By David Nieves
Amidst his first special-guest-of Comic Con appearance, the opening day of SDCC held Chris Samnee’s first spotlight panel. Jovially introduced by his Daredevil partner and moderator Mark Waid, Chris talked about his influences and beginnings, and answered some questions from fans.
The panel began with a brief history of Chris Samnee’s career so far. His beginnings stem from his childhood memories of DC’s Super Friends show. Samnee had never even heard of comics until he was introduced to them at around the age of five. Once he saw his first Batman comic, he knew his life’s passion would be creating them. Around the age of fifteen Samnee began showing samples to editors at shows and getting feedback.
It only took a few meetings to get his first short story at long gone Big Bang Comics label. After that he found work at Oni Press while also working menial jobs. His crack at the big two started over at the Vertigo imprint for DC working on a crime graphic novel called Area Ten. The covers and shorts he did there steamrolled into full runs for Marvel and IDW, all the way to his most recent work on Rocketeer and Daredevil.
Waid and Samnee admitted to keeping Chris’ involvement with both Rocketeer and Daredevil at the same time a secret from their respective editors. The pair did this to avoid panicking the publishers because artists just don’t do more than one book a month anymore. Waid credits Samnee with being one of the only modern artists to draw more than one book at a time.
Waid questioned Samnee on his artistic influences and was surprised to find out the iconic Jim Aparo influence on Samnee’s style, because of their different approaches to layout and figure. Mark Waid praised his partner on adding to Daredevil’s scripts and making the book feel like a true collaboration. In the artist words, working with Mark has been his best experience, the amount of time they spend with each other adding to the book, in his words makes Daredevil feel like “our book.”
At this point the duo took questions from the audience:
One question posed to Chris had to do with his process on digital comics, like Adventures of Superman. One thing he learned about digital comics was not to overthink the process. Instead of figuring out how to divide pages, he simply uses standard 11×17 board sizes and cuts them exactly in half when drawing them.
The most interesting question was about his future projects. For now fans will get a few more Rocketeer covers for IDW and his only monthly book will be Daredevil for the foreseeable future. Waid jumped in and said, “I’m never letting this guy go.”