Earlier today, DC Comics announced, via their blog, The Source, that former Top Cow artist Tyler Kirkham had been signed to an exclusive contract.
And for his first assignment, Kirkham has landed a big one. With experience penciling best-selling Marvel titles like “Ultimate Fantastic Four” and “Amazing Spider-Man,” Kirkham will join Tony Bedard on “Green Lantern Corps,” beginning with #53 in October.
Kirkham, who will be inked by Matt “BATT” Banting (“Superman/Batman”) and colored by Nei Ruffino (“Green Lantern,” “Supergirl”), spoke with CBR News and shared his thoughts on his exclusive deal and how epic his first arc on “Green Lantern Corps” will be.
CBR News: How you did you land at DC as their newest exclusive artist?
Tyler Kirkham: I’ve talked to DC, back and forth, dating back to 2004 when I did the “Darkness/Superman” crossover for Top Cow. I guess they really liked how that turned out and I’ve been in touch with them, just a little bit, nothing serious because I’ve always been exclusive with Top Cow, ever since. But when my Top Cow contract was coming to an end, I started getting more serious about talking to DC. I talked to Marvel and Top Cow, too, and just weighed out all my options to see what was best. And DC was what was best.
Right off the bat, you’re on of one DC’s best-selling titles, “Green Lantern Corps,” with writer Tony Bedard. How familiar are you with Green Lantern and his expanded universe?
Honestly, I wasn’t that familiar with it. I’ve caught a few things here and there. I watched the animated movie. I definitely have some of the comics based on some of the artists that I follow, but I don’t really have a whole lot of experience with Green Lantern. But DC knew that when they hired me. I’m still learning about the characters by reading the trade paperbacks, but I’m really starting to get a feel for it. And I love it now that I’m into it.
At Marvel, you worked on “Ultimate Fantastic Four,” which is another property that is very heavy in its sci-fi elements. Do you see any similarities between that and “GLC?”
It’s funny, when I started doing “Fantastic Four,” that was another book that I really hadn’t really read a lot. I obviously knew about the characters, but I was always more of an X-Men guy. But yeah, there is definitely a lot of that sci-fi/alien, intergalactic stuff with all sorts of different characters and races, which I was really looking forward to doing when I signed up with DC.
It was perfect, because I knew there were a lot of different characters in the book. That’s exactly what I wanted to do, so I was really excited right off the bat.
It is a title that is really an artist’s dream, I guess, with lots of big fights scenes in space with lots of different characters?
Yeah, and right now Tony is really writing it to match my particular style of art, which is the Marc Silvestri/Michael Turner kind of art.
Have you started drawing the title yet?
Yes. I just finished “Green Lantern Corps” #53 on Monday. That’s my first issue.
Can you give us a tease of what you were given to draw for your first crack at the Green Lantern Corps?
Actually, I got to redesign the Weaponer. He’s from the planet Qward and he designed Sinestro’s ring. He’s a real renaissance-type character, almost like something from “Lord of the Rings,” so that was a lot fun to do. There is lot of nice shots of him and he ends up fighting Kyle. My understanding is we’ll actually see quite a lot of him during my first arc.
Despite being a uniform, the Green Lantern outfits are varied in design depending on who wears it. What do you like most about drawing the Green Lantern Corps?
I really love drawing any type of superhero costume. I have a lot of fun doing the spandex look, like Superman, and the latex look. I think I like that better than doing street clothes. But with the Green Lantern Corps, I really like the contrast between the black and the green. You can do a lot of different things with the black. If you want to fill it in completely black or just put some lines in there. Or you can put some white in there, if you want to indicate the muscle tones. That’s really cool to do.
How’s Tony Bedard as a collaborator?
He’s great. I got his phone number right away when I found out I was working with him and I ended up just giving him a call and chatting about working on the book and what’s going to happen in the first arc and the Weaponer. I think he’s trying to write to my style, almost, which is really cool. He’s pretty cool, too, about letting me freestyle a bit, if I feel there is a better way to lay out a page or show a different angle. And that’s cool that he gives me that freedom.
Can you share a little bit of an insider’s look at how you create a page? Which tools and techniques do you use?
I use a leadholder pencil with H lead. I have a couple of those. One that I keep sharp and a blunt one that I can fill in blacks with. Or I can turn on its side and fill in black areas really quickly. But I also use, occasionally, just a regular 0.3mm lead pencil, if I want to get some little details here and there. And then just a gummy eraser and an eraser stick.
Looking ahead, are there any other DCU superheroes that you’d love to get a hold of during your exclusive?
Oh yeah, man. I’d love to do some Batman stuff. And Superman again. Those would be the two big ones.