I was pretty young when I first started working at DC Comics back in the day. It was my first job out of college, and I took this great and naive pride in being the youngest of everyone on staff and of all our freelancers. But then a couple of years later, that role was cruelly usurped when this cute, shy guy and really talented artist walked in the doors of 75 Rock-- the guy who became the one-and-only Denys Cowan. I don't remember what Denys was working on in those early days ( I should!) but he soon went on to famously and beautifully illustrate a long and memorable run on THE QUESTION working with the spectacular Denny O'Neill. Before and after his tenure on THE QUESTION, Denys drew many major characters for both DC and Marvel, most notably the BATMAN story arc Blind Justice with BATMAN BEGINS screenwriter Sam Hamm, and the 1990 Deathlok miniseries from Marvel, which was written by Dwayne McDuffie and Gregory Wright as well as on the subsequent monthly series. In 1993, Denys went on to become one of the founders of the groundbreaking Milestone Media, and later worked on the animated series Static Shock, based on the Milestone character. More recently, Denys has been a producer of the television series The Boondocks and Senior Vice President of Animation for Black Entertainment Television (BET). Denys has been honored by The City of Los Angeles and The City of East Orange, NJ for his work in teen literacy/art programs, was a recipient of the Parents Choice Award and was a two-time Eisner-award Best Artist nominee.
Though we have known each other forever, we have never directly worked together. (Denys' only previous Vertigo work was FIGHT FOR TOMORROW with Brian Wood and Kent WIlliams.) As fate would have it, it seems that we were both waiting for the perfect creative opportunity to arise, and that's what happened when Selwyn and I first started talking about the series which eventually became DOMINIQUE LAVEAU, VOODOO CHILD. Denys was the first and only person I immediately thought of to bring all these rich and layered characters to life- his powerful yet finely-lined illustrative style is ideal for visualizing New Orleans, both present and past, and the variety of supernatural realms which Dom will visit as the series progresses.
It's been a long time coming for us Denys, but I couldn't be more thrilled!
Read on to hear more from Denys himself, in this interview conducted once again, by assistant editor, Joe Hughes.
You've been working in comics for over 25 years, but this is your first time working on a monthly book for Vertigo! What sets this book apart from every other series you've worked on?
This is my first time working on a monthly book for vertigo!
and its been great so far
what sets this apart from the others is the subject matter
all of the elements in the series
the location in new orleans,
the supernatural elements,
the real life situations that have influenced our story...
Tell us why readers are going to love Dominique. What do you like about the character?
Dom is unique in comics!
she's intelligent, she's uncertain about the things that are happening to her and around her.
but at the end of the day, she's unafraid...
she has a steel core that gets revealed issue by issue..
Selwyn's giving you an opportunity to come up with your own take on a lot of famous voodoo gods! What's it like designing all of these characters? Is there any specific reference you look to for them?
First of all selwyn is a brillant writer and will come up with characters and situations that ive never seen or read before
so i get my inspiration from a number of sources all varied.
there is no one thing that i look at
sometimes it's combining the best ideas from several different sources with the designs
sometimes i'll design a character,r draw it in a story and realize that i can make the design a little better
so i'll slowly modify the design over several issues..
i'm sure it drives karen crazy!
Who's your favorite character to draw so far?
What's your favorite page from issue #1?
i think its a toss up between pg 3 and pg 20
but since john floyd is inking the series
he makes all the pages look good!