It seems as though New York Comic Con is the place where the final pieces of DC Comics’ plan for their marquee franchise are falling into place. After it was announced that Co-Publisher and artist Jim Lee would move from the best-selling “Justice League” franchise to a new Superman title with Scott Snyder and “Aquaman artist Ivan Reis would move onto the best-selling team book, readers now know what will become of the sea king’s title written by CCO Geoff Johns.
It was announced today that artist Paul Pelletier has returned to DC for an ongoing engagement drawing Arthur Curry’s adventures starting with “Aquaman” #15. The story will drive the hero towards the incoming “Throne of Atlantis” crossover with “Justice League.”
Pelletier spoke with CBR News about coming back to the publisher where he once drew a longtime run on “The Flash” from DC’s chief rival. “It wasn’t anything against Marvel. I was having a great time at Marvel,” the artist explained. “But I’ve said before the Geoff Johns and I have been ships passing in the night pretty much in the past. We’ve never had the chance to work together, so when this opportunity popped up, it was something I felt I had to put my foot down and go ‘I want to work with Geoff.’ This is my opportunity to do that, and I liked the idea of having a regular monthly assignment too. I had a blast with Marvel, but a lot of the stuff I was doing was hunting around for which project I was going to work on next. With ‘Aquaman,’ I’ll be working on the book for a while, and that’ll be very cool. But the main thing was the chance to work with Geoff.”
As for the challenge of taking on both Aquaman and the Justice League for “Throne of Atlantis,” Pelletier explained. “The biggest challenge is that since I’m just coming on the book, I’m getting thrown into the fire. Before I get a chance to really nail everything down and get comfortable with Aquaman, Mera and the other supporting cast, I’m also going to have the Justice League thrown in too. The period of adjustment is going to be pretty short. The most difficult thing will be doing justice — no pun intended — to the Justice League while really focusing on getting comfortable with Aquaman and his characters.”
The artist also said he’s keeping up on Geoff Johns master plan for the secret origin of Atlantis and the mysteries that have been swirling in the deep since “Aquaman” #1 launched last year. “There is that draw where being left in the dark can be a little fun, but it can be difficult when there are little things that need to be setup in early issues so we can pay them off down the road,” he said. “There are things we need to put in place now to really setup the payoff. Working with a writer that has that outline and all the beats down makes things really easier. I’m glad to know ahead of time what’s on tap so I can give it the proper story context in my first issues.”
Overall, he said that he’s fully on board with Johns’ take on Aquaman as a hero who gets no respect. “I picked up on that idea when I read the first issues. You’ve got this incredible noble character in Aquaman, but Geoff pointed out in the dialogue that he’s viewed as kind of a joke, not a big deal. I mean, he’s Aquaman. He talks to fish. So there are the opposing points of view where you’ve got a character who’s really heroic and noble, but he’s never viewed that way. That makes for interesting character development when he has to push back against that.”
And as for what he’s going to be drawing most, Pelletier knew exactly what it took to go under the sea. “Lots of bubbles!” he laughed. “Of course a lot of the effects have to do with how the colors are done too, so this will be a team effort to get that full effect. I loved what Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis were doing, artwise. They set a really high standard, and I’m going to have to up my game to keep up with what they set as the standard.”
In the end, he acknowledged that returning to the publisher brought some stylistic changes to his clear, heroic style. “I think there is a different feel for the DC books, and whether or not I’ll fit in will be the interesting thing to see,” he joked. “But there is a specific feel to the DC style. Though every time I feel like I’m going to switch up my style a bit for a project, it just ends up looking like my stuff. I’m kind of rooted in a specific style that doesn’t change up too much.”