If there was any doubt that Ivan Reis was becoming one of the biggest names in comics, that all changed when he was handed the biggest project of his life: “Blackest Night.”
Before collaborating on DC Comics’ latest event series with superstar writer Geoff Johns, Reis was handling regular duties on the “Green Lantern” ongoing, also written by Johns. The two creators actually have a long history together, as the two teamed up in 2002 on the miniseries “Avengers Icons: The Vision” #1-4 for Marvel Comics.
Reis moved to DC in 2004 and worked on titles including “Action Comics” and “Rann/Thanagar War.” He also pitched in on DC’s 2005 event series “Infinite Crisis,” another title written by Johns.
Reis, born, raised and still living in Sao Paolo, Brazil, was a featured guest at Fan Expo in Toronto last weekend, and CBR News chatted with him at his booth in Artists Alley.
CBR: “Blackest Night” is obviously the biggest project of your career thus far. How have you been dealing with the pressure and the added attention that one receives when working on a major event like “Blackest Night?”
IVAN REIS: This is the biggest event I’ve been working on ever. (Sorry for my English.) I’ve been getting bigger and bigger and bigger events each year. This isn’t a superhero event, actually. This isn’t a regular superhero story. It was a challenge to me because I’ve been working with superheroes for a long time and somehow, and I got a zombie story. But this isn’t a zombie story, either. It’s a different thing. It’s not a simple zombie story. It’s a great challenge to find a way between a superhero story and a terror story. And I think I found a way because the reaction from the fans was fantastic at the conventions. I can feel how big this book is. I’m trying to keep the book’s style and quality high because this is the most important story for my life until now.
Growing up in Sao Paolo, Brazil, what was your first introduction to superhero comics?
Marvel and DC comics. It’s easy to find them in the bookstores. But actually I grew up with “Conan” and George Perez’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” in the’80s. George Perez and John Buscema were my greatest influences. I followed George wherever he worked.
Drawing a mega-series like “Blackest Night” must be thrilling as it is very much a George Perez-style event.
I think “Crisis” was harder than “Blackest Night” – more characters.
What’s Geoff Johns like as a collaborator when it comes to epic storytelling?
Geoff is a big friend. And I worked with him on “The Vision” a long time ago. It’s very easy to work with him because he is a fan. And he works as a fan. I don’t want to know what happens next. I want to feel the same thing as the fans. When I discover a great thing, it’s, “Oh my God. It’s amazing.” And I can work this energy into the page. I know Geoff likes that because Geoff is a fan too. When he writes it, he gets so excited as me when I draw.
Does that go for “Blackest Night” designer Ethan Van Sciver, as well?
I love Ethan’s designs. He did the perfect ideas for the Black Lantern uniforms. After Ethan designed them, Joe Prado [created additional designs]. And Joe has the same energy as Ethan. Actually, Ethan was the visual mind behind the Corps – all the Corps were done by him. He did the Red, the Orange, the Black, the Indigo, etc. I just put my style under his design. I love working with him. And it’s a big challenge to working with Ethan because he’s a great artist, the best artist and I try to keep the same quality, which is very hard to do. All my stuff will be compared with what Ethan did. And until now, it’s worked because everybody is thinking with Green Lantern, it’s Ethan and Ivan.
Do you know what you’re working on after “Blackest Night?”
Yes, I know but I can’t talk about it. It’s a great thing. I’d like to talk about it because it’s amazing but I can’t.
Will it be out next year?
Maybe. I need to finish “Blackest Night” next year, maybe by January, I’m not sure. But next year, I’m getting a new thing, a great thing – better than “Blackest Night.” It’s unbelievable to me because I’m getting bigger and bigger events each year and the next year, there are big things.
And it’s DC?