After crossing its landmark 35th issue (a number oft associated with cancellation), "Hawkman" is getting something more than a new lease on life- it's getting new artist Joe Bennett. Joining the acclaimed writing duo of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, Benett has received his own share of accolades for work on "Captain America & The Falcon." The Brazillian-born artist took a few moments to speak with CBR News about just how he got to work on this legendary character.
"Stephen (Wacker) saw my work on 'Birds of Prey #68,' and liked what he saw and then, invited me to do a fill-in on 'Hawkman #32.' That was an offer that I couldn´t refuse! I´m a huge fan of the character since the Joe Kubert days, and after that, of what Tim Truman did with it, blew me away. I spent a long time away from the character, then I bought the Geoff and Rags material and it amazed me! They were able to bring back the right tone to character, and there I was, blown away, again! [smiles]"
Though he has such admiration for past artists, Bennett says he hasn't changed his style moving from "Captain America" to "Hawkman." "My work always had a bit of the 'super-hero flavor' on it, in addition to the style of artists from Warren Comics. Artists like Richard Corben, Léo Durañona, Estéban Maroto, Pablo Sanchez, José Ortiz and Neal Adams. Another influence on my work is the European school. They have a remarkable storytelling style! Of course, working on 'Captain America & The Falcon' I had to lighten-up my style a little, which is the exact opposite from 'Hawkman.' A darker style sets a more dramatic and scary tone. For me, the darker the mood of the pages, the better the drama will be. Bringing a certain 'tension' to the pages."
Looking at past artists on "Hawkman" and his various series, from Joe Kubert to Tim Truman to Rags Morales, it seems they've all had something special in their art that made them superstars quickly. That doesn't cause any stress for Bennett, who says, "In fact, that only stimulates me more to do my best work ever! But trying that month after month is no easy task, so I dedicate myself 200% to achieve that level of work."
In addition to that goal, Bennett has other aesthetic goals for what he hopes to be a long tenure on "Hawkman." "I would be very happy, if the fans realize that I'm trying to bring a more cinematographic style to the book. An example of that is that I always try to draw the characters' outfits in a more realistic way, as in a movie. The dramatic shots and angles that I do are products of that same thought. If that brought more fans to the book, I would be delighted. Besides that, my 'secret-weapon' to make all this happen is Ruy José, my inker. He manages to bring a great deal of elegance and style to my drawings (Thanks a bunch, Ruy! You rock!)."
If you're just new to Bennett's name, then you're a little bit late- over a decade late! "I've been in the business for a long time now," explains Bennett. "12 years to be more specific, starting with works for small companies. I got my first gig for Marvel in 1994, namely 'Ravage 2099.' That gave me the chance to work with pretty much the entire Marvel pantheon, such as X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, Avengers, Conan, Nightmare, Nova, Wolverine, Eternals, Machine-Man, Fantastic Four, Hawkeye, Namor, just to name a few. But when I got onboard 'The Crew' my artwork suffered a major change. For the first time ever I was using a more personal style, doing what I wanted to do. The fans enjoyed it, so I used the same style on 'Captain America & The Falcon,' which brought more fans onboard and attracted DC´s attention. And that was priceless for me."
If you're looking for spoilers on future events in "Hawkman"- don't ask Bennett, because it seems the Brazilian is as cryptic as they come. "My advice is - Hang on! And fasten your seat-belts! It will be a thrilling ride! That´s all I can say for now! [smiles]"
Special Thanks to Joe Prado for additional translation.