Exclusive J. Bone Interview[Date: November 2008]
Dreams of Super Friends, Metal Men, and Wonder Women
The first official snowfall of the season befell Toronto, Ontario on a mild Wednesday evening outside Paradise Comics. The slushy sidewalks and busy traffic, however, did not stop fans from stopping in from the frosty flakes to get a chance to meet Super Friends artist, J. Bone.
As he signed autographs and, when I finally got there, busily sketched The Flash in pencils and inks for a fan, he took some time out to talk about how anxious he was when first offered the job. "The editor called me up and asked if I wanted to do it. And I thought it would probably be my only chance to get to draw the DC characters in a fun, cartoony style because that's just not what they do in the regular books. I mean there's the animated series style, but this was just totally aimed at kids, and yeah, as they asked, I said 'Yeah, absolutely.'" However, Bone stressed that his collaborator, Sholly Fisch, was focused on the Silver Age DC stories rather than the Hanna-Barbera Super Friends animated series back in the seventies. Nonetheless, that is not to say that J. has not taken a liberty here and there with his designs, such as with the latest issue. "I used the Hall of Justice from the cartoon as the basis for the museum. So I just kind of took the front and altered a little bit as my sneaking something into the background. Not that that's very sneaky."
A graduate of Sheridan College's graphic illustration program, Bone's background was in designing backgrounds and animated characters for cartoons until he decided to break into comics. As for his creative influences, one of his largest was DC Animated mastermind, Bruce Timm. "I tried to copy his style, especially since Batman: The Animated Series came out in my first year of college, " he explains. "So I was really trying to do what he was doing, the streamline art deco style. And then I read about his influences: [Jack] Kirby, [Mike] Mignola, guys like that. So I started looking more at Kirby's artwork and the older stuff. So yeah, it's like there's still always the Bruce Timm in there, I think I've got some John Byrne in there because he was a guy I used to collect back in the day, Archies, anything cartoony, really. Anything that's light and fun is what I go for."
While he laments that his earlier work was hardly read, he does admit to helping his friend, artist and writer Darwyn Cooke, in his Eisner-award winning miniseries, DC: The New Frontier. "I actually 'ghost-inked' a few pages and basically in issues 2 to 5, I would help him out [with] background stuff, pages here and there. But yeah issues 1 and 6 are one-hundred percent Cooke. So, yeah, I kind of helped out a little but again I was helping a guy who had a huge workload on his hands and I was thrilled to be a part of it." He and Cooke also worked for Marvel, both contributing work to such titles as Wolverine, Tangled Web, and a cover for the Hero Initiative's Ultimate Spider-Man #100 Project.
Another popular Marvel title Bone was involved in was X-Statics, during which he was involved in a controversial storyline that was meant to feature Princess Diana of Wales, but needed to be retooled at the last minute so as to avoid becoming a royal affair. "I think Buckingham Palace was threatening to sue if they went ahead with their storyline. So they had to change the character, and I actually did the first issue. I had the pencils already and I had to change the heads on all the Lady Di characters, but I kept the photocopies just so I'd have proof."
The timing of the ninth issue of Super Friends, in which the team is celebrating Superman's birthday, comes months after the character's official 70th year of existence. As to the secret to the Man of Steel's enduring appeal, J. believes "Probably that he's a good guy. He's the hero who, when you write him, you have to write him like a hero. Superman doesn't have a dark side. You couldn't relaunch him in a [Marvel] Ultimate-style universe and make him a grim, gritty kind of guy because that's not Superman anymore. So, to me, I think, to me, [he's] that hopeful hero, you know, like the kid who wants to be a superhero. And initially, you'd hope that they want to be a good person." While a Superman fan, Bone found Bryan Singer's take on the character in the 2006 film Superman Returns slightly inaccurate, in particular his illegitimate father status. "[Basically] he impregnated Lois Lane and then took off. And don't tell me he didn't know. He took off, and within the first ten minutes of the film, he's spying on her using his x-ray vision through a house. And, sure, it's to keep her safe, but no. She's making dinner, [so] he doesn't need to be spying on her." On the subject of Mark Millar's rumored handling of the character, the writer's characterization does not sit well with J. "I think he [Superman] should totally be a good person, but Mark Millar will not make him a good person. So I say I'd rather not see him in the hands of Mark Millar. Fans I know would definitely disagree [because Mark] has a huge fanbase."
As for future guest stars in Super Friends, Bone would not mind either an appearance of Doom Patrol, The Metal Men - a book he collected more so in his youth than Superman - or an increase in the female quotient of the cast. "Wonder Woman is it, and they need to bring in some more. Zatanna, Hawkgirl would be cool, Black Canary would be cool...there's a Supergirl book coming out, which is good, but I'd like to see more of the females team up with the Super Friends."
But what of, say, the Wonder Twins, maybe?
"Oh no," he laughs. "That'd be kind of fun. [I] know that Super-Pets are coming up next, but they're kind of regular DC Continuity, anyway."
Look for issue #9 of Super Friends on sale now.
This interview is Copyright © 2008 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.
IntroductionThe Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.
