A late night New Comic Book Day Interview for you guys this week, and this one will be at the top of the page until Friday, so make sure you scroll down for the latest news!
In this week’s New Comic Book Day Interview, we speak with writer/artist Scott Kolins. Though he is DC-exclusive right now, Kolin’s credits include work for Marvel and Dark Horse Comics, including work on Avengers, BPRD and Hellboy, Marvel Team-Up, Thor: Blood Oath, and a ton of others since starting in the early 90’s. He is probably most popular for his work on an award-winning run on DC’s The Flash with writer Geoff Johns, which was recently followed up with Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge. Kolins current work is both the writing and art for his Solomon Grundy epic, which started with Faces of Evil back in January and just hit a fever pitch with the completion of the Solomon Grundy mini-series (which we spoke about on Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie!). Next up, Kolins continues his Grudy opus in the pages of Superman/Batman, before working on the red speedster once more in Blackest Night: Flash.
We spoke with Kolins this week and have an interview with him after the jump! (Yup, you gotta read this one!)
Solomon Grundy #7 just ended that mini-series, and leads into the upcoming Blackest Night tie-in issues for Superman/Batman. For those who haven’t read the Solomon Grundy mini, can you tell us a little bit about the series?
Well, the two issues of Superman/Batman starring Bizarro and Man-Bat battling Black Lantern Solomon Grundy are written so you don’t have to read the Grundy mini to understand what’s going on, but to answer your question — The Solomon Grundy 7 issue mini-series was about the man who becomes Grundy, Cyrus Gold searching through his past to find his killer and forgiving him to end his curse. It’s a bad curse! He continually dies every day in horrible circumstances. He’s eaten by alligators, smashed by cars, drowned, and lots of other nasty stuff – so he really wants this nightmare to end. We have some characters helping (Alan Scott Green lantern & The Phantom Stranger) and some characters hindering the search. And we’ve got some whopping good action in every issue – worthy of a Solomon Grundy story. It’s a horror-action-monster story and one of my favorites jobs ever. I gave it everything I had and I’m damn proud of it.
What fascinates you about Solomon Grundy as a character? Why did you choose to focus your miniseries on him?
Everything is fascinating about Grundy. His origin, his powers, his look, his manner of speech. I’m a big monster fan and a swampy undead murdering brute is way too cool. Plus he’s got lots of unexplored areas – like some of the origin stuff I go into and also some hallmark phrases and punches that make me smile. He rises from a swamp – ok, why that swamp? Is there anything special about that swamp? Yes there is. And when he grunts out those phrases “Born on a Monday!” while he shoving someone’s head through a wall. Ooh I get goosebumps! He’s got the gore and violence that captures you at first and then lots of subtleties that grow as a story creeps along. How did Cyrus Gold’s dead body turn into this part-plant mega killing machine? How much of Cyrus is still lurking inside there? I could do that book for years and never get close to bored. And really, the stars aligned for me on this project – my good friend Geoff Johns helped me get the ball rolling and let me run with it. Even just before I got the job offer – I never thought DC would let me work on such a cool book. It’s almost as if Grundy chose me. Time of my life.
You’ve got a slew of guest stars and co-stars in the mini, including Frankenstein, Bizarro, and Alan Scott. Did you choose these characters out of love for the characters? What attracts you to these characters?
Some were on my list and some were suggested to me. The ones I picked were “out of love” and feeling they’d be perfect for this story – and the suggested ones I used because they became perfect for the story. I honestly didn’t know Frankenstein before working on this book. I missed Morrison’s Frankenstein story when it came out, but now I love the guy! He’s awesome! Mostly we picked monsters to fight Grundy, not heroes. We thought that would be a fun switch -instead of Grundy fighting good guys like he has.
Was the Solomon Grundy mini always planned to be a Blackest Night tie in?
Yes and no. From the start the plot was Phantom Stranger warning about Blackest Night coming and “we gotta get rid of Grundy before that happens”, but except for the ending not much else has a direct tie to Blackest Night. It’s a “prelude” of sorts. A very separate story.
What can you tell us aout the upcoming Superman/Batman issues? Will they wrap up the Solomon Grundy storyline? Or is there more Grundy coming?
There are some really cool story developments for both Man-Bat and Bizarro. Both are really not happy – they go through some very heavy stuff, but I’m not telling what happens to Grundy at the end of this one. Something does happen – and it ain’t pretty.
