Welcome, fellow Amazons! As everyone knows, DC Comics’ company-redefining event, “Rebirth,” begins this summer. One of the most highly anticipated books getting the “Rebirth” treatment is everyone’s favorite Amazon Princess, Wonder Woman.
I can think of 3 key reasons why fans are so excited about this particular “rebirthing.” First of all, Wonder Woman was the breakout star of the big-boy battle in Batman V Superman. I mean, every audience across the globe cheered wildly when Gal Gadot hit the silver screen for the first time in her Wonder duds. What was tantamount to a cameo certainly translated into a star turn. Now, we just have to wait forever for the movie.
Secondly, let’s face it, the Wonder Woman monthly title has suffered greatly over the past year and a half with mis-characterization, unlike ability, and misguided story direction. Thankfully, stellar sister titles like Sensation Comics, Wonder Woman ’77, and Renae De Liz’s Eisner-nominated Legend of Wonder Woman picked up the slack giving fans the Wonder Woman they want and need.
Third, she’s Wonder Woman, duh!!!
And the fourth reason is the new kickass creative team DC has lined up to take the reigns on the new Wonder Woman monthly! (Okay, so, 4 key reasons . . . )
Writer Greg Rucka will be joined by alternating artists Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott, along with arguably the best color artist in all comicdom, Laura Martin.
We here at Wonder Woman Wednesday were lucky enough to score an exclusive interview with Liam Sharp. You may or may not know Liam’s work. Liam is an amazing artist who has been in and out of comics for years, but ever a part of the genre (as he explains). But let me tell you, after getting a peek from his upcoming run, Liam Sharp is sure to be a comic superstar.
So, without further ado, I give you my exclusive interview with Wonder Woman: Rebirth artist Liam Sharp.
Michael Fitzgerald Troy: What was your relationship to comics prior to working in the industry as a professional?
Liam Sharp: Well, like almost every artist/writer I know, I grew up reading comics. I didn’t really care what character or company, as long as the art was – to my young eyes – good! As I grew older my tastes broadened, and I discovered more mature underground works by masters like Corben from the US, and Moebius, Druillet, Manara, Don Lawrence and Bilal in Europe. It’s the most profoundly rich medium once you scratch the surface! I would later circle back to earlier great EC Comics, with work from Frazetta, Williamson, Wrightson, and others. And, of course, Barry Windsor-Smith had a huge influence on me.
MFT: Who were/are some of your artistic influences?
LS: All of the previously mentioned guys had a profound effect on me, but also Jim Lee – he was state-of-the-art in the early ’90s and onwards – Marc Silvestri and the astonishing Glenn Fabry. His Slaine work is still peerless.
MFT: How did you get your start in the industry?
LS: I was introduced to the late, truly great Don Lawrence and became his apprentice for a year. He introduced me to 2000ad, and very soon I was working full-time in the UK comic scene, dreaming of bigger things. I was just 18, which makes this my 30th year in comics!
MFT: You had a great run on the Incredible Hulk. How did you find that experience?
LS: Wonderful and frustrating. Peter David and I didn’t quite mesh – which was a shame because I admired his writing hugely. It certainly split the audience at the time. But I was also very young, and a little unsure of myself artistically, which led to a lot of stylistic changes during what was a short run. In many ways I think I wasn’t ready for a big book like that, but it opened doors and I learned a lot. It’s certainly a character I would love to revisit one day.
MFT: The advanced art on WW Rebirth is breathtaking. Some of your best in years! How did you become involved with the project?
LS: I’ve been heavily involved with Madefire (www.madefire.com) which is a digital comics and storytelling company I co-founded with Ben Wolstenholme and Eugene Walden here in the US and which has done amazing things. You can read comics and motion books on Apple TV, Google TV, Windows, on deviantART, the iPhone, iPad, Android. We also power the comic apps of IDW and Archie, and many more. It’s really an amazing app! We also created a tool for artists and writers to make their own books and publish online, free (www.create.madefire.com), and I co-created my own series using the tool, with my wife Christina, called Captain Stone is Missing…, and which I’m extremely proud of. It’s been the most amazing five years! But it got to a point that I had done as much as I could to lead the innovative creative process, and also the urge to draw again full-time had become overwhelming!
