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 Mikel Janin, and once you finish reading, check out our interviews with Ivan Reis and Doug Mahnke for additional insight on ’Trinity War’ and its repercussions in the DC Universe!
MTV Geek: Give us a brief overview of your career… How did you break into the business, and how did you end up as the artists for “Justice League Dark”?
Mikel Janin: I always loved comics, but I studied architecture and become an architect in 2001. In 2009 things turned very difficult in my country, and I left my studio to start a career in comics. I met editor Eddie Berganza from DC in Avilés, and I started to send him my work, until he gave me an opportunity on ’JLA 80 Page Giant.’ He liked my work enough to give me more work, which led me to ’JLDark.’
Geek: What was your first exposure to comics?
Janin: I discovered comics very early, when I was a toddler. Actually I learned to read with comics!
Geek: Many artists on modern comics work in the tradition of a few distinct artists: Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, Will Eisner, Jim Lee, Neal Adams, et cetera… Your art, on the other hand, seems far more illustrative and classical, without many telltale traces of those usual superhero styles. What artists have particularly inspired and influenced your work? And not just in comics… Illustration, fine art, etc?
Janin: Yeah, you’re right. I knew these artists, but I was very influenced by european artists, such as Hergé, Manara, Pratt, Giardino or Juillard. I think my style is a mix between the “Clear Line” and traditional superhero stuff, with touches of many artists I love.
Geek: Justice League Dark has been your first major series, and now this is your first large-scale crossover. Was there any character you were especially excited to draw, or any scene that you especially enjoyed working on?
Janin: Almost every character I love is in the book, so it has been very exciting. Superman is my favorite character, but it has been very special handling Wonder Woman, Batman or Hawkman, too.
An exclusive first look at Mikel Janin’s art for pages 14 and 15 of Justice League Dark #22
Geek: Working on a team book, I’m sure you’re used to dealing with a large cast of characters – but this crossover looks like it’s an order of magnitude greater, in terms of scale. How much extra work did it require to handle these issues? More research, additional reference…? Did juggling so many additional characters require some creative storytelling solutions?
Janin: Absolutely. It has been a real challenge. It’s true JLDark is a team book, and I’ve had scenes with lots of characters battling, like in the Death of Magic arc, where we have two armies at war, but Trinity War is even bigger. Having so many characters, each one a star on his own, is a blast. And yes, I needed tons of research. Fortunately I had the help of editors, writers and artists involved in Trinity War. Thanks to all of them!
Geek: And without spoiling too much, is there any particular moment from this story that you feel particularly proud of, or any favorite sequences that you worked on?
Janin: There’s that scene where the JLDark meet a big bunch of JL and JLA members. There are 18 characters, and it has been incredible being part of this! But honestly, the best moments are in the panels of Ivan Reis/Joe Prado and Doug Mahnke. They’re really amazing, and being in the process of building this story with these guys is a dream.
Geek: Once this crossover wraps, what else can we look forward to? Any hints about what’s coming up in Justice League Dark, anything you’re excited about that’s in store?
Janin: Ray Fawkes and I have been talking in the last few months, and we have exciting plans for JLDark, and also it looks like there are big plans with all those villains, so let’s see! You can bet I’m excited about what’s coming next!