Soaring High: Rags Morales talks signing exclusive with DC

[Hawkman #22]As DC Comics announced yesterday, "Hawkman" artist Rags Morales has extended his exclusive contract with DC Comics, the latest in a line of beloved comic book creators to align with the company at 1700 Broadway. CBR News caught up with the artist to further learn why he signed the deal.

"DC is the blanket, man," explains Morales. "I hear a lot of stories of how hard it is to get work right now, so to get some security, some stability for my family, it's the only way to go. And to get three years, well, it's just awesome that DC has that kind of faith in me to be a marketable commodity. And the perks? Hell, I get to pee in the editorial washrooms when I'm in New York. They promised me a hover car, too!"

With any new contract, timing is always a major concern and one might wonder why Morales chose to ink this deal now instead of with the deluge of other high-profile announcements at recent conventions, but he says there's no big scheme. "Why now? 'Cause my last contract is up. Seriously, my time on 'Hawkman' has been fruitful and it's opened up people's eyes as to my capabilities. I think people can now see that there might be a brain pushing my pencil! I'm glad that the last year has been good to me, but to end it after the one year is premature. There's some good feeling now and I just want to build on the momentum."

But Morales says you shouldn't take that to mean he doesn't want to draw some characters from other companies like, oh let's say, Marvel Comics. "Of course there is some interest in other company's characters. But DC has been so professional and considerate, how could I refuse? In fact I never even reminded Marvel that my contract is up. That's how good I feel about DC right now. If Marvel has any interest I guess they'll have to wait until my current deal is up."

Most of the new DC exclusive deals announced have been in conjunction or followed with an announcement of a big, new project for that creator, but Morales says for the time being, his focus is on "Hawkman" and making Carter Hall kick some ass. "Well, I have let them know where I see myself in the future, and they have been complimentary to me. I spoke with (editor in chief) Dan Didio, some editors, Mike Bair (my most excellent partner-best damn inker in the biz!! ) and with some writers (including my bud Geoff Johns) about some possible projects. But right now my main focus is on 'Hawkman.' I might take a hiatus to work on something else if it's the right project and then possibly come back to 'Hawkman.' Right now it's just a 'on the drawing board' scenario. I'll let you know if it comes down to it, deal?"

There's no doubt that being offered an exclusive contract by either DC or rival Marvel Comics is quite a compliment to one's skills, but it's not compliments that Morales says he's been lacking- fans have been very supportive of his work. "People have always been complimentary to me. It's just the 'is he marketable' thing that's held me up, I guess. It seems that every project I do I surpass expectations and they seemed pleased. Whatever reason it took this long, I can't be worried about that. It would be a useless expenditure of energy. And since you can't create fate, it's just my turn. I ain't complainin'!"

As mentioned earlier, Morales is currently the regular penciller on the popular "Hawkman" series and he explains why he feels the book is unique in the increasingly cramped superhero market. "No other book deals with the themes that we're dealing with. Our Hawkman is about introspection, expectations, and learning to deal with what life gives ya all around what wisdom is gained from someone who's lived life forever. Funny thing is everytime you think you've got it down, BOOM! Reality sets in. Geoff gives him this and some ass kickin' attitude. And no ones complaining about the 'bum shots' anymore! [laughs]"

If you're a Hawkman fan from the past or you're just not sure what to expect, Morales hits you fast and furiously with a preview of what's to come in the hero's series. "Better rogues. A Hawkman that is familiar as a human being, and a formidable opponent to his enemies. An honestly pure relationship with Hawkgirl. And blood. Lotsa, lotsa, blood. I'm serious. Wait until you see the Headhunter arc I just finished! We're trying to put an end to this 'what is Hawkman?' crap that surrounds the character. With any luck the Hawkman we present will be the end all of the Hawkman legacy."

While Rags Morales is happy to talk about his art and "Hawkman" all day, one thing he definitely wants to do now is thank fans for being so supportive. "I'm thankful that Hawkman has the fans that he does. I'm glad they stuck around long enough to see what seems to have taken forever for us to get to. We've finally answered most, if not all, of the questions that surround this character, and now we can get to moving forward with it. Geoff gets so excited about some of the things we'll be doing that it's contagious! So I guess I'm saying thank you to the fanbase. From me, from Geoff, Bair, John Kalisz, Pete Tomasi, all of us."

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