ROB LIEFELD Goes Back to the Future for DCnU HAWK & DOVE

ROB LIEFELD Talks DCnU HAWK & DOVE

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As DC kicks off its 52 new #1 issues, one superstar artist is returning to the characters he helped develop for the publisher years ago.

Artist Rob Liefeld will draw DC's new Hawk and Dove series with critically acclaimed Supergirl writer Sterling Gates. He had worked on the characters before, even co-creating Dove when she first appeared at DC in 1988.

Although he's best known as one of the artists that founded Image Comics in the '90s, Liefeld more recently made a comeback at Marvel by returning to draw Deadpool, the popular film character he helped co-create. He's been producing a lot of artwork during the past months, including The Infinite, a new sci-fi series he's doing with Robert Kirkman for Image.

Now, he's bringing this renewed artistic energy back to Hawk and Dove. Newsarama talked to Liefeld to find out more.

Newsarama: Rob, what attracted you to getting involved with the relaunch initiative DC is doing?

Rob Liefeld: Well, who doesn't love the DC Universe? I've loved these characters forever, my first comic book was Superboy and the Legion. I've always loved both Marvel and DC equally, but I don't have a career without DC giving me the original Hawk and Dove mini-series.

Nrama: It's been awhile since you worked on DC characters, and even longer since you worked on Hawk and Dove. What kept you away? And why come back now?

Liefeld: My commitments to all my other projects made it impossible to do anything for DC until now.

In short, last spring 2010, Geoff Johns called me up to see the new DC offices for the west coast operations and we went to lunch and talked comics for hours. He had seen all the Deadpool work that I was doing and told me I should be working on the new Hawk and Dove series they were planning once Brightest Day ended. He warned me it would be at least a year off until it launched, post Flashpoint, but I was like, sign me up!

Nrama: Why do you think it is that Hawk and Dove in particular fit with your style?

Liefeld: I love the two extremes, the big, feral Hawk and the sleek, dynamic Dove, it's a great contrast. Also I co-created this particular Dove/Dawn with Barbara and Karl Kesel, and I've always followed whatever adventures she's been featured in. I was obviously beyond psyched that Geoff Johns has had a fondness for her and has featured her so prominently in both his mega-events, Blackest Night and Brightest Day.

We've returned Hawk to a larger physique, bigger presence. He's darker, literally —thanks to the re-design by Jim Lee. [He's] less the Ditko physique which is more Spider-Man/Daredevil and more brutish, bigger than Batman say, but not quite Hulk-ish. He works better as a ferocious, unhinged figure.

Dove is his balance, emotionally and physically. Dove is sleek, feminine, acrobatic. It's a great contrast on every page. It's a tried and true chemistry. I love drawing each and every page!

Nrama: How has it been working with an up-and-coming writer like Sterling Gates?

Liefeld: Well, I've know Sterling for years now and have been a huge fan. And readers may not know that he and Geoff shared a studio for years — that's where I connected with him. Geoff wanted him, I wanted him and most importantly, Sterling wanted to do it.

As anyone who has read his Supergirl and Superman comics can attest, he is a fantastic writer. We have a great working relationship. DC and Sterling have generously given me a voice on this series. We have had a blast incorporating our mutual ideas on Hawk and Dove. Sterling Gates is going to blow us all away!

Nrama: Have you adjusted your style any to fit with the relaunch book? Is it influenced at all by the directive to attract new readers?

Liefeld: When we started planning this new Hawk and Dove series last summer, we always approached it as a fresh jumping-on point. I was hired away, ironically, by Bob Harras himself, from [the older] Hawk and Dove just as my original work in the series was blowing up. I never got to hang around and contribute further to the Hawk and Dove pantheon.

The idea of Avatars was always intriguing to me. I had so many ideas and Sterling and I have created really cool, exciting new warrior Avatars, friends and foes alike, to tangle with Hawk and Dove. We hit the ground running with the first issue. It reminds me of the books I loved growing up. Great cliffhanger, really fun.

The art is very clean, very dynamic. It's my 25-year-old style, honed in the war of producing comic books for 25 years, but it's more mature, more efficient and I believe provides some really fun visuals.

Nrama: Are you getting to design any new characters for Hawk and Dove? Or are there familiar faces in the comic?

Liefeld: Many, many new characters and guest stars are on tap. I mentioned some new Avatars, stuff I've wanted to do since 1989 when I left for the X-office. I can say no more.

Nrama: Is there any concern about meeting deadlines on the monthly comic?

Liefeld: Is this where I point out that from Feb. 2010 to January 2011 I produced 10 Deadpool comics, on time, every month, without fail?

I'm not that guy that blows deadlines anymore. I think it's the outlier of it all, the idea that after 10,000 hours of doing anything you find your stride. I always wanted to do more work but was blocked, was un-motivated, whatever it was...it's passed.

Nrama: You do seem to have become more prolific lately than ever.

Liefeld: In the last two years, I've exploded with productivity. I'm pushing over 50 pages every month. I work 6 days a week, 10-to-12 hour days. I love it!

I wasted so many years in my youth. I'm just now regaining all that lost time. I thank [now Marvel Editor-In-Chief] Axel Alonso, who believed in me and gave me a shot two years ago, and allowed me to do 10 issues of Deadpool. Without those jobs, there is no Infinite with Robert Kirkman or no Hawk and Dove with DC and Sterling.

Retailers can look back and say, yep, I received every Deadpool comic solicited on time, every month. Expect much more of the same. Late 90's, early 2000's Rob was in a definite fog. I'm fired up and cranking!

Nrama: Besides Hawk and Dove, where else can we see your work right now?

Liefeld: I have The Infinite, which is on issue #4 on our end, as well as some Marvel work that has yet to come to light.

Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell your fans about your upcoming work on Hawk and Dove?

Liefeld: It's a blast and a bonus to be a part of the DC relaunch, which is simply the ballsiest move in the history of comic books.

Check back soon as Newsarama talks to writer Sterling Gates about Hawk and Dove.

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