film School and then I came to Los Angeles, not knowing anyone. My then writing partner, Matthew Weisman and I wrote Commando on spec (meaning nobody paid us and we auctioned the script). That got us a job, strangely enough with Teen Wolf, which we wrote next, but it came out first.

You met and befriended one of your idols, writer Elliot S Maggin while in your teens. What kind of influence did he have on you and your work?

Elliot has a wonderful sense of humor about the work. He taught me not to take it so seriously — to tell the best story I could and that’s what I’ve tried to do.

You first worked with artist Tim Sale on Challengers of the Unknown. What was it like working in comics for the first time and what was your initial collaboration with Tim like?

It was pretty much a disaster — except that we became best friends.

It was disaster because I didn’t know what I was doing — I had him redraw so many pages because I wasn’t explaining things properly. Like with film, I had to learn the language of working with an artist. Now, it’s something I do naturally. Poor Tim!

You’ve since worked with Tim on Batman: Haunted Knight, The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, Superman For All Seasons, Wolverine/Gambit, Hulk: Grey, Spider-Man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow and now Catwoman: When in Rome. What’s it like being part of the Lennon and McCartney of comics?

HA! Well… You know the obvious question is when do we meet Yoko? Look, I’m very flattered by the comparison but putting me, at least, (and I know Tim well enough to say this) putting either of us in the same sentence with the Beatles is silly. We’ve had a good run. We’re both very grateful to the fans, the readers and everyone who has supported us through the years. But, there is no doubt about it — we never take those people for granted — we’re very, very lucky to work in our chosen fields.

You now write the hugely popular and successful series Superman/Batman. What about these two icons inspires you?

I think it’s their friendship. The light and the dark, side by side. It makes for good drama and also a few laughs. One inspires, the other strikes fear. But they both want the same thing: Justice. They just go about it completely differently.

Your day job is as a Supervising Producer on the television series, Smallville. This season we’re seeing the series debuts of Lois Lane, The Flash, Mxyzptlk and the return of actress Margot Kidder to the Superman mythos. As one of comic’s most successful writers do you feel an additional responsibility to the legacy of these characters?

Of course. But I would feel that way about any story I’m involved in. However, because I get paid to work on the world’s greatest hero, it’s especially sweet! Again, I’m very lucky.

You were the original Executive Producer of the proposed Buffy the Vampire Slayer the Animated Series. Are Sunnydale fans ever going to see this series?

Yes. I’ll have more to say on that very soon. And I’m still the Executive Producer of the show along with my pal, Joss Whedon who does all the heavy lifting in the genius department. I’m just there to make him look good. Like a Hollywood Wife.. (laughs)

Batman: Hush teamed you with artist Jim Lee and sales were phenomenal. What do you think made it so successful and were you satisfied with the end result?

I don’t know what makes a hit — if I did, I’d be running Hollywood! I think it had a lot to do with the combination of the right character and the right team. It wasn’t just me and the story. It wasn’t just Jim and the artwork. It was Scott Williams’ inks; Alex Sinclair’s colors; Richard Starkings’ lettering. We all worked very hard to put out the best comic we could and if it hadn’t clicked I would’ve been very, very disappointed. I mean, if you can’t win with that team, you’ve done something very wrong. I was really delighted that Hush had such a profound effect on folks… that’s what really matters.

What can you tell us about your upcoming reunion with Jim, Batman and Robin?

You mean, other than it’s not called Batman and Robin? (laughs). We’re doing a Batman AND Robin story. Where that happens and in what format is still to be determined. It’s a mystery. The story, I mean!

Do you have any dream collaborators or projects in either film or comics that you haven’t worked with yet?

The list is too long to mention. Although I’m seeing it get smaller every year. Superman/Batman provided a lot of them — working again with Ed McGuinness, with Michael Turner, with Carlos Pacheco, Pat Lee — it’s pretty sweet. And we still have a few surprises left! I’ll always work with Tim. Whatever we do next, it’s bound to be something that he does that astonishes me.

What are your seminal influences?

I get asked this a lot. Mostly, it was my Dad. He was a storyteller. He could make a trip to the post office seem like an Indiana Jones movie. He saw life as something you played, not that you lived. I see it in my son as well. It’s a very admirable trait. Storytelling — it’s a gift.