Legendary creator Dave Gibbons took time during Comic-Con International in San Diego to visit the CBR Yacht to discuss Matthew Vaughn’s film adaptation of the “Kingsman: The Secret Service” with CBR’s Jonah Weiland and much more. Gibbons compares the difference between promoting “Watchmen” at Comic-Con versus the promo for “Secret Service” and how much of his art influenced the “Kingsman” movie versus what made it in from “Watchmen.” Even after nearly 30 years, Gibbons spoke about his work on the seminal limited series “Watchmen” with Alan Moore, IDW Publishing’s upcoming “Artifact Edition” and just how it feels looking back on his art. Lastly, he finishes up by discussing his still-in-progress autobiography, why it will include work even he didn’t remember doing, and what he enjoys about mentoring new artists.
On how much of his contributions to “The Secret Service” Matthew Vaughn brought to the “Kingsman” movie: It’s surprising because a lot of the setups look the setups I’ve done. There are things like, there’s this car chase which looks cinematically much like it looks in the comic. I had a couple of actors in mind when I drew the comic book version, but at the time that I drew it none of the characters were cast. There’s that obvious difference, and that’s quite a liberating thing because it’s not like, “Oh god, I have to draw a likeness of Colin Firth,” I just make up a character I like. So I would say that the influence is less than it was in “Watchmen,” but then the intent was different than “Watchmen.” The intent of the “Watchmen” movie was to be faithful to the original book. And of course it was thrilling to see my stuff up there and hear Alan’s words spoken on screen. But I think the cast did read the comic book on “Secret Service,” so I think they got the sensibility of it. I imagine it was used really as a guide and a kind of a storyboard almost as to how sequences might take place. I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of actual straight transposition. And of course, by its very nature because “Secret Service” is an action-packed, fun book, there are no kind of iconic setpieces, which there were kind a lot of in “Watchmen.”
On whether he ever gets tired of looking at his “Watchmen” pages given how long it’s been and how many different ways it’s been reprinted: In the case of the “Watchmen: Artifact Edition” — the other editions [IDW’s] done have been complete stories of, say, Spider-Man or Fantastic Four, but because of the way that the “Watchmen” pages have been scattered to the wind there are no complete stories. There’s about 100 pages, 120 pages, lots of sketches, some beautiful full-color reproductions of the paintings we did for various editions of it.
But, in fact, I’m not sick of seeing that art because I sold all the artwork 25, 30 years ago — however long ago it was now — and I haven’t actually seen those original pages for a long time. What the Artifact Edition does, it reproduces photographs in full-color of the original artwork, so you can see all the corrections, the editorial notes, the white out, the patches stuck on. And if you’re a fan or a student of comic book art, it’s an invaluable resource. You can see how it actually came together. And of course it’s super large — it’s the size the actual artwork was done. I’m really happy to see those images again there.
On what readers can expect from his autobiography: We moved into the country, my wife and I, with the sole purpose of me having a real artist studio finally after years of working in spare bedrooms or renting offices. … I’m uncovering all sorts of really interesting things that I’d forgotten about. It’s gonna be an autobiographical thing — most people when they get to a certain age think, “You know, I’ve had such a fascinating life, I’d like to bore everybody with it.” But I think, in professional terms, I have had quite an interesting life. I’ve been lucky enough to be there on the ground floor of lots of interesting things; I’ve known a lot of the major players in comics.
I’m still in the industry, but I feel now that I can be frank and open about what really happened and what was said. And I have got some untold stories. I’m not gonna go into them here, but there are conceptions and misconceptions about “Watchmen,” for instance, that I’d like to go on the record about. For the people who like my work, there’ll be work in there that they’ve never seen before, even I’d forgotten I’d done. I’ve got some files on my computer which are the drafts of the various entries. I’ve got a huge a stack of images that, hopefully by the next time I talk to you we can talk about that being out.
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