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!

Rafael Alberquerque's #1 Variant Cover
Rafael Alberquerque’s #1 Variant Cover

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.

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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!

The Shield of the American Revolution
The Shield of the American Revolution

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.

The-Shield-1-Pg-5-Finished-Inks-DrewJohnson

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-Pg-15-Finished-Inks-DrewJohnson


The Shield #1 hits stands on October 21st!

8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m very confused. As reported here, Archie Comics is laying off staff. Many comments on this site about that news item noted that the new, revamped Archie line has slowed down to a very erratic release schedule. But while that’s going on, the company is presenting a new group of superhero comics in an already over-saturated marketplace for that sort of material. I can’t imagine these books (no matter how good they are) being ordered in numbers more than what the Valiant line is selling right now (under 10,000 copies a book). It’s like someone who’s losing their house because they can’t keep up with the payments deciding to remodel the kitchen and add a couple of new rooms. I don’t get it.

  2. It may not make much sense, but Black Hood is one of the best superhero books being put out by anyone. Whether or not Archie is acting rationally or whatever — I don’t know. But given how good Black Hood has been, I’ll definitely give this a shot (as well as the other titles they’ve got planned).

  3. @ jsf: I understand what you’re saying about the quality of the book. I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy Black Hood for a long time. But then I read another article about how even well reviewed, mid-list superhero titles from the big two are getting crushed in the sales charts these days. I’m sincerely curious how retailers look at something like this new Dark Circle line and take a stab as to how many of their books to order.

  4. So agreed, JSF! Black Hood is amazing! I even got my boyfriend into it. At first he was totally against the entire thing (he hates superhero comics) but after he finally broke down and bought the first four issues, he was completely hooked. More people should be reading this book!

  5. Black Hood *is* terrific — so much so that I’ll probably take a chance on The Shield, even though I hadn’t planned on it when it was announced, around this time last year.

  6. sigh, yet another white chick, if they were really re-inventing she would be afro-american, hispanic or indian, pass on this one.
    Isn’t abot time we had a hindu superheroe.
    We have a muslim super hero who outsells everyone so why not hindu.

    and we have yet another white male creator, surely this would’ve been opportunity for female artist?

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