The Wonder Woman penciller recently spoke to the The Outhouse on the floor of New York Comic-Con!
Cliff Chiang has a particularly dynamic and fluid art style that is perfectly suited for comic books, but he originally entered the field as an editor for Disney Adventures, and later for Vertigo. Before too long, he stepped down from that position and became a freelance artist, with the bulk of his work appearing in DC Comics. His past work includes Human Target with Peter Milligan for Vertigo, Dr. 13: Architecture and Morality, a series of backup stories in 2006's Tales of the Unexpected limited series focusing on long-forgotten or underused characters, and Green Arrow and Black Canary with writer Judd Winick. His current project is working on the new Wonder Woman ongoing, a part of DC's "New 52" reboot that reunites him with Dr. 13 collaborator Brian Azzarello. Chiang took a few minutes from signing at his table in Artist's Alley at New York Comic-Con to talk about Wonder Woman, as well as career and influences.
The Outhouse (OH): What has the reaction been like to Wonder Woman #1?
Cliff Chiang (CC): It's been great. I think there was initially a little bit of outrage over what we're trying to do, but once they put the book in their hands, they were able to appreciate the new take. Overall, it's been so positive. It's really rewarding, after having worked on it so long, that people really like it.
OH: Was there anything that surprised you about Brian's script when you first read it?
CC: I knew it was going to be a good script, and he really delivered. There weren't any surprises, but that's good.
OH: How has your collaboration with him changed since the last time you worked together?
CC: It has been a while since Dr. 13. We were trying to figure out the best way to do this. I think we've gone back and forth a lot more on pages than we did before. It was important that we get it right.
OH: You were an editor before you were a freelance artist. How has that experience helped you to be a more effective artist?
CC: I try to think about what editors need from artists, so when I'm drawing I'm making sure I'm telling the story; I'm making sure when I send my story there are lettering placements so that they don't have to do that... there are lots of procedural things that you have to do as an editor that I'm able to anticipate and make sure that I don't make their job harder.
OH: When you get a script from your writer, is the first step making your thumbnails and going from there?
CC: It's important to thumbnail to make sure I'm getting all the story beats. I'll thumbnail the entire script, and from there, once I'm happy with the storytelling, I'll blow it up and draw it larger.
OH: Who are some of your influences when it comes to art?
CC: There are a few guys I think are really influencing me these days. There's the Italian artist Dino Battaglia in particular, I love his work. But I also love Kevin Nowlan, and Steve Rude, and Alex Toth and Paul Smith. Stuart Immonen is great. There are so many great people working now, there's always something to pull inspiration from.
OH: What are you reading now in comics that really stand out to you?
CC: One of my favorite books is Scalped, and I'm sad that that's going away but it's been a great book. I've also been reading a lot of manga. Bakuman and 20th Century Boys are fantastic books.
OH: Anything else you'd like to tell us? Any revelations or scoops you can provide?
CC: Keep reading Wonder Woman. We've got a lot of curveballs planned.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch