Evic Oropilla wrote for Bleeding Cool from WonderCon;
It was a dream of Doug Mahnke to become a superhero when he was growing up. However, he couldn’t become one so he did the next best thing… he drew them! The comic book world definitely has benefited from that decision as Doug has been illustrating for the past 25 years and still going strong!
Mahnke’s started his panel off doing a retrospective look over the past 25 years of the art pages he loved to work on. He went over his thought process, talent that he worked with, the storyline and anecdotes from such pieces as The Mask, Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein, Batman, Green Lantern, Major Bummer, Black Adam: The Dark Age and a few more! It was a chance to see and hear how one of the superstars of comic book art world approaches his craft.
Here is a synopsis of one of the many art pages Doug presented during his panel:
Mahnke explains how he loves to draw fun things while introducing one of his favorite pages from Hitman Vol. 7: Closing Time which is a Lobo/Hitman cross-over with writer Garth Ennis. Doug explained how creating regular people is a real treat as he was describing his thought process when coming up with the look of the suit guy seated at the table. Mahnke’s stated that he wanted to do the stereotypical movie-type, Italian mobster thug watching Tommy Monaghan walk by and was only told by Garth that he wanted the character to be seated at a bar. Doug goes on to say how he loves to add the little things that make comic book storytelling interesting such as the whiskey bottle and the bottle of tabasco sauce on the table.
A quick Q & A session followed the art presentation. There were some very insightful answers from Doug from the questions asked which made me appreciate him even more. I was pleasantly surprised on how candid and honest he was answering each question for example someone from the audience asked, “What things do you do to stay focus?” and this was his answer:
“… motivating factors is being relevant, working hard, pleasing your fans. You want them to enjoy the stuff you produce. You want to give them good stuff… This is not an industry for people that are not self-motivated… you have to have it all of this, have to have self discipline, you have the ability to get in a chair, to work, get through, to handle an extremely stressful environment. I’m not kidding! My middle name is stress…”
Mahnke even revealed during that answer a personal incident where he was in a car accident and suffered a concussion but went home that same day and continued inking his work to meet deadlines! Doug is so driven that not even a concussion slowed him down.
I am sad that Mahnke will be leaving my favorite DC characters’ book after issue #20 in May. I have come to the realization that I have been spoiled by the phenomenal art on each page for the past four years. I am really thankful for the first 25 years and I am hoping for 25 more years of art from Doug who in my opinion is one of the best in the business!
Here are some images that were shown during panel: