I met JG [Jeff] Jones a few years ago, purely by accident, when we almost literally ran into each other at a convention. After exchanging the usual apologies and pleasantries, we struck up a conversation which covered a wide variety of subjects, only one of which was the current state of comics and cons. Since that time, it’s been my pleasure to run into him at various shows, where we’d inevitably pick up the threads of our previous chat. During this same period, Jeff’s beautiful line work, immaculate rendering and keen storytelling abilities began to catch the interest of editors, critics and fans alike, resulting in a series of increasingly high profile projects – including two of the Marvel Knights line’s highly successful mini-series, last year’s BLACK WIDOW and the recently begun MARVEL BOY – that have only served to fully cement his position as one of the best comic artists working today … or ever.
[If you don’t believe me, just check out what Grant Morrison had to say about Jeff’s work in his interview with Warren Ellis, presented in Warren’s Come in Alone column dated Friday, June 9th, 2000.]
Aside from his incredible artistic talent, one of the things that I’ve come to like – and even greatly admire – about Jeff is just how open, friendly, and down right human he is; there’s not a shred of egotism in the man, nor is there a hint of any elitism or a self-serving, hidden agenda. There’s no “rock star” persona you have to deal with, or dig through, to get to the real person. He’s comfortable with who he is, and doesn’t feel the need to be anything – or anyone – other than himself. With Jeff, what you see and hear is what you get.
All of which makes for great conversation. And a wonderful interview.
BILL BAKER: So, things are going pretty good these days?
J. G. JONES: Seem to be, yeah. [Laughter] I have to get reports from outside the studio, to know for a fact, but my reports back say that, yeah, things are going pretty well these days.
BB: Well, I bet a whole lot of that has to do with the Marvel Knights connection.
JG: Yeah, yeah. They rescued me from the trash heap of obscurity. [General laughter] Or something like that.
BB: Well, let’s start with your latest project, MARVEL BOY. When you first mentioned this to me, last year at Wizard con in Chicago, man, there was electricity comin’ off of you. Are you still as excited about it now?
JG: I get more amped up about this book with every issue. I just finished drawing issue 4, and it was twice as much fun as the three prior issues. The writing keeps getting better and better. And I only see the script … about the time I finish the last script, I get the new one … so even I don’t know what’s gonna happen. So it’s a party. Lots of action. Wacky Grant Morrison hijinks. Lots of exploding things – mainly buildings, and corporations. All those nasty things Grant hates, get ‘blowed up’.
BB: Yeah, he gets his anarchist ya-yas out, doesn’t he?
JG: Absolutely! [General laughter] And I’m happy to accommodate him.
BB: You get to do a lot of design work with this project, too, don’t you?
JG: Yeah. They’re [the title character and his group] are from an alternate Kree universe, an alternate Marvel universe, a Kree diplomatic mission. Marvel Boy’s crew, their ship’s been lost in this multi-dimensional …
I don’t know, you’ll have to get Grant to explain it to you. [General laughter] There’s a lot of parallel earths, and they finally end up on ours, where they get immediately, and promptly, shot out of the sky. So, I get to design a lot of space ship stuff, and gear for Marvel Boy. He pretty much changes – his basic uniform stays the same, but I get to change the tech gear every issue – depending on who he’s going to go out and try to fight. So, yeah, it’s a lot of design work.
BB: From my understanding, you were chosen as artist for the mini-series by Grant, right?
JG: Yeah, go figure! [General laughter]
BB: You have a chance to talk with him?
JG: Oh yeah. Last time I actually spoke to him was at the San Diego convention, last summer, but we do the email thing and … He re-emerges every few months, and I get an email, and we go over stuff.
“I get more amped up about this book with every issue. I just finished drawing issue 4, and it was twice as much fun as the three prior issues.”
– J.G. Jones
BB: From some interesting part of the world, I suppose.
JG: Absolutely. [Laughter]
BB: What kind of scripts has he been giving you? Are they full scripts?