What can you tell us about the Blackest Night: Flash mini you’re working on with Geoff Johns?
That’s it’s gonna be great! Geoff has really moved into high gear with this Blackest Night stuff and he’s got some amazing stuff planned. Both and Wally and Barry will be in the story – and the Rogues! Dead or Alive! How awesome is that?! I’ve been waiting years to draw a book like this! This will be even better than Blitz or Rogue’s Revenge!
Geoff is a writer you frequently work with. What can you tell us about the collaborative process? Why do you enjoy working with him specifically?
He’s awesome. I’ve never worked with anyone that puts as much work and heart into his books. He likes to bounce ideas around and talk about it – but really he’s at a point now where he almost always knows exactly where he wants to go and the best way to get there. We are completely in synch with how stories are told. The emotion and the integrity – everything. The result is more fun – for me and for the fans.
You co-wrote the Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy one-shot with him, but wrote the mini on your own. How different is it working on a script of your own creation? Is your writing informed by the writers you’ve previously worked with?
Well in some ways I get to be a lazy writer, I don’t have to describe everything in detail. I can say “nighttime swamp” and know that I want the trees dripping with moss and how much fog to layer and that the water should be thick and murky. Plus I don’t have to hide any secrets. Sometimes writers write “mysterious hand grabs our hero” – which I’ve never understood. Yes it should be somewhat mysterious to the reader, but I’m the artist, I gotta know whose hand it is. Is it a woman? Does he or she have gloves? For my script I just wrote who everything is, and again I know whether I want it to be a “secret or not”. At times it was very freeing in some ways planning pages and sections how I wanted them, but also more stressful knowing that the blame was all mine – if it didn’t work. And yes – good and bad, all the writers I’ve worked with have taught me something, though there are some lessons you have to learn the hard way. You run these stories through your head so much that it can get hard to keep a fresh eye for the new reader. It wasn’t until the second issue (and that was almost by accident) that I created the Solomon Grundy origin scroll. There were some comments about confusion as to what Grundy is when the first issue came out – which I think the origin scroll answered. I hope we fix that for the trade.
Who inspires you as an artist? What do you do to keep yourself motivated to get your art out on time?
A Good story and great artists around me. Usually the script and characters will trigger my brain and get the page started – but occasionally I need to recharge or take a step back and see if I’m repeating myself or not being creative enough. I’ll look over at Mignola or Kirby or Jeff Johnson and get fired up.
Your art style on Solomon Grundy is very different from the stuff you did back on Flash. Was this more of a natural evolution for you? Or was it intentionally different?
Evolution. You’ll notice how much the style changes from the Faces of Evil one-shot and then into Grundy #1. Grundy got more detailed and meaner and the world he lived in got darker too. Oh and lots more vines! The story took me there. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going tot do on Blackest Night Flash – cause it’s Flash so you’d think I’d go back to my open “Flash style”, but it’s dead guys and creepy stuff so then I think more along my “Grundy style”. Could I use both somehow? We’ll see.
Who are some of your favorite characters to draw?
I have very few I don’t like to draw. I’ve love super-heroes and monsters and fun stuff and serious stuff. Monsters like Grundy, Bizarro and Grodd are pure delight. Villains Zoom and Cold are great too. I’d love to get to Sinestro or Brainiac. But I’m dying to do a big Wonder Woman story or Shazam! Hawkman or Aquaman! I LOVE Kirby stuff, so Omac, New Gods, or I’d love to do a Mister Miracle & Big Barda book! Or even the Legion of Super-heroes! I love it all. Plus I’d really love a chance to add to some of the mythologies. I wanna create incredible villains for Hawkman or Aquaman!
What’s next for you?
A bunch of stuff I can’t talk about yet. I just signed on for another 2 years exclusively with DC – and couldn’t be happier. More in the Flash universe and hopefully more writing and drawing!
Where can fans see you next? Are you attending any upcoming cons?
I will be at the Mid-Ohio Con. Mid-Ohio-Con 2009 will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 3–4, in Exhibit Hall E of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 North High Street , Columbus , OH 43215 .
See you there!
Thanks for all your time Scott!
Pick up the Solomon Grundy mini-series on sale now from DC Comics, and make sure you pick up Superman/Batman #66 this November from DC Comics!