Yesterday, The Beat brought you an exclusive interview with Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig, co-writers of the new Dark Circle Comics series The Shield. In this new take on a classic character originally introduced in 1940, The Shield is a spirit that defends truth, justice, and the American way by inhabiting the body of an everyday citizen. The Shield has existed since the Revolutionary period in American history, but the 2015 Shield is anything but ordinary. For the first time, The Shield is a woman!
Today, we’re proud to present an interview with The Shield artist Drew Johnson, where he discusses the inspiration behind his character designs and the future of the patriotic superhero he’s brought to life for the panel.
Alex Lu: How did you get involved with Dark Circle and The Shield?
Drew Johnson: When I saw the first announcement of the new version of the character, I was just crazy about her design and potential. I wrote to the book’s editor, Alex Segura, and asked him if I could do some cover work for the new book. Through a turn of events, I ended up being asked to be the series artist, and was thrilled for the opportunity.
Lu: How did you come up with The Shield’s costume design? It seems to vary from era to era—what sort of fashion styles were you drawing from?
Johnson: I didn’t actually design the character—She was really well designed by another artist before I came to the project. I did, however, get to design The Shield of 1776, who is introduced to readers on the first page of issue one. She was so much fun to work with. I spent a good amount of time on-line trying to get an idea of the look and personal attitudes of the clothing of that period, and in my head, I envisioned a bunch of backstory of how she might have come to the point in her life where she was driven to abandon the traditions of the times, and become this outlaw freedom fighter. I’m excited that I’ll get to design The Shield of other eras as well!
Lu: Looking at some of the finished inks, one of the biggest things that stands out to me about your art is your knack for architecture. The buildings and interiors of every scene are incredibly detailed and add a lot of depth to the pages. Where did you draw visual inspiration for the locations from?
Johnson: Adam and Chuck set the story in Washington DC, and used some pretty specific locations for key scenes. Fortunately, I’ve been to The District a couple of times over the last few years. My wife’s brother works as a diplomat for the State Department, and her parents moved to Virginia a while back. We’ve visited them all and spent a good bit of time wandering around Washington DC, taking in the sights and landmarks.
It’s a fascinating city, and you can’t help but be taken in by the history that continues to live and breathe all around you when you’re there. Standing in places like Ford’s Theatre, or the WW2 Memorial, you can almost feel the ghosts of our country’s great men and women brushing past you. I wanted really badly to convey the look and feel of The Capitol as The Shield moves through it, and interacts with it.
Lu: Hopefully without spoiling too much, what has been your favorite scene to draw thus far?
Johnson: I really enjoyed working on the opening sequence, and creating the 1776 version of The Shield with Chuck and Adam. The scene establishes our character as a defiant spirit, and a fighter for freedom so nicely. I try throughout the issue to keep that fire of defiance visible in our character’s eyes and mannerisms. Even when she’s alone and amnesiac, she still carries the self-possession and drive of a soldier and a leader. I love how the beginning of the book burns that right into the character from the start.
Lu: As the story progresses, what would you love to have the chance to draw during your run on The Shield?
Johnson: Anything that Adam and Chuck would like to throw at me. I love to draw this character and I’m really enjoying my collaboration with Chuck, Adam, and Dark Circle Comics. I’m excited to see where this adventure will take us.
The Shield #1 hits stands on October 21st!
Alex is the Managing Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at Papercutz. He is your go-to fella for creator interviews, conversations about comic book structure, and general DC Comics nerding. Currently geeking out over movies, too.