ANDY KUBERT on BATMAN and #700
As promised, we’ve got an all-star lineup of posts, art and comments rolling out this week. All celebrating the 700th issue of BATMAN. First up, we have a look at an interior page from superstar artist Andy Kubert’s contribution to Grant’s BATMAN #700 story, along with comments from the venerable Mr. Kubert himself. Take it away, Andy!
"Batman has always been one of my favorites growing up, and still is today. I loved the old campy TV. Show. But my love for the comics started with the Batman comics that were drawn by Neal Adams. When I was a kid, I didn’t even know who was drawing what (except I knew my dad’s stuff!), but learned that it was Neal's work that appealed to me. It was exciting, pleasing, easy to follow and visually appealing to me. I always looked for Neal's work not only on Batman stuff, but also on any other comic that had his name. And I still do!
To me, the costume is simply perfect. It's a great costume to draw and I guess the way I approach my drawing and the feel for any character is influenced by the Batman costume itself. You can pretty much do anything with the costume and cape, stretch and pull it anyway you want to make it look appealing, and it still comes across as Batman. You can hide him halfway in shadows or put him in a silhouette, and it still is recognizable and cool looking. Also, I approach Gotham City in the same vane...you can do anything with it. It’s not New York City or any realistic city...it's organic. I approach Gotham as if it’s another character along with Batman and Robin or Damian.
One of my favorite characters I have drawn in my career is Damian Batman. I love the whole look with the scalloped trench coat and spiked gloves and yet he still retains the original cowl. He’s also a very violent Batman, which is always fun to draw!
In the page that’s shown, Batman wears a gasmask that's essential to the story. I had to come up with a design for that gasmask and it was difficult not to make it look clunky or out of place. So I decided (after a ton of sketches) that going simple was the best way. It’s a plastic piece that fits over the faceplate and has a few "gills" on either side. It doesn’t fight with the cowl design and you still see him as Batman. There’s also a new character in this chapter that Grant and I created based off an established character that’s currently one of my new favorites!
I approached the art a bit differently for Batman #700 than I had before with other comic work. Besides using straight pen, brush and ink, I used ink wash and pencil for certain effects. I tried to use the greatest contrast where I wanted the reader to focus first (that’s usually where the straight black ink work is) and to achieve depth I would use the gray ink wash where hopefully the reader’s eye would flow over that area next. I think Brad Anderson has done the best coloring of his career on this stuff; it seemed like he was reading my mind as to what I wanted. I’m VERY happy with the results!