INTERVIEW: DECLAN SHALVEY ON MOON KNIGHT

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Marvel has been luring me back to their books lately with their emphasis on creative teams coming up with interesting takes on their characters. They couldn’t have come up with a more tempting lure with their announcement of the Moon Knight team of Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire. I had to ask Declan Shalvey about this amazing gig.

Were you a fan of the character before you got the gig?

Honestly, not really. I’d read some Moon Knight before, but I wasn’t a huge fan or anything. The various personalities kinda confused me; I wasn’t really sure what his deal was. I loved the look of the character though; that definitely suited me. The idea of doing a crime-ish book in the Marvel Universe really appealed to me and Moon Knight is a character that is open to interesting visual approaches that no other character is.

Moon Knight has had some big name artists like Bill Sienkiewicz, David Finch and Alex Maleev, two of which were involved with relaunches of the character. Have you looked back at previous artist’s work on the character?

Oh yeah, the artistic pedigree of the book is astounding…. no pressure there!

I’ve looked a lot of Alex Maeev’s run from a couple of years ago; I like what he was doing. I also looked at Tommy Lee Edwards work on his Moon Knight series. Really moody and spooky. Definitely achieved the vibe I had in mind for my run. I’ve studied Sienkiewicz’s work on the book before, but in this case I decided to NOT look at it. I didn’t want to end up doing an impression of him.

One of my favourite writers Warren Ellis, who has worked on a tremendous array of books including Transmetropolitan and Planetary, is writing the book. Were you a fan of his stuff before working with him?

Warren’s one of my favourites too; it’s hard NOT to be a fan of his work when he’s written so many of the best comics made, in various genres too. In particular, I really loved Fell, Planetary, Stormwatch and The Authority. Actually, The Authority really got me back into comics after I’d finished college and had been away for a while. So thanks Warren!

I know you’ve been in comics a while but did you feel intimidated in any way about working with a writer of his stature?

I have to admit; YES. It’s WARREN ELLIS. But, once I’d agreed to do the book, he reached out and was very sweet and helpful. Not what I was expecting at all. He has a very clear idea of what he wants and I respect that a huge amount. He’s very visual-thinking in his writing, and that’s always a help when drawing a chunk of script. Both Warren, Jordie and i all collaborated on the cover design pretty early; that process went really well, and it’s been great since then.

What are his scripts like to work on?

As suggested above, he writes with visuals in mind which makes things a lot more enjoyable. They’re very ‘open’ and I never feel restrained with too much dialog or anything. I really enjoyed how they’re paced, and he has great ideas for storytelling devices. I look forward to everyone thinking I’m a genius when the book comes out, after I steal all the credit from Warren. At the same time, he gives me space to be a bit more imaginative and try different things. There’s a bit of give-and-take, and it’s been a really rewarding and satisfying experience.

Of equal interest to me was the announcement of Jordie Bellaire as colorist on the book. What is like having the hardest working colorist in comics on the book?

Jordie’s actually colouring the book as I type this. As you can clearly tell, Jordie’s hugely prolific and works on some amazing titles, but it’s been interesting to see her work on this series in particular. We have had a shorthand as regards working together on covers and Deadpool, but I’m trying a different technique on this series, and I think that’s been a bit more work for her, but I’m delighted with how they’re coming together. She continues to make every book she works on look 300% better and I’m SO happy (and lucky) to have her on this book.

Anything you can mention about what you’ve gotten to draw so far or the direction of the book?

Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but so far it’s been really interesting. Each issue feels like a new #1; new ideas and new visuals for each issue so far and each issue is very different to the preceding one. If you don’t like #1, pick up #2 because you’re going to see something totally different. Same with the following issue.

Also announced recently was your appointment as Creative Director of DICE. Anything you’d like to say on that?

We’ve had some initial talks about this year’s show. Basically the guys at The Big Bang have some big plans in order to live up to last year’s excellent show. Myself and some of the other Irish pros really tried to get involved and help the show be as good as it could be so this year, the guys invited me to become more involved and asked if I’d be Creative Director. Mainly I’ll be working on the creative side; dealing with guests, panels, and some other aspects. We’re soon going to be nailing down our overseas guests and get the ball rolling. With last year’s show being such a knockout success, we’re going to work really hard to keep that standard up, hopefully even make the show better in 2014.

MOON KNIGHT #1 debuts this March but, if you can’t wait till then to see some art, you can check out some WIP art from Declan Shalvey on his Tumblr account.