NYCC '09 - Dale Eaglesham on His Marvel Exclusive

Eaglesham's version of the Fantastic Four

Marvel announced at New York Comic Con that artist Dale Eaglesham is making the move to Marvel as the latest exclusive artist on the company roster, joining the new creative team on Fantastic Four with writer Jonathan Hickman, beginning in September.

After making his debut in an upcoming eight-page story for Amazing Spider-Man by writer Joe Kelly, Eaglesham will be the artist on Fantastic Four when writer Jonathan Hickman takes over the series.

Eaglesham has been a DC exclusive artist for the last 10 years, most recently helping to define a new Justice Society comic with writer Geoff Johns since that series was relaunched in 2006. But the artist also built his resume over the last two decades on comics at Marvel, Dark Horse and CrossGen.

Newsarama talked to Eaglesham about his switch to Marvel, what it's like for him to draw the Fantastic Four, and what he hopes to achieve during his run with Hickman.

Newsarama: Congratulations on your Marvel exclusive, Dale. What motivated you to make the move to Marvel?

Dale Eaglesham: Thanks! It’s not so much a motivation as it is a natural cycle of change. After a decade at DC, I simply felt I needed to alter the scenery. While the DCU is a very comfortable fit for me, after 23 years in the biz, I needed a shot in the arm. A return to my roots, the company I spent the first 10 years of my career at, really fit the bill.

NRAMA: For Marvel fans that might not be familiar with your style, how would you describe it, and what do you think your biggest influences have been?

DE: I’d call my style “new old-school.” I’ve never made it a secret that I worship the Golden and Silver Age of comics and prized the works of Alex Raymond and Hal Foster. However, I never really let my own art get up to the hip in it. First of all, it would be difficult because those two artists were incredibly well-versed and talented. Second, the art needs to resonate with modern-day fans, just enough to remain faithful to what I enjoy, and just enough to keep the visual lusts of the modern fan sated.

What also enters the mix of my style is my interest in art theory and various painters and plenty of obscure compositional approaches. Norman Rockwell; crafty, early Flemish painters; James Whistler; there are too many non-comic artists to mention that have influenced my art. However, my biggest influence, and you might not see it looking at my art, is the eminent artist Burne Hogarth. His linear theory and form interlocking system is brilliant, perfectly suited to comics and has permeated the core of my art style through and through.

To tell you the truth, I’m never completely sure what I am going to end up with when I take on a project. The material will dictate to me what needs emphasizing stylistically. Ultimately, every project leaves my style marginally different from the last.

NRAMA: After helping to define the new Justice Society team at DC, what are you hoping to achieve at Marvel?

DE: At Marvel, I am seeking a little more artistic elbow room to work on more dynamic panel and compositional approaches, two-page-wide panoramic panels, and perhaps higher, more potent contrast in the art. I am also looking to shoot from the pencils, getting a rawer feel to the art and letting readers see the living, breathing original line-work.

NRAMA: Can you tell us anything about the first Spider-Man story you're doing?

DE: I’ll be drawing an eight-page story that doesn’t feature Spider-Man. This is a father and son story, one that is rather benign at the beginning, one that just may bring a tear to your eye. Don’t be fooled though, because Joe Kelly and I are toying with you, and I feel I can tell you that up front. I can tell you that because just as you are misting up and reaching for that tissue, we are going to freeze the blood in your veins. We are going to show you that it’s not all Goblin juice driving the man under the mask.

NRAMA: After that debut, you're working on Fantastic Four. Knowing that one of your strengths is drawing characters' emotions, are you looking forward to getting to draw a family of heroes that have a lot of emotional moments together? Does this team fit that strength of yours particularly well?

DE: With the team limited to six closely knit members, including the kids, there is immense opportunity for in-depth character development, and that will play to my strengths a great deal of the time – mannerisms and postures that certain personalities will produce, how characters react to various situations, the inter-team relationships… For me, this is what comics are about at the core. The FF is the perfect laboratory to examine these things in.

NRAMA: Have you been a long-time Fantastic Four fan?

DE: When I was six, my mom used to buy me 12-cent Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four comics while in the check out line at the grocery store. Reading FF was my first exposure to incredible, fantastic images of art. It opened up a whole new avenue of expression for me and my boundless imagination was desperately seeking outlets at the time. These issues were the genesis of my own artistic expression, and for that reason the FF has an almost mythical quality in my life.

Working on this title is like meeting the real Santa Claus. I started reading the FF 42 years ago and to be working on it now, on the same book that Jack Kirby founded and worked on, is humbling and just a little mind-boggling. It’s an honor to add my own chapter to the history of this amazing title. I feel so lucky to be on it that it almost makes me believe in fate. The characters are already talking to me loudly and I can’t wait to get busy with it!

NRAMA: Last, is there anything else you want to tell your fans as you make the move to Marvel?

DE: The venue has changed and I tend to change with it. My fans already know that my art evolves with every project, so they won’t be surprised to see new techniques being used. However, I will take the same approach to character and character interaction that they have come to enjoy from H.E.R.O, Villains United and the JSofA. That will never change as long as I am in this business.

Check out more on Dale at: www.daleeaglesham.com

More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage:

NYCC '09 Video Page

NYCC '09 Mini-Site

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