Anyone who’s ever called August a quiet month has clearly never heard of the Suicide Squad. Along with getting an explosive feature film that will bring both the Squad and some of its iconic members to the big screen for the first time, the Suicide Squad is also getting a high profile new comic series next month. Written by Rob Williams and drawn by no less than Jim Lee and Philip Tan, this newest version of the villains-as-heroes tale features much of the same lineup as the film and a closer tie to the greater DC Universe.
Much of the comic’s story is being kept under wraps, but fortunately we didn’t need to resort to explosive implants or trips to Belle Reve to get some enticing tidbits on what we can expect when SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH debuts on August 3rd. We just had to ask the book’s amazing art team.
So far, how has your partnership been working? How have you been juggling the art duties?
Jim Lee: We’re really slated to do different arcs, but at the same time, I’m looking to help Philip with his arcs and he’s looking to help me with mine. That could mean that we collaborate on backgrounds or really anything and everything. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to work with Philip. He’s got a tremendous amount of talent, a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of free time.
Philip Tan: [laughs] That’s not very true!
Jim: I’m kidding! But the fact that he’s local allows us to get together and really look at the project and figure out what I can do, what he can do, what makes sense and how can we help each other achieve what we want to do, which is produce the best looking book on the stands and have it come out on time.
Philip: What people don’t really see is our team—the inkers and colorists—they come in and bring a lot to the project. Obviously, Scott Williams has been bringing so much to the pages he’s doing with Jim. I’m reuniting with Jonathan Glapion on the art. I’m also going a little rougher and looser on my pencils. I’m not saying that we’re doing this to save time, but it is a better way of developing chemistry while making sure we get the look that we wanted by incorporating the whole team.
Jim, how did you get involved with Suicide Squad? Was that something that had been planned for a while?
Jim: I threw my name into the ring! I’m a big fan of the original concept. I think it’s a unique premise. I’ve always been a fan of movies like The Dirty Dozen and Mission: Impossible. Suicide Squad has those kinds of elements. Also at the end of the day, it’s the one book where characters may die and stay dead because that’s integral to the premise. These are dangerous, suicidal missions. They’ve got these things implanted in their heads that could explode if they don’t listen to orders. I think it lends itself to a story with a little bit of gravity where you don’t know what’s going to happen next. I think that’s a really cool thing to have in an ongoing comic book.
Philip, what do you like about Suicide Squad?
Philip: Aside from working with Jim? The most important thing is that these are bad guys. I think I draw bad guys better than I draw heroes. So it’s like tailor made for me. Beyond that, I don’t think I could predict where the stories are going to go. The main thing for me is that I get to draw these bad guys trying to find redemption and do some good.
How has it been working with Rob Williams?
Jim: Rob’s great. He wrote Martian Manhunter for us and has been writing Unfollow.
Unfollow’s a pretty great thriller, which bodes well for something like Suicide Squad.
Jim: He has great sensibilities and understands the characters through and through. He’s a very personable, collaborative person to work with, which I think is critical to working on a twice monthly book.
We haven’t heard too much about the story just yet. What can you tell us?
Jim: It begins with a bunch of break-in and rescues, which is really cool and a lot of fun to draw. They’re really innovative break-ins. It’s not like they’re going to the local jail with their skeleton key so they can pick the lock. This is some really hard-hitting stuff that only people who were forced to do the mission would even entertain the idea of doing.
Who are the villains?
Jim: They’re really unexpected. That’s all I can say at this point. Someone you never thought you’d see in a Suicide Squad book.
Artistically speaking, the Squad is pretty diverse when it comes to the look of the characters. Which one is your favorite to draw?
Jim: Killer Croc is yours? Killer Croc’s a lot of fun.
Jim: Because he’s a monster, and monsters are fun. They have different musculature and anatomy. For me, it’s Harley Quinn. I like putting Harley Quinn with Croc. It’s like the peanut butter and chocolate combination.
Philip: I was asking Jim if maybe we could have some of Bat-villains that I love show up.
Jim: Apparently, he’s a big Penguin fan!
The Squad is assembled for the first time on August 3, 2016 in SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH #1 by Rob Williams and Philip Tan. The mayhem then continues on August 17, 2016 in SUICIDE SQUAD #1 by Rob Williams and Jim Lee.
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!