Looking Back on Dustin Nguyen, From "Wildcats 3.0" to "Descender"



Nguyen has kept busy since then, and his style has consistently evolved. He drew a miniseries from a Scott Lobdell script called "Manifest Eternity," which he also inked and colored. It was clear this was an experimental phase he was going through with Photoshop, though. Too much of it was just too shiny and reflective, highlighting more of what the tech can do than what would best tell the story. The coloring became part of the story sometimes when the art should have just taken over control, instead.

But Nguyen's star shone brighter when he started working in the Batman offices at DC. In the midst of a series of Batman assignments, he also created junior versions of the Batman characters. The "Li'l Gotham" work -- which began as silly sketches on the backs of artboards -- became a surprise success story, leading to a digital comics series and print collections.

On top of it being a more animated chibi look, Nguyen also colored the pages himself with watercolors. You don't see too much of that in comics these days, mostly because it's too slow to handle a monthly deadline with.

So what happens when you combine more serious comics with that watercolored style? That's what we're finding out now.


  • Mingjue Helen Chen is an animator I discovered when I first became interested in Instagram as an art platform. (I wrote about it back in September 2014, though I missed naming Chen, specifically.) Now, she's entered the world of comics, doing some work on DC's "Gotham Academy." She has an account on Vimeo, and has shared a couple videos there of her work progress. The latest one shows a sped up video of the work she did to create one page of the series in Photoshop. The second is a real time video of a cover she did -- and it run two hours. If you want to know all the minute details, it's there in that video.
  • It's such a small thing, but I'm mesmerized by the way John Byrne told the story on this "She-Hulk" page. He needs to show a flying car making a U-Turn in the last two panels. Rather than showing the ship flying in one direction in the first panel and the opposite direction in the second, he has a final panel that draws the ship flying in a circle, around and behind a cloud in the process. There's so much more visual interest in that panel than any one I'd have chosen to lay out in the same circumstance.

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[Editor's note: An earlier version of this story's headline incorrectly labeled the volume number of Dustin Nguyen's "Wildcats" run, it has since been amended.]

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