JG: They’re full scripts. But Grant’s scripts move SO QUICKLY, that sometimes you have to read between the lines and do some of the set-up stuff yourself. Like some little storytelling things. I’ll throw in a panel here or there, as a location shot, so the reader doesn’t get lost. And Grant’s already five paces ahead. And I have to, sometimes, slow things down, and show a location, or do something like that. But he trusts me. I don’t do anything to change the scripts, [I’m just] always going for clarity.
BB: Kinda like the ‘in-betweening’ storyboarding in film work, then.
JG: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
BB: What about the character of Marvel Boy, how would you describe him?
JG: Grant explained it to me that he’s sort of based on Namor’s attitude – ya know, the social outcast. He wants to do the right thing, but his idea of what the right thing is might not be what we have in mind, the rest of the ‘work a day world’. So, he’s got an attitude problem. He’s the angry young punkster. The planet done him wrong. And, by gum, he’s gonna straighten ’em out, and show ’em what’s what.
BB: I know in the past Grant’s sometimes done rough layouts to show the artist what he has in mind; has he done that with you?
JG: No. The scripts are PLENTY detailed. He gives me a panel-by-panel breakdown, and I’m free to play with that if I want to, but it gives me a really clear idea of where he wants the action to go. He’s the director. I’m sort of one of the actors, I guess.
BB: Or the cinematographer.
BB: Aside from the occasional adding of the in-betweening panels, done any other kind of deviations … I’m just trying to get an idea of the kind of synergy that’s building up in the creative process here.
JG: Yeah, I can slow down or speed up the action sometimes. I’ll put in extra panels, if I want to slow the action down. There’s seldom a need to speed it up! [Laughter] You go by the script and it’s moving along at lightning speed. But, yeah, I change things if I think something’s gonna look better, or look cooler, than the way he has it described, I’ll just go for it. And he can yell at me later, if he wants to. But that hasn’t happened so far, he’s been really happy with everything I’ve given him.
Or so he says! [General laughter]
BB: Yeah, you’ll find out after I get a chance to interview him, right?
JG: That’s right. [As Grant] “AH, that bullocks, Jones!”
BB: Have you discussed any of the finer points of the plot, or characterization, with him, or do are you just going by the script?
JG: Well, we sort of went over this stuff when we had a sit down [chat at San Diego], and if he has something specific, ya know, we’ll go over it. Email back and forth, and maybe talk over the phone, if we have to, but it’s pretty much all there for me.
His scripts are amazingly detailed. Everything’s in there.
BB: About how many pages are the scripts averaging in length?
JG: It’s twenty two pages each issue. About that, it’s about a page or page and a half [of script] for every page of book.
BB: Does this particular mini-series fit within the current Marvel Knights, or the Marvel universe, continuity?
JG: It only touches tangentially on Marvel continuity, and I’m not sure where it fits in the actual continuity. You’ll have to wait for the Grant interview, for [the specific answer to] that. From what I understand, it’s in a sort of parallel universe. It doesn’t really involve any of the other Marvel Knights characters.
Let’s see, the only Marvel characters that figure in here, there’s a reference to the Fantastic Four at one point. And Dum Dum Dugan, and SHIELD shows up, in issue 2. In issue 5, he trots out a horde of parallel universe characters from Marvel and “others”.
BB: Right. Because the obvious question is, with all this collateral damage happening, you gotta figure that SOMETIME, sooner or later, the super heroes are gonna take an interest in what’s going on there.
JG: Yeah, you would think so, wouldn’t you?
BB: Yeah. Unless everyone else agrees with the concept of blowing up big corporations.
JG: No comment. [General laughter]
BB: Yeah, exactly.
It sounds like a really interesting mix of some tradition bits – ya know, the Marvel action – with some different content. What do you think about it? Is it REALLY that different from …
JG: No. In all honesty, no. It’s a pretty straight-forward funny book. He kind of delivers his political message along the way as subtext. It’s not …
It’s not REALLY pedantic. “Don’t miss the point! Here it is!” It’s not that so much; it’s the pretext for the action. And off we go!
BB: In other words, it’s not Grant’s Marvel version of THE INVISIBLES.
