Fallen Angel is an awesome noir series that stars Liandra, an outcast from Heaven with bad ass supernatural powers, who has come to the twisted city of Bete Noire to keep evil in check and protect those who need it. JK Woodward is the artist of the series which is published by IDW and written/created by Peter David (X-Factor, Halo: Helljumper), and his art style is one of the most unique you will find in the comic book scene today. Fallen Angel: Reborn was a mini series released in 2009 that starred Liandra as well as Joss Whedon’s Illyria character from the Angel TV/comic series, and today JK talks with ComicAttack.net about this mini and all things comic book related!
JK WOODWARD: Fallen Angel was a Guardian named Liandra who defied God’s will and was cast down. After her exile she found a home in a mysterious city named “Bete Noire” founded by Cain, the world’s first murderer. Fallen Angel: Reborn has Liandra meeting Illyria (Amy Acker’s character from Joss Whedon’s television series Angel) [who] is on a quest to retrieve 3 icons of power and Liandra has to stop her. Peter has crafted the story in a way that doesn’t require any previous familiarity with either Fallen Angel or Angel. This is probably the best trade to get introduced to both characters.
CA: Are there any extras we can look forward to in the trade?
JK: Yup. There will be a cover gallery and four conceptual sketches I did.
CA: What’s it like to work with Peter David, one of the industry’s greatest?
JK: Incredible. If you had told me 15 years ago that I would be working with the guy that actually made Hulk an interesting read, I wouldn’t have believed it.
CA: Since the character Illyria is originally from the Angel “universe” which is totally detached from that of Fallen Angel (well, until now), were there certain restrictions placed on you in depicting Joss Whedon’s character?
JK: I’ll see if I can get Peter to talk about this in more detail, but from what I understand, Joss Whedon had full trust in Peter writing his characters. Actually this wasn’t the first time Peter David has dabbled in the Whedonverse. I know at the very least he’s written a Spike mini. For my part, I wasn’t held back in the least. I got to create some really cool looking demons. The only limitation was learning to paint Amy Acker’s likeness and Illyria in her demon form which was based on a book sketch in the show. Peter was even kind enough to include a screen shot of it in the script.
CA: What were some of your favorite moments to portray in Fallen Angel: Reborn?
JK: The demons in the primordial age pages. There was a sequence in the beginning where we see Illyria’s reign and eventual fall in a sort of demonic, volcanic Mordor-like setting. I got a little Lovecraftian with the demon design. It was really fun stuff, just coming up with these creatures.
CA: One of the major themes of Fallen Angel is religion; do you follow any religious creed or faith yourself? Do you have any opinions one way or the other?
JK: I guess I would describe myself as Agnostic at best. I’m not sure I believe completely in any particular religion. If I had to pick one, I’d probably go with Buddhism. Christianity is a great philosophy in principle, but there seems to be a lot of Christians out there that don’t seem to get it. Christians aren’t acting very Christian now a days. So many are judgemental, unforgiving and down right hateful. I understand that this may be the “vocal minority” but if that’s the case where are all the other Christians speaking out against them?
CA: How would you define your art style, and what art tools and mediums do you use for your work?
JK: Watercolour and pencil in b&w, then I digitally colour it. It’s pretty much the same as anyone else does but instead of inking I apply watercolour.
CA: You have an all new OGN being released next month through IDW called, Belladonna. What can you tell us about it?
JK: It’s called Belladonna. It’s a high intensity action mystery. The story opens on an attack where a woman is shot and injured. She wakes up in the hospital with no memory of who she is. Throughout the story she starts to discover who she is and why there are people trying to kill her. She lives with a large homeless community under the city of NYC using old sewer lines and abandoned subways to make her way unseen through the city. It’s great story with lots of surprises. It’s 48 pages.
CA: I have to ask; who would win in a brawl: Liandra or Belladonna?
JK: Liandra hands down. But I suppose that depends on the writer. I mean Liandra is a supernatural creature and Belladonna is just mortal. A bad ass fighter, but mortal. It would be a sort of Batman vs. Superman thing. If you get a clever writer, sometimes Batman could win. But the most reasonable answer is Lilandra (the Superman in this metaphor).
CA: In September 2008 you did the art for the one-shot X-Men Origins: Beast published by Marvel. What was it like making the switch from IDW to one of the “Big Two?”
JK: Well, it’s basically the same job. I enjoy the work. telling good stories, but I will admit it was a bit of a thrill. I mean I was working for Marvel! On X-men! It was a childhood dream. The kind you don’t ever expect to actually come true.
CA: Personally, I think your style would fit beautifully with an X-Men title. Are there any particular characters you would love to take a crack at during your career?
JK: You want me to say Iceman don’t you? Actually, visually he’s a great one to paint. As is Colossus. The chrome thing always works well in watercolour. Nightcrawler is another one who would just look great painted, though I don’t like what they’re doing with him right now.
CA: What comics are you really into that are being published today?
JK: Marvel Cosmic stuff. I’m just lovin’ the Guardians of the Galaxy. I jumped on at War of Kings. I’m also reading most of the X-books now. Just read Alex Robinson’s adaption of a Baum’s A Kidnapped Santa Claus. I’ve been reading Mike Dawson’s Troop 142 pages as they appear online. Great stuff! I finally got around to finishing Asterios Polyp. Recently discovered an amazing cosmic story called Johnny Recon. I’m anxiously waiting for issue #2. One of the draw backs of self publishing, I suppose, but well worth the wait, I suspect.
CA: How about 10 years ago and earlier?
JK: Stopped reading at that time. Except, I think I was reading Grant Morrison’s run of New X-Men and Doom Patrol which was relaunched in 2001, the Arcudi stuff. I was reading that too.
CA: Are you currently taking commission requests?
JK: Not really. I’m pretty busy with deadlines. But that’ll probably change in March. I’ll be at the CGS supershow in Reading, so I’ll be doing sketches at the very least.
CA: What do we have to look forward to from Fallen Angel and yourself in the future?
JK: Peter’s already into his next arc. All I know is it’s called “Return of the Son” and it’s about Enoch, Cain’s son returning to Bete Noire. I can’t wait to read it.
CA: Thanks JK!
The Fallen Angel: Reborn trade is released in stores this Wednesday, and the Belladonna one-shot will debut in February- so mark your calendars! Also be sure to check out our interview with Peter David where he gives his own take on the Fallen Angel mythos!