This week saw the release of Morning Glories #9 from Shadowline and Image Comics and from our review spawned a conversation with the artist of the series Joe Eisma. Included is some art from Joe's work on Morning Glories along with a lot of great answers. At the end of the interview are some links to other Morning Glories reviews and coverage on the site. If you're interested in the series check out the trade paper back for the first volume in stores now!
PA) Right off the
bat I have to ask, when you started Morning Glories did you ever think you’d
draw so many kids dying? And did you have any fear that the public would still
be sensitive to that type of material or did the uniqueness of the story make
it a null point?
JE) Absolutely not! I had an inkling,
with the first issue's script of what I was in for, but the scale ended up
being much greater than I figured. I did initially worry that the gore
might be a turn off for some people, but my fears were unfounded in the end.
People were so gripped by the story that the gore didn't seem to bother them!
PA) How much
involvement to you have with the script? Do you give feedback or suggestions or
do you stick to putting your input into the art?
JE) Nick's pretty open to hearing my thoughts on things, but for
the most part, I leave those reins to him. There are several instances
where he'll defer to me and how I want to lay something out. Jade's phone
call and the descent into the catacombs at the end in issue 1 were all pretty
much up to me in how they were laid out.
PA) With Morning
Glories, what’s your monthly output on the comic? And also how far ahead are
you typically of the book when it’s released?
JE) I can do about 23-24 pages a month comfortably. But,
Nick's been making a lot of these issues pretty epic--they average 26 to 32
pages. I don't think we've ever had a standard 22 page issue! When
the first issue came out, I was starting issue 4, however that lead time has
shrank down to nothing. With Nick's full plate, I don't always get script
in time, leaving me to scramble to make up time.
PA) When inking
your own material what do you use? Are you a pen and ink guy? Brushes? Or use
the computer? If you use a computer to ink to you also use a program to draw as
JE) I use a mixture of digital and traditional techniques to draw
the book. I do it this way since I'm not a very fast inker.
Everything starts out digital, with my Wacom Cintiq tablet and Photoshop.
I try to figure out ahead of time which pages I'm going to ink and take those
from the rough stage, print them and then ink them traditionally. I use
Kuretake brush pens and Microns to ink. Then things get a digital cleanup
and they're ready to be sent to colorist Alex Sollazzo.
PA) Who came up
with the character designs? Or was a group effort with cover artist Rodin
Esquejo and what was your process for them?
JE) It was a group effort. I did some designs when I started
on the book, and then after Rodin came on, he refined them and we kind of
joined our ideas together. Some characters, like Nurse Nine, are all
designed by him. Others, like Miss Daramount and Mr. Gribbs were all
PA) Is there a
particular character in the series you enjoy to draw more? It seems like extra
attention is paid to Miss Daramount when she’s on the page?
JE) It varies--it's hard to pick a favorite! Of the main
cast, I do enjoy drawing Jade--since she wears so much eye makeup and is so
emotional--I can really exaggerate her expressions. Miss Daramount is fun
because she's just so evil. In some ways, she's almost like the fantasy
teacher I always wished I'd had in high school, so I try to play up her
sexiness and have her move in a very sleek, sensual manner. She's the
type of character I want to make an impression in every scene she's in.
PA) How did
Morning Glories come about from an idea to one of more popular Image books on
JE) It really was quite a surprise how much the book caught
on! When Nick and I were initially working on the pitch, I knew we had
something special, but nothing I'd worked on up to that point had really made a
splash. I figured we might get a little critical praise, but I didn't
anticipate the way it blew up. There's no real secret formula--we just
came together and found we all really gelled as a creative team and tried to do
the best book we possibly could.
PA) How did you
begin working with Nick Spencer and do the two of you have plans for any other
JE) Nick and I met on Brian Bendis' message board,
Jinxworld. He'd seen my art and liked what he saw, and sent me a message
asking if I'd like to read this pitch of his. He described it as
'Runaways meets Lost' and I was immediately hooked! As for other
series--no plans at the moment--Morning Glories is such a long-form series that
it's taking a lot of our focus.
Glories seems like it has to obviously end at some point. Is there an issue
number that you’re shooting for or is it just when the story has run its
JE) It seems to vary from week to week. I've heard Nick say
100 issues, then 75, then 100 again. I'm guessing somewhere in-between
that! But yeah, there is a definite end point in mind.
PA) Probably a
dumb question, but is there anything you’re working on besides Morning Glories?
If not is there any projects you’re cooking up for the future?
JE) Morning Glories is my main focus in comics at the
moment! I also do freelance game art as well, and I'm working on some
iphone games and apps.
PA) Last question
and I’ve been told its “Loaded”, who would win in a fight: Stan Lee in his
prime or Jack Kirby in his prime?
JE) Steve Ditko. (Okay, out of the two you mentioned--Kirby!)
We'd like to thank Joe for taking the time to talk with us and wish him the best with the series and also congradulate him the three Eisner Awards that Morning Glories is nominated for this year.