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October 27, 2010

A Chat with Artist J.K. Woodward

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Written by: Andy
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J.K. Woodward is a good friend and a strong supporter of us here at ComicAttack.net, and every once in awhile we like to check in to see what he’s up to. So read on as J.K. talks about Star Trek, baseball, his upcoming Fallen Angel series with IDW and writer, Peter David, New York Comic Con, and more!

Liandra from "Fallen Angel"

COMIC ATTACK: You were at New York Comic Con 2010; Obviously you spent some time in Artist’s Alley, but did you sit in on any panels or booth signings with publishers?

J.K. WOODWARD: Yes. I actually did 2 panels and 2 signings. On Friday I did a panel for IDW announcing the new Fallen Angel series. I could only stay for 15 minutes because I was double booked. I had a signing for Star Trek -Captain’s Log: Pike at the IDW booth with Stuart Moore. Peter David was supposed to join me on this panel but he was late, he came in about 2 minutes after I had left. So we were both there but never ran into each other, but it was okay because we had tables together in Artist Alley. I also did an all Star Trek signing at the IDW booth on Sunday and a panel with Archaia on Friday where I announced a project called SAGA.

CA: Busy man! Lets start with the IDW stuff: what can you tell us about the upcoming Fallen Angel series?

JK: It’s another 4 issue mini-series called “Return of the Son” where Liandra (she is the fallen angel the series is named after) and her son Jude, find themselves face to face with Enoch, son of Cain, the world’s first murderer. Those who are familiar with the series know that the city where it is set , Bete Noire, was founded by Cain and has been watched over by generations of magistrates that are direct descendants of his. So the original son of Cain returning here is HUGE!! Those who have never read Fallen Angel, or even heard of it, will enjoy this mini-series as much as long time fans. Peter David has given readers everything they need to know in a way that’s vibrant and entertaining to both old fans and new.

CA: That sounds awesome, and we’ll have to get into more detail next week when the book is released; Perhaps even with Peter David himself! So lets shift gears: talk to us about your other books from IDW: Star Trek: Captain’s Log: Pike and Captains Log: Jellico.

JK: Pike was written by Stuart Moore and was a story I always wanted told as a fan. So, it was a thrill to work on! I remember seeing a 2 part Star Trek episode called “The Menagerie” as a child for the first time. “Wow! there were other star fleet captain’s besides Kirk?”, “What’s up with Spok’s hair?”, “Wait is Spok smiling?”, and “…weird…” were some of the thoughts going through my mind. You see, in the episode, Spok was on trial for kidnapping his former captain, Pike, and throughout the trial they kept flashing back to an earlier time that, while still having a familiar look, was also quite different. I later found out that the flashbacks were just footage of the 1965 original pilot for Star Trek which didn’t have Shatner’s Kirk as the lead, but rather a pensive and brooding Cptain Pike who was played by Jeffery Hunter. In the episode “The Menagerie”, they showed 2 Pikes. One was a completely paralyzed burn victim in a space age wheel chair and the other (the one in the flashbacks) was a vibrant young captain. They explained the accident that did this in the show, but I always wanted more on Pike’s Story. Well, IDW gave me “Moore” on this story and it was a privilege to work on.

Jellico was another captain I always wanted more of. (I think that’s really what the “Captain’s Log” series is all about; giving you more stories on captains that had small roles in the T.V series and movies.) I remember there was this 2 part episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Chain of Command,” where Picard was sent with a small team on a covert mission in Cardassian Space, leaving the Enterprise in the command of a very unlikable guy, played by Ronny Cox. His name was Captain Jellico. Though unlikable, it could easily be argued he was a great captain. His style of command was obviously different from what we were used to, but he got the job done. I always thought he was an interesting character for that reason. Someone I could hate and respect at the same time. Writer Keith DeCandido really brings this character to life! We finally get to see him with a crew that is accustomed to his command style, while still introducing the character to new readers through the eyes of a new first officer. We follow her from her first beam-in and report, right through to the resolution of a crisis. She even narrates the story and gives us her own insight on Jellico and the crew. All this and some really cool action scenes that I very much enjoyed painting!

Also, I want to point out that I didn’t do the book alone. I had help from 2 very special artists, Javen and Elijah, who make their publishing debut in this very issue. I wrote a little something about them on my blog back when I was working on this book. Click here to read it.

CA: Woah, you just blew my mind with all the Trek info! It’s pretty obvious you’re a fan. What got you hooked on Star Trek, and which series is your favorite? What about the movies?

JK: I think Deep Space 9…right now. You see, it depends when you ask me. Each series gives me something, it just depends on what I’m in the mood for. Right now, I’m in the mood for front line battles and political intrigue. In other words DS9. Although I may also be influenced by post season fervor. Sisko was a big fan of baseball and so am I. It’s all about statistics and probabilities. Batting averages vs. ERA? Left-handed batter? Right-handed pitcher? etc.

You take these details and statistics and try to figure out the probability of a home run, line drive, ground out, etc. Then fate rolls the dice and you find out what really happens. It’s fun in that D&D kind of way. When you think about it, it’s a geek’s game so I like that a star fleet captain is so into baseball!

(While we’re on baseball: My favourite team is the Angels, so look for ex-Angels players – players that have unwisely chosen to go to other teams for whatever reason – in the backgrounds of my Fallen Angel books coming out this winter. Get it? cause they’re fallen Angels? pretty funny, right? …. well I’m entertained by it anyway.) Favourite movie? That’s easy. Wrath of Khan! I think I’m in the majority with that one.

CA: Ok, so you said you were signing for Star Trek: Captain’s Log: Pike at NYCC- do you have any sketches from the Con you can show off to us?

