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Mister Miracle's Gerads on Violence, Punchlines and Nine-Panel Grids

Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you spoke a bit in your panel at the DC in DC event about the place of violence in your comics and I was wondering if you could talk about the way you handle the cape-and-cowl based violence in Mister Miracle versus the very real-world violence in Sheriff of Babylon -- does that context make a difference for you?

I really have no problem with violence or portraying violence, but I also want to portray it in a way that feels real and that it sticks with you -- whether it's warranted or not. That's kind of been my approach on any book I do -- I definitely don't want to stray away from that. Even Batman punching a villain, I want people to see the aftermath there like, "Oh, that dude's jaw is broke, that's not cool, that's going to hurt for a while."

I find with my art that the more real I can get -- which isn't to say that I'm always super "real" -- but I think when readers see or feel "real," they grab on to it better. That's where I balance the grounded part with the crazy comic book-ness of Mister Miracle.

I try to get in the characters' heads for any situation, violent or not. I do photo references for everything, whether it's me or my wife or a friend or a cat. I would be a terrible actor, but when I'm at home I can get in these characters heads and I know how they would feel during whatever it is they're going through. I want people to see the feel of these things. I don't want them to see the outside, I want them to see the inside.

Switching gears to something maybe a little more lighthearted -- we just got a look at your designs for the Female Furies here and you've got some re-designing going on in there--

A little bit, yeah! For the most part I've done Jack's designs, just tweaked a little -- or sometimes not at all because he nailed it. Like Mister Miracle, he's the Kirby design but with the green runners down the pants because I knew I wanted to do something with the cape where he only wore it when he was performing or in like, a formal context. So I knew for a lot of the book, he wouldn't have the cape so I added the green to balance him out.

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Have you run into any issues with the camp of the characters designs colliding with the tone of the book?

No, no! I think that enhances everything, really. That's part of the fun. Especially with the Female Furies, I don't want to give too much away but, in the issue, the context in which they show up. You'll see the balance of these crazy over-the-top characters in this very mundane context, and that's super fun.

When Scott's in street clothes in the book, he's usually wearing a superhero shirt. Is that something you included in your designs as a gag or is that something you think says a bit about who Scott is as a person?

It's definitely a personality thing. I was thinking about Scott like, man, he would absolutely wear superhero shirts, both in an effort to be as suburban and normal as possible -- superhero shirts are just everywhere now, everyone is super into it. It's usually one shirt per issue but issue #8, coming up, that has like seven different superhero shirts. It's been so much fun picking them -- he's got a Nightwing shirt at one point -- it's a blast. And the whole time I'm doing the art I'm thinking "he's totally met Dick," it's so much fun.

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Do you think that's something that his fellow heroes get on his case for? Or do they find Scott's superhero fandom endearing?

Hmmm, I don't know! I like to think that Scott is a character that the other heroes really respect. He's not too goofy, he's not like Beast Boy or anything like that, but he's someone who is very much around, they respect him even if he's not interacting with him too much. I hope they find it endearing. [Laughs]

Mister Miracle #7 is available on March 14 from DC Comics.

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