Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Artist Bernard Chang Talks DEMON KNIGHTS and GREEN LANTERN CORPS
Comic Vine: You have been working on DEMON KNIGHTS for a while, and pretty soon you will be leaving the series for GREEN LANTERN CORPS. Are you looking forward to the change or will it be bittersweet for you?
Bernard Chang: Since drawing the book this past year, I've really developed a strong affection for DEMON KNIGHTS, so my departure to GREEN LANTERN CORPS is somewhat bittersweet. The characters and stories open up a unique chapter of comics in the DC Universe, and hope it continues to thrive after I'm gone. Robert Venditti has some great ideas for future story lines. I do feel it has been some of my best work as of late, and I look forward to carrying that momentum towards GLC.
CV: What has been your favorite issue of DEMON KNIGHTS and why?
BC: To be very honest, when I first signed on to DK, I was a little bit hesitant, because I don't have a history of working in this genre. But as I read the scripts, buried myself in reference, which included watching the Game of Thrones series and movies like Your Highness, and sketching/designing the various armor and settings, I discovered I was having a ton of fun! And ultimately, I think that energy showed through on the pages. And while my first ever DK issue (#8) was a fairly light tale of the the love triangle between Xanadu/Jason Blood/Etrigan, Paul Cornell made sure to quickly throw me in the deep end of the pool with issues featuring four or five armies (of varying designs) battling each other in an epic showdown at Avalon. And just when I think I'm gonna get a little break, Robert comes in and writes another epic battle between vampires, Amazons, and our Knights, haha.
CV: Which DEMON KNIGHTS character was the most fun for you to illustrate and why?
BC: I think I'm most familiar with Vandal Savage. Mostly because just before DK, I had illustrated a story featuring the modern day version of him in DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS (#9-11). So his mannerisms and such I was more familiar with when it came down to his acting and role. I can tell you that I'm not a big fan of drawing animals, or horses in particular, so Horsewoman, was probably the most difficult, at first. And having read the previous issues, there weren't that many scenes with people riding around in horses. But as sure as anything, pretty soon after I took over, everyone is riding around on a horse on every page! So as an artist, you have to accept the challenges that come with each project and tackle them head on. At the end of the run, I would probably say I enjoyed Horsewoman and Brickwedge the most.
In addition, I'm also very fond of the design work in each book. Little cues in the armors, architecture, and various cast of characters. For example, each time Lucifer appeared in a different scene, he wore a different set of armor. My intention was to further illustrate his extravagance, in that his character was always looking to be amused by the actions of Etrigan and the Knights, so this guy should have an extensive wardrobe and be very open to showing that off any chance he got.
CV: What can you tell us about your upcoming work on GREEN LANTERN CORPS? What character has been the most fun for you to draw?
BC: Usually when jumping on a new book, it takes an issue or two to really get a good grasp on the characters. So right now, I'm trying to draw and sketch the Lanterns as much as possible to help mitigate that learning curve. Fortunately, there are some new characters in the story arc as well, so I get to start from scratch there. The main difference between DK and GLC is obviously the sic-fi component. With DK, the only time I used a ruler was to draw the panel boarders, but with GLC, because things are high tech and sleeker, a lot more time is spent on designing and developing unique and futuristic technology and architecture. While the core of GLC stories have a humanistic resonance, the settings are all of different alien worlds, and part of that wonder can be translated in design.
BC: Haha. Guess I just answered most of this in the last question. For the most part, I want to portray a bit more sleekness with GLC. Towards the end of DK, things got very gritty with the horde of vampires, collected from various regions of Europe, so I made an effort to reflect that in the lineart. I'm still looking to find that exact "fine line" with GLC, and reflecting on my previous single guest issue in EMERALD WARRIORS a couple years ago as my foundation. With each project, I try to find a particular line quality to suit the story.
There's also the aspect of storytelling that often gets overshadowed by drawing "pretty" pictures. For me, being able to tell a story, building an emotional connection with the reader, and having my unique storyteller's voice is the most important aspect of being a comic book artist. You can give the same script to five different artists, but you will get five different books. Not only drawn differently, but told differently with varied sensibilities. Imagine giving the same script to Quentin Tarantino, JJ Abrams, Ang Lee, Steven Spielberg, and Judd Apatow.
CV: Can you mention anything about what the creative process is like on GREEN LANTERN CORPS?
BC: The creative process is very much the same as the other projects. After getting the script, I'll do an initial read thru, sit on it for a day to see if anything in particular jumps out, then do a round of layouts on the computer, the next day then another pass when I'm roughing out pencils on the actual boards. Adding an additional step in the process does take a little bit longer, but bottom line, it gives me another opportunity to pick the right shot and angle, as well as controlling the tempo and pacing of the story.
With the colors, I've developed a great connection with Marcelo Maiolo, whom I worked with in DK and specifically requested he move onto GLC with me. Marcelo brings the final work up another level, and has a great eye for mood and settings. My work has always been very open, so certain colors can make or break a drawing. I'm very fortunate to have worked with many talented people throughout my career, and Marcelo is amongst the top.