DC new boy, and Eisner and Harvey Awards nominee, Mike Perkins, (Captain America, Thor, Iron Fist) has been recently revealed as the new artist on Green Lanterns, alongside new scribe, Dan Jurgens (Superman, of course!).
Ahead of their first issue, number 50, I caught up with Mike to talk about his relationship with Green Lantern, as a fan and as an artist, and his collaborations with Dan as well as working on the upcoming GL Annual with Andy Diggle and more.
Olly MacNamee: The last time we spoke, Mike, you has to keep your work for DC on the down low. So, congratulations of Green Lanterns. It’s a great set of characters, right?
Mike Perkins: It’s an endless set of characters is what it is! So much variety to play around with. Y’know, some of my first work in the American market was on a Green Lantern book; The highly enjoyable and entertaining Green Lantern versus Aliens by Ron Marz with my inking over the magnificent pencils of Rick Leonardi. Maaan, I learned a LOT inking those beautiful pencils and I still have a page of that series up on my wall at home. I’ve always been a huge Green Lantern fan – so much so that I have a Hal Jordan soft toy powering my lamp on my drawing board. In a way, drawing a Green Lanterns book feels like coming home and I’m well pleased that it’s my first pencilling and inking gig at my new position at DC. The kick off here, though – before the Green Lanterns series – is an annual due out next month written by Andy Diggle (with whom I’ve long talked to about a collaboration). I’m guessing that DC editorial liked the pages I was sending in so much they decided to give me a longer run on the characters. I’m thrilled by the opportunity.
OM: And you get to work with Dan Jurgens. That must be incredible?
MP: Dan and I have chatted for yeeeaaars about joining forces, but our paths have led in different directions at opposite companies. As soon as he heard I was heading to DC he got in touch with me straight away and we’ve just been waiting for the right time and the right project. Hopefully this will be the first collaboration of many…and I’m still holding out a hope that I may get to ink his pencils at some point too.
OM: How does a collaboration like that work, with Dan being no slouch in the art department himself? I imagine he writes to the strength of the artist, being one himself?
MP: He knows we like those moments to shine. Those moments when the writer can just step back a little and let the illustrations tell the story. His flow of storytelling is immaculate. I don’t know if that originates from his wonderful abilities as an artist – I’m sure it helps – but I’ve known writers who are not known for their drawing abilities who are equally adept at such moments…so I guess it also comes from an innate sense of simply being a good writer.
OM: You and Dan get to debut on a milestone issue too, issue #50. Was that always the plan and what have you got in store for us?
MP: That’s more of an editorial decision than I have insight into but I’m pleased that the cards have fallen where they have. There’s always more of an interest in a book at a launch or anniversary point and we’ve been given a pretty open hand in what we can do. I promise you this – we’re not going to give the Green Lanterns an easy ride and it’ll be interesting to see who and what survives in the long run.
OM: You must be looking forward to diving into the vast and diverse GL corps members. Any you’ll looking forward to illustrating in particular?
MP: I’ve really been enjoying illustrating Jessica Cruz in the annual. Let’s face it…The majority of my Marvel work has recently concentrated on street level, gritty, down and dirty male lead characters…and I can’t fault this direction as that’s something I can get my teeth into. But its also a pleasure to remind people that it’s not the only genre I’m adept at. It’s been rather freeing to get into the cosmic, super-hero environment once again…And even more so with a female character. One who lends herself to numerous emotions and distinct character “acting” moments. I’m also going to be able to put my mark on Hal Jordan, too…which I’m eagerly looking forward to as I have the reference right there lighting up my board!
OM: And, we’ll get to see you design one for two of your own too, I hope? And the odd super threat, maybe?
MP: Oh yes…I’m sure you will. It’s a challenge and a pleasure to visualize those new aliens. In the annual Andy and I have come up with new alien Green Lanterns…10,000 of them actually! I’m sure there’ll be the opportunity to create 10,000 more when collaborating with Dan.
OM: Did you read GL as a kid? I am assuming you would have been around, like me, when a certain UK artist called Dave Gibbons took over? Whatever happened to him, I wonder?
MP: For sure. That’s really when I started to pick it up, although I was aware of the history of the character before then. I used to follow all the UK artists around on different US titles…Gibson on GL, Bolland on Camelot 3000, Davis on The Uncanny X-Men and Detective Comics and The Outsiders, Kennedy on Outcasts, Baikie on Electric Warrior and Gibbons on Green Lantern also. I hear Dave’s done well for himself!
OM: Do these particular Green Lanterns get the love they deserve? I mean, they are DC’s prime universal peacekeepers after all; but Baz, for example, certainly evokes discussion amongst fans, as I remember he did on his debut?
MP: They SHOULD provoke discussion. That’s better than the alternative of being ignored. I can promise you that Dan and I are going to do our best to provoke various responses. The Green Lanterns are definitely deserving of OUR love. It just happens to be that our love will be a tough love!
OM: Well, here’s to a great run, whether that be in brightest day, or blackest night!
MP: Definitely brightest day…but it’s going to get preeeetty black!
Green Lanterns #50 is out July 4th, 2018 from DC.