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DF Interview: Jock talks 2000AD, Batman, Snyder, more
By Byron Brewer
The talented artist/writer known to the comics industry as Jock has laid down quite a legacy for himself. Batman, Wolverine, Green Arrow and the X-Men have all known this Brit’s creative touch. And the writers with whom he has teamed – John Wagner, Andy Diggle, Mike Carey, Greg Rucka, Jason Aaron, Scott Snyder, more – reads like a virtual Who’s Who of modern-day comic creators.
By no means is Jock a one-media guy, either, having contributed concept paintings and key art to a number of film productions and promotional campaigns, including Hancock, Battleship. Children of Men. Dredd, Batman Begins and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
He was the principal concept designer on Dredd, contributing script breakdowns, story layouts and full concept art for the costume and city designs.
So how did Jock first get that now-familiar name plastered into the credits of a comic? Dynamic Forces wanted to find out as well, so we took a little trip “across the pond” to chat with our chum. Here is what Jock told us.
Dynamic Forces: First, Jock, how important were the tales you worked on at 2000AD to your career? Was this your first published work, the Judge Dredd and Lenny Zero stuff?
Jock: Hugely important to me. It basically threw me into the professional arena … I had to really work hard to earn my place there. Aside from that, it was also the comic I read while growing up, so it was literally a dream come true for me to actually draw Judge Dredd. They were great times, and I learnt a lot.
DF: It was with another British writer, if memory serves, that you came to American comics: Andy Diggle and The Losers and Green Arrow: Year One for Vertigo, right? Tell us what that meant to you and a little about the experience.
Jock: Andy was actually an editor at 2000AD at the time, and gave me my first work. He had aspirations as a writer, and when he commissioned Frank Miller to draw a 10th anniversary cover for Dredd, he wrote a script for free, so he could use that extra money to pay Frank his cover rate. That script was the first Lenny Zero story, which he asked me to draw. It went down really well with readers, and when Will Dennis at Vertigo commissioned The Losers, I was in the ring as artist. Luckily they were very happy for me to collaborate with Andy again, and the rest, as they say, is history.
DF: Then – and quite a coup – you got to work for DC on Batman in Detective Comics, the flagship book of the company. What was it like to work on such an iconic character so early in your career?
Jock: It was great. My first Batman work was actually on covers — I was doing very design led images for The Losers, which caught the eye of Mark Chiarello, the art director of DC. He offered me any character and I jumped on Batman. But a couple years later I was offered Detective Comics. Honestly -- and I don’t mean to be flippant about this -- I wasn’t looking to work on a company character at that point … The Losers movie had just come out and I had another story in the works with Andy Diggle, Snapshot, that I was keen to get started on. But Scott Snyder called me up out of the blue and asked me to work on Detective with him. I just got a very, very good feeling about Scott (he had only done American Vampire at this point) and his idea for using Jim Gordon’s son, which we had only seen as a baby at the end of Batman: Year One was such a great one, I just couldn’t refuse. I’m glad I went with my gut, because Batman: The Black Mirror was incredibly successful for us, and I’ve continued a great relationship with Scott, with more Batman stories and obviously Wytches. And I still got to do Snapshot with Andy too. I can’t complain!
DF: Didn’t you and a few other comic book pros set a world record of sorts with a Superior comic? I cannot even imagine what that was like!
Jock: That was at a London show organized by Mark Millar — we all got involved and drew a panel each. The fact they took all the artists to a lunch party with free drinks maybe didn’t help the quality of the panels …
DF: Finally, Jock, who are some of your favorite comic book creators … any era?
Jock: My favorite comic artists are probably Enrique Breccia, Sergio Toppi, George Zaffino … people like that. There is a richness there that’s often missing from a lot of other stuff I see. But there are so many brilliant people working today: Sean Murphy, John Paul Leon … Ben Oliver. Mike Mignola is still wonderful. The list is a long one.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Jock for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Wytches #6 hits stores May 20th!
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