Yesterday, we spoke with writer Simon Oliver about DC Comics’ upcoming The Hellblazer: Rebirth #1. Series artist Moritat caught up with us about his involvement with the book, the tone of The Hellblazer, and other DC occult characters he’d like to try his hand at drawing.
FreakSugar: For folks who might not be familiar with John Constantine, how would you describe The Hellblazer?
Moritat: How would I? You have these wonderful summer movies, full of escapism, honorable sacrifices and noble intent. You have comics that are uplifting with primary colors that make you feel good.
Do you like pretty? This isn’t the book for you. Hellblazer has always brought the uneasy questions that we ask after reading a steady diet of heroic books.
FS: John Constantine’s world is very much mired in the occult. How did you approach what you wanted the look of the series to be?
M: There are a great number of artistic influences that the book Hellblazer put me on the path toward. Of course every outlier artist in the industry harbors a chance to draw John Constantine. So you save and gather myriad influences in the hopes that one day you’ll get your chance. So to answer your question, I’ve been collecting visual fodder and dark ideas in the Hellblazer comic book in my head since Swamp Thing #37!
FS: What’s the collaboration process like with Simon?
M: We drink a lot in pubs.
FS: How does your past work inform how you approach designing John Constantine’s world?
M: Ooooo. Tough question. Hmmmm. I like to be very detail oriented and clear in the artwork. I think that studying the pantheon of past Hellblazer artists, I have to establish mood much better. I tend to like drawing movement and with Constantine’s world, designing my interpretation of a methodical psychological thriller is going to be a lot of studying people while having an uncomfortable conversation.
FS: When you sit at your drawing desk, is there a particular headspace you need to be in when you work on John Constantine?
M: Yeah. Candles and black cats.
FS: Are there any particular characters from DC’s menagerie of occult and supernatural characters you’d like to try your hand a drawing?
M: Oh yes. Very much so. I grew up reading Gardner Fox, and studying Michael Kaluta. Yes!
FS: What can we expect moving forward past the one-shot?
M: There was an initial shock of friends and correspondence in regards to being announced as the artist on this book. There is a HUGE fan base out there that has been hiding in the corners and in the darkness. I have really been rethinking how to artistically please this sub-culture. Moving forward: there is a lot of art that was unknown to me. I want to immerse myself in visual worlds that I wasn’t comfortable with. Explore the world of this spectral society.
The Hellblazer: Rebirth #1, written by Simon Oliver with Moritat on art, is on sale July 20 from DC Comics.
From the official issue description:
John Constantine’s lost weekend in New York City was fun, but London’s where his heart is—only a pissed-off demon and a curse on his soul stand in his way. Even Constantine’s questionable ethics are pushed to the limit when he puts eight million souls on the line to get what he wants….