REIGN OF THE CYBORG: Blaine Talks "Cyborg Superman"

After a six-year hiatus, Patrick Blaine is back doing what he loves most, drawing comics. Blaine loves his job so much, he was keeping the storyline from his latest project – "Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Cyborg Superman" – very close to his chromatic chest, despite the fact the DC Comics one-shot tie-in is in stores now.

"If I gave anything away, ninjas with glowing green rings would assassinate me in my sleep," Blaine jokingly confessed to CBR News. "But I will say that there is some stuff that happens that I don't think anybody will see coming. By the end of the issue (penned by "Superman: The Animated Series" veteran Alan Burnett), I couldn't believe what was happening! The Sinestro Corps is not pulling its punches here."

Created by Dan Jurgens, rocket scientist Hank Henshaw, the alter ego of Cyborg Superman, first appeared in "Adventures of Superman" #466 in 1990. Following Supes' death in 1993, Henshaw debuted as Cyborg Superman in "Adventures of Superman" #500 as part of the "Reign of the Supermen!" arc, recently reissued as part of the "Death and Return of Superman Omnibus."

"I still can't believe I got to work on this," said Blaine. "I love that old Jurgens' stuff. It's so neat to see new life being breathed into some of the characters from that era. Drawing Hank Henshaw's tale is about the most fun I have had working in my life. Alan Burnett's script was just incredible and many props to Jay Leisten for his inks and David Curiel for the great colors, as well."

Blaine, who worked earlier this year for Top Cow Productions on "The Darkness: Level 4," says landing a gig on a tie-in book for what has become a huge hit for DC in 2007 is the stuff of legend. "I jumped right in to the deep end," laughed Blaine. "I've been working in video game and movie advertising for the last six years, and was really feeling the need to get back to the comic medium that I love so much. The comic gods were indeed smiling down on me that I would get a chance to be involved with this incredible 'Sinestro Corps' storyline. I'm a huge fan."

It was actually his work on "The Darkness: Level 4" that led to Blaine's most recent engagement, which stars the Man of Steel and the Man of Tomorrow, as the Cyborg was once known. "My old friend Jay Leisten is a fantastic inker and I've been fortunate to team up with him on many projects over the years," Blaine explained. "We recently did some 'Darkness' work together for my friends at Top Cow, and he ended up showing some of my work to his agent, Joe Prado. Joe is also a wonderful penciler, and his agency represents Ed Benes and a bunch of other talented artists. Joe showed some of my work to [editors] Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman at DC and they just happened to be looking for someone for the 'Sinestro Corps' one-shots.

"When Joe told me I might get to do a Cyborg special, I thought he meant Cyborg from 'Teen Titans.' It wasn't until much later that I learned that it was Cyborg-Superman, and that the storyline it involved was generating such a huge buzz. I hadn't been reading a lot of comics, and had to catch up with what had been going on in 'Green Lantern.' I was floored by how good it was, it's amazing stuff. I really couldn't believe my luck."

Blaine, who went from never drawing Superman professionally to providing art for a book featuring the entire Justice League, says while others may challenge, nothing beats placing Kal-El on the printed page. "Superman is my favorite DC hero," Blaine declared. "Although I have to say that these days Green Lantern is threatening to take the crown. I always liked Martian Manhunter, as well. I'm really into creatures and aliens and stuff. Of course, Batman is just a ton of fun to draw, too."

The Los Angeles-based artist considers Neal Adams' take on the Last Son of Krypton as the definitive Superman. "I don't draw like Neal. I wish. But I love the iconic nature he brings to the character," Blaine said. "I think Ivan Reis does an incredible Superman in the current generation of DC artists. Alan Davis is another of my faves. Of course, Ethan's version is amazing, as well."

Without bias, Blaine says the "Sinestro Corps War" storyline is right up there with some classics from the 1980s that featured the X-Men and the Legion of Super-Heroes. "When I was given the assignment, 'Sinestro Corps Special' had not yet come out," said Blaine. "I went and bought the 'Green Lantern: Rebirth' trade and all the recent 'Green Lanterns' that I could get my hands on. I was instantly floored by Ivan Reis and Ethan Van Sciver's unbelievable artwork. But it was Geoff Johns' epic story that shocked and amazed me most.

"Many years ago I had bumped into [Johns] at a coffee shop outside the Top Cow studio. He recognized me from Comic-Con and I showed him some of my art. He was such a nice guy. He had just finished 'Flash: Iron Heights' with Ethan and he walked back to his place nearby and grabbed a copy of the trade for me. I was so impressed. I didn't see him around again, but here we are years later and it has been so fun catching up with the amazing things he is doing in the DC universe.

"The Sinestro Corps storyline is to me what great comics are all about. I haven't been this impressed by an ongoing superhero comic story since I was a kid reading Claremont and Byrne's classic 'X-Men' run and Keith Giffen's 'Great Darkness Saga,' featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes."

"Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Cyborg Superman," written by Alan Burnett with art by Blaine and Leisten and covers by Ethan Van Sciver, is on sale now.

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