Dark Knight III: The Master Race: Interview With Artists Andy Kubert And Klaus Janson


Dark Knight III: The Master Race has been one of the most anticipated sequels coming out of DC Comics.  If you thought reading it was a treat, check out our interview with two of the artists who worked on it.  Klaus Janson — who’s no a stranger to the Dark Knight universe because he worked on the original The Dark Knight Returns — and Andy Kubert — a veteran in the industry, but a newcomer to the Dark Knight saga — speak to us about what it’s like working with each other and writers Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello.

Along the way, they reveal who they were influenced by and what it means to be a professional artist, as both are also practicing teachers in their respective fields.  So join us in this exciting conversation with two of the biggest names working in comics today.

READ MORE > Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 Review

Bam Smack Pow: With a project as large as Dark Knight III: The Master Race, how did the two of you collaborate?

Andy Kubert: [laughs] Basically cut and dry.  Pencil out the papers and send them off via Fed-Ex.

Klaus Janson: [laughs] Yep, and when I’m done, I send them back.  In all seriousness, we’re both old-timers so we know how things are already done.

BSP: So, you basically have the process down, which means no drama and conflicts.

AK: Yep.  Even when working with writers Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello.  We basically do the layouts and send them off to Frank and Brian for approval and feedback.  They get back to us and we continue our work.  Very straightforward.

BSP: Andy and Klaus, who influenced your art the most?

KJ: That’s a good question.  There are so many.  Let me guess.  Andy, do you want to take this one first?

AK: At my dad’s [Joe Kubert] school I had a lot of exposure to the old-timers.  Very influential artists who worked on some famous titles.  It’s really varied and mixed.  Just off the top of my head, I can say I’m influenced by Neal Adams, Curt Swan, and Jim Lee.  I think anybody whose work I like, I get influence from.

KJ: It really comes down to the assignment or genre, and Andy is absolutely correct that we are influenced by whatever we like.  Two off the top of my head right now would be Stuart Immonen and Dick Giordano.  The range is huge.  Also, I just want to say, Andy, your father probably also taught you on how to be a professional.

AK: Yes, definitely!  My dad didn’t just teach me about the art, but about things that are just as important as the art: how to communicate with editors, meeting deadlines, conducting yourself, etc.

KJ: In this field, I always got the feeling that you’re more than just being an artist.  You have to understand how to collaborate and work with editors.  It’s much more than just drawing.  And that’s probably what you guys teach at The Kubert School right, Andy?

AK: Yep.  It’s a school that teaches everything about the industry.  However, the main things we tell the students are how to communicate and collaborate with people in the industry.

KJ: [laughs] I often hear stories about people who take an assignment and then go on some motorcycle trip and you don’t hear from them for six months!  You just don’t do that! —

AK: [laughs and interjects] Yeah, you’re basically just fired!

KJ: [laughs in agreement] Yep, you’re out of the job.  Gone!  You have obligations and you have to conduct yourself in a professional manner.

READ MORE > Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 Review

BSP: Do you have any favorite pages, panels, or spreads from Dark Knight III? Why is that (or those) your favorite?

AK: I definitely do!

KJ: Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 is great!

AK: The first issue (Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1) is definitely one of my favorites.  Remember the splash page with Wonder Woman fighting the Minotaur?  The rain from Klaus was just beautiful.  Also when Carrie fights the police.  That whole scene is great.

KJ: There’s also something special on Page 2 in Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3.  It’s something we gifted to Frank.  He saw it and he loved it!  So check it out.

BSP: Klaus, this question is specifically for you.  You worked on the original Dark Knight Returns. In the process of creating Dark Knight III, was there ever a moment where you felt overwhelmed in wanting to top your previous efforts?

KJ: I felt a little overwhelmed.  When I was inking for Frank on the mini-comic, it felt stressful.  I wanted to do it right.  I think this was the closest I’ve had to a nervous breakdown.  However, looking back, I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to work with him again.

Working with Andy was also a treat.  With him, it was completely stress free.  Andy’s pencils were so finished that my job was easy.  [laughs] I was basically the guy picking up the poop.

