Artist Nicola Scott has enjoyed ever-increasing success since she traveled to Comic-Con International in San Diego a decade ago, departing her home in Sydney, Australia in an effort to break into North American comic book industry.
Her runs on DC Comics’ “Birds of Prey” and “Secret Six” with writer Gail Simone were fan-favorites, and Scott truly broke out when she was tagged for a year-long stint on “Teen Titans” with writer J.T. Krul. The creative pair would close out the series’ third volume with #100 just before the dawn of DC’s New 52.
While fans noticed her absence from the initial months of the line-wide relaunch, Scott participated in the initiative by illustrating two issues of “Superman” with George Perez before she was announced as the artist of “Earth 2,” part of the New 52’s “Second Wave” of series. Written by James Robinson, the heavily-anticipated title kicks off May 2.
CBR News spoke with the popular artist and discovered the creative forces are ready to explode on the pages of “Earth 2” as Scott and DC Comics share insight into the series.
CBR News: While you are no stranger to comic books fans thanks to your previous runs on popular titles like “Birds of Prey,” “Secret Six” and “Teen Titans,” speaking with James Robinson, it sounds as though the world-building of “Earth 2” may be your biggest and best work to date. Is that an assessment you can agree with?
Nicola Scott: I’ve certainly not worked on this scale many times before. “Birds of Prey” was my first monthly, so it was really about testing whether I could keep up. It was the perfect jumping-in title for me; I was very lucky. “Secret Six” was about as far from epic and superheroic as a spandex book can be. Violent, sure. Action-packed, too, but in a really down to Earth, in a dirt ditch, kind of way. “Teen Titans” was about bringing the youth and lightness and fun back to the book. I wanted to make sure the art had some pep.
“Earth 2” is an entirely different ball game. Everything has been stripped down to basics and built from there. Everything and everyone is recognizable, but different. We’re really trying our best to bring a fully-fleshed world to the new book. We’re not in one city or even one country. This is Earth 2, and our story will take us places.
Have you changed anything in particular with your style, technique or approach to drawing for this series?
Absolutely. The scale of this book demands it. It’s more about finding an appropriate head space to draw from rather than making specific art style changes. It looks just like my art, but I still think people will notice a difference.
How it’s showing up is possibly in the density of detail. There’s a lot of information we’re attempting to get across, much of it incidental but still adding to the richness of the world.
It’s also the first time I’ve worked on a real “big boy” team book. I’ve been drawing team books through most of my time at DC, but so far it’s been sub-culture teams, whether it’s the Gotham City girl team, the villain-turned-vigilante team or the sidekick kid team. This time it’s the Earth 2’s only team, and it’s the big-time players. That in itself makes my approach to the storytelling and art quite different from my previous work. Like I said, it’s all about finding the right head space.
What specific tools do you use for drawing “Earth 2”? Are there any new weapons in your arsenal?
I am so old school, it’s ridiculous. Mechanical pencils, ruler, eraser, French curve and a light box — the practical rarely changes.
Were you familiar with the heavy hitters of “Earth 2” before landing this gig? I mean, I know you’ve drawn Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in the past, but I’m thinking more along the lines of Jay Garrick, Alan Scott and Al Pratt.
I only really knew Al Pratt from James’ “Golden Age” series. I’ll get to know him as the issues progress.
Jay and Alan, on the other hand, I’m much more familiar with. But these guys are young now, at the beginning of becoming the characters we know and love. They’re also young men in a modern era. Earth 2 is its own place politically, socially and religiously, so their context is different to what made them previously.
Aside from the obvious costume differences, is there a different feel to a hero from Earth 2 than a character from Earth 1?
They are very much their own Flash and Green Lantern, how they come into their powers and how they use them. That’s been a big part of the fun. Working out how they’re different and attempting to get that on paper.
Both their costumes are reminiscent of previous looks so they will feel at least a little familiar, but what I really love drawing is their faces, their builds and their body language. They’re both very different types, and it should show immediately.
I’m currently drawing a page with Jay using his powers and it’s been great fun making him distinctive from the many other Flashes. How he chooses to use his speed is a hoot.
In one of the preview panels DC Comics has shared with us, we see Helena Wayne as Robin. What can you tell us about her look?
Helena has a very specific role in the first issue, the kind of thing I love to draw, so it really was a treat to draw her panels. Kevin Maguire designed her Robin look, as she’s kind of more his character than ours. She’s in totally appropriate garb to side-kick our Earth 2 Batman.
We also have a preview page of the Parademons. From everything we’ve heard and seen, it looks like James’ scripts are allowing you to really let loose. Is that the case? Are we going to see some splash pages of epic proportion in the months ahead?
Holy cow, you have no idea! The Parademons nearly killed me. They bring a tremendous amount of carnage in “Earth 2” #1, which really helps to set the scene for just how epic this title is. We’re building a whole world here, and it’s going to reveal itself as the issues progress. Hopefully, that sense of how global the viewpoint is will be evident from the very beginning.
Does the series allow for some of your trademark softer/quieter moments as well?
You know it! James is a character writer, so whether it’s in the middle of action or a scene all its own, there are plenty of intimate, personal stories being told. Every character is a fully-formed person and bringing that to the page has always been the best part of the job for me.
Which do you prefer drawing: the toe-to-toe battles or the more intimate affairs?
Too much of one or the other can get very dull and repetitive to draw. I’m happiest when we can mix it up. “Earth 2” is a pretty perfect balance: large scale action, but with enough human emotion to give the story some weight.
“Earth 2” #1, by James Robinson and Nicola Scott, goes on sale May 2.