Ryan Sook will join DC's event series The Man of Steel this week, bringing his take on Superman out of the post-Rebirth era and into the Bendis years.
The series, which sets the stage for superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis's upcoming Superman and Action Comics mega-arcs (he has said the story will play out over at least a year), features a variety of big-name artists stepping in for an issue at a time to work with Bendis on reinventing DC's original superhero.
Sook joined ComicBook.com to share a first look at Wednesday's issue, and chat with us about entering the series as its fifth artist so far.
This series is obviously kind of a high-profile jam piece. How tricky was it to fit your style into what had already been established before?
I didn’t feel like it was a tricky thing to fit in really. I actually found it a very liberating assignment. What the other artists had established before me is so well done that applying my approach was a pleasure if anything. I feel like it’s the STORY that holds this whole great “jam piece” together. Somehow Bendis managed to tailor each issue specifically for the artist he collaborated with, allowing each of us to do our issue our way. So these radically differing visual approaches come together harmoniously in a truly singular story.
Brian revealed that you are working on Action #1005 right now. Going into this project, did you know what the post-The Man of Steel status quo is going to look like or did you only get "what you neeed to know" to pencil #3?
I assume that I, like all of the artists involved in this, got a peek at Bendis’ mission statement and basic outline for Superman for this series AND beyond. So I knew working on this that, as impactful as some of these issues are to Superman’s canon, my issue and to some degree the series as a whole, is just the tip of a Fortress of Solitude sized iceberg.
Rogol Zaar has a kind of grotesque design. Is it challenging to compose an image that makes the reader WANT to engage visually with a character like that?
For me, the grotesque elements are what MAKE Rogol engaging. … Just me? It’s like the Joker or Frankenstein’s monster or any gruesome character. There is more to him than meets the eye. So it’s fun for me to bring that to the page in a way that you not only find him horrifying but perhaps also sympathetic, even relatable.
This is a high-profile book with a lot of guests in it. Are there any Superman characters you haven't yet had a chance to take a swing at but would like to?
I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to draw Bizarro in print. He’s one of the GREATS from Superman’s gallery of characters. I’d like to draw him.
With these new characters Brian has introduced, is it difficult ot get a handle on "civilian" characters who don't yet have a really consistent model to work from, and still make sure they are readily identifiable?
No. Pat Gleason, Jim Lee, Garcia Lopez, Ivan Reis, these guys designed and or established these characters based on Bendis’ concepts so that they ARE “identifiable". These aren’t happenstance designs, they’re just new. There are model sheets and or specific reference for all of them that the artists have that the public just hasn’t seen yet. I think that by the end of this series and going forward, the look of these characters civilian or not will be as recognizable to readers as someone who wears red trunks or a cape.