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MULTIVERSO DC: Exclusive Jamal Igle Interview

MULTIVERSO DC: Exclusive interview with Jamal Igle
Jamal talks about his career, Firestorm, Nightwing and Teen Titans
courtesy of – March 2008

The North American artist, Jamal Igle, exclusively gave us an interview about his work and as he gave up the actor career to become a great comic artist. Currently, Jamal works exclusively for the DC Comics. Enjoy!

MULTIVERSO: What was your first contact with comic books?

Jamal: I actually became seriously interested in comics when I was very young. My grandfather had taken me to see Superman the Movie and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve been a DC comics fan since I was 5 years old.

MULTIVERSO: How you started to draw?

Jamal: I was an actor originally but I’ve been drawing since I was young. I went to the High School of Art and Design and the School of Visual Arts, both in New York City.

MULTIVERSO: Do you model “your” characters after any real life people?

Jamal: Occasionally but I try not to use exact likenesses. I’ll take photo’s, uses actors or models to get a feel for certain characters but I never trace faces. I find that it makes things too stiff and boring. I believe if you’re going to use photo reference it should be a tool of your art, not a crutch, I treat it as a way to solidify the artwork, not as the art itself.

MULTIVERSO: Did you abandon your acting career because you thought that you’d have success on the comics?

Jamal: Yes and No. The truth was I wasn’t a great actor and I didn’t have as much passion for it as I did for visual art. Drawing comics for me is a very powerful experience. More than likely I would be drawing comics on my own even If I were doing anything else, that’s how much I love the form.

MULTIVERSO: Tell us a little of your experience to make storyboards and how this influenced your art on comics.

Jamal: Well, I worked at Sony Animation for a few months back in 1999. I like to think of it as Storytelling boot camp, because of how I was working at the time. We did really basic thumbnails, each frame was a 2 square inch space, and so you don’t have a lot of space to draw. So you have to be able to convey your story in a small space, make it as clear and readable as possible. It improved my drawing speed, my critical thinking skills. It also made me much more patient than I was originally.

MULTIVERSO: In past’s interviews, you said that some of the influences on your work are Al Williamson and Steve Rude. Could you tell us which aspect of theses artists you adapted on your style?

Jamal: Well they both have very lush styles that lend themselves to comics of any type. Especially Al’s inking, which has a very lush line, which is just beautiful. Steve is the consummate pro, just an amazing talent. Clear storytelling and strong figure work. The thing about Steve is he is such a great meld of Andrew Loomis, Jack Kirby and Alex Toth. His energy is something that I still worship.

MULTIVERSO: Who are your favorite writers?

Jamal: It’s a very long list. Geoff Johns, Ed Brubaker, Alex Simmons, Sean McKeever, Paul Storrie, Gail Simone, Jay Faerber, Mike Baron, Warren Ellis, Ron Marz, Matt Fraction, Pete Tomasi… And those are just the people I’d like to work with. The list is huge.

MULTIVERSO: You and the writer Jay Faerber worked together on Venture (Image Comics) in 2001. But it was canceled after 4 issues. Do you think that the book would have decreases sells? Have you plans to come to do that again? How you felt when you knew about the end of the book?

Jamal: Venture was very difficult for me; we knew the sales were taking a real nosedive between issues 2 and 3. We had intended to be a monthly but at the time I couldn’t afford to work on the book anymore. Jay and I decided to cut it off at issue 4, with the intention to come beck to the story at some point. It’s still the plan and once my commitment to DC is up I’d like to do another Venture project at some point. I’m still very proud of what we did. It was worth all the hard work we put into it. I’m also very proud of the success that Jay has had with his projects at Image.

Venture has already appeared in Noble Causes and will be showing up in Dynamo 5 at some point.

MULTIVERSO: After you become the ongoing artist on Firestorm, in 2006, you also become exclusive on DC. Would you really wanted that? Do you think that become exclusive you can do the work better? Or this can affect your creative side – I mean, “to be inside in a single style? Is DC that tells to you the book that you will work or can you chose the character (s)?

