Friday, April 26, 2013
COSMIC ARTIST BRAD WALKER BRINGS HIS TALENTS TO NEW 52, GL FRANCHISE
Artist Brad Walker has been a favorite at Cosmic Book News since he was drawing Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos Imperative: Ignition and select other titles for the House of Ideas.
Now Walker is following an emerald light to the New 52 where, next month with issue #21, he becomes the regular artist for DC’s Green Lantern: New Guardians.
Managing Editor Byron Brewer caught up with Walker exclusively in a tavern in Oa’s south hemisphere and talked with the artist about Kyle Rayner, a new direction for New Guardians, his favorite GL tales of yesterday and more.
Cosmic Book News: Brad, you have been known for drawing individual cosmic heroes like Nova and cosmic groups like Guardians of the Galaxy. How will that work in relation to drawing Green Lantern: New Guardians?
Brad Walker: It's sort of given me direction for how I like to approach science fiction/cosmic type stories. It's really a different mindset than street level/Earth-based stuff, and there is a whole different catalogue of influences to pull from. So, it feels good to come into something like this with that experience, and I feel more like I'm hitting the ground running. And our cast isn't QUITE as insane as something like Guardians of the Galaxy, so that's nice!
CBN: There has been talk of new characters coming to the Lantern books. Have you been doing any design work?
Brad Walker: Yes! I have! A new villain, in particular. It's fun to do, and I really try to think about the design stuff from all angles. Most of that thinking will never register or be apparent to the reader, but hopefully, on a subconscious level, all the thought I put into visual themes and repeated elements will resonate, and people will enjoy the look of the character. And I've also been getting used to doing some recent designs I really like by Aaron Kuder and Ethan Van Sciver. The GL corner of the DCU is definitely my current favorite, design-wise.
CBN: How is it working with new writer Justin Jordan? Do you find a synergy with the writer on this book?
Brad Walker: It's been fantastic, so far! He's very gracious and collaborative. We talked back and forth a good bit before the first script was finished, and he was cool about encouraging me to add to the storytelling, and playing with things to make it work, visually. To me, that's when comics work best, when both writer and artist bring their best ideas, and respect what the other person has given. It's a lot of fun!
CBN: Not to ruin the First Lantern climax, but how does Kyle Rayner come out on the other side of that adventure? Any changes in store when we open issue #21?
Brad Walker: Well, Kyle's still alive. There's a giant spoiler. But I suppose he's on the cover of issue #21, so not really a spoiler at all. I don't think it ruins anything to say that Kyle may have a specific destiny within the Green Lantern Corp. They've hinted at that a lot over the years. In my mind, if Hal is the greatest Green Lantern, Kyle is possibly the most powerful Green Lantern. Tony Bedard and Aaron Kuder have been exploring this a lot in their recent arcs. So, at the beginning of our first arc, Kyle is going to take on a new role that maybe only he can handle. I'm hoping we can really explore where his role lies in the greater universe.
CBN: Will the book continue go focus on Kyle or will we see more of a team book with the return of a rainbow army?
Brad Walker: It's going to be plenty of Kyle, but there will be some other characters to focus on. That's all I'll say. (laughs)
Brad Walker: Yeah, I got into GL comics a little later than some other franchises. The Hal toy was always my favorite Super Powers figure growing up, but I didn't catch onto his comics until the Kyle Rayner stuff started. I loved the Marz/Banks/Winick stuff. Once I was really into that, I backtracked to what I could get in trade, or what issues I could find. I love the heavily comics coded, early Broome/Kane stuff, and the O'Neil/Adams stuff. Then, later, I got into the Emerald Dawn eras, and now I'm reading the Wein/Gibbons stuff that's just being reprinted. But ever since Geoff came on with Rebirth, I've been really into it monthly again.
CBN: Any new cosmic big bads coming? What can you tell us about the strange anomaly at the end of the universe?
Brad Walker: Yes! I'd say no less than three new, bad ... things ... in our first issue! And one of those things is actually a group of things. As for the anomaly at the end of the universe? All I'll say is that I'm gonna try to make it look kinda gross. (laughs)
CBN: Any favorite characters so far, or ones you would like to improve upon as your art becomes more a part of the book?
Brad Walker: I really like Kyle. I always have. I'm hoping to get the hang of drawing his mask. It's tricky, but I think I've found a handle on it. Kyle's tough, because the mask covers most of his face, and it's not skin tight, like Hal's. But I'm working on ways to fudge it here and there to suggest emotion. Kind of like how Gene Colan would do with Iron Man in the ‘60's. And after all, his mask is only made of light, so I can do what I want.
Hal probably remains my favorite GL, so I hope he shows up from time to time. I'd like to draw some of the cool, alien GL's like Tomar, Kilowog, the one shaped like a big, round crystal that a sorority girl would hang from her rearview mirror, or any of the anthropomorphic animal ones. And I'd love to design a couple new aliens.
CBN: You have had a lot of experience drawing cosmic characters and galactic circumstances. Is the scope of a cosmic book like this a good thing or bad thing for you as an artist?
Brad Walker: It's fantastic. I love drawing deep space emptiness and filling it up. I've been looking at a lot of Al Williamson Star Wars newspaper strips, because he was just incredible at drawing interesting space scenes.
CBN: Any new projects or ones in the future that you would like to promote?
Brad Walker: For the moment, I'm 100% in this. I want to do everything I can to make it one of the coolest looking books on the stands. So that'll take about 20 hours a day. I'll have to figure out something to do with the other four.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank our old friend, artist Brad Walker, for taking time out of a very busy schedule to answer our questions, and we also thank DC’s own Alex Segura and Alex Nagorski who helped make this interview possible.