The World's Finest: To start things off, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got into comics professionally?
Jordan Gibson: Sure thing! I'm Jordan, I'm a cartoonist and illustrator who's worked for various comics publishers like DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image, Boom, and IDW. I spent a lot of my childhood growing up in Sioux City, Iowa, filling up sketchbooks of superheroes I watched on TV and read in comic books. Batman: The Animated Series is largely the reason for all of this! Later on, my family moved to Austin, Texas, which was cool for me. Austin was a much more artsy city at the time, especially for pop culture ephemera. I was able to get my hands on more cool stuff there and build a larger vocabulary for this stuff.
In high school, I had discovered a message board hosted by Shane Glines called thedrawingboard.org. It was an invaluable resource for helpful criticism and connection to like-minded people obsessed with comic book and animation art. I was online all the time, I spent a lot of time on The World's Finest too! From there I began to attend comic-cons and meeting professionals in person.
I began flatting for a few creators, chiefly Paul Maybury. Paul was based in Austin at the time and I'd go over to his place erasing pencils on pages, flatting pages, things like that. Around the same time, I met Jordie Bellaire online and became her flatter for all her projects, Jordie and Paul really helped me get my foot in the door as a colorist and expanded my art education.
Later I moved out to Somerville, MA and got to help my pal, Joe Quinones, color some of his fantastic Howard the Duck run! I really have Paul, Jordie, and Joe to thank for a lot, their guidance early on has been invaluable to me. I think if I could offer a young artist advice it would be to skip art school and apprentice for people who do the thing you want to do, you'll learn just as much and it will all be hands on, real world experience!
WF: Fans reading this will likely know your name from Batman: The Adventures Continue, but you've hopped around the globe a little before checking into Gotham City, including visiting Marvel and IDW. What type of other properties and work have you done?
JG: My first big gig was working on Boom's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line as a variant cover artist offered to me by Dafna Pleban, one of the best editors in the business. I really got to cut my teeth on those covers and explore my style. Boom was able to provide me with some of my first opportunities to draw sequential stories as well, they were pretty rough but I needed the practice. While that was happening, I was in the middle of coloring Joe on Howard the Duck, America Chavez, and even The Spectacular Spider-Man, which was a particular thrill for me!
The project I'm most proud of from my tenure with Joe has got to be Dial H For Hero, we had a blast playing with different art styles and throwing everything at the wall that we could think of. I also got to ink the amazing Hannah Vardit's Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen stories. I'm really proud of that first Spidey story in particular, I was pinching myself the entire time we worked on it. For IDW, I was able to do Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog covers which are some of my current favorites. I've been very lucky to get to draw so many characters that inspired me growing up!
WF: With your latest Batman: The Adventures Continue work coming out in 2023, it makes sense to head back to the beginning. Simply, how did you first get involved with Batman: The Adventures Continue?
JG: I had been in talks to color another Bat project with DC which I couldn't quite make work, but my amazing editor Andrew Marino promised me he'd have a gig for me later in the year. Eventually that gig was my first Batman: The Adventures Continue cover and shortly after that I was offered Season Two, Issue #4 of Batman: The Adventures Continue, I couldn't believe it! I'm forever grateful that Andrew took a chance on me.
WF: Building off the last question, and this might be a weird one, but what did it feel like when you got your first Batman: The Adventures Continue assignment? Knowing that you're about to contribute to such a beloved universe?
JG: I never dreamed that I would get to work on Batman, let alone this iteration of Batman, especially with aul and Alan. I was elated to say the least! But quickly after that, reality set in and I got super intimidated. I threw everything I had into researching and making sure I could make this comic look and read as good and authentically as I possibly could.
WF: Was this the moment when you realized you jumped from fan to professional? How does it feel to know that work you're doing is part of an established and long-running universe?
JG: I don't know that I feel like a true professional yet, this business is really hard to stay afloat in, but I'm making my way. Truthfully, I had wondered if I should just quit comics altogether right before the pandemic had hit. Although, it seems like many creators have those moments of intense self-doubt. I'm honored to have been able to add my name to the tapestry of Batman and DCAU creators, it's been very validating for me, no matter what happens, I made it.
WF: Your art style is clearly influenced by Batman: The Animated Series, among others. How did you develop your style, and how close is your "own" style to the work you've done over the last few years?
