As DC’s Blackest Night rages on, Josh Green got the chance to sit down with Scott Kolins and pick his brain about closing out Solomon Grundy and moving forward with Blackest Night.
Josh Green: You are about to close out the Solomon Grundy mini-series that you have been writing and drawing. How long have you been thinking about becoming a comic book writer in addition to your duties as an artist? Did anyone offer you advice about how to break a story?
Scott Kolins: As long as I’ve been reading comics, I’ve wanted to write and draw comics. I didn’t learn until years later that they were “separate jobs”. The art side drew me in faster and that’s what my career has centered-on, but ask anyone that’s worked with me and they’ll tell you writing and drawing was always my goal. It’s started like it does with anyone; a kid scribbling — creating characters and more characters, but creating characters leads to powers and origins and creating villains and on and on. Eventually it becomes a story. It’s in my blood. Every writer has taught me some things — just by working with them, but my buddy, Geoff Johns has been the most supportive, with plenty of advise.
JG: Why choose Solomon Grundy as your first writing assignment? He is a great character, but he is more known for his supporting villainous roles. Was this a character that you sought to write, or was this proposed to you from editorial?
SK: Well, Grundy kinda chose me — not that I would’ve wanted it any other way! I’ve always loved monsters, and Grundy is a perfect fit for me, but you still have to be in the right place at the right time. I mentioned my interest in monsters to my buddy Geoff — and he knew of my interest in writing and drawing — so he got the ball rolling with an idea he had for Grundy. Geoff graciously helped me get this train moving and let me handle the rest of the story. The timing was perfect! I can’t thank Geoff enough, this experience has been incredible! I always liked Grundy’s potential before and I really had one of the best times of my career letting Grundy run wild.
JG: What should fans expect from the last issue of the Solomon Grundy mini-series?
SK: Hopefully the best Grundy story ever! And we finally answer the burning question of Grundy’s origin about who killed Cyrus Gold. Grundy will not be the same when it’s over, and it will lead to other Grundy stories in the near future.
JG: This Solomon Grundy mini-series is going to set the stage for a Superman/Batman two-issue Blackest Night tie-in. What can you say about this arc?
SK: That it’s a lot of fun — with more monsters! Here’s the deal: instead of Superman and Batman, for this story we have: Bizarro and Man-Bat! What an awesome duo for a story! And then Grundy’s in the mix to throw it over the top. I’m super excited about this and to have this monster horror story involved with Blackest Night is too cool.
JG: You also have a second Blackest Night tie-in with your Blackest Night: The Flash mini-series with Geoff Johns. How does it feel to make your second return to The Flash’s world after your stellar run on the series with Geoff Johns? Was your experience drawing The Flash the proudest accomplishment of your career thus far?
SK: Feels great! Yes, the Flash is one of my most cherished times in comics — and returning with Geoff is always amazing. We just get along so well together — it’s so easy to have fun and work at the same time — which can be very rare in this business. Plus it’s also very gratifying that we’re always moving forward — not just repeating what we’ve done before. “Rogues’ Revenge” didn’t even have the Flash in it and we got to explore the Rogues further than we ever got to before. This Blackest Night Flash story will also break new ground — with the Flash and with the Rogues. Geoff already has stuff planned that I’ve never drawn before! It’s gonna be great!
JG: What can you tell us about Blackest Night: The Flash? Is Wally West in his new costume in the mini-series? Do you think Wally West fans will take to his new costume and new status quo?
SK: Yes I do. We care about Wally just as much as the rest of you –Geoff probably even more so. Wally’s uniform is going to feel natural and the right choice. “Wally and Barry” is a big part of this story.
JG: Do you have concrete plans with DC after Blackest Night: The Flash ends? Will it be a more limited run or be a more long-form run like you had on The Flash? Also, will you be writing as well as drawing your follow-up to Blackest Night: The Flash?
SK: No concrete plans yet — though plans are being worked on. Geoff and I want to keep working together as much as possible — so we’ll see what can happen. But with his incredibly busy schedule, I’m sure I’ll have some time on my own — and I hope to write and draw some more stuff as well as work with some other creators too!
JG: Do you prefer doing longer runs in books or drawing limited series?
SK: I very much prefer to stay for years at a time. Jumping around on different projects can be fun, but I’m more into digging deeper and deeper with a project seeing how far I can push the concept and search for the illusive perfect issue or story — one where everything clicks just right.
JG: Other than characters you are already known for, like The Flash or Solomon Grundy, what other characters in the DCU do you have an interest in drawing?
SK: The list is endless and I’d love to do more Solomon Grundy ASAP, but the short list burning the back of my brain right now, would be: Aquaman, Shazam, Wonder Woman, Gorilla Grodd, Dr. Fate, Omac, Hawkman and I’d love to put together a monster version of the Outsiders!
JG: Monster version of the Outsiders?
SK: I love the name “Outsiders” and kept thinking about how Metamorpho and Batman seemed to epitomize the book through all its incarnations. It then dawned on me that they are both very “outside” the norm for public super-heroes, or are supposed to be. That idea led me to think about a whole team of outside-the-norm characters. Kinda like how the X-men and Doom Patrol started. What’s more fun than doing a monster book? A team monster book!
JG: What comic books do you currently enjoy reading?
SK: Well, I’m reading a ton of DC right now, keeping up with the stories. G
reen Lantern is awesome of course. Can’t wait for the Secret Origin of Superman! I’ve really enjoyed the Shazam book by Mike Kunkel (haven’t seen the new stuff yet but I’m excited to see) and Tiny Titans is awesome. My kids love it — but it’s doubly fun being a Titans fan for years and all the inside jokes. I just recently found The Mighty — which I had missed somehow — which is really good. I always search out for more Hellboy. I like the Courtney Crumrin books and just read the second Thor trade. Somewhere under all this I try to find some sleep.
JG: Thanks for your time Scott!
SK: Thank you!