We believe all of the amazing statues, action figures and busts that we release through DC Collectibles speak for themselves. (Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them silly little voices of your own when playing with them.) However, the artists that work on them are often unsung. They usually don’t get the sort of attention that some of the superstars writing and drawing our comics get, but they’re equally talented. That’s why we’ve started doing these DC Collectibles spotlight features. We want to give as many of these gifted artists a chance to shine as possible, in the hope that someday their names will be as recognized to collectors as their comic book counterparts are to readers.
Take today’s spotlight, for instance. Joe Menna is the man behind some of our amazing deluxe action figures, like our popular Arkham City Solomon Grundy and Armored Suit Lex Luthor. But that’s just the beginning. He’s also contributed to the Batman: Black and White and Wonder Woman: Art of War lines, as well as…
Well, we’ll just let him tell you!
What’s your full name?
Joseph F. Menna
Where were you born?
What’s your education background?
After high school I went to art college in Philly, Grad School for sculpture in New York City, and post graduate sculpture studies in Russia.
When did you know you wanted to be a professional sculptor?
My freshman year of college.
What are you currently working on?
Closing up a few projects for DC Collectibles.
Digital or traditional?
Traditionally trained, but have been working exclusively in digital for a long time now.
What sculpted piece are you most proud of?
The Batman: Arkham City Solomon Grundy Deluxe Action Figure for DC Collectibles.
Have you had any mentors in your career?
Yes, for sculpture it was an artist named Leonid Lerman in NYC.
A piece that you’ve worked on that you wish you could go back and redo?
Not any one in particular but there are plenty of elements of various pieces over the years that I wish I had done better.
What kind of DC Collectibles product would you like to work on?
I’d love to work on anything Shazam! or Deadman related.
First DC Comic book?
World’s Finest Comics #233 … the Super Sons … CLASSIC!
Who is your favorite comic book character and why?
It’s always been a tie between Superman, Batman, and Captain Marvel (now Shazam!). I think largely because these were the three characters that I was most exposed to in other media as a little kid.
What was your first toy?
I had a bunch of Fisher- Price stuff as a tot, but it was the cool stuff like my Mego figures such as the DC and Marvel Heroes and my Planet of the Apes Tree House that I remember best (until Star Wars changed EVERYTHING).
Do you have a favorite DC Comics artist?
I think for me it would have to be Jim Aparo. I grew up during the 70’s and much like Sal Buscema was the anchorman for Marvel during that time, Jim Aparo epitomized what was coolest for me about DC growing up. I also love all of the classics, everyone from Wayne Boring, to Kurt Schaffenberger, Dick Dillin, Neal Adams, Curt Swan, etc. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez needs a mention too, as he defined the look of DC for so many decades.
Favorite comfort food?
Breaded chicken cutlet and mashed potatoes.
Favorite video game?
Jedi Knight series for PC
Star Wars IV: A New Hope tied with Blade Runner
Three favorite cities?
New York, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Philadelphia
Most played song on your iPod?
Not one song, but a lot of Pink Floyd lately
Last movie you watched?
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on Netflix
Last book you read?
Doctor Who: Festival of Death by Jonathan Morris
Introvert or extrovert?
Little of each
Name something you’re really bad at?
Band you want to see live?
Bowie one more time.
How many books do you own?
Hundreds of sci-fi and fantasy novels.
Where is the farthest from home that you’ve gone?
St. Petersburg, Russia
What’s the best gift you’ve received?
My wife and three kids.
What’s something about you that would surprise people?
How much I struggle with each project even though I’ve been doing it for YEARS.
What are your words of advice for aspiring sculptors/creative designers?
Don’t quit, be honest with yourself and keep going!