JG: Right. No. No, not at all.
BB: Right, cause one of the things that always struck me when I first encountered his work – which was his run on THE DOOM PATROL – and I was just overwhelmed by the inventiveness of it all. But the, when I went back and reread it, I suddenly realized it was actually some pretty straight forward superhero stuff. There was just some pretty wild ideas embedded in there.
JG: Yeah, this is pretty much more like DOOM PATROL than INVISIBLES, most definitely.
BB: Yeah, or JLA, to reference his more recent superhero work. It sounds like it’s got a little bit of everything that people like about his work in it, something for everyone to enjoy. He’s been getting that nice balance quite nicely, lately.
JG: I think it’s all together here. It feels really seamless. If it falls down anywhere, it’s my fault, not his.
BB: How do you approach drawing this book. Do you sit down and – while you’re actually reading it – do some thumbnails?
JG: Oh, yeah. I pretty much thumbnail the whole thing. But I don’t thumbnail an entire book at once. I’ll do five or six pages, or a scene, so that each scene sort of has its own feel. [I’ll] work out the action that way. And, besides, I don’t want to get bored, having locked myself into a corner, and then just spend the rest of the month just executing it. I like to leave a little bit of spontaneity in there.
BB: You’re penciling and inking the whole thing yourself, right?
JG: Yeah. I’m getting a little background help, when I need it, but essentially, penciling and inking it all myself.
BB: How detailed are your pencils? Are they pretty much finished?
JG: When I’m inking myself, they’re pretty loose. The figures I tighten up, a lot. I usually do the figures, work them out on tracing paper overlays, where I can nudge them around and move them, for composition. And then, when I get them where I want them, I just transfer them down to the page.
But the rest of the stuff is kinda sketched in, more or less loosely. Backgrounds and whatnot, I just kinda ink as I go, it speeds up the process a little bit.
BB: For your figure work, do you use photo reference?
JG: Oh yeah. I use a lot of photo reference. It’s hard to find photo reference for the action stuff, but that’s cool; [I] just have fun there.
It’s not copying directly, [but I use it more] to see ideas for lighting, and double lighting, and shadows on faces, and what not.
BB: Do you actually do the photo shots yourself, or do you have a reference library, and go through magazines and such?
JG: I have a giant pile of magazines that gets cleaned up once a week before it reasserts itself. And I also take reference photos, if I have something really specific I need. Especially on covers, for a cover pose, which I’m going to do the black and white wash like I did on the covers of [BLACK] WIDOW, I’ll take photos. But there’s a lot of recombining.
BB: Let’s get a bit technical for a moment. What kind of paper, pencils, inking supplies, etc., do you use? I’m thinking of the paper’s ‘tooth’, and everything else.
JG: I’ve just been using the Marvel house paper, [which] I actually like better than the DC house paper I’ve been given. It’s got a nice tooth to it, and it’s not too slippery for inking, but it’s not too rough, either. So I like it quite a bit. It’s nice paper. I think it’s a Strathmore.
As far as pencils, I like to just use a mechanical pencil, like a drafting pencil with – depending on the paper – an HB lead.
BB: And you use the same tools for your rough layouts and thumbnails too?
JG: Yeah. I just use one of those little mechanical pencils when I’m sitting around doing roughs, with a slightly softer lead in it. They can draw more quickly.
BB: So you don’t use a non-repro blue pen at all, then?
JG: No. No, I don’t like the stuff. One reason I got away from the blue pencil is [the fact that] there’s wax in it, and not only can that muck up the inking, but when I was doing all the wash work – like for SHI: BLACK, WHITE AND RED, and for BLACK WIDOW – it was really hard to put water over it. It would bead up, and leave a mark. So I avoid that altogether now.
BB: Uh, yeah. That would be a problem, wouldn’t it! Geez!
JG: Yeah. [General laughter]
Another thing when you’re doing the wash: you can’t use white out, if you make a mistake, except at the end. Because you can’t do any water color over white out. So you CAN’T screw up! [More general laughter] It’s intimidating as hell.