AK: No, I totally dialed it down.  From what I remember, I kept my pencils sort of loose.  I actually gave you a lot less to work with.  You really elevated what I did.

KJ: It was a treat working with Andy.  It was so high-profile that all eyes were on us.  And I was very pleased with the results.

BSP: Andy, what was your reaction when you were first approached to work on Dark Knight III. Now that you’ve gone through it, is there anything you would want to change with the experience?

AK: My first reaction?  I didn’t believe it.  It didn’t really hit me until I started working on the first script for Dark Knight III.  To be involved in this is an honor.  I idolize Frank Miller and didn’t want this collaboration to end.  Working with everyone, this is the pinnacle of my career!  There was no drama and I wouldn’t change any of it!

KJ: When we first got together, we hit it right off.  To this day we still talk to each other.  Dark Knight III has been a wonderful experience!

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 was released on Wednesday, February 24, 2016.  Physical and digital copies will be available for purchase via comic book retailers, bookstores, online retailers, and wherever comics are sold. So pick up your copy today!

Next: Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 Review

Andy Kubert is the son of comics legend Joe Kubert.  Graduating from the Kubert School, he got is first assignment as a letterer for DC Comics.  His first credited assignment was for Sgt. Rock #393 (October 1984) “Old Soldiers Never Die.”  He later worked on the crossover mini-series Batman versus Predator (December 1991 – February 1992).

Kubert is best known for his work at Marvel Comics, specifically for the X-Men titles.  He started there as an occasional cover artist and fill-in artist.  After Jim Lee’s departure from Marvel to form Image Comics, Kubert became a regular penciller.  In 1995, he drew the Amazing X-Men limited series which was part of the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline.  From November 2001 to March 2002, he drew the Origin limited series, which revealed the early history of Wolverine.

Signing an exclusive to work for DC Comics in 2005, Kubert and writer Grant Morrison introduced the world to Damian Wayne.  Kubert later contributed covers to the Blackest Night: Batman mini-series and variant covers for Blackest Night and Green Lantern.  In 2011, he drew for DC’s Flashpoint mini-series.  And in 2013, he wrote and drew Damian: Son of the Batman.

Alongside his brother, Adam, Andy Kubert also teaches at the Kubert School — a technical school dedicated to the training of future comic book artists.

Source: Wikipedia

Klaus Janson started in the comics industry in the 1970s working as an assistant to Dick Giordano.  His first credit was in Jungle Action #6 (September 1973).  He later became noticed as an inker for Sal Buscema’s pencils on The Defenders.  After that, he became a freelancer and has worked on major titles at both DC and Marvel.

In 1975, Janson started work as an inker on Daredevil.  When the series went from bi-monthly to monthly, Frank Miller, who was a penciller on that series, relied more and more on Janson to do the illustrations.  Starting in Daredevil #173, Miller sent Janson looser and looser pencils.  By Daredevil #185, Miller was only providing rough layouts and Janson was penciling, inking, and coloring.  When Miller left, Janson illustrated the series by himself.

Janson started at DC Comics in the early 1980s and did the inks for Detective Comics and Jemm, Son of Saturn.  Janson would soon collaborate with Miller again.  This time, on the critically-acclaimed Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986).  After that, Janson continued to do artwork on multiple Batman titles which included Detective Comics, Batman: Gothic, Batman: Knightfall, and the intercompany Batman-Spawn: War Devil.  In 1996, Janson wrote a short story in the anthology mini-series Batman: Black and White.

Janson, with writer Mike Baron, created the character Microchip in The Punisher #4 (November 1987).  He later inked the early issues of The Sensational Spider-Man.  At Marvel, Janson had frequent collaborations with John Romita, Jr. on titles which included Wolverine, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Black Panther.

Since the 1990s, Janson has taught sequential storytelling at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.  He is the author of The DC Comics Guide to Pencilling Comics and The DC Comics Guide to Inking Comics.  Annually, Janson holds seminars at Marvel for newly hired up-and-coming artists.  He also teaches short courses on comics storytelling at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.

Source: Wikipedia