To the Amazons of Themyscira and the people of the world, Wonder Woman is something of a miracle. Fittingly, the same can be said of her new comic as well. Spinning out of this summer’s “Rebirth,” the twice-monthly WONDER WOMAN will feature a dream creative team of writer Greg Rucka and artists Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott, three creators unexpectedly returning to the world of DC Comics after a lengthy break.
It’s hard to imagine a book better suited to them than Wonder Woman, especially considering the dual-timeline story that Rucka has conceived. While much of the story remains under wraps, Sharp’s pages have been eliciting praise from fans due to the highly detailed, almost classical approach to storytelling they’re taking. We recently had a chance to talk to Sharp about his work on the book, and what we can expect for Diana going forward? In short, it’s going to be mythic.
How does it feel to dive back into drawing comics again with such an iconic character?
I’ve definitely been out of the mainstream, but I’ve never been away from comics. The Madefire app that I cofounded has been an amazing journey, and it’s taken up the last six years of my life. I’m incredibly proud of it, but in all of that time, particularly in the last couple of years, I’ve been feeling this incredible urge to get back into the mainstream. To draw any of the DC characters would have been great, and this opportunity sort of came out of nowhere. But the timing was perfect. It’s my 30th year in comics, it’s her 75th year. It’s like the stars aligned.
Was Wonder Woman one of the characters you had on your bucket list? One of the ones you wanted a chance to draw in your career?
So many people over the years have told me that I’d draw a great Batman. Originally, I was sort of circling around and thinking, “Yeah, maybe Batman would be good.” It was actually on Thanksgiving, just before I went to bed, I saw on my monitor this old Red Sonja piece. It was a really detailed, black and white piece that I had been sharing on my Facebook, and it had stayed up for a few days. I saw it and I thought, “Huh… That would really suit Wonder Woman.”
Everything clicked into place and I sort of cheekily sent that to Jim [Lee] with a message suggesting that Wonder Woman would look pretty good drawn that way and he said, “Hell, yeah! That would be awesome!”
Assuming it’s not a big spoiler, what was the first thing you had to draw for this new Wonder Woman title?
I decided when I did a sample piece that I wanted to draw something that was mythic. Having read Brian Azzarello’s amazing run, I decided that I didn’t want to think too much about any of that. Rather, I asked myself what it was about Diana that was special. I have a big passion for mythology and I thought that I was going to do a bit of research around similar character archetypes. Just to see what’s there and what excited me, and within that I found things like Cyprus trees, which she’s associated with and that you might not ordinarily know. So the sample piece I drew is full of iconography that’s associated with the goddess Diana—the moon, deer, boar, those kinds of things. Jim saw it and said, “Yeah, more of that.”
Then when I was talking to Greg [Rucka], we really started throwing ideas around about what we can embed in this story that were almost like Easter Eggs—things that will presage the arrival of the deities, but not in an obvious way.
I’ve always been a fan of that kind of stuff. I’ve always liked those little things that once you’ve read the story and absorbed it, you can go back and find. Some of them will be red herrings, but other things will have proper weight to them.
You’re an artist on this book and so is Nicola Scott, and you’re both telling concurrent stories. I know yours is the modern day story, but it still incorporates a lot of mythological aspects?
The comic’s going to cover ten years. Nicola’s story is year one, when Wonder Woman’s eighteen. In my story, she’s twenty-eight, and certain things lead her to question what’s happened. It’s a journey of self-discovery.
But also, our version of Wonder Woman is a badass. She’s terrifyingly beautiful. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man, woman or animal. If you’re in a room with her, she’s going to dominate everything. She’s going to be the biggest presence there.
Is this story set in Themyscira or in our world?
She’s in our world with my story.
How has it been working with Greg Rucka? It’s a return of sorts for him as well.
We hit it off really quickly. Our sensibilities and interests are very aligned, and we had very similar ideas about the approach for this book. We speak every other day. Greg’s amazing to work with because I can’t help thinking of things and coming up with ideas and throwing them at him, and he just goes, “Yeah, great! Keep ‘em coming!” Occasionally he’ll go, “Nah, that’s stupid. Forget that one!” [laughs]
But for the most part, he’s been, “I love it! Bring it!” So we’ve had a lot of fun.
You mentioned the mythological aspect, but is there any other research you’ve found yourself doing for this? Have you looked at other Wonder Woman artists?
I’m trying not to be too influenced. It’s impossible not to have the specter of Adam Hughes over your shoulder. His Wonder Woman was so extraordinarily powerful. But I hope that mine is distinct from that. I’m pushing the art in a way that is decorative. Again, I love things like Barry Windsor-Smith and “Red Nails.” I’m trying to do the “Red Nails” of Wonder Woman. But also, to some extent, I’m harking back to some of the stuff I loved from Jim Lee back in the day when he was drawing the Savage Land stuff. That was so decorative and beautiful. Just fantastic storytelling. I’m really pushing for the epic side of it. But there’s going to be grounded stuff. There’s a lot of stuff with Steve Trevor that’s going to be very real world. It’s going to be all of those things.
Is there one character in the story that you’ve just been having a blast drawing that you maybe weren’t expecting?
So far, it’s Wonder Woman. It’s her. There’s so much of a challenge with it. I feel like I’m getting close to “getting” her. With someone like Diana, it’s going to evolve. As the story grows and as I get to draw her more and more, I’m going to really find what my Wonder Woman is. I think I’ve gotten off to a pretty good start.
A new era of Wonder Woman begins on June 8, 2016 with WONDER WOMAN: REBIRTH #1 by Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp and Paulo Siqueira. It then continues on in WONDER WOMAN #1 by Rucka and Sharp on June 22, 2016.
This is the latest in a series of interviews looking at the many DC comic books that will be spinning out of this summer’s "Rebirth." Keep an eye on DCComics.com for more!