Comics Anonymous

November 30, 2011, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Interviews | Tags: , , , ,

With the Comics Anonymous whirlwind weekend at Thought Bubble, we were fortunate enough to catch up with Dave Gibbons in a brief break in his queue of eager fans looking to have their well-kept, bagged issues signed by the artist/letterer.

Now he may be best known for work with Alan Moore on Watchmen but he’s been involved with a several other big titles too and has worked with some other well-known big names in comics.  From 2000AD in his early career, he moved on to work with the likes of Frank Miller on the AMAZING Martha Washington character from Dark Horse comics through to Geoff Johns at DC with involvement on Green Lantern Corps: Recharge.  In fact, the list of other titles is pretty broad and includes his scripted/drawn graphic novel The Originals.

Recent announcements have seen him thrust back into the comic book lime-light as he joins up with Mark Millar for a new creator-owned titles being released in 2012 – here’s what the chat brought us:

Will you be sharing art duties?

I’m pencilling it, inking it, and probably going to be lettering it too.  The colouring will be done by my old friend Angus McKay who has coloured a number of things I’ve done, like Martha Washington, etc. He’s my go-to guy and my friend of many years so it’s in safe hands.

So do you think this will be distinctive Dave Gibbons or are you going for anything different?

Well I always try and vary my approach and I have got a certain look in mind for this.  Just like Watchmen looks different from the Originals which look different from Martha Washington.  I think this is going to be clearly me but I’m trying to ring the stylistic changes a bit and its very much set in the real world, so it’s a challenge to make things look real instead of invented.

Are you achieving any of that through new technology?

Well yeah, I’ve always been a huge proponent of new technology.  You catch me here with the new Wacom thing which is called the Inkling, which means you can transfer a sketch to your computer without having to scan it.  I use a program called Manga Studio which is very useful for laying out the pages and I print a blue-line copy with the perspective grids and if I’m using a 3D model I’ll print that out too.  Now like most people who do what I do, rather than a pile of references books, I sit with my laptop on my drawing board and just Google image search anything I need reference on so technology is your friend.

So do you see that speeding up workflow and keeping issues on time?

That’s the theory but you know what it’s like when you’ve got work to do ….you can spend your time on Google searches or posting wisecracks on Twitter.  Technology is great but it can be a distraction so you have to fight against that at times.

How do you feel about distribution side, where digital can now play a part?

I think that’s rather interesting and the whole model of things is changing.  People always want a book or a solid object but it may well be that the monthly comic may become a download or a monthly online thing to access.  I have many dear friends who own comic shops and things but I really do wish them well, but I think even they are aware of that basic change.  I certainly will look at things online or on my iPad which is a great way to look at it, but at the end of the day I will always want a hard print of it.

I imagine, as an artist, that looking at something on the screen wouldn’t give the same satisfaction as holding something in your hand?

Well that’s true, there is that thrill when you first see it in print and I was talking to some young artists about that this weekend and anyone can put their work on the internet but at least being in print gives the impression that someone considers it’s worth spending money on.

Do you think digital brings out the colours?

Yeah it’s because of the glow, and it’s a different colour model, and it always reminds me of a stained-glass window with that kind of effect.  It’s a different experience but it’s a good experience and I certainly can’t remember the last time I brought a printed novel or non-fiction book because I much prefer to get those on my Kindle and carry them about with me.  I’m a great lover of books but with disposable kind of reading, it almost lends itself to that. but things are changing and I’m sure there will be up sides and down sides.

As 2012 closes in on us and we wait to even just get a glimpse of what to expect from Gibbons on his project with Mark Millar, I’d strongly suggest you take a look through your local comic book shops for some non-Watchmen Dave Gibons work. There’s more of it than you think and there are surely some gems you’re missing out on.


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