BookGateway (Scott Asher and David Mason) had a chance at Comic Con Nashville for a quick interview with Mike McKone one of the greatest artists in comics over the last 20 years. From Wikipedia: “Mike” McKone is a British comic book artist. McKone’s first published works for the major companies included DC Comics’ Justice League of America and Justice League International for DC Comics and The Punisher War Zone for Marvel Comics. However, it was his work on Marvel’s Exiles which brought him instant attention, and led him to work on two of DC’s Teen Titans and Marvel’s Fantastic Four.
BookGateway: I’d like to ask you about your Teen Titans (2003–07) experience with Geoff Johns. How did that all begin? How’d you get on the book?
Mike McKone: [laughter] Oh, I was drinking heavily. [laughter] I knew Eddie Berganza the editor and he asked me to work on the book. I’d spent two years on Exiles (2001–03) so I was hired.
BG: At that time Teen Titans had kinda failed over and over again. It wasn’t doing very good until you guys took over… You remember Dan Jurgens did Teen Titans (1996-1998) and it just didn’t work. Did you guys have any idea how it was gonna [take off?]
MM: Actually they wanted me to work on Outsiders.
BG: Because they launched at the same time.
MM: Yeah. They wanted me to work on Outsiders.
BG: With Judd Winick?
MM: Yeah. Because Judd Winick was writing Exiles.
BG: How was that working with Geoff Johns?
MM: It was fun. Yeah. He was very receptive of ideas. Very funny. That was in the days when we still talked to each other. Writers and artists. Now it’s email.
BG: How much did you and Johns talk about Teen Titans?
MM: Oh wow. Quite a bit. He likes to go over scripts.
MM: I think so. It’s not Teen Titans without Kid Flash with the yellow and red costume.
BG: You guys came out with Superboy in jeans and a t-shirt, right? Was that your idea or Johns? How did that evolve?
MM: I don’t remember. I know that I did a lot of costume designs for Superboy. I know that the black t-shirts are very popular.
BG: How was your time on the new Justice League (Unlimited)?
MM: It’s been great. I was on for issues 0 to 5 (2014).
BG: What’s your upcoming project?
BG: Gonna publish with Image?
MM: I’m not sure. I’ve got a couple ideas to play with. I’ve been on the road at hotels a lot so maybe I’ll write a story about that. I’ve just got to figure out what I’m going to write.
BG: One other question. Recently it’s been kinda a big deal with the Spider-Woman cover by Milo Manara with the over-sexualization of the female character. How do you feel about that? Marvel said we aren’t gonna use Manara on a couple other covers they had planned because of the backlash.
MM: Oh they did?
BG: Yeah. But after 20 or 30 years of Marvel coming out with things like X-Men Swimsuit issue does that mean anything?
MM: You have to appreciate that comics do represent the idealized body – male and female. But there is a line of good taste that shouldn’t be crossed. And I’m not saying that Marvel and Milo crossed it…. I think everyone who works in comics has been guilty of it at times.
BG: Yeah, everyone is super buff and wearing skin tight clothes. So there is a certain expectation that they will be sexy.
MM: Yeah. But there is a line for good taste. It’s not really what they are wearing but how they are posed. I think people are starting to be more aware of this.
BG: It’s a little bit harder to get away with this because there is so much more immediate scrutiny on the internet.
MM: Yeah, finally the internet is good for something!
BG: Thank you for your time!
MM: I appreciate it. Take care.
@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.
David Mason has been a comics aficionado since the late 80s and is passionate about the creators in the industry. David, his wife and six kids live in in Middle Tennessee. He loves Jesus and was wet t-shirt contest winner at Smyrna High School in back to back years (1997, 1998).