Vivisecting DC's THE MULTIVERSITY: Ben Oliver Helps Us Dissect THE JUST

The Multiversity: The Just
Credit: DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

Grant Morrison's Mutliversity series introduced the latest alternate earth this week, with the mini-series' third issue, The Just.

Since each issue of The Multiversity is being drawn by a different artist — and visiting a different alternate universe — Newsarama is reaching out to the artists to find out more about the process behind the series.

In August, we talked with Ivan Reis and Joe Prado about the series' first issue, then we checked in with artist Chris Sprouse, who drew the September issue, The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of Counter-World.

Credit: DC Comics

This week, the third issue in the series featured visuals by Ben Oliver, the British artist who worked with Morrison a couple years ago on Action Comics #0. Newsarama talked with Oliver about his co-creation of The Just characters for this week's chapter, continuing our series of interviews as we vivisect Multiversity.

Newsarama: Ben, what's your artistic background? How did you develop your art skills?

Ben Oliver: I'd like to start by saying, I'm useless at interviews, which is why I rarely do them – I much rather like drawing pictures; writing hurts my brain.

But now, on to the answers! I completed an Illustration degree many years ago, but most of the techniques I use are pinched from artists I admire.

Credit: DC Comics

Nrama: Can you name any of them that influenced your art? Do you credit any certain influences?

Oliver: There are so many, but if I had to pick only one it would be Bill Sienkiewicz. He's a genius.

Nrama: How would you describe your style?

Oliver: Realistic-ish, could be better.

Nrama: What did you think of Grant's Multiversity project when you first heard about it?

Credit: DC Comics

Oliver: Until I was offered the book, I wasn't really familiar with it, although I had seen a couple of Frank Quitely's early pages.

Nrama: Why do you think Grant wanted you on this issue in particular? Were you aware of the other artists and the worlds they were drawing?

Oliver: I don't really know, but I was just delighted to be involved. I wasn't aware of any of the other scripts or art, apart from Frank's pages.

Nrama: OK, but once you understood the type of comic Grant wanted to create for this issue — and the twist on teen heroes he was writing — what was the thought process like for you as you developed the look of it?

Credit: DC Comics

Oliver: I wanted it to look bright and clean and slightly soft-focus to highlight the vapid world they inhabit.

Nrama: What part of the issue was the biggest challenge for you to accomplish visually?

Oliver: Probably the party scene at the end of the book, just trying to cram as many characters as possible in there.

Nrama: What was the experience like working with Grant Morrison?

Oliver: Great, although we didn't have any direct contact as such. Everything went through our marvelous editor, Mr. Rickey Purdin.

Nrama: Interesting. But how would you describe his scripts?

Credit: DC Comics

Oliver: Really clear, easy to follow, brilliant, lots of words.

Nrama: You've worked before with Grant. What's the biggest attraction of working with him?

Oliver: We've worked together twice and hopefully will again. I just hope I've done some small justice to his script.

Nrama: Where can people see your work next?

Oliver: A book called Control, written by Andy Diggle and Angela Cruikshank, coming soon from Dynamite.

Nrama: OK, then is there anything else you want to tell fans about your work on Multiversity?

Oliver: I just hope they enjoy it, it was a blast.

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