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Mike McKone’s Take On Teen Titans

Jennifer M. Contino
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“Sometimes the sheer number of warm bodies running around in the stories can be a little overwhelming, but that’s the nature of team books,” Teen Titans artist Mike McKone told THE PULSE. McKone’s a man of few words, but he gave us a few details about how he keeps track of all the “warm bodies”, what he likes the most about working on this particular series, and what’s coming up in Titans Tomorrow. He also told us which of these heroes is his favorite Titan to draw.

THE PULSE: You’ve worked on Teen Titans for a while now. How has the way you regard the characters changed since you first began working on them?

MIKE McKONE: Well, I know them a little better now and I don’t need to constantly check the reference to see how their costumes look.

THE PULSE: Speaking of knowing a character better, about how many times does it take for any character to become more than just an image on the page for you?

McKONE: I generally know the first time I draw a character if I’m going to enjoy working on them. In the case of the Teen Titans, they began to really start working for me during the Brother Blood arc.

THE PULSE: Do you like all the members of the Teen Titans equally? If not, which ones don’t you like as much, and is it tougher to draw a character you’re not really into as opposed to one(s) that are personal favorites?

McKONE: I like all of them although yes, I do have favourites. I really enjoy drawing Cyborg, he’s become a much more formidable character under Geoff’s tenure.

THE PULSE: This version of the Teen Titans have gone through so much, but, for the most part, seem determined to soldier on and forge ahead. How tough is it to illustrate the sort of intrinsic details like determination or honor – how do you convey something like that with the art so it meshes with the words?

McKONE: I think comics and in particular super-hero comics tend to be a touch melodramatic and this works in our favour when portraying body language or physical gestures. Portraying internal emotions is a much more difficult problem and, if anything, I try to underplay and let the writer take the lead there.

THE PULSE: The Titans have gone through a lot this past year or so. What have been some of the things they encountered or had to deal with that you enjoyed drawing the most?

McKONE: The characters themselves have been the most satisfying and enjoyable to draw.

THE PULSE: What have been some of the particularly difficult things to render in those past tales?

McKONE: Sometimes the sheer number of warm bodies running around in the stories can be a little overwhelming, but that’s the nature of team books.

THE PULSE: When you heard Geoff Johns idea for “Titans Tomorrow!” how did the ideas pop into your head on what these future Titans would look like?

McKONE: Geoff always supplies me with a lot of visual cues and it was his idea to have the future Titans appear as a hybrid between the Teen Titans and the JLA

THE PULSE: How did you want to draw them similar to their current counter parts but also with an added edge or maturity that each just doesn’t possess at this point in time?

McKONE: Their costumes are obviously based on their present day counterparts, but their ideology and physiology is an extension of where they are now in the present day. Or is it …?

THE PULSE: What is the three-part “Titans Tomorrow!” about?

McKONE: After returning from Legion World, the Titans land ten years into the future and encounter the premier super-team of tomorrow … the Titans.

THE PULSE: Sounds like it might be a real eye-opener. What is this ten years later world of the Teen Titans like? How is it different from what comic fans might be expecting?

McKONE: If we do our jobs correctly, it’s certainly not what the readers are expecting.

THE PULSE: We’ve seen some dark future stories before, how is what you’re doing here going to stand out from some of those other “oh our future looks bleak we must fix things in the past” type tales?

McKONE: Because there are two sides to this future and one side is anything but bleak.

THE PULSE: How do you think these heroes feel seeing their future selves like that? How hard was it to capture that emotion on the printed page?

McKONE: It feels weird I guess – and ominous, especially for Tim.

THE PULSE: With each new issue are you trying to top your art from the last? It certainly seems as if you’ve been really trying to make Teen Titans the best it can be.

McKONE: I’m trying to do justice to Geoff’s stories. They keep getting stronger and stronger and I just want to try to tell them as well as I possibly can.

THE PULSE: What do you enjoy the most about working with Geoff?

McKONE: There’s no-one around who’s writing better super-hero books than he is. He’s friendly, generous with his time and he listens to any dumb idea I throw his way.

THE PULSE: How’s Geoff different from some of the other collaborators you’ve worked with?

McKONE: I talk with Geoff more than I’ve talked with any writer I’ve worked with.

THE PULSE: Provided the Teen Titans survive their three part future epic. What’s coming up next for the heroes?

McKONE: Dr. Light.

THE PULSE: What other projects are you working on?

McKONE: Just Titans ma’m, just Titans.

 


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author