We had done some great work with DC, and I had reconnected with Jim Lee somewhat. I mentioned to him that I was keen to get back in the saddle. Then, around November last year, I heard a whisper that Wonder Woman might need an artist. I didn’t immediately think I would be right for that – until the evening of Thanksgiving. I was checking Facebook before I went to bed and was struck by the Red Sonja piece (below) I was using as my banner – one of my best bits of art in my eyes. And I suddenly thought – you could do Wonder Woman like that! Hyper-detailed, really mythic… so the next day I sent the Sonja piece to Jim. He immediately asked if I had any Wonder Woman samples? I said no, but I would have by Monday morning! (Above.) And that, as they say, was how it all started…
MFT: What were your thoughts on Wonder Woman before taking this assignment?
LS: She’s iconic! She’s the greatest female superhero there has ever been. I, of course, knew the famous George Perez run, and I had picked up the title when Bolland was on the covers, and later Adam Hughes, with Greg writing. I really loved the Cliff Chiang and Brian Azarello run – epic stuff in a kind of Vertigo vein. I could easily have imagined myself drawing that story. And, of course, she’s the best thing in BvS! But, you know, I’m 48 years old, so I also grew up watching the Lynda Carter series. I used to have a club when I was a kid – around 7 or 8 – called ‘The Danger Club.’ Basically me and some friends, my sister and my cousin, did drawings, and had skateboarding competition, and built dens… and imagined how we could be superheroes when we grew up. I was Dragonman, but my sister recently reminded me that SHE was Wonder Woman.
MFT: Greg Rucka is returning to Wonder Woman after a few well-received runs. What’s it like working with him?
LS: We’re having the best time! Greg and I are really well aligned in terms of our views and philosophies. But Greg’s also a REALLY great collaborator and loves to involve the artists in the plotting process. I’m thrilled that quite a few of my ideas have made it into the narrative. The truth is all three of us – Greg, Nicola and myself – are custodians of an icon. We are here for Diana and Wonder Woman, not the other way around. We serve the book, and it’s our job to make it the best it can be, not showboat ourselves. I think that collective team spirit serves the book well, and having the incredible Laura Martin colouring me is also a dream come true. It’s a bit of a dream team I think!
MFT: Your color artist, Laura Martin, seems to mesh well with your lush, detailed style. What is your working relationship with her?
LS: Laura has been blowing my mind since I first became aware of her on Bryan Hitch and Mark Millar’s seminal The Ultimates. She’s just a brilliant artist in her own right, and I have been wanting to work with her on a big project ever since. I’m just blown away that it finally happened!
MFT: Although the project is fairly secretive, we do know “Rebirth” promises to give us the definitive version of Wonder Woman. Is there anything you can tell us about the storyline?
LS: All I can say is that I draw present-day 28-year-old Diana, and Nicola does Year One as alternate ‘flashback’ issues. It’s a terrific way of working the twice-monthly roll-out. Beyond that… well, I’ll have to keep that under wraps!
MFT: Any parting shots, plugs, or words of wisdom?
LS: Only that I would love people to go and check out Madefire which features various things I worked on – Captain Stone is Missing…, Mono: The Old Curiosity Shop (written by me with amazing art by Ben Wolstenholme!) and Sherlock Holmes: The Greek Interpreter by Arthur Conan Doyle, myself, and Bill Sienkiewicz. The app is free, and I can’t recommend it enough!
Thanks for the great interview, Liam! I’m going to go download that Madefire app (and my readers should, too)!
I guess that wraps up this week’s Wonder Woman Wednesday! This will be the last WWW with Fanboy Comics, but fret not as we are joining with Fanboy Comics as they become Fanbase Press for a rebranding that I am super excited about.
As always, be sure to check out the I Am Wonder Fan Facebook page.