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BACKSTAGE - TODD NAUCK INTERVIEW

Todd Nauck is no stranger to the Teen Titans. Having been the regular artist for "Teen Titans Go!" since the first issue, with only a handful of fill-in's, he brought a distinctive look to the series. Looking back at his time with the series, Nauck talked to The World's Finest about his work on the series and some of his other work around the comic world.


The World's Finest: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself. Your background, your previous work, all that great stuff! There's a lot to cover, I know, so feel free to highlight whatever you choose!

Todd Nauck:
I was born and raised in Texas. I’ve always loved to draw and I’ve always been a fan of superheroes. I began collecting comics in 8th grade. In 9th grade, I decided I wanted to be a comic book artist.

About a year after graduating the Art Institute of Dallas, I was hired by Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios. I worked there for about 2 years on Badrock and Company, Newmen New Force, Youngblood, and Supreme. I then moved on DC Comics where I drew Young Justice and Teen Titans Go as well as working on numerous other titles including Superman, Supergirl, and Legion of Superheroes. Most recently, I’ve been working on books for Marvel Comics. I did a 10 issue run on Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and I’m currently drawing a new 5-issue-mini-series called American Dream (the female Captain America from the Spider-Girl universe).

I also have put out my creator-owned mini-series, WildGuard. WildGuard is my comic about a reality TV superteam. The most recent mini-series, WildGuard: Insider, is on stands now!

WF:Now, first off, how did the gig for Teen Titans Go! come about? I can only assume that your work on Young Justice made you the perfect fit for the series, in DC's eyes.

TN: The editor for Teen Titans Go was my associate editor on Young Justice. So, he called me up asking if I’d draw the series. I said I’d at least draw the first 2 issues to help get them started. I ended up becoming the regular artist of the series’ run.

WF: And now, let's jump ahead. With Teen Titans Go! coming to end, are there any issues which really stick out for you? Any that are your favorites? And why?

TN:I loved drawing these stories. J. Torres really had a great handle on writing them. I loved it when we could introduce other Titans from the cartoon like Speedy, Kid Flash, Mas y Menos, Bumblebee, etc. Two stories that really stick out in my memory was when we had the 5 Titans switch powers/costumes and the race around the world between Kid Flash and Mas y Menos.

WF: Now, it wouldn't be uncommon for an issue of Teen Titans Go! to be on shelves the same time as another comic you're working on, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, for example. Yet the artwork for both titles was, naturally, a little bit different. Was it difficult to have to draw in two different styles on a nearly monthly basis? Why or why not?


Switching from my traditional style and the animated cartoon style took a little getting used to at first. But it wasn’t long before I could do it very easily and naturally. It really helped me approach each issue with a new perspective each time I had to switch styles. I would learn new ways of approaching my art each time.

WF: You are probably one of the few artists in the business who really sticks with a comic, staying on for a long stretch, sometimes from beginning to end with a handful of fill-in issues. You drew nearly every issue of Young Justice and Teen Titans Go! save for the odd fill-in issue. How important is it, to you, to be faithful to a comic title? Why?

TN: If I really like a book, it’s just too much fun to want to leave. That’s why I did 53 of the 55 issue run on Young Justice (plus 3 double-sized specials). So, I try to be there for each issue if possible. Especially if it is a continuing story.

Teen Titans Go was a single issue story series. So it was easier to take breaks and work on other comics like Spider-Man.

WF: You've worked for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Image Comics. While I assume you can't answer which company you prefer to work for, lest you somehow get blacklisted, what is it like to be able to stretch your legs over the three biggest companies in the comic business? I assume that since you got your start at Image, particularly Rob Leifeld's Extreme Comics line, you'll always have a soft spot for that place?

TN: I’ve been very thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had to work in this industry. I’ve enjoyed all the series I’ve gotten to work on at the different companies, from Newmen to Young Justice to Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

WF: To get a bit off-topic for a second, you drew one of my personal favorite issues of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, #23, the one where Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson finally face-off after everything that's gone down (Aunt May shot, Spidey's secret ID being exposed). I've always wanted to ask, how does it feel to draw basically the only time we'll ever see J. Jonah Jameson and an unmasked Spider-Man face off? Well, until Mephisto pops back into the picture, anyway. Do you have a favorite issue from your run on the Friendly title?

TN: I was very excited to draw that Jonah vs. peter scene. I knew that was something special. I really enjoyed the emotion and power in that scene. I even have the page where Jonah clobbers Peter hanging on my wall.

WF: You have a host of projects coming up, including Wildguard, American Dream. Is there anything you'd like to say about those projects, and what else we can expect from you in the future.

TN: WildGuard: Insider #1 is out now and is the first issue of a 3-issue mini-series. I really enjoy writing and drawing my own characters. WildGuard is a lot of fun and I invite readers who haven’t checked it out yet to give it a look. They can learn more at my website, http://wildguard.com.

American Dream is a 5-issue mini-series about the female Captain America in the Spider-Girl universe. That has been a lot of fun to work on as well. It’s an action adventure series and a great jumping on point. You don’t have to have read any Spider-Girl comics to enjoy this mini-series. And it comes out bi-weekly starting May 7th!

WF: And finally, to wrap this up, let's bring it back to where this interview began - Teen Titans Go!. What are the fondest memories you'll have from your time on that title, and what do you think about the impact the series had on the Teen Titans fanbase?

TN: I really enjoyed working with writer, J. Torres, editor, Tom Palmer Jr., and inker, Lary Stucker. We had a great time continuing the adventures form the cartoon into these comic books.

I think the cartoon and the comic book really helped open the world of the Teen Titans to a whole new audience. I believe it has really opened a door to younger readers into the world of superheroes and, hopefully, expanded the fan base for more superhero material in comics, TV and movies.


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