|Exclusives - Interviews - Chris Jones
Chris Jones (2004)
From his work On Justice League Adventures, or his new work on The Batman Strikes, Christopher Jones shows how much he cares for the characters that we does the art for. BYTB's Wonder Woman had the chance to talk with Mr. Jones about his recent involvement in the Batman world, and also how first got involved in comics.
What was your first job in the comic book industry?
My first professional gig was pencilling and inking a comic called Street Heroes 2005, back in 1989 when "2005" sounded really futuristic. It was written by my good friend Steve Jones who I've collaborated with again and again over the years
BYTB: What was your first job with DC Comics?
That was a fill-in issue of pencilling on "Young Heroes in Love" back in 1998.
BYTB: How long have you been working with DC Comics?
Well, since '98, so that's about six years.
BYTB: Who has been the hardest character to draw?
I actually am the most self-conscious about how I draw Wonder Woman. I think it's because she is so tricky to get just right, and she's of such iconic importance to a lot of people.
BYTB: Can you tell us anything about your current projects?
I currently am working on two ongoing projects.
The first is The Batman Strikes!, which is the tie-in book for The Batman, the new animated series premiering on September 11. It's drawn to look like the art style of the TV show, so I'm trying to combine the style of the TV series' art director Jeff Matsuda with my own. It's an interesting challenge. The comic book series is being written by Bill Matheny and inked by Terry Beatty. I've known Terry for years but have never had a chance to work with him before this, so this is a real treat.
The second project is Dr. Blink, Superhero Shrink, which I'm doing with John Kovalic, the creator of the comic series Dork Tower. It's a very funny book about a psychiatrist to the superhero set. If people want to check it out, they can visit www.drblink.com.
BYTB: Who is your favorite character to draw?
Oh, probably Batman. Which makes me very lucky to be doing what I am right now!
BYTB: What can we expect from The Batman Strikes?
We're doing self-contained single issue stories, set in the same continuity as the TV show. They're original stories, though, not adaptations of episodes of the show. It's very similar to the relationship between the previous Batman "animated" title and that show. For the first several months we're going to be ticking through the members of the rogue's gallery of villains. If a villain's first appearance on the TV show is shown to be their first meeting with Batman, you can consider their first appearance in the comic to be their second meeting.
BYTB: How long does it take on average for you to complete one issue?
C.J.: I can comfortably draw an issue of Batman Strikes in about three weeks. As we've been getting the book up and running I've occasionally had to do it in a little less...
BYTB: Where did you attend college?
C.J.: I briefly attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
BYTB: What did you get a degree in?
C.J.: I didn't complete any degree program there.
BYTB: Which comic book would you like to work on?
C.J.: I'd be happy to do more of Batman, outside of The Batman Strikes! so I could do my own version. Legion of Superheroes and Green Lantern would be other favorites to do at DC. I'd love to do Iron Man or Moon Knight for Marvel.
BYTB: Which comic book would you like to work on?
C.J.: What advice do you have for anyone trying to break into the comic industry through illustrating?
BYTB: What advice do you have for anyone trying to break into the comic industry through illustrating?
C.J.: Work on your skills, then be prepared for a long, hard struggle. It takes a lot of persistence for the right opportunity to come along, and it's usually in little steps over a long period of time. When those opportunities come, you have to be ready with the skills to step up to the plate and do good work.
BYTB: Any special skills needed to become a comic book illustrator?
C.J.: The only thing you should be looking at other comic books to learn is how to tell a story in the medium. Look outside of comics to learn how to actually draw. Draw from life or photographs whenever you can. A lifedrawing class is fantastic experience if it's an option.
BYTB: What is your opinion on The Batman? Do you like it more than the animated series?
I was as big a fan of the previous Batman Animated series as anyone. I am a huge fan of the "Bruce Timm" style, and had taped every episode off of TV and am not replacing them with DVD copies as quickly as they are released. When I first heard that there was a new series in development with no connection to the previous series I was very skeptical.
That said, I'm very impressed with the new series. It's very different in it's approach and intent than the previous series. I'm sure it won't please all the fans of that series, simply because it is so different. But I think it will find an entire new audience. It's a different take on Batman and his world. The previous series focused a lot of it's energy on the psychology and pathos of the characters. This is more of an action adventure show. The character designs are fantastic and the background art is gorgeous. The Batcave design on this show is my favorite version ever. I'm really happy to be working on a comic that allows me to play in this visual universe.
BYTB: Who has influenced you in pursuing a career in the comic industry?
C.J.: I'm a fan of a laundry list of artists who have all influenced me in different ways. For storytelling I look to artists from Will Eisner and Alex Toth to modern greats like Frank Miller. I really love artists like Darwin Cooke, Mike Mignola, and Phil Hester. I loved David Mazzucelli from his days on Daredevil and Batman: Year One. And you can't overlook giants like Jack Kirby and Gil Kane. I was really into John Byrne in the '80s. The list just goes on and on...
BYTB: Anything you'd like to say that we haven't covered?
I'm really excited to be getting in on the ground floor of this new vision of The Batman, and I hope the readers out there will give it a chance and come along for the ride.
BYTB: What do you think of Batman: Yesterday, Today and Beyond
C.J.: Batman: Yesterday, Today and Beyond is a terrific site, covering all the multi-faceted incarnations of The Batman. Keep up the great work!
Chris was kind enough to share a few sketches from the first issue of THE BATMAN STRIKES with us!
We'd like to thank Christopher Jones for taking time out to talk with us. You can discuss this interview in our forum: CLICK HERE TO GO
To find out more about Christopher Jones, please visit his official website: Christopher Jones Illustration