If you're not reading Morning Glories than you better be living under a rock or illiterate. Actually, illiteracy isn't an excuse for not picking up this brilliant comic because... well, look at all the pretty pictures! Speaking of pretty pictures, we had a chance to talk to the brilliant artist of Morning Glories, Joe Eisma and asked him a few questions about his work on the comic. We get his point of view on killing characters, his favorite issue to create and some exclusive, never before heard info about that mysterious figure: Abraham!
The schedule was the main concern. I'd never done a monthly series before this--everything was either a mini-series or just a graphic novel. Used to be, I had a huge amount of lead time on a project, but I quickly found on Morning Glories that deadlines were coming much sooner than before.
How did you first come to work on Morning Glories?
Nick and I met on Jinxworld, Brian Michael Bendis' message board. He'd seen my art that I posted there and sent me a message, asking if I'd like to read his pitch. I read it and loved it, and started design work immediately, followed by the first twelve or so pages for our initial pitch.
We know Nick Spencer describes the story as Runaways meets Lost. As an artist would you describe the story in a different way?
I actually think that's pretty accurate. That's how he pitched it to me! Usually, when I meet people at conventions that haven't read the series, they're generally familiar with Lost, notsomuch Runaways. In that case, I compare it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Gossip Girl.
When you first started Morning Glories, did you have all the answers from the beginning?
Nope! I still don't--Nick keeps a lot close to the vest.
Without saying “no comment”, what can you tell us about Abraham that we don’t already know?
His likeness is based on a young Kevin Costner.
What is the biggest difficulty you’ve faced in drawing Morning Glories?
The size of the cast. I really underestimated it early on; the scope kind of overwhelmed me. As we've gone along, though, I think I've gotten a better handle on all the characters and am really loving designing the new kids.
When we attempt to describe our characters to an artist we often use celebrity likenesses to compare but often never see that likeness in the finished product. Is that something that makes it easier for artists or does that hinder artists from creativity?
Oh, definitely. It's how Nick and I work, for sure. I mean, I mentioned Abraham, but when we started the initial designs, he would give me some celebrities he saw as starting points. A few I can recall are Blake Lively for Casey and Jordana Brewster for Zoe. It helps the artist achieve the writer's vision when a likeness is given, but it's always better when they're not made to hold to that look exactly. The most fun is taking that as a starting point and expanding on it.
What has been your favorite issue to draw so far?
Hard to pick just one fave, as there are scenes throughout all the issues that I really loved. If I had to pick just one, I'd choose issue 10. Everything about that issue just clicked, I think.
How do you feel about killing certain characters ie; Zoe?
As long as it serves the story, I'm all for it. I knew going in that given the nature of this story, there would be no way the main cast would all come out unscathed. I remember when Nick told me about his plans for Zoe, my initial reaction was shock, but as he explained it, I couldn't see it any other way. It was what had to happen. She's a popular character, though, and her popularity only seems to be intensifying!
Morning Glories (the last story arc in particular) did a phenomenal job of having the art tell the story. What is the hardest part about telling a story without the use of dialogue?
Making it all seem natural! I never want anything to look forced or too posed, so I work really hard on expressions and body language to tell the story. If you read manga or watch anime, you can totally see where I'm stealing these techniques from! It's all about exaggerating a motion or emotion to the Nth degree, because in a 2d medium like comics, you've got to emphasize movement by any means necessary.
What was your strangest interaction with a fan?
I remember at C2E2 this year, there was a guy that interviewed me for his podcast, or so he claimed, and he did it in a potty-mouthed 'character' of sorts that asked lots of inappropriate questions. It was really weird, but not really offensive. Haha.
Why do you believe in comic books?
Why? Because there's so much you can explore in the medium that just isn't as feasible elsewhere. Hollywood guys come to comics because they can't get budgets approved for their scripts, and with comics, that's not a problem. You can be sucked into a new world for a time and just lose yourself when you get a good comic.