Question and Answer Interviews:
- Interview with writer Marv Wolfman about Man and Superman: The Deluxe Edition (November 2019)
- Interview with artist Claudio Castellini about Man and Superman: The Deluxe Edition (November 2019)
- Interview with artist Joe Staton about working on Superman properties over the years (November 2019)
- Interview with Christopher Priest about the Superman vs. Deathstroke story in Deathstroke #8 (November 2016)
- Interview with Sterling Gates about the 'Adventures of Supergirl' digital-first comic book series (January 2016)
- Interview with J. Michael Straczynski about Superman: Earth One - Vol. 3 - Writer J. Michael Straczynski talks to us about the third volume in the Superman: Earth One graphic novel series (February 2015)
- Interview with Jim Krueger - Writer Jim Krueger talks to us about his The Dark Lantern story in the Adventures of Superman comic book title (November 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 Interview with Bryan Q. Miller - Writer Bryan Q. Miller talks to us about his work on the Smallville: Season 11 comic book title (October 2012)
- Supergirl Interview with Mahmud Asrar - Artist Mahmud Asrar talks to us about his work on the monthly Supergirl comic book title (July 2012)
- Superman/Batman Interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov - Joshua Hale Fialkov answers our questions about The Secret 3-part story in Superman/Batman #85-87 (July 2011)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates - Sterling Gates answers our questions about where Supergirl is headed post War of the Supermen (June 2010)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates & Jamal Igle - Adam Dechanel chats with the Supergirl comic book team about the Maid of Might (March 2010)
- Behind the Scenes of the Super Friends - Four part indepth look at the Super Friends comic book title with artists J. Bone and Stewart McKenny (February 2010)
- Interview with Landry Q Walker and Eric Jones - The writer and artist discuss Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade (May 2009)
- Interview with Elliot S! Maggin - Legendary Superman writer and novelist discusses his career (January 2009)
- Interview with J. Bone - Artist discusses Super Friends comic book (November 2008)
- Interview with Mark Bagley (September 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #18 (September 2008)
- Interview with Jake Black (May 2008)
- Interview with Cary Bates (June 2008)
- Interview with Jack Briglio - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #14 (May 2008)
- Interview with Ken Pontac - Writer discusses Justice League Unlimited #44 (May 2008)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13 (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #11 (February 2008)
- Interview with Fabian Nicieza - Writer on Superman comic books (June 2007)
- Interview with Danny Fingeroth - Writer of the book Superman on the Couch (May 2007)
- Interview with Jesse McCann - Writer on the Krypto The Superdog comic books (December 2006)
- Interview with Matt Haley - Artist on the Superman Returns comic book movie adaptation (November 2006)
- Interview with Ethan Van Sciver - Artist on Superman/Batman (September 2006)
- Interview with Mark Verheiden on taking over the writing duties on Superman/Batman (April 2006)
- Interview with Matt Idelson on taking over as Superman group editor (March 2006)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb on Sam and Superman/Batman #26 (February 2006)
- Interview with Roger Stern (December 2005)
- Interview with Marv Wolfman (November 2005)
- Interview with Gail Simone (May 2005)
- Interview with Greg Rucka (April 2005)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (January 2005)
- Interview with Glenn Whitmore (November 2004)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (September 2004)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (September 2004)
- Interview with Ron Garney (September 2004)
- Interview with Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark (May 2004)
- Interview with Ed McGuinness (March 2004)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (March 2004)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Superman: Red Son] (March 2003)
- Interview with Min S. Ku (September 2001)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (May 2001)
- Interview with Joe Casey (April 2001)
- Interview with Mike S. Miller (September 2000)
- Interview with Denis Rodier (August 2000)
- Interview with Grant Morrison (December 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 2] (November 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 1] (April 1999)
- Superman vs. Terminator - A Chat with Fight Promoter Alan Grant. (January 2000)
- Superman: The Dailies (1939-1940) Graphic Novel Review.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 1) - Superman is reborn... again.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 2) - Eddie Barganza on taking the character in a new direction.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 3) - Jeph Loeb discusses writing the Man of Steel.
- Lex Luthor For President - Forget Superman. An updated Luthor's new enemies are Gore and Bush.
- Superman: Last Son of Earth - Steve Gerbern Interview - The writer discusses flip-flopping the Man of Steel's origin. (August 2000)
Krypton Club Interviews:
When Lois & Clark started production in 1993, there was an obvious relationship between the comic book people and the Hollywood people.
A trade paperback Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was published, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the cover. It included reprints of comic book stories that were the inspiration for Lois & Clark, helping to define the characters. Comic's included are: The Story of the Century (Man of Steel miniseries #2), Tears for Titano (Superman Annual #1), Metropolis - 900 mi (in SUP #9), The Name Game (SUP #11), Lois Lane (in ACT #600), Headhunter (AOS #445), Homeless for the Holidays (AOS #462), The Limits of Power (AOS #466), and Survival (ACT #665).
A number of comic book writers and artists had roles as extras in the episode I'm Looking Through You (Season one, episode 4). Their presence was immortilized in the Sky Trading Card #34.
Craig Byrne, president of the online Lois & Clark fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.
- Interview with Roger Stern (June 1995)
- Interview with John Byrne (June 1995)
- Interview with Mike Carlin (July 1995)