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Stay Smokin,
Co-Founder / Pittsburgh Underground

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Comics To ROT Your Brain EXCLUSIVE: Lee Moder - Doodler of Deadlands and Shinku

Shinku: Issue 1 - Image Comics
Lee Moder - Pencils / Ron Marz - Writer /
Mike Atiyeh - Colorist / Matthew Waite - Inker

Howdy kids! Well, summer is finally here and it's time for the gang here at Pittsburgh Underground to grab up our comic book stash, head over to West Park, find a shady tree, and read the hours away!

With that said, we had a long talk with our old pal, Pittsburgh comic book artist and PU AlumLee Moder who's been busy as a bee with some exciting projects of his own that we wanted to share with you in the following interview (Click below to continue)...

PU: Lee, we know that you've got your hands full lately with a number of projects, including a new western series from the combined efforts of Visionary Comics, Pinnacle Entertainment, and Image Comics - What gives and how are you involved?

Moder: Deadlands is based on the RPG of the same name and it lives up to the traditions of the Weird Western. There's the action, mysticism, creatures and senseless property damage you'd expect.

Each of the five, one shot issues are handled by a different creative team; guys like Ron Marz, Bart Sears, Steve Niles, Francesco Francavilla and David Gallaher.  You can see that we're spilling over with the talent here.

Deadlands: Issue 2 - Image Comics
Lee Moder - Pencils / Jimmy Palmiotti - Writer /
Justin Gray - Writer / Mike Atiyeh - Colorist

PU: Tell us a little bit about the issue that you illustrated and the creative team involved...

Moder: The issue I worked on is #2, Clementime: Massacre at Red Wing written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray (the guys behind Jonah Hex at DC). 

You know these guys are the bee's knees when it comes to the Weird Western Tale.  I'm handling all of the line work and my cohort on Shinku, Mike Atiyeh, is kicking butt on the colors (as usual).

PU: When can we expect to see Deadlands in our local comic book shops?

Moder: The first issue should be out now and my issue...#2...will be hitting the racks in mid-July.

PU: Another of your latest and greatest titles is Shinku from Image Comics. We know that issue one was just released (and promptly sold out) at the beginning of June - give our readers a taste of what to expect...

Moder: Shinku is the last member of a Japanese clan of vampire hunters.  Her sole purpose is to take the battle to the clan of vampires that has wiped out her clan.  This is a battle that has raged for hundreds of years from the Edo Period of Japan 'til modern day Tokyo.  A young American named Davis finds himself wrapped up in Shinku's private war and may hold the key to final victory...if he lives long enough. 

That's the nutshell.  There's also plenty of bloody, sexy action and foul language.  Pretty much everything that'll piss off your mom.  So buy 2 copies.

Shinku #1 - Lee Moder, Pencils

PU: Tell us more about the collaborative team on Shinku...

Moder: Shinku is a creator owned comic - Ron Marz cooked up the initial idea and is writing the book.  Matthew Waite is handling the inks and Mike Atiyeh is whippin' holy hell on the colors.

PU: You had a lot of involvement in the way Shinku and the other characters appear and react in the books - what is your process? Does it include any collaborative writing with Ron?

Moder: So far, I'm busy just getting used to the characters and their worlds.  For me, that takes about 3 issues.  At that time, I usually develop the mental shorthand for the book that allows me to think of other things. 

The only "writing" I'm doing, right now, is taking panels or portions of pages that I may not think "move" particularly well; and rework them to make the page a little more visually dynamic.  Ron's really cool about that kind of thing.  His thought is, if it works better, do it.

Shinku #1 - Lee Moder, Pencils

PU: We've seen issue one and have been blown away by the amount of detail that you have created for old world Japan as depicted in Shinku - what has been the biggest challenge for you when illustrating the content for this series?

Moder: The Japanese signage.  I want it to make sense...but, I wind up picking out shapes that go well with the action in the panel.  So, it's all complete gibberish.  But, the hardest thing is depicting modern urban Japan.  It's an absolute crush of detail.

PU: With that said, what's been the most fun for you to draw on Shinku?

Moder: This is kind of a cop out...but it's all fun because there's nothing else like it on the stands.  Shinku is a rather unique comic book.  Even when compared to the other vampire books on the stands.

PU: You've drawn everything from monsters, giant robots, and superheroes of all types but most notabily heroines. Although comics had been a predominantly male oriented market, female readership is on the rise -  What do you find to be the inherent challenges when depicting female characters in modern day comics?

Moder: There are many different types of women and I fear that cartoonists are only comfortable depicting one kind of woman...the Fantasy Babe - women of such unrealistic dimensions that would even make old Hef go:  "Whoa, son.  Slow down." 

You want more female readership?  Treat your female characters more realistically.  Also, give the readers a nice broad range of characters and subject matter.  The biggest challenge is with the cartoonist himself...seeing as how the majority of cartoonists are male.  If the cartoonist can get out of his own shorts, he's ahead of the game when it comes to depicting female characters.

Shinku: Issue 4 - Image Comics
Lee Moder - Pencils / Ron Marz - Writer /
Mike Atiyeh - Colorist / Matthew Waite - Inker

PU: What are your favorite comics right now?

Moder: Anything that John Romita, Jr. is drawing.  Invincible.  Irredeemable.  Fantastic Four, The Mighty Thor, Powers, Avengers.  The Batman books have been outstanding the past year or so.  Savage Dragon, Doom Patrol, Green Hornet, Nemesis and Superior.  Those seem to be at the top of my pile.

PU: What types of projects are on your wish list right now?

Moder: I'd like to get back to some proper super-heroic action someday soon.  I've done pretty much everything else in the past few years.

PU: What projects do you have coming out in the near future?

Moder: Other than Shinku and Deadlands...I've got a Wonder Woman Retroactive one-shot that'll be out soon.  So keep an eye out for that.

Also, for those of you wanting to nab your sold out copy of Shinku #1, There's a second printing on the way that'll be coming out with issue #2 in July (roughly around the same time that my issue of Deadlands hits the stands).

PU: Sounds like you've got your plate full Lee (of course to the delight of our readers who are jonzin' for more from you!). Thanks again for the interview, and don't forget to get to your local comic book shop to pick up your copy of Shinku and Deadlines this month!

Stay tuned kids! More Comics to ROT Your Brain coming soon from your pals here at good old Pittsburgh Underground!!!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'd love to buy some of your original art. Can you tell me how? My email is janarrah1@aol.com Thanks!

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