We recently had the good fortune of meeting with Dale Eaglesham, over by the grassy knoll, and here’s what happened:
Q: As a Canadian, you must be pretty stoked about penciling the new Alpha Flight series, right?
A: It was a huge honor, and I loved every minute of it. That was one of the most special projects that I’ve ever worked on. It’s such a bummer that it was only 8 issues, but we all put 100% into it and made it as amazing as we could.
Q: They call you “The Evolutionary Jack Kirby”. How did that nickname come about?
A: I got the nickname while I was on Fantastic Four, because I tried to remain faithful to the original vibe of the FF. The team looked pretty different back then, especially Reed, who was much more rugged, and I wanted to recreate that… but with my own twist.
Q: When you were penciling the Fantastic Four, which character did you most enjoy penciling?
A: Ben and Reed. Reed because it was a thrill to draw the original Kirby version that I remember as a kid, and Ben ‘cause he’s just FUN to draw.
Q: What was it like working together with Greg Pak on The Incredible Hulk?
A: Awesome! He’s a real pro and such a good guy. Working with Greg and Fred (or as we call them, Freg) on Alpha Flight was a huge treat. I miss them already.
Q: What can brick-and-mortar comicbook shops do more of, to remain relevant in today’s digital age?
A: Stock more graphic novels, and more artsy European books that aren’t necessarily readily available in North America. S ell movies and video games. Hold events like signings, because obviously you can’t do those online, so it’s an edge stores have over the Web.
Q: As much as we love The New 52 at DC Comics, we really do miss the Justice Society of America. What is your favorite memory from you time penciling that iconic series?
A: It was the little character moments – Wildcat ruffling his kid’s hair. Superheroes in full uniform buying ice cream at the supermarket. A pancake breakfast. Anything involving Starman. And brainstorming with Geoff over the phone. After two years on the title, I felt that I had barely scratched the surface with all those characters.
Q: Who are some of your favorite fellow Canadians in the comicbook industry nowadays?
A: Seriously, we have an unbelievably talented pool of creators in Canada. I’m incredibly proud to be part of that family, and I just can’t choose anyone to specifically single out.
Q: What’s the single most exciting thing about comicbooks today?
A: They’re still around!
Q: What a random fun fact about Dale Eaglesham which most folks are probably unaware of?
A: I’ve been drawing comics since I was 9 and a professional in the biz for 26 years. Been with my wife (fans know her as Wolfie) for over 22 years. But you might already know these things. Here’s something you don’t know: I’ve been fighting a lifelong battle against debilitating social phobia, and the good news is that I am now finally conquering it. I was practically a shut-in back in my early 20s. Now I can actually go to a convention and interact with fans and colleagues, but it took a lot of hard work and it’s taken many years to get this far. So there’s hope for anyone out there who knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Q: If you could have Superman’s powers for one day, what would you do?
A: Draw a year’s worth of comics that day, and then go on vacation for the rest of the year! Choice number two would be to locate and raise Atlantis.
Q: Settle a bet for us? Who is the cutest blonde in Marvel Comics?
Q: Do you enjoy listening to music while you draw? If so, what kind of music?
A: Yes, I use it to set the tone. I listen mostly to classical music and death metal. Lots of Tom Waits and movie soundtracks as well.
Q: What is your favorite film from the black and white film era?
A: That’s my favorite film era, so there are many. It’s a Wonderful Life and Rear Window are my two favorites, along with pretty much anything by my storytelling idol, Hitchcock.
Q: What are you reading?
A: 11/12/63, the JFK novel by Stephen King.
Q: What is the best piece of advice that anyone ever gave to you?
A: Don Daley, one of my old editors from early in my career, once told me not to spend too much time on any one panel or page. He said “That’s just one panel (or page) in your whole career. You’ll draw thousands more. Let it go.” I still have to tell myself that sometimes.
Q: What’s next for Dale Eaglesham fans in 2012?
A: I have a really fun, 5-issue arc that I’m working on. It hasn’t been announced yet, so I can’t say more than that. I can say it’s with a familiar editorial team but a writer I’ve never worked with before. He’s awesome and I’m glad we can finally do a project together.