Readers of DC Comics' "Hawkman" have noticed that a lot of things have changed about the series of late. Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have provided the book with a decidedly different tone, while a new artist has been brought onboard and has a style very different from predecessor Rags Morales' work. That artist is Ryan Sook and the fan favorite is on the verge of completing his five issue commitment to the series, so he took a few minutes to speak to CBR News about working on "Hawkman."
"Honestly, I was looking for a small project to fill a gap in my schedule and the editor of 'Hawkman' offered me a fill in," Sook told CBR News of how he became attached to the series. "After turning in a few pages he asked me to take over the book. Though I was hesitant about doing a monthly title again, I wanted the challenge of working with characters and material that was foreign to me.
"Hawkman and Hawkgirl kind of walk the fence of angelic and barbaric both visually and in their character and I think that is a pretty interesting combination for a hero. They're different from Hellboy or the Spectre in the sense that there is more of a real world environment and interaction for the Hawks which is a departure from entirely supernatural surroundings of those other characters."
While Sook is a fan of the current incarnation (no pun intended) of Hawkman, he is aware of the character's roots and says it plays into how he depicts the character. "Hawkman is a classic character with pulpish origins and that is how I try to convey him artistically I suppose, though I truly rely on the writing of the script to influence my drawings. I mostly just looked at any and all, old and new, Hawkman comics to try and see where he had come from and so on. All my other research stems from the scripts."
If you're a dedicated fan of Sook, you may have noticed some new wrinkles in his art on "Hawkman" and the artist says that is a result of his desire to make sure his art is never static. "My drawing style seems to continually evolve for lots of reasons, time, practice, inspiration. Mostly though I am trying these days to rely less on other comic art to influence my decisions and allow the story and the scripts to dictate the art direction. Trying to convey the emotions and mood of a scene (none being more or less easy) is really important to telling a story well, that's usually what I'm thinking about when I'm setting a scene. Everything else is purely trying to draw something in a beautiful way."
While every creative collaboration has the potential to be good or bad, Sook can enthusiastically say that working with Palmiotti & Gray has been a unique pleasure. "Justin and Jimmy are great writers and have been a joy to work with," smiles Sook. "I'm guessing that's why they have the acclaim they have, they've earned it."
So what's next for Sook? "I will be all over the map in the next year- DC, Dark Horse, Marvel," he teases. "Look for projects at all these companies and I will do my best to make it worth the hunt."