As a writer-artist and a writer, Jeff Lemire has a tough balancing act ahead of him. In a PopMatters exclusive, Michael D. Stewart raps with Lemire at the historic New York Comic Con.
When it comes to Animal Man, writer Jeff Lemire has a tough balancing act ahead of him. Both in terms of the character and Lemire’s own shift from writer-artist to just writer. Animal Man, especially during his recent Vertigo years, has been about the balance between superheroics, family and strange dark elements. Lemire’s current work sees him writing and writing-drawing several series at once.
“It’s really two different parts of my brain – writing and drawing – so it’s somewhat easy to shift between the two,” he said between signing at this past New York Comic Con. “90 percent of my time is spent drawing because it takes so much physical time to do, but I’m always thinking and writing as I’m drawing.”
He’s done the writing-drawing thing on such wonderful books as the epic Essex County, the mysterious The Nobody and the ongoing post-apocalyptic Sweet Tooth. These have all been intimate stories, firmly planted in his indie comic roots. The transition from that style to the larger scope of superhero or near-superhero comics can be tough.
“I think the important thing is to stay yourself,” Lemire said. “Keep that small, quiet voice and then apply it. The good thing about these iconic characters is that they’re like ciphers and symbols. The most successful superhero stories are when someone brings a personal vision to them.”
He gave a glimpse of what he was talking about in his short Superboy run prior to the launch of the New 52. Conner Kent on the farm in Smallville became more akin to Lester Papineau, the boy who dreamed of superheroes on the farm in Essex County. “You do you’re thing, but with superheroes,” added Lemire.