BB: How about inking? Are you using nubs, or sticking mostly to brushes?
JG: Oh, no, I HATE nubs. I can never control those things. I’m fascinated by people who can use those things.
I’m pretty much a brush guy, until I get to the background, and then I use mechanical pens.
BB: What kind of brushes are you using, and what kind of ink?
JG: I like the Raphaels, the 8404s. I usually use small brushes. People in the business look at me weird when I tell ’em that, “Huh?! How can you ink with THAT?!” I refill a lot.
The ink … the ink has been a problem. Right now, I think I’m using Koh-i-nor. But, my favorite ink has been discontinued.
JG: Yeah. My buddy, Charles Yoakum, who still does some inking now and then – he’s working on a Batman project – we used to use this special, highly toxic drafting ink that’s been discontinued because all drafting now is pretty much done on computer. Nobody actually sits down and does blueprints by hand much, anymore. Last year, at the San Diego con, there was a rumor that was a box of this ink floating around, and everyone was scrambling to find out who had this case of ink. I never did come up with any. [Laughter]
It sounds like a small thing, but when you have an ink that makes a nice, thick, velvety black line, and you don’t have to go over it a couple of times … Some ink gets too watery, and some ink gets too sticky, too fast. I have to throw of a bottle of ink away half way through use, or separate half out , because exposure to air just gums it up and then I just can’t work with it.
BB: About how long does it take you to do a whole page? Let’s just talk about a typical interior page; nothing fancy.
JG: A typical interior page, if I’m clipping along really well, [I’ll] do in about a day and a half. Sometimes they get really complex. I think I have two pages in issue 4 that are twelve panels a page, and that’s gonna slow things down a bit. But I really try to stick to a page every day and a half, then move on. I’ll even put them aside, even if they’re not finished, at a day and a half, and move on, then come back later, if I have to. So I don’t get bogged down.
BB: Is that also to help keep yourself fresh?
BB: Is about a third of that time pencils, and the rest inks then?
JG: Uhm, I’d say about half and half. The inks come pretty fast, once I get the composition set, and the storytelling and the nuances of the faces – do the acting and stuff like that. That’s where all the thought process is. The inking pretty straight forward and easy; just try to make it look nice.
BB: And you’re doing the covers in washes on top of all of this, right?
JG: Yeah. I don’t have time to do them for the interior pages, like I did with [BLACK] WIDOW. But I am doing them pretty much on the covers.
BB: How do you approach that work?
JG: Pretty much the same way. Just do the pencils, and inks, and then drop the wash on top of it. If I want some open areas, I’ll just leave them un-inked, and do it in wash, stuff like that. It’s not really that complicated.
BB: Is that something you’ve been doing for a while, and you’re only just now getting to do it more for comics?
JG: Yeah, my first training was in water color. So I’ve always felt really comfortable with it. I’m good with oils, and less so with acrylics. They dry too fast.
Water color’s its own technique. It’s almost backwards from the opaque mediums; it’s a transparent medium and so you have to build it up from light to dark.
BB: About how long does one of these kinds of covers take to make, is that a couple days?
JG: Depending on how many cover sketches we have to go through before everybody is happy with it – I’ll usually fire those off to Jimmy [Palmiotti] and Joe [Quesada] and then get ’em back with comments, and do a revision.
BB: Are you also doing some variant covers for MARVEL BOY?
JG: The only variant cover we did, I did issue one as a sort of wrap around [cover] and – instead of doing a wrap around [variant] cover for Marvel – they took the back cover and sold it to Dynamic Forces. So, I guess if you buy the two covers, you can stick ’em together like a puzzle and – VIOLA! – you’ve got yer pretty picture, boss. [General laughter]
BB: Since you brought up your training, where did you get your training?
JG: I came to comics late. I was a painter. I grew up in Louisiana, took water color lessons when I was a kid, and the first art I ever sold – [which was] when I was in high school – was actually a LORD OF THE RINGS illustration that I did in water color.
Then I went off to college and decided to be a snotty, hoity-toity ‘real artist’. [General laughter] It took me a couple of useless degrees before I got over that.
