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BACKSTAGE - INTERVIEWS

No stranger to the "animated comics" line of DC Comics, now dubbed Johnny DC, Christopher Jones has become a recognized name in the industry. The current artist for The Batman Strikes!, the comic based on the hit series The Batman, Jones returns for his fourth Q & A session where he talks about how he has evolved as an artist, his work on The Batman Strikes, and much more!.


The World's Finest (WF): The Batman Strikes #44 brings us the first appearance of Superman in the comic, and he'll be the first of many superheroes dropping by to visit Batman. What's your thoughts on Superman and how did you approach the character for this issue?

Christopher Jones (CJ):
I love Superman, and it's certainly a thrill to put the two big icons into action together. It's really not hard to contrast Batman and Superman visually. I see Batman as all crouching and stealthy - very panther-like. Superman is very upright and is just a column of power. He leads with his chest.

WF: The fifth season of The Batman brought a host of heroes to his universe. Do you think that Batman operates better by himself (or just with his immediate sidekicks), or is it necessary to bring in all of these super (and not-so-super) powered characters like Green Lantern and The Flash?

CJ:I love teaming Batman up with other characters. One of my favorite comic series growing up was the Batman team-up era of Brave and the Bold, primarily by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo. But those stories don't leave as much room for the rest of Batman's supporting cast, so you don't want to do team-ups all the time. From what I'm seeing, the team-ups in the comic will only be occasional, so I don't think there are any worries there. I'm just looking forward to getting to draw new characters!

WF: I can only imagine you're thrilled at the chance to draw more of DC's big heroes in the The Batman style, including both heroes we've seen on the series and characters who haven't popped in yet. Is this intimidating, as an artist, to have all these new characters coming in?

CJ: I don't think it's intimidating - it's fun! Especially drawing the characters who haven't already appeared on the TV show, as I get to do my own design for them.

WF: Now, to get back to Superman, you've drawn in him, among other heroes, in a host of different styles - your own, the DCAU-style, and the The Batman style. Is it difficult to have to master these different types of styles, staying true to them yet keeping a hint of your own personal style?

CJ: One of the big challenges with a book like this is to keep the characters "on model" with the animation deigns, but still make the book your own and put enough of your own style into so that it has some life and doesn't look like you were just robotically copying model sheets. I think I've been more and more successful with that as The Batman Strikes has progressed. The challenge of doing that for the Superman cast of characters isn't really any different than any of
the Batman characters I deal with month in and month out, but it certainly made for an enjoyable change of pace!

WF: In the past few months, your artwork has popped up in Justice League Unlimited as the title finally printed a host of stories you pencilled meant for Justice League Adventures nearly five years ago. When you look at those issues and your new issues of The Batman Strikes, do you notice an evolution in your style, how you draw, and an overall improvement? Have you noticed mistakes you used to make then that you no longer make now?

CJ:I think my work has improved after going on four years of drawing The Batman Strikes every month, but a direct comparison between my Justice League Adventures work and The Batman Strikes is difficult not only because of story content but because of the fact than in each book I'm trying to work with very different styles of character design. I'm just happy to have two issues of work finally see print, especially the Beetle/Booster issue which was my favorite issue of the book I ever worked on - just slightly beating out the Phantom Stranger story I did.

WF: Naturally, you've heard of The Batman coming to an end this past season. Any comments on the impression the series left on you and why you'll miss it?

CJ: The economics of animation makes it very unlikely for any animated series to go past five seasons these days, so it wasn't a shock that season five was the last. It was in a very difficult position to be the first Batman animated series after the Alan Burnett/Bruce Timm version (with all it's sequels and spin-offs), which means it was being compared directly to what is arguably the best animated adventure series of all time. Between that and the fact that it was intentionally designed to reach a younger audience, it never got looked at objectively by a lot of fans. If it had come on in the years following the Superfriends, Bat-fans would have been doing cartwheels. I think it will be interesting to see how perception of the series changes as more time goes by.

WF: And, of course, out with the old, in with the new, Batman: The Brave and The Bold was officially announced last week, and initial artwork was also released. Any thoughts on the early design work and comments on the general approach the series will be taking?

CJ:I haven't seen any more on this than what's on line, and it's hard to judge from the early press release and an early promotional image. It looks like a less dark take on the character, but I'm curious to see what the actual tone will be.

WF: As we wrap this up, can you tell us why fans should pick up The Batman Strikes #44? Also, any hints to keep the fans coming back in the coming months as The Batman Strikes works its way to the landmark 50th issue?

CJ: The Batman Strikes #44 dramatically expands Batman's world from what we've previously seen, and there's tons of iconic moments in a great adventure story. Bruce Wayne meets the staff of the Daily Planet! Batman confronts Bruno Mannheim and Intergang! Jimmy Olson's signal watch! The two greatest icons in comics together!

Coming in future issues:

#45 - Batgirl teams up with Catwoman and Harley Quinn to save Poison Ivy!
#46 - Killer Croc in love!
#47 - Batman has 20 minutes and 20 pages to stop Black Mask and the Joker!
#48 - Batman and Green Lantern vs Mr. Freeze!

The World's Finest would like to thank Christopher Jones for his participation in this Q & A. To check out more of the pages that Christopher Jones provided, check out our Backstage. Past works include Justice League Adventures, Young Heroes In Love, Kolchak, and a host of DC specials.To find out more about Christopher Jones, please visit his official website.

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