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SUPER-Stars (Part 12): Gene Ha and Arthur Adams talk Super-Covers

Fans may have noticed that the "All New All Different" "Action Comics" and "Adventures of Superman" from DC Comics jumped off the racks this month and that it wasn't just because of the new creative teams. Fan favorite pencillers Arthur Adams and Gene Ha are doing the covers for each series, respectively, and as part of CBR's Superman celebration, CBR News spoke with Ha and Adams, talking about Superman and how they got their new gigs.

"Eddie Berganza was my assistant editor on 'Green Lantern,' the first project for which I got paid in full," explains Ha. "So we go back, and I trust him. We saw each other at the Chicago Comic Con and he asked if I was up for some cover work. I said yes."

Adams also recounts the influence of "The Berganza" swaying him to the light side, explaining, "Eddie Berganza asked me if I could do some Superman covers for him. I couldn't remember if I had ever tortured Eddie with my infamous inability to meet a perfectly reasonable deadline. So I said yes. Believe me, he's sorry now [laughs]."

Still, Adams himself isn't sorry he took the job and the artist who has pencilled almost every major character in comic books sees this job as the next step. "It's a little scary but you gotta draw him once in a while don't you? I mean, it's Superman, right? I'm a fan of Superman mostly because he was an important part of my childhood (which, incidentally, shows no signs of ending soon)."

While Ha shares a similar view as Adams, his love for Superman runs very deep and is ingrained into who he is and why. "Superman defines the superhero. First, best, coolest. It's fun working on a character who's so iconic," he explains.

"I'm also sick of characters who are always acting world weary. I met enough kids like that in art school, and I don't want to go back."

The process for creating a Superman cover is different than one might expect and Ha explains how it even surprised him. "The cover process working for Eddie and Lysa Hawkins isn't the same as elsewhere. They pitch ideas at me instead of the other way around. Fortunately, the ideas are very good. They thrash out ideas with the writer so that the cover forms a nice teaser and introduction to the story.

"Working on Superman actually makes it easier for me. His costume is simple and iconic, and I've been practicing drawing his spit curl since I could grab a crayon."

Even for accomplished superhero veteran Adams, there are some interesting nuances to the whole experience, also addressing claims about covers just being pin ups and what makes Superman a unique challenge. "Usually I do about fifty different sketches for any one cover. I then send these sketches to Mr.'s Berganza and Palmer. They take the sketches to a huge staff of lawyers, scientists, and theologians. This committee then chooses the one that will be the most difficult for me to draw. Then , lately anyway (I think Eddie just can't stand to hear me cry anymore), Tom Palmer calls me to tell me which one they want. He tries to console me by saying the next one will be easier, but it never is.

"Does it have to be more than a pin-up? Maybe. What's it to you anyway? Back off man [laughs]!

"How does it, being Superman, make it more difficult to draw? Well just about everyone has drawn Superman, so my first thought was how do I make mine different, how do I make mine stand out from the rest? Me being me I worried about this for far longer than was necessary, my covers were getting later and later and so I just went ahead and did my usual half ass job. Ah well.

"On a Superman cover... well they get peeved if you draw , say, Spiderman or even Batman on a Superman cover, unless they ask for that, then its okay, but usually on a Superman covers they want Superman. Fascists [laughs]!"

Again, with Ha, he feels it boils down to the editors and he has nothing but positive things to say about Ms. Hawkins and Mr. Berganza. "The big difference comes from the editors. Lysa and Eddie have a quirky sense of humor, and that comes across in the cover ideas they pitch at me. Eddie seems to be having as much fun as Stan Lee did in the early 70's.

"Superman's instant recognizability works in my favor, too. I could just draw a giant spit curl, or his boots, or even a red blur rising into the sky and everyone would know who it is."

While you have seen some interior Superman work from Ha, the "Top Ten" artist freely admits he doesn't see himself working on the character monthly. "I did two interior pages for Superman 200, but don't expect any more. I'm way too slow and far too much of a control freak. I should be doing a total of 5 or 6 covers."

Meanwhile, Adams is content to tease fans with his "Super" future after doing some "Action Comics" covers. "I don't know for sure. I'm supposed to draw six covers. After that, who knows? Interiors, hmmm."

Both artists have some more work coming up in the future and Ha reveals what he has planned for the future. "'Global Frequency #12' (just got the last of the script, and it's a fine script) with Warren Ellis, and The 49ers with Alan Moore. When I'm not working with editors I love, I work with writers I admire."

Flexing his muscles and using his most Ah-nuld like voice, Adams challenges readers to try a series in which he has put a lot of his heart. "Buy 'Tom Strong's Terrific Tales.' I dare you."

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