An DCU:NG Telephone Interview
Sean: With both Flash and Green Lantern having spent time on both teams, I assuming it's explained how GL sides with JLA and Flash with the Titans.
Phil: Of course. It's a major plot point. It's about how the two characters see their jobs, their roles. It's about how they approach their situations, about each one values. Yeah, that's a big deal, and it's not something that we're going to brush over.
Sean: Who are some of the other artists, other than Perez, who've influenced your work?
Phil: My two other big influences are Brian Bolland and this guy named Ryochi Ikegami. Those are the two big ones I've been looking at a lot lately. And I collect art just to consider things. I don't collect comics much anymore, but it is nice to look through and see who's working and who's doing what. So I have all sorts of stuff from different people, ranging from Garcia-Lopez to Kevin Nolan to the the guy Yu who draws Wolverine. So, I'm always keeping my eye out to see what people are doing.
Sean: So, what's your favorite storyline you've written or drawn?
Phil: JLA/Titans is easily the most exciting project I've ever worked on. I definitely think though that the most relevant and the one that means the most to people is still Tempest. I still get letters from people about that mini-series. I suspect that that one had the most impact, but that JLA/Titans was the most fun for me to be drawing.
Sean: Anything else that you're going to be working on soon we need to be looking out for?
Phil: There's an X-Men miniseries that I'm doing very loose breakdowns for. It's quite a contrast to JLA/Titans, which is real tight, but it's kind of fun anyway. The Vertigo romance anthology Heartthrobs I'm doing an eight-page story for, and there are some Invisibles paper dolls for Vertigo Winter's Edge. And hopefully this other big series I'll be talking to DC about.
Sean: Paper dolls?
Phil: Paper dolls.
Sean: Wow.That is one weird book. I picked up a few issues. That's a really weird book.
Phil: It really is a weird book. It was fun. For the time I worked on it, I really enjoyed it. I think it's important for books like that to be seen and published because there's just nothing like them.
Sean: Who was your favorite character to draw from that book?
Phil: My favorite to draw was Lord Fanny. My favorite character period was Boy.
Sean: And Lord Fanny was the cross-dresser, right?
Phil: Yeah. From a fashion standpoint it was fun to look around, even though I only got to draw "her" in two costumes. But it was definitely fun to go to crazy New York stores and see what I could put her in. But Boy was the character I actually cared about. He's the one I took to most care in.
Sean: The one I would have thought was Ragged Robin, the redhead. It seemed like there was so much attention given to her, though that could have been the writer.
Phil: The way I understand it, the fact that I drew her in such a way that people liked her, that people liked the way I drew her, Grant really liked that. That really played a part in how important she became in the story. When I came on to that series, I kind of made them all a little bit nicer looking. A little more glamorous and sexy. I guess originally she wasn't supposed to be that sexy. That was just my take on her.And I guess that influenced the way Grant wrote her.
Sean: I think it really made the series more accessible. To be honest, I never even looked at the first series.
Phil: Although I know everyone thinks it really confusing, that Arcadia storyline in trade paperback is honestly one of the best-written, most amazing stories I've ever seen in comics. I think it is so brilliant. And it's hard. It's not an easy read, which I think turns off some readers, but's it's relevant writing.
Sean: Well, I get tired of books that I can look at, read, and put them down in ten minutes. I want something that holds me a little longer than that.
Phil: I do to. But I don't know if anyone else does, though. See, I started reading comics in the mid-80s -- Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, even Crisis -- and these were not books that you could skip through. There were tons of character development and dialog, and it took you half and hour to 40 minutes to read a book. And then when you finished, you'd go back and reread some of it. I'm scared that there's no longer an interest in that for younger readers. I know older readers like that, but I'm curious if people still have the attention span to do that.
Sean: I remember that it wasn't uncommon to see an average of six or seven panel per page. And now, if you get three, you don't feel ripped off.
Phil: (laughs) That's one of the reasons I'm so excited about JLA/Titans. The page I'm working on right now has (counts) 10 panels on it.
Sean: And that's wonderful. Neil Gaiman does some wonderful stuff, writing pages with tons of panels. I think you can tell a lot more story that way.
Phil: I think so too, but I know people who just want to see big. Big and big. Even my editor, whose opinion I value a lot, is into this "Draw bigger. Make it bigger, flashier." thing. So, I don't know.
Sean: Anything else you want to tell people that I haven't asked you yet?
Phil: I'd like to thank them for continuing to read the material that I work on because it makes me happy that I can make people and they're paying my rent. I hope I can continue putting out products that they enjoy.