As announced at Friday's DC Nation Panel in Wizard World Chicago, Jamal Igle is the new penciller for the publisher’s Supergirl series beginning with issue #34. The artist will join new series writer Sterling Gates as DC puts its hopes into the new creative team and attempts to better integrate the character into the Superman universe.
Igle, who is the current artist on the Tangent Superman's Reign mini-series, started with DC as an intern and worked his way up to now being an exclusive artist with the company. Readers know his work best from his run on the Firestorm series and the creation of the Image Comic Venture with writer Jay Faerber.
As the artist now adds his unique stamp on the Supergirl character, Newsarama talked to Igle to find out how he got the gig, how he plans to draw Supergirl, and what he and Gates hope to accomplish with the ongoing series.
Newsarama: How did this opportunity come about for you, Jamal?
Jamal Igle: A couple of months ago, I actually called out Geoff Johns on his message board. And I pretty much said, "Who do I have to kill to work with you?" And he sent me a private message, asking for my phone number. And we started talking on the phone. And that's how it started. What I didn't know and what Geoff didn't know on the other hand was that Matt Idelson and Tom Palmer Jr., the editors on the Superman books, were putting together a package of two or three different artists whose work they liked and they wanted to get on the Superman books. So my work was in that package. So in a nutshell, that's how everything got rolling. And Matt Idelson called me and told me about Supergirl.
NRAMA: : I know that you're a huuuge Superman fan. I think we talked three or four years ago in Pittsburgh about your dream project being to work on Superman.
JI: Absolutely. I'm probably -- no, I can't say I'm the biggest Superman fan in the world because Mark Waid probably beats me by a couple of inches, but I'm up there.
NRAMA: So what did you think when you got presented the possibility of drawing Supergirl?
JI: It's just like everything else I've ever done. The challenge for me is I'm not particularly known for drawing women and female characters. I obviously do draw women. I've been drawing a wide variety of female superheroes and women characters my entire career. But when people think of my work, that's not the first thing that pops up. But what Sterling and I are doing on Supergirl, half the supporting cast is going to be female characters. So that will be a challenge.
Plus it's tied directly into everything that's going on in Action and Superman. So you're going to be able to enjoy the books separately, but because it's tied in with everything that's going on starting in October with the three Superman universe books, I get to draw Superman. I get to draw Supergirl. I get to draw all these Superman characters. So that's got me really excited.
NRAMA: What do you want to do with this character visually? There have been several different looks over the first 30 issues of her title.
JI: I want to make her cute, but I want to pull back a little from the more extreme versions that have done of her. She's still a 16-year-old girl, and I don't want to over-sexualize her. My style lends itself to a more naturalistic bent. So that's where my thinking is going. There are going to be a couple slight changes to the costume. Nothing overly drastic. But it's something I would like to see on her. I'm leaning more toward the way George Perez drew her in Brave and the Bold. The whole thing is we want to make her cute and fun.
NRAMA: I assume you've discussed the direction of the comic with Sterling?
JI: Yes. Absolutely.
NRAMA: We've talked to him a little bit too. But what kind of direction do you think you're hoping to support with your visual storyteling?
JI: I think stylistically, it's going to be more like what I was doing toward the end of my run on Firestorm. It's bright and he's alive. There's special effects and high energy and cool superpower stuff, as opposed to what I was doing in Nightwing, which I was trying to get more moody and use a lot more shadows and blacks. Supergirl will lend itself toward being just a little more cartoony and high energy. I want to make it visually more fun.
NRAMA: Cat Grant and Lana Lang have been mentioned as part of the supporting cast for Supergirl. What are your thoughts on them? We just saw the reintroduction of Cat in Action Comics.
JI: Lana's going to be diametrically opposed to that. Whatever sexy outfit that Cat is going to squeeze herself into, my version of Lana is going to be carrying herself far more professionally. She'll have a businesswoman air that she's picked up working for Lexcorp and she'll be carrying that over into our book.
NRAMA: How has it been working with Sterling?
JI: He's a lot of fun to talk with about the character because he's so excited about Supergirl. One of the big things for me, talking to Sterling, is that our individual ideas of where we want the book to go just immediately lined up. So I'm looking forward to what's coming, and I think fans are going to love it.