When Shane Davis erupted onto the scene, he brought a fan-friendly, explosively powerful visual style that seemed destined for blockbuster superhero storytelling. Over the past few years, he's delivered on that potential with eye-popping work, particularly with writers Mike Johnson and Michael Green on Superman/ Batman: The Search for Kryptonite, and industry titan Geoff Johns on Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns. A longtime DC exclusive artist, Davis has now re-upped his exclusivity, and this fall he will take a new leap, providing visuals for the continuity-liberated Superman: Earth One original graphic novel, written by J. Michael Straczynski.
We caught up with Davis to pick his brain on his contributions to the vast Green Lantern mythos, find out how Superman: Earth One is coming along, and got the lowdown on his loyalty to DC.Exclusive Interior Splash Page from Superman: Earth One Newsarama: I understand you've got some outside-comics commercial work on the horizon. What can you tell us about your upcoming project?
Shane Davis: Yeah, a while back I was part of an advertising campaign for a HUGE clothing company. I think they will be announcing that soon, it's a big secret. The sorta funny thing is I never expected to venture into fashion advertising.
Nrama: We'll keep an eye out. That's not the only news you've got going on. You've re-upped your exclusive with DC. What swayed you to extend your contract?
Davis: Honestly, everyone has different reasons. My family had been met with financial hardships and needed help. That led me to do another exclusive. DC has been great and [Co-Publisher] Dan [Didio] has been a firm believer in me. A lot of great things are happening at DC and I wanted to be a part of that.
Nrama: You've done some cover work for Vertigo in the past. Do you have any interest in doing work outside the world of DC superheroes? Would you want to do WildStorm or other sorts of creator-owned work?
Davis: I have a creator owned project I plan on starting in the future, its mapped out, with a title etc. ... kinda hush-hush, but for now I'm working my website http://www.artofshanedavis.com/, and a new sketchbook that should be ready for convention season.
Nrama: Blackest Night just wrapped up. You were pretty busy there, doing some covers for Blackest Night Superman, and you were there for that story in some of its formative stages with your work on the Red Lanterns. Was it cool to see those designs be a vital piece of such a high-profile project?
Davis: Yeah, working with Geoff [Johns] was great. The man's a bit of a genius, in my opinion, and arguably underrated. I think it was odd seeing [Red Lantern cat, based off Davis's own pet] Dex-Starr stick around, I even snuck him into the Green Lantern #54 cover. Aside from the practical joke becoming a real part [of the mythos], Dex-Starr will only eat Fancy Feast now. Forget about generic brand cat foods, they're just not good enough for him anymore. Then I look on the internet one day and there's a toy.... so fame has a price I guess.
Nrama: Leave it to a cat to get all superior on us; total feline superiority complex. People really gravitated to that series, and the mythology all the different Corps. What did you think about fans' reaction to that story?
Davis: It's really great to see fans so into a mythos, but probably the most awesome conversations were talking to Geoff. Part of the fan in me was in awe of seeing that mythos being born.
Nrama: Speaking of high-profile projects, you're working on Superman: Earth One with J. Michael Straczynski. What's it been like to work on such a long project, where your not seeing the work published as quickly? Does it build anticipation?
Davis: Funny that you ask, I actually finished last week. It was probably smoother for me to handle this book then I expected. It was a lot of fun in creative ways, like for example, drawing Superman using his powers. I tried giving his abilities a different effect, that was a lot of fun. JMS is the man. The script was perfect and fans are in for such a treat.
Nrama: Have you had to tinker with your sense of pacing or anything in working on a story that doesn't have that standard 22 page format?
Nrama: Well we'll have to see how that pays off. Earth One will operate under its own continuity- are you trying anything different with your style or designs to differentiate this book from the world of DC proper?
Davis: Again, it's funny again you ask. I can't talk about it. :)
Nrama: You've worked on the Batman series, you've done some JLA, you told a different kind of Kryptonite story on Superman/ Batman, and now you're working on an iconic Superman story. You've covered most of the DC bases! Now that you've signed up for more DC storytelling, what's the next challenge you'll look for?
Davis: I actually just co-wrote a Batman Confidential story with Brandon Montclare that I will be penciling soon. I would love to do more with Batman. He is such a great visual character. But now, the thing I am looking forward to the most is more Earth-One.
Superman: Earth One ships this fall, and you can check out more of Shane Davis' work at his website http://www.artofshanedavis.com/.