BB: Yeah, I was gonna ask, “What the hell happened?!” [More general laughter]
JG: Why, I moved to New York and found out what this crowd was REALLY like.
BB: And you didn’t look good in black, either, I bet!
JG: The HELL you say! [General laughter]
No, I got bored with the whole scene, and where I thought current art was going. It seemed to be just a bunch of people’s political positions [and had] nothing to do with craft, or design, ya know? I got fed up with the whole scene. And, even if you make it big in the art world these days, you don’t exactly pay the rent.
And a successful career … You can be a has-been in three, four years. The odds just didn’t look good.
BB: Did you tend towards more realism in your work back then, or were you more abstract?
JG: Sometimes, yeah. I used to kind of mix everything up in a collage esthetic. But there was a lot of what people would probably call real painting, observational [based work]. Yeah, I always did that. I always did figure drawing.
BB: Do you know what your next project’s gonna be, for sure? I know you’re going to be doing covers for WILDCATS.
JG: Yeah, I’m gonna pretty much spend what’s left of my summer doing covers, and I’m gonna work on a creator owned project that I’ve had in the works for a couple years, that I’ve been sitting on. And … keep my options open, talking to various people about what my next project is gonna be. I think I’ll catch my breath a little bit before I decide what I’m gonna do next.
BB: Do you want to talk about the creator owned project, or should we wait a while on that?
JG: Ah, let’s wait on that.
BB: OK. How’d the WILDCATS gig come about, anyway?
JG: Scott Dunbier, he’s been talking to me for a while about doing some work for them. He’s a fan of my work, apparently. Go figure, I don’t know. [And we] couldn’t find the right thing, couldn’t find the right thing, and I was busy. So, finally, he said, “Well, can you do WILDCATS’ covers?” And I said, “Uh, YEAH! I’ll find time for that!” I always loved those characters.
BB: What about them appeals to you?
JG: They’re fun to draw. And Travis [Charest] is big shoes to fill. I’m a big fan of his work, and pretty much picked up WILDCATS to keep up with what he was doing. So I had an easy familiarity with the characters. It wasn’t like I was gonna have to learn a whole new crew.
And something else people might not think about: Wildstorm FX. I just love their coloring so much, I just wanted to see what their coloring would look like on my stuff. So, yeah, it’d be a great chance to pick up some extra cash, have some fun, [make] some nice pieces, ya know?
BB: Yeah, from the few pieces of art I’ve seen, they do your work proud, guy!
JG: Oh, yeah. They did a purty job!
So, I’m not sure how long I’m on that gig. I think we discussed maybe doing it this year, maybe twelve issues and we’ll see how it goes.
BB: And the same approach with those covers?
JG: Yeah, yeah.
BB: So you’re also doing all those in wash, then?
JG: The first one I did; the second one I didn’t think needed wash, so I just let them handle the coloring. Why tell them their business? They’re doing a fine job.
It just depends on the piece. Sometimes they need it, or sometimes I’ll think it’ll look nice. And sometimes I figure it’s just as easy to do a – especially if it has a lot of color fills and things like that – I don’t feel the need to do a color wash on it. Sometimes I’ll just do a color wash on the figures, stuff like that.
BB: Is that kind of decision almost instinctive for you at this point?
JG: Yeah. You just kind of get a feel for it, and go for it.
BB: How did you get involved in the Marvel Knights project in the first place, anyway? Obviously, it was with BLACK WIDOW, but what were the circumstances?
JG: I had been working for Billy Tucci, and I did two issues of a story called SHI: BLACK, WHITE AND RED that Billy put out. Chris Golden, Tom Sniegoski [wrote it]. Billy pretty much let me do what I wanted on there, so I did this wash book. And Jimmy and Joe were hanging out in the same bar I was at the time. My friend Jeff Zapata, who also worked for Billy at the time, ran into them at the bar one night, and showed them the pages I’d been doing [on the Shi book].
