On July 10th, DC Comics will release “Justice League” #22, the first chapter of “Trinity War“: an epic six-part crossover spanning the “Justice League,” “Justice League Of America,” and “Justice League Dark” series. We got the opportunity to speak with the artists of all three “Justice League” titles about their work on this crossover, their careers, and their inspirations… Here we present our conversation with Ivan Reis, and once you finish reading, check out our interviews with Doug Mahnke and Mikel Janin for additional insight on “Trinity War” and its repercussions in the DC Universe!
MTV Geek: Justice League is, in many ways, the New 52’s flagship comic. Is it intimidating, not just to be assigned to such a high-profile title, but to take over for Jim Lee?
Ivan Reis: You bet it’s intimidating! C’mon! It’s Jim we’re talking about here! But I try not to think about it too much, and try to have fun during the whole creative process. If I feel happy it’s a good start!
Geek: With a book like Justice League, with such a large cast of characters, do you have to do a lot of visual research before sitting down to draw? What challenges do you find in drawing a book that juggles so many heroes and villains?
Reis: I tend to go with the flow, you know? I’m not the kind of artist who does a lot of sketches and studies of characters to find the best option. I like to discover that on the actual pages, and use the energy of the moment in my advantage. If that doesn’t work I change directions completely and try that too. Without worrying too much. My take on characters is built in the moment I’m drawing the pages. Sometimes I just think about a specific challenge or problem when it’s right in front of me.
Geek: You’ve been collaborating with Geoff Johns for years now on Green Lantern, Blackest Night/Brightest Day, Aquaman, and now on Justice League. How would you describe your working relationship?
Reis: Trust and having fun are the key-words here, and not only working with Geoff, but also with Joe (Prado, my inker) and Rod (Reis, my colorist). We have a ball throughout the whole process, and we know that we can always expect the best of each other. We are fans doing comics for fans! C’mon!
Geek: Especially for something like this ’Trinity War’ crossover, are there moments that you find in the script where you can tell he’s writing to your strengths as an artist? In this story, were there any specific moments that you read and were especially excited to bring to life?
Reis: One of Geoff’s qualities is that he REALLY knows the artists he work with, and always knows how to explore the potential of each one to the fullest. On the scripts I see many scenes that I know that he put there for me to shine, you know? Like a gift for me! That helps a lot!
An exclusive first look at Ivan Reis’ art for pages 32 and 33 of Justice League #22
Geek: Likewise, were there any characters you got to work with in the ’Trinity War’ issues that you particularly liked handling? Anybody you’d never drawn before that you ended up enjoying?
Reis: I love this kind of story and always have fun with the characters. I’m very fond of Shazam and Martian Manhunter above all the rest. And a character that I’ve never drawn before and had a blast doing was Frankenstein!
Geek: Who have been the greatest influences on you as an artist? Your inspirations, your collaborators, anyone who’s taught you especially valuable lessons?
Reis: My biggest influences were always John Buscema and his inkers on Savage Sword of Conan, inkers like Alfredo Alcala and Tony DeZuñiga. Besides that, George Perez, John Byrne, Graham Nolan, Alan Davis, José Luis Garcia-López.
I always try to incorporate each generation to my work–absorbing and learning, but giving my own spin to it, to make it fresh and modern.
Geek: And following ’Trinity War’, what’s coming up next? Are you taking part in Villain’s Month and Forever Evil? And are there more exciting things on the way that you can give us some hints about?
Reis: I’m not doing anything for the Villains Month, save for a few covers. I should start on the next arc of Justice League after I’m done with Trinity War.