The Brazilian artist juggles DC Comics' A-list stars and brings something new to each.
If there's a dream superhero art gig, Ivan Reis has it.
He gets to illustrate new characters like the super-shrinky new female Atom, too, yet it's getting to do Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg
on a monthly basis as the artist of the DC Comics title Justice League that really brings him back to his childhood.
"But now honestly, the biggest fun for me is the creative process, and knowing that everything you've been through with these same characters during your growing-up years, now you're able to work with them and influence a whole new generation, without forgetting to honor the die-hard fans like myself," says Reis, the Brazilian comic-book illustrator who teams with writer Geoff Johns and fellow artist Joe Prado.
Johns and artist Gary Frank continue their Shazam backup story in Justice League issue 19 (available Wednesday digitally and in comic shops), but Reis draws the main feature, which is continuing to lead to this summer's "Trinity War" crossover among DC's three Justice League titles.
Last issue, Cyborg
began a recruitment drive for new Leaguers — including the Atom and quirky Element Woman — but learned that someone may be trying to undermine the superhero team from the inside. Underhanded goings-on continue in the new chapter, plus Reis teases a sequence where Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have "a very, very serious conversation. It's food for thought — things can get very ugly very fast."
With so many characters to draw, and each one with a different body type, mannerisms and individual idiosyncrasies, the challenge Reis faces is to make it all work together, he says. Here, the artist breaks down what he brings to each of the Justice Leaguers:
Cyborg: "I try to keep his innocence since he's the youngest of the bunch, and lost his life to alien technology," Reis says. "Now he has to face the odds and adjust himself to a new reality. Drawing him, I try to keep in mind that he's still a young man and, in his core, human. So he always tries to keep his tech form as close to human's as possible when not in action. And when things get ugly, he transforms his body to a humanoid war tank."
Superman: For Reis, the Man of Steel "represents the ideal of being a superhero. But not just a superhero — the superhero. I try to make him look as iconic as possible and always try to make him stand out."
Wonder Woman: The artist approaches DC's top female star the same way he does Superman: iconic, regal and imposing, he says. "She's a warrior, and never hides, so she's always on the frontlines."
Batman: "You'll hardly see clearly my Batman!" Reis says with a laugh. "He's always lurking in the scenes I draw him, or shrouded by the dark of his cape. He has no powers, so he always relies on attacking his enemies out of nowhere. Even when he's among friends, he's prepared for the worst."
Aquaman: Reis was also recently the series artist on Johns' Aquaman, and he focuses on drawing the Atlantean king looking down at people "due to his royal nature," he says. "His conflict lies in balancing his temper. I always try to portray him as put together as possible, to show his effort to control himself, but obviously that falls apart when he's in battle."
The Atom: Introduced recently in Justice League, the college student-turned-heroine is "young and fun, not to mention an expert computer geek," Reis says. "I always try to portray her as very self-confident of who she is."
Element Woman: An eager girl who possesses similar powers as Metamorpho in that she can transform into various elements, she has a very young personality that Reis highlights on the page. "She's a fan of the super-heroes that now she's working with," he says, "so I always try to draw her always in awe of her teammates."