I’d shown the guys stuff for years, and I guess they figured I wasn’t quite ready for prime time, or whatever, but when they saw that stuff they hired me pretty much immediately, and said, “We’ve got the perfect project for you.” Devin [Grayson] wasn’t quite ready with the script just yet, so I did the PAINKILLER JANE/DARKCHYLDE [crossover], basically to have something to do until the script was ready. And that’s it.
It’s who ya know, baby! That’s how you get somewhere in this business.
BB: Yeah, and who ya drink with!
JG: Exactly! Who ya been drinking with. [General laughter]
BB: So, I’ve heard working for Jimmy and Joe is just horrible …
BB: Hey, just joking! [General laughter]
JG: Yeah! You tell ’em I said that, too! [More general laughter]
BB: Are they as much fun to work with as it seems?
JG: Oh, they’re easy.
BB: Well, we KNOW that!
JG: D’uoh! [Laughter] Yeah, they’re pussycats. Joe’s been a big fan of my work, he’s been one of my big boosters. And Jimmy’s just great. We’re friends, and hang out when we have time, outside of the office and what not.
BB: What kind of editors are they? Are they pretty much hands off – they just pick the right people and then get the hell out of their way?
JG: Yeah, yeah. They’ve got a lot of faith in the people they pick [to do] a project, apparently. I can’t imagine them picking me to work with them, but they had faith in me and said, “Just go do your thing. Make it look great!” And we’re usually working from full script, so they know what the script’s like.
BB: Right, so it’s just pretty much making sure that everything is arriving where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, then.
JG: Right. As long as I don’t do some kind of stupid monkey thing, like change the script to suit what I want to draw – “We’ve never seen THAT happen in this industry!” – it’s pretty straight forward. It’s pretty neat.
Occasionally Nancy Dakesian [Managing Editor of the Marvel Knights line] will have to bug me about being slow, but she should!
BB: Yeah, it’s her job.
JG: Absolutely. And she’s a real soft touch on that, anyway. It’s “How you doing, JG?” and that means “Where are you on this book, you bonehead?” instead of crackin’ the whip. [Laughter]
BB: So, you got full scripts from Devin, then.
BB: Again, how full of a script was it? Was it panel to panel?
JG: Yeah, which I like, I prefer it. Even if I want to deviate a little bit, I know what they want and what they’re going for. That makes it easier. Ya know, if I’m going to deviate, I want to know where they want to end up. And the only reason I deviate is for clarity.
BB: For storytelling reason.
JG: Right. My attitude is I’m workin’ for them, ya know? They’re not writing something for me to have fun, necessarily.
BB: Yeah, you do have to draw all those people standing around talking. [General laughter]
JG: Actually, I like doing head shots. You can do the acting.
BB: And you’re also able to get across some pretty subtle things with your command of facial expressions.
JG: Yeah. That’s the thing I enjoy. I like doing that kind of stuff.
BB: Has that always been the case, or is it something that’s kind of grown on you?
JG: Yeah, I’ve always been interested in narrative, and I’m a big movie buff. Try and do the most work, with the least effort, and, ya know, tell the story with the nuance, if you can. I’m sure you’ve seen BLADE RUNNER.
BB: Oh, yeah.
JG: I’m sure you’ve gotten to see the Director’s cut.
BB: Actually, I’ve never gotten to see that version of the film all the way through. Thanks for reminding me about that, actually.
JG: Yeah, you should, because it’s much better. Because there’s not that stupid narrative voice over that tells you everything, that spells everything out for you.
And that’s what I’m kinda going for: trying to tell the story between the lines, without having to have it spelled out for you. I HATE that kind of writing, that TELLS me how I’m supposed to be feeling, or …
I generally prefer comic book narratives that don’t do an internal dialogue for that same reason. I like to see, read the characters’ motivations through their actions, and subtle storytelling, rather than having some internal dialogue tell me what’s going on in their brains. But, that’s a personal preference. Some people like that.
BB: What’s interesting, and useful, about that kind of approach is the fact that then you can have a character say one thing, but actually doing another …
JG: Absolutely! That’s interesting narrative.
BB And it reveals something about what’s going on there, externally AND internally.
