NYCC, Day 2: Mike Norton Talks DC Exclusive

Announced yesterday at the New York Comic Con, fan favorite artist Mike Norton has signed exclusively with DC Comics for two years beginning this March. The creator, best known for his work on indie gems such as "The Waiting Place" and Marvel's cult-hit "Gravity," surprised many fans with the jump and CBR News spoke with Norton briefly to learn all about the jump.

CBR: Allright, let's start with the easy question -- why? Why sign an exclusive with DC Comics at this moment in your career?

Mike Norton: I've been having so much fun doing "The Atom" lately that when they called I couldn't find any reason not to. My friend Sean [McKeever] has nothing but positive stuff to say about them since he signed exclusive recently as well, so I thought it was a good thing all around!

CBR: While you've been doing more DC work as of late, most of our readers would know you best from the work you've done for Marvel -- whether it be on books like "Runaways" or Gravity" or "New X-Men" -- your work at Devil's Due and of course your work on "The Waiting Place." Does tackling the DCU of characters present new or different challenges for you compared to your other work?

MN: While I think I take each project on the same way, I'd say that there's a certain "whimsy" about the DCU that I really enjoy tapping into. I feel very free jumping in to that world and having fun. It's exciting just thinking about it. It's gonna be great. Every new script I get for "All-New Atom" makes me think "Wow, I get to draw that?!?" as well as "Oh man, how am I going draw that?!?".

CBR: I'm sure you'll have to trouble at all. Tell us a bit about what DC has planned for you in the months ahead.

MN: Right now I'm doing more "Atom." I'm loving the book and would be happy to stay on it as long as possible. It honestly is the perfect combination of what I like in a comic: intelligence, insanity and fun. Of course now that I'm under contract, I'd like to get a chance to draw some of the other characters up there. I've been practicing my Superman just in case, [smiles]

CBR: Well, speaking of super, your "The Waiting Place" collaborator, Sean McKeever, also signed an exclusive agreement with DC Comics. Any chance we'll be seeing the two of you working together again?

MN: I certainly hope so. We were going to do a story for Tim Seeley's "Troma" anthology, but due to scheduling and the new contract now, it just can't happen. Hopefully, the good people at DC will put us together on something.

CBR: With the two of you "reunited" again, any chance of new "The Waiting Place" material -- either collections or new material?

MN: We've talked about it. We both are interested in revisiting Northern Plains sometime in the future, but obviously nothing imediate. I'd love to see how the characters look now seven years later. Sean was telling me some stuff he had in mind and it sounded really cool.

CBR: What do you see as your strengths as an artist? Conversely, what do you see as your weaknesses? Where do you see you need improvement?

MN: Hmmmm. Strengths? I guess I'd have to say characterization and storytelling.? That seems to be what I hear the most. I know that being able to tell a story clearly as well as energetically is important to me in what I read, so I think I strive to accomplish it in my own work. As for weaknesses... you think I'd admit them in public?

CBR: Cmon, Mike. Give 'em up!

MN: Actually, if there's anything I'm working on these days it's getting a little more crazy with my stuff. We'll see how that pans out.

CBR: How does this exclusivity affect anything you have going on currently outside of DC Comics? Do you have any Marvel stuff to finish up? How about anything for Devil's Due or any other publishers? Will we see any work from you outside of DC?

MN: All my Marvel work is finished and I'm wrapping as much up for "Loaded Bible 3" for Tim Seeley as I can before my contract takes effect. Other than that it's All DC, All the time. Fun!

CBR: For those in our audience who aren't that familiar with your work, how about a quick run down of your pro career -- when did you get your break? What have been some of the highlights of your career?

MN: My first job was Mike Baron's "Badger" at Image back in 1997. I've managed to stay working steady since then mostly on indy's like "The Waiting Place," "Jason and the Argobots," "Closer," "G.I. Joe," "Voltron" and "Queen and Country." I started working for Marvel a few years back when I helped create "Gravity" with Sean McKeever and started doing fill-ins for "Teen Titans Go."

CBR: Finally, looking at the stable of DCU characters now available to you, which would be your favorite and which are the ones you're most interested in tackling?

MN: Well, my absolute favorite was Ted Kord (whatever happened to him?), but there are a ton of characters I'd love to get a crack at... Blue Devil, the Spectre, Animal Man, Creeper, Flash, any of the Titans, Superman... From the obscure to the mainstays. The DC sandbox is so big it would be easier to list the characters I don't want to draw. And if you plan on asking who that is, it's 'Mazing Man... and that's only because there's no way I could draw him as cool as Stephen DeStefano!

CBR: Thanks, Mike. Congratulations on the new gig.

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