JK: Sure. No Star Trek ones, strangely enough, but since I had a table in artist alley as well, I had people asking for all kinds of things. Even had a lot of Fallen Angel requests. I had a lot of fun drawing some characters I hadn’t had the chance to do before. Classic Iron Man, Daredevil vs. Gladiator, Zuriel, some people came to me with their own characters as well, which was fun! My 2 favourites were coincidentally both from the Bat-verse. First was a request for Batwoman and the Question. I took this to mean the female Question since she shared space with Batwoman in Detective Comics. Instead of a simple action pose, I decided to create a scene with a non appearance from the Joker and a dead Batman. The second was a request for an Earth 2 Robin. At first I got really excited because I loved the way Alex Ross painted this character …oh wait, that’s Red Robin. Damn! Well, I had my heart set on it so I painted a scene where Earth 2 Robin was preparing to spar with Red Robin as seen from a fire escape. I captioned it “Exactly who are YOU supposed to be?!?”, without any indication of who’s saying it. I like to think they’re both saying it at once.

There was another I did just for fun. I’m a big fan of Alex Robinson’s work and I always wanted to do a semi-real depiction of his character, Ray Beam, from Tricked. So I did!

Zuriel the Angel

 

Invinicble!

Hey Zues decimates the FF!! Paying homage to one of J.K.'s favorite Byrne covers.

 

Ray Beam at the Cavern! If you pan to the left you'd see that famous picture of John Lennon that he used for his "Rock-n-Roll" album cover. Lennon inexplicably decided to crop out Beam when choosing that cover. Go figure…

CA: Dude, you’re the man. Can we show that great one you did of Spidey and his Amazing Friends?

JK: Absolutely!

In fact, I even have some shots of the painting in progress on my blog. Click here to see them! I had my own personal and amusing reasons for wanting to do this piece which I also explain on my blog.

The Crazy Mary piece JK submitted for Sci-Fi Art Now!

CA: Speaking of your art, you have a piece coming out soon in the Sci Fi Art Now hardcover, published by Collins Design. Tell us about this project and when it’s going to be released.

JK: Yes! Sci-Fi Art Now is a 192 page hardcover featuring art from a bunch of great sci-fi artists. I’m extremely flattered to be in a book with these greats. It’s actually available now here, and it ships very soon to comic shops. You can find more info, along with interviews with the participating artists (myself included), here. The piece I’ve submitted was a cover I did for DWP (Digital Webbing Presents) almost 8 years ago. The book was called Crazy Mary and was created by Michael Colbert and myself. I think I just heard that Mike and some friends are putting out a horror anthology book called Tales of the Supernatural that I can’t wait to check out!

CA: Yeah, Mike’s the man! How did you end up getting that first big gig with him on Crazy Mary?

JK: I was living in Germany at the time and had just finished up an experiment called Flesh Angels with M.D.Koffin (whom I believe now has a story in the aforementioned Tales of the Supernatural), and had started a self-publishing project with Phil Smith (now at Top Cow). This inspired me to go to San Diego Comic Con. There I met a group of people. Some of them, like Mike and M.D., I still work with today.

When I met Mike in San Diego he was talking about some scripts he’d been working on and I remember there were 2 I really wanted to read. I read them in my hotel room and got really excited about Crazy Mary: Trail of Tears. A month and a half later, I had it painted and lettered. We took it around, looking for someone to pick it up and ended up with DWP. Ed Dukeshire was kind enough to re-letter it properly before it went out.

Side Note: Just for fun, and because I love horror anthologies, I’ll be doing an 8 page story in Mike’s next TOTSN issue. Who’s the writer you ask? You guessed it! M.D. Koffin. We’ve all been working hard to self publish since way back. Phil and I took company work, but I’d really like to see my other friends succeed where I had given up. I want to see TOTSN in every LCS!

CA: It’s cool that you guys have stayed close throughout the years and that you’re continuing to work together! Now back to NYCC: You had mentioned that you also sat in on the Archaia Comics booth at the Con. What can you tell us about that?

JK: Actually, it wasn’t the booth, it was a panel to make announcements for upcoming projects under the Archaia “Black Label”. I’m working on a new project forthcoming with them. It’s a viking project, which is something I always wanted to do. I just finished a 10 page preview, though I’m not scheduled to start on the rest for a few more months. This will be a different kind of viking story than most that have been told in comics before. There will be war and marauding, etc., of course, but most of the focus will be complex character interaction, betrayal, clan rivalries and political intrigued. The script reminded me a lot of MacBeth. Also, writer Brian Gottesman is obsessive with historical accuracy, which is difficult with a story set in the 10th century. He’s done exhaustive research and to a lesser extent, so have I. We’ve been working very closely together to ensure that it’s visually accurate.

I think when this project is done, it could very possibly be the piece that I’m most proud of visually. Check out some preview shots below.

CA: Thanks for talking with us JK! It’s always a pleasure. Any closing thoughts?

JK: I usually get all my thoughts (and art) down on one(or all) of these links. Feel fry to friend/follow me here, and again here.  You can see the majority of my work here, and everything else here! Please feel free to comment. I love talking comics and art!

Stay tuned next week as we talk more about IDW Publishing’s Fallen Angel with JK and series writer, Peter David!

Andy Liegl
andy@comicattack.net

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5 Comments



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by J.K.Woodward, Keith R.A. DeCandido. Keith R.A. DeCandido said: Cool interview with @jk_woodward https://comicattack.net/2010/10/jk-cha/ […]


  2. Billy

    Fantastic sketches dude!



  3. Gonna have to get me a JK commission pretty soon!



  4. […] For more from IDW Publishing, click here. For a recent interview with J.K. Woodward, visit this link! […]



  5. […] style is unique and pleasing to the eye, but I assume it’s only a matter of time. Check out an interview with Woodward as he talks about Fallen Angel: Return of the […]



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