In “Origins,” comics creators talk about their formative experiences with comics. This time, we spoke with Nicola Scott, the Australian artist who’s best known for her work with Gail Simone on Secret Six and Birds of Prey, and who debuts as Teen Titans‘ penciller next month.
TECHLAND: What was the first comic book you ever read? What do you remember about it?
NICOLA SCOTT: The first comic I actually read was Wonder Woman #7, of the George Pérez run. I had seen comics previously, but not read them. The story and art were so different from my previous exposure to Wonder Woman, but I found it absolutely absorbing. It was quickly followed by #1-6. I dabbled in some other titles from time to time, but it was pretty random.
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What comic book has made the deepest impression on you, and why?
It would probably be Pérez’s Wonder Woman run. It was the first time I read a monthly book, and was the only monthly I read for years. For that reason, it was the sum of my exposure to the field. I loved the art, the drama, and the re-assessment of her powers and how they might work. Really, it was Wonder Woman that brought me into comics, not the other way around. Every now and then I read some other titles, but I found the whole comics world so daunting, and I didn’t really have anyone to share it with.
Who were your favorite comics creators when you started getting into reading comics?
Clearly George Pérez, but also Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes, and eventually Alex Ross and Stuart Immonen. All have an iconic and classic feel to their depiction of the various characters. A stylized but real-world feel.
Did you make comics in your pre-professional days? What were they like?
I wrote and drew a Wonder Woman picture book when I was about seven (God knows where it is now). Otherwise I didn’t really do anything with comics until I was making moves to break in.
What was your first published comics work? What’s your impression of it now?
My very first job was for Phosphorescent Comics, a local publisher and the first people I ever showed my work to. I did a few painted covers for them for their superhero series, The Watch, by Christian Read. At the time I was right at the bottom of a very steep learning curve, and while it was very amateurish, there are elements to it that I think showed promise, or otherwise I might have thrown in the towel ages ago.
(More on Techland: Origins: Bob Layton)
You’re taking over on Teen Titans in a couple of months; what can you tell us about the look you’re establishing for that series? And what’s your collaborative process with writer J.T. Krul like?
J.T. and I are having a lot of fun working on these guys. He’s been so easy to work with and completely open to ideas. Luckily we’re both on the same page in terms of what tone we want the book to have. There’s an innocence that seems to be coming out of what we’ve done so far.
I’ve done a number of team books at DC, so I’ve gained a fair bit of experience making characters unique to each other. One of the first things I did was to go over all their previous stories, paying particular attention to how each of the characters have been drawn. I wanted to make sure that my versions were instantly recognizable but as different from each other as possible. Not all 17-year-olds are the same height and shape, so I’ve been playing with that a bit, giving them each their own body language and faces. The thing that I find the most fun about my job is drawing the differences between characters, and team books are one of the best places to do that. Also, while the work is reasonably detailed, I’ve been trying not to put too much black on the page. I want it to look lighter and brighter, and for them to look young and fresh-faced. I really want the book to look more personable, and for the characters to be easy to get attached to. Giving each of them a definitive face and repeating it panel after panel is the best way to achieve that.