Jamal: how to draw and I take on what work I want do.

MULTIVERSO: You drew, one after one, two different characters. From teenager Firestorm to moody and clever Nightwing. And now you are working together Barrows on Teen Titans. How do you deal with these different styles? Do you read the last issues to keep the style or you say “I will do it in the way that I see the character!”?

Jamal: Well it depends. I try to be flexible as far as how I’ll tell a story. If I’m sharing an issue with another penciler like I did recently on Green Lantern Corps and Robin, depending on the artist I try to match what was done. Usually I let the script dictate how the story looks, how bright or moody for example. With Firestorm or Teen Titans, I try to keep the artwork bright and open for color.

MULTIVERSO: How was to work on a character Nightwing? Do you have hopes to work with the characters related to Batman or, who knows, even to work him?

Jamal: It was a fun experience but I think that I wasn’t quite ready for the series. I’d like to take another shot at Nightwing. I’ve drawn Batman before and I’ll be drawing very soon on my next project.

MULTIVERSO: Do you want to repeat the partnership with Wolfman on the future?

Jamal: In this business you never know what can happen. Marv is a talented writer and if the right project came up I would like to work with him again.

MULTIVERSO: DC announced that Barrows is the ongoing artist on Teen Titans. Will you continue work together him or do you already working in other book? Could you tell us what your future plans?

Jamal: I have another issue of Teen titans coming out at the end of January, issue #55 and then after that I start working on a 12 issue maxi series with Dan Jurgens (Tangent: Superman’s Reign).

MULTIVERSO: Who are your favorite characters on DC? And your favorite Titans?

Jamal: Superman, The Flash Nightwing and J’onn J’onzz are probably on the top of the list of favorite characters. My favorite Titans are Robin and Ravager.

MULTIVERSO: Were you a Titans fan before you became the artist?

Jamal: I’ve been a fan of the Titans for a while, sort of an off and on Titans fan, I had all the issues of the current series in my collection but I honestly hadn’t thought of drawing the book until they asked me to do it.

MULTIVERSO: Is there any character in Teen Titans that was hard to for you to draw, from an artists’ standpoint?

Jamal: Blue Beetle’s costume is a very complicated suit to draw the way Cully Hamner designed it. I like the challenge of it though, it’s pretty cool.

MULTIVERSO: Are there any character in the DCU you would like to draw?

Jamal: I still haven’t done my Superman run, but I’d like to take a shot at Captain Marvel (Shazam) as well.

MULTIVERSO: Do you have any projects of your own?

Jamal: I have some thing in the planning stages but it’s too early to discuss it.

MULTIVERSO: Do you think the comic book industry still has the old days racism, when non Caucasian characters where considered token characters, caricatures or the bad guy?

Jamal: I think that they are really making an effort to make the roster of characters more multicultural, which is difficult because a lot of times it seems forced. I don’t think it’s the same as when Chop Chop and Egg FU were originally created but it’s also difficult when a character of color, non Caucasian is introduced in American comics there tends to be a lot of resistance from the fans to accept them. I don’t have a problem with villains who are non-Caucasian but I think their needs to be a balance as well.

MULTIVERSO: And about the artists? Why are there so few non-Caucasian writers and artists in the industry? Do you think it is lack of positive stimuli?

Jamal: I wish I knew, it’s not something that I can answer easily.

MULTIVERSO: What you do when you aren’t drawing?

Jamal: These days, I spend a lot of time watching movies and going out with my wife to Comedy clubs and restaurants. I listen to a lot of Podcasts; I do a lot of reading as well.

MULTIVERSO: Could you send a message for the Brazilians fans and for our new site about DCU?

Jamal: Thank you for reading my work and I wish you all good health and good fortune.

MULTIVERSO: Thanks, Jamal.


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