Jimmy Leszczynski writes from WonderCon 2018 for Bleeding Cool:
Jim Lee, DC Entertainment’s co-publisher (Batman, Justice League, Superman Unchained, The Immortal Men), talks about his 30+ years in the comics industry and sketches your favorite characters live on the big screen. This is a great opportunity to watch the creative process firsthand and learn the tips of the trade that bring DC Entertainment’s characters to life.
Jim starts off by sitting down and welcoming us to WonderCon 2018, which is followed by a huge round of applause. Jim continues to explain the usual process of his panels — he draws, he talks, and gives away the sketches to some lucky fans.
Today Jim is a little tired of talking and suggests that three fans from the audience come to the stage to tell his origin story of how he got into comics.
Jim invites them to sit and take a shot a telling his story. He also assures them not to be too nervous as he will correct anything too out of place. Jim continues to flesh out his sketch as Fan #1 (no names given) starts by telling the audience that Jim’s parents wanted him to be a doctor, but he had other ideas for his future. He asked his parents to give him one year to get into a studio, and if he couldn’t, he would go into medicine. An overhead camera picks up the magic as Lee’s scribbles and lines slowly come together as a recognizable shape as the fans story unfolds.
The fans then go on to share that while running for his high school wrestling team, he used the mantra “Miller, Byrne, Miller, Byrne,” to motivate himself. Moving on from his childhood to early career, Jim invites three new fans up to the stage to help tell his tale.
Lee calls for more knowledgeable fans, and three more hail the call. While we wait for them to take the stage, Jim tells us he is not even sure that his daughter knows what his stuff looks like, so he likes to test her by printing her artwork and have her guess which images he drew. “But I would give her three pieces of art that I didn’t draw any of them. So it’s like the no-win situation, I just watch her squirm, struggle.”
The first fan tell us what a fan of Star Trek Jim is and that when he became a naturalized citizen he used James T. Kirk as inspiration to choose his name. Fun fact: he named his sister Linda Lee, after Supergirl. He quickly runs down some early credits like Alpha Force, Punisher, and Uncanny X-Men. Jim then did a 12-issue run on X-Men, then took off with some of his friends to start a little company called Image. Fan #2 continues that after selling his company Lee moved on to DC, where he notably worked on Batman: Hush. Which brings us to present day where is the co-publisher at DC comics, drew DC Origins, and infamously gave Wonder Woman pants! Jim nods and adds tidbits here and there as he keeps working his magic on the paper.
The first person up to the mike, “Chain”, doesn’t have a question, but, as a way of thanks for signing his issue of Batman: Hush last year, he presents the gift of a caricature that he had drawn of Lee. The very next fan is tired of his buddy “Chain” bragging about how he got Hush signed by Jim Lee last year, and asked if Lee would sign his twice to shut him up. Of course, the gracious Lee complies and adds a sketch.
During the Q & A we learn:
All about Jim’s Twitch channel. Where it is pretty much the same format. Jim Lee talking, telling stories, and instructing as he draws. Where the drawing itself is the entertainment, and it is pretty interesting to watch. If you enjoy art, drawing, and/or comics, you really need to check out his channel. He does a show once or twice a week and gives the sketches away to a lucky fan.
And who Jim Lee least likes to draw? Spider-Man. Lee really takes a while to go over what a pain it is to draw Spider-Man’s webs. Which way do they go? Are the in perspective? Are they the right weight? All this for each and every panel? No thanks. “This is a serious dissection — I’m gonna be mailing this video to Stan Lee right after this,” he jokes.
After tons of laughs and an amazing art demonstration, Lee uses the WonderCon Badge numbers to decide who wins the art. He randomly recites letters and numbers until only one extremely fortunate attendee is chosen. Lee spent too much time on Spidey, he says — now they need the room.