JG: Exactly Exactly.
BB: What about captions? What’s your feeling about them?
JG: It depends … Same sort of thing. Captions for location change, yadda yadda yadda, that’s fine. It helps the reader out. We don’t have time to do an entire swoop down camera trick, we have to be a little bit economical in places. I don’t mind it a bit.
BB: But when it gets to be that intrusive kind of thing …
JG: Yeah. When you go inside their head too much, I get a little annoyed. A voice over is a distraction to me.
BB: Yeah. It actually slows things down, doesn’t it?
JG: It does slow things down. Sometimes it works. If you’re doing a sort of noir pastiche, it can be fun, and it can work. But, generally, I like to see a reason for a writing conceit, rather than, “That’s the way it’s been done in comic books, so I’ll put a thought balloon in.” That’s kinda lazy. It’s the easy way out, a lot of times.
BB: Right, show the characterization in one panel with a bunch of thought balloons, and then have the fight with Wolverine and Sabertooth for twenty plus pages.
What was the working relationship with Devin like? Did you talk with her about the book and characters and such a lot, or was it a bit more removed?
JG: Actually, Devin moved here about the time she was writing this, moved to New York. So I would actually bump into her, socially, out at comic book events, or parties, or whatever. But we didn’t have to talk about the book too much, it was pretty much all there in the script. And when we went over it, initially, we pretty much set the parameters. She’d call occasionally and say, “Oh, I like this, and I like that.”
But I’ve been really lucky, I’ve been involved with really good writers. And then they tend to trust me, god knows for what reason, but they pretty much kinda let me do my thing.
BB: That’s a GOOD thing.
JG: Yeah. I try not to let ’em down.
BB: You do have a really strong work ethic that isn’t shared by all of the artists in the industry.
JG: We kinda passed through a time when a lot of the artists thought they were rock stars. I think we’re getting away from that again, a little bit, I hope.
BB: Do you think that attitude comes from your background?
JG: Oh, yeah. I come from a blue collar background. My dad was always working overtime, stuff like that. Trying to make money for us. Kinda got instilled there.
BB: You said you were doing a wash on all of the BLACK WIDOW?
JG: Yeah, I did wash on every panel of that book.
“We kinda passed through a time when a lot of the artists thought they were rock stars. I think we’re getting away from that again, a little bit, I hope.”
– J.G. Jones
BB: So. How long did it take you to do that book? [General laughter]
JG: Well, I got three issues done in about six months.
BB: Wow. That’s pretty damn good!
JG: I was not dating at the time. I didn’t have a real life. Now I’d like to cut back on the 7 day work seek. Spend some time with Jann, my fiancée. She’s been more than patient. Up ’til now.
BB: It’s kinda funny, cause this is one of the questions that’s kinda danced around in the industry. But there is always the problem of how do you build and sustain a real life when, of necessity, you spend so much time by yourself?
JG: It is difficult. It is the eternal struggle, it really is. And it’s really frustrating. And that’s one reason I haven’t immediately committed to another project immediately after this one. I’ve been grinding away for about four or five years, without a vacation, and I really need to get a little air. But I came to this [profession] late, and I feel like I’m trying to catch up all the time. I always feel like I’m behind in this business.
BB: What was the reason you decided to go with the wash on the series?
JG: Mostly because Jimmy and Joe saw the SHI: BLACK, WHITE AND RED, and hired me to do the same thing. I said, “OK! Whatever you guys want!”
BB: “You’re buying the beers!”
JG: That’s right. “You’re buying!”
BB: Is that a character you’d like to return to, someday?
JG: Which one, Black Widow or Marvel Boy?
BB: Well, either one.
JG: I think Black Widow is in good hands right now with Scott Hampton. And I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does. I like his work.
It depends on the project, I’d have to see it. She’s a lot of fun to draw, and I feel like I got a good feel for her character in that little run.
And Marvel Boy is just a blast, so if Grant came up with something else, it would probably be very hard to say “No.” I’d have to be really busy to say, “No,” to Grant. I never say never, baby!