PopCultHQ is kicking off 2018 in a new way. Each month, we’ll be selecting Comic Book Creators of the Month and interview them for a spotlight article. For January 2018’s Artist of the Month, we chose illustrator Joe Eisma.
Eisma is an artist and co-creator of the NY Times Bestselling and multiple Eisner Award-nominated series Morning Glories from Image Comics. Joe has also illustrated for The Flash from DC Comics, Faith from Valiant Entertainment, Big Trouble in Little China, Evil Empire, Higher Earth from Boom! Studios, a short in the Vertigo SFX: Slam! Anthology, and most recently Archie, Riverdale and The Archies from Archie Comics.
Bursting onto the scene with Morning Glories with writer Nick Spencer, Joe Eisma, and in particular his artwork, caught my eye a couple of years ago and have followed him on social media to see what the creator delivers next. Each time a new title or project is announced, I have loved Joe’s take on the comic. He paired up with Jody Houser for Valiant’s Faith ongoing and knocked it out of the park. Now Joe is working with Archie Comics as the illustrator for The Archies, as well as a horror-based project (read on to find out!). With the popularity of The CW‘s Riverdale, as well as the upcoming Netflix untitled Sabrina series, the forecast for Archie Comics has never looked brighter, and a lot of the shine coming from the line of comics is Joe. The artist continues to grow in his craft and delivers some amazing results each and every time.
So sit back, relax, and hear Eisma speak about his breakout series Morning Glories, the benefits (and caution) regarding the use of social media in the comic book industry, and the best advice he’d been given that he still holds onto today.
PopCultHQ Spotlight Interview
Artist of the Month – January 2018:
PopCultHQ: How did comic books influence your childhood? What was the defining moment in your life that you knew, from then on, that you wanted to illustrate comic books for a living?
Joe Eisma: I was picking up comics even before I could read. I was really taken with the art. I remember getting some old Marvel Star Wars comics when I was 3 or 4, and showing them to my sister. I would get frustrated because she was spending time actually reading it and not just looking at the art. It really wasn’t until I was older, and got into Uncanny X-men right at the start of the Silvestri run that I knew I wanted to draw comics.
PopCultHQ: Your work has been published by Image Comics, Valiant Entertainment, Boom Studios, and more recently with Archie Comics. You’ve had the opportunity to work with writers Nick Spencer, Mark Waid, Jody Houser, and Ray Fawkes, and a lengthy list of artists with which you’ve teamed. What do you enjoy most about collaborating with other creators? Which creator would you love the opportunity to work with on a project?
Joe: I’ve always been fascinated by the nature of the creative process in comics. Every experience is different. I worked with Nick for many years, to the point where we developed a kind of creative shorthand for working together. He knew where to leave the heavy lifting up to me and I knew when to kind of step back and let him lead the way. I think I scared Mark Waid by how fast I can be! And working with Jody was brilliant–I hope we can do so again soon. There are lots of writers I’d love to collaborate with–Jeff Lemire, Donny Cates, Joshua Williamson, Brandon Seifert, Tom King, Gerard Way–I can go on!
PopCultHQ: From what I’ve seen over the last couple of years, you’re pretty active on social media, with fans having the ability to follow you and your work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, DeviantArt, and Patreon. How has networking with the likes of social media helped you as a creator? How can it be beneficial, or even detrimental, for people in the comic book industry?
Joe: It has definitely helped! I know I’ve been able to use it to network my way into comic gigs and commissions. It’s also helped to maintain my Patreon support. It is almost a job in and of itself, though. The climate of discussion on social media is really kind of darker these days, so I’ve started cutting back on some platforms out of sanity’s sake. I’ve seen lots of meltdowns, and it’s real easy to fall into that, so I think it’s important for creators to take care of themselves and do what is best for them.
PopCultHQ: Morning Glories really propelled your career in this business. I’ve seen on your Patreon that this series appears to still be very dear to you and a project you’d like to continue. How is that going and what plans have you mapped out for more Morning Glories?
Joe: Morning Glories will always be special to me. None of us involved knew it would take off like it did. There have been ups and downs with it since we first began on it back in 2009, but I’m grateful to it always. And yes, I would love to see it continue. Nick and I have touched base a few times about it over the past couple of years, but he hasn’t had time to fit it into his schedule.
PopCultHQ: What has been the most important and/or valuable piece of advice you’ve received as an artist in the comic book industry?
Joe: Don’t get too jaded. And that covers a lot of area–it’s easy to get complacent on one project and think you can coast from there on out. But you miss other, possibly more lucrative opportunities that way. Also, to not to get too jaded with this business in general–because at the end of the day, it’s just funny books.
PopCultHQ: On top of The Archies, what’s on tap in 2018 for Joe Eisma? Any conventions and signing appearances lined up? Projects you can discuss?
Joe: The Archies is my main gig at the moment, but I also recently joined the art team of Jughead: The Hunger. That’s been an absolute blast to draw, and a first for me–a full on horror book. Other than that, I’ve got some work with a publisher I’ve not worked with before coming out this year. If the response is good on that, there might be more! I’m also upping my convention appearances this year. I had cut back in 2017, and I’m looking forward to hitting cities that I’ve not been to before in 2018.
PopCultHQ: If you had the power or ability to make one change in the comic book community or industry, what would it be?
Joe: I wish we could do away with the pre-order system. I think it really hamstrings a lot of new books and alienates new readers. Most people who haven’t been to a comic shop before don’t really get how preorders are what books use to stay alive. It’s a weird system.
Special thanks to Joe for making time to speak with PopCultHQ. Be sure to follow Joe online for all the latest from the talented creator! And Archie Comics, if you happen to be reading this, if you’re planning on an upcoming comic book title to coincide with the Netflix untitled Sabrina series, Joe Eisma is the artist to pull it off. Not only is he the artist the Sabrina title needs, but also the artist the Sabrina title deserves.
And be sure to pick up the latest from Eisma when THE ARCHIES #4 releases this Wednesday on New Comic Book Day! Here’s a preview…
THE ARCHIES #4
In Shops: Jan 10, 2018
NEW ONGOING SERIES!
GUEST STARRING THE MONKEES!
Still soaring from last issue’s sage advice from CHVRCHES, Archie is eager to take his friends to the next level musically on their first-ever tour. But an unexpected turn of events finds them in the swingin’ sixties-face to face with rock/pop icons THE MONKEES!
Follow Joe Eisma online!