JG: My style has always been heavily inspired by Bruce Timm first and foremost I would say, especially now. I was born in 1989 so right around the time I started drawing at all, I was copying that Batman design. Growing up, my comic art education was basically any The Batman Adventures or Spider-Man comic I could get my hands on and backtracking through all the greats Mr. Timm had said he was inspired by in interviews. I read lots of comics and was constantly searching sites like comicartcommunity and comicartfans. I tended to gravitate towards thick, clean lined classic artists like John Romita and other 60s Marvel artists. Over the past couple of years I had been focusing more on manga and vintage lifestyle illustration, but once I got this job I got really into EC Comics and Alex Toth. I try to study as much as I can, I don't feel like I've found my own unique style yet, really.
WF: Building off that last question, what other programs and characters inspired your burgeoning artistic talents? The 90s were a wealth of fantastic comic-inspired cartoons including Spider-Man, X-Men, Gargoyles and others. What shows bolstered and encouraged your artistic endeavours?
JG: I watched pretty much everything animated that I could find in the 90s. As far as FOX was concerned it was all about Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the rest I enjoyed but wasn't as grabbed by. I remember being pretty into most of the original Kids WB lineup: Superman: The Anmated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Jackie Chan Adventures, Pokemon, Men in Black: The Series, all of them. My other obsession was Cartoon Network - between the Boomerang reruns like Space Ghost and Jonny Quest, all the cool shows on Toonami had me completely captivated.
WF: Using the last question as a stepping-off point, what was it about Batman: The Animated Series that resonated so deeply with you, even to this day?
JG: I think initially, my parents recognized the quality of the show and my dad would tape it for me to watch everyday when I got home from kindergarten, so I was raised on it. Batman: The Animated Series is one of those rare shows that is both style and substance, you can feel the love and craft in every part of its production. Beyond that, the heart in the stories and compelling visuals spoiled me at an early age, there's not much that can compete with it and I just kept coming back.
WF: The world recently suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman. How have you been coping with this? What would you say to others still struggling with the loss and how they can help themselves and others?
JG: I think I'm still partly in denial about it. I was lucky enough to get to meet Kevin for a second time this year in Austin, Texas and I'm so happy I did. He was on a panel with John Glover and Diane Pershing and was as charming and personable as ever. Even after finishing my last story for Batman: The Adventures Continue, I've been almost constantly watching Batman: The Animated Series this year for comfort. We are so lucky that we have such a wealth of recordings of Kevin portraying Batman, his legacy will live on far into the future as the definitive voice of one of the greatest characters in modern fiction.
WF: To turns things positive again, what are some of your favorite memories relating to Batman: The Animated Series? What memories and experiences of this show have stuck with you over the years?
JG: A moment that is perfectly crystallized in my brain is attending a matinee showing for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm with my dad at the mall in Sioux City, Iowa where I grew up. I must have been about three years old which feels so young but I can remember it very clearly. Because the movie was so poorly promoted, we had the entire theater to ourselves which made the moment very special and surreal. I made sure to tell Kevin Conroy how important that was to me when I met him.
My dad would read me issues of The Batman Adventures before bed too, The Batman Adventures #11 was my first comic book ever. Also, lots of hours logged playing Robin to dad's Batman in the SEGA Genesis very Contra-like The Adventures of Batman & Robin game. Check it out if you can, it holds up!
WF: And this all brings us to Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three! You're kicking off the third and final volume of Batman: The Adventures Continue, so what can you tell us about the first issue and the season?
JG: Muscle is returning! Also: villains galore! I'm really excited for people to check it out, I remember reading the script the first time and getting giddy at the reveal in the end. Reading these scripts is like opening a pack of trading cards - who do I get to play with? I'm very proud of the work our team did for this issue, especially Monica Kubina, our fantastic colorist! It felt like everyone was firing on all cylinders!
WF: Outside of Batman: The Adventures Continue, what other projects and events coming up would you like to detail for fans? On top of providing details for your website and social accounts, where else can we see you in the coming months?
JG: I just finished doing a slew of very fun variant covers for the new Mighty Morphin Power Rangers meets Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover as well as a solo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cover! I had never drawn the Turtles before so it was a real treat to get to explore that world. Beyond that, I have a few other things cooking right now that I can't quite talk about yet but 2023 is already lining up to be a very fun year for me!
I'd also like to get back to developing some of my own characters, chief among them being Mighty Hero Mantis and Moonlight Fox, which you can read more about on my website, gibsoncomics.com and at my Twitter and Instagram pages, both @gibsonagogo. Plus, lots of Batman fan art to share these days, I can't get enough of the guy!