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Inker of Detective Comics
Published by: DC Comics

Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur - (Posted: 6/7/2008)


Nathan Massengill

Richard: How did you first start working for DC?

Nathan: My first job for DC was inking "The Jaguar" for an imprint they had called Impact, which featured the Archie comics superheroes. I inked Chuck Wojtkiewicz, who was later in Artamus Studios (a studio I was associated with). Not too much later, I penciled an issue of Wonder Woman. I think this was around '91-92.

Richard: Did you like working on "Detective Comics" with Batman?

Nathan: Working on Detective was a special privilege. Not only was it my first time working with the great editor Bob Schreck, but I was working on the longest running sequential comic...It was a great experience. Batman was, of course, my favorite character as a very young kid...I am embarrassed to remember how much I liked the Adam West "Batman." I feel in some ways like Batman has grown up as I have...Miller's "The Dark Knight" came out when I was 16 and the character has continued to deepen and develop ever since. We got to work on some key scenes with the controversial character "Spoiler," which is perhaps one of the more memorable things we did.

Richard: What can you tell us about your work on "Wonder Girl"?

Nathan: Wonder Woman was my first major project at DC and is currently my favorite of the corporate-owned superheroes. Anything associated with her legacy is of particular interest to me. Sanford Greene's wonderful, hyper-kinetic style and Cassie Sandmark's character gave the whole series a very pleasantly modern and exciting edge. I'd love to work with the character again.

Richard: You worked on "Marvel Age: Spider-Man" do you enjoy doing art for younger readers?

Nathan: I've had the pleasure of working on a number of projects that are suitable for younger readers. Probably the most satisfying for me was the series "Tellos" with the late Mike Wieringo. Mike was a close personal friend as well as one of the most powerful artists for young readers. In the “Marvel Adventures: Hulk” (#11) I got to do a Thing/Hulk battle, which was another of those moments that connects you to your childhood loves...Sometimes the younger reader books I've worked on like "JLA Unlimited" or "Legion of Superheroes" are really better superhero stories than their more staid and dour "grown up" counterparts.

Richard: Which character did you most enjoy inking out of all the different ones you have?

Nathan: I've enjoyed them all, honestly. The series Ed McGuinness and I did for "Deadpool" seems to be one of the best remembered so far...I sign more of those than anything I currently work on. "Tellos" is the inking work I am most proud of, because of the chance I had to work with Mike. I am usually more focused on serving the story and the penciler well than on what the story is or who the characters are.

Richard: What is your most memorable moment from your career?

Nathan: It's impossible to take a nearly 20 year career in comics down to one moment! The greatest thing about my career has nothing to do with me, it's all about the amazing people I've had the extreme privilege to work with. I admire comics creators so much...Working in comics only reinforces the sense of wonder associated with the process of creating these wildly fantastic stories.

Richard: What does an inker do?

Nathan: I have an Inking FAQs on my website which goes into some detail. Essentially, the inker is the finisher of the art. The pencil stage is done by another artist, and is a very complete rendering that is not in black and white, but in grays. It's a vanishing profession, as comics as a print medium is ending and computer-based rendering gains ascendancy, but it is, for now, a fantastic way to make a living.

Richard: You also pencil and write as well as ink do you prefer one over the others?

Nathan: Artistically, I prefer that penciling and inking not be split tasks. The splitting of the tasks has simply made comics more corporate and less of an intrinsically singular artistic vision. Reality, however, being what it is, inking can be a good thing in some cases. Some inkers can have a stunningly positive impact on a comics project, and I've tried to be that positive aspect in every project I've worked on. When I do my own complete work, I don't see the process as divided between penciling and inking, so my answer would be that I see them as indistinguishable. As far as writing, there’s nothing in the world I love more than writing.

Richard: Do you have any ideas for a comic book of your own?

Nathan: Oh, yes, many. I love to write and edit, which I often do.

Richard: What are you currently working on and what do you have planned for the future?

Nathan: I am currently inking "Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods" and some more "Legion of Superheroes in the 31st Century" (ack! Whatever happened to books with short titles! Where are "Plop!" and "Prez" when you need them?)...Some more announcements I can't make quite yet.

Richard: Who do you admire in the comics industry?

Nathan: I admire anyone who survives working in the comics industry! It's hard work and little pay and none of the corporate publishing entities have had the slightest interest in actually selling the print books for the last decade. The rise of internet publishing will change the face of comics and make it a mass-market success again...I am very much looking forward to that day. My influences would be far too many to name. It would be most true to say that the comics readers are my heroes, for making the extreme effort to find and support our work!

Richard: What comics did you read as a kid and do you read now?

Nathan: As a kid, I read every comic I could scrounge, beg, or borrow. I loved superheroes. As an adult, I follow my favorite creators around almost regardless of what they are working on. Whatever Alan Moore writes, I will read. Whatever Adam Hughes draws, I will look at. But really, as an adult, I'll read every single comic I can scrounge, beg, or borrow!

Richard: How can someone contact you?

Nathan: I am always reachable through my website:

Richard: Any final words of wisdom?

Nathan: Were there any beginning words?! Where were they? I need to make a note... ;)

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