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MATTHEW CLARK
Artist of Doom Patrol
Published by: DC Comics

Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur - (Posted: 10/13/2009)

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Matthew Clark

Richard: How did you start work at DC?

Matthew: I began as a assistant for some friends penciling and inking backgrounds. I worked on several DC books monthlies and specials. I would get to the studio pretty early and take down messages for the other guys and would answer the phones. I became friendly with a few of the editors looking for the other artists. When I sent in my samples to several editors that I have been talking to Maureen McTigue called me up and offered me my first color work for DC which was a 4 page story with writer Mark Millar which also has my first published Robotman as I drew him in the background. From that point on Maureen handed me a 10 page story helping on a issue of Wonder Woman. It snowballed from there.

Richard: How do you feel the promo piece of art for "Doom Patrol" turned out?

Matthew: Iím really happy with how it turned out. I did it as part of a viral campaign to get people interested in the book to leak out drawing and what not to hopefully show people the new DOOM PATROL without giving to much away. But Livesay and JD made it look better than it was they truly deserve most of the kudos.

Richard: What does your art bring to "Doom Patrol"?

Matthew: Iím trying to make them and their setting unique to the DC universe. The nice thing about where they are located at is itís really a blank slate and for someone that loves to design stuff itís a blast. Most of my design sense right now is rooted in the late 1870ís to early 1920ís very much looking at the Great War for inspiration for new characters, streets, building everything it has such a rich design sense that I want to tap into. Hopefully people will start to notice the unique look that the book has for these misfit heroes. Plus I love these characters and when you really want something and are given the opportunity to work on a dream project then you pour your heart and soul into it. From day one on the DOOM PATROL I had to start from the ground up and I spent weeks designing stuff some will be seen some will never see the light of day.

I would ask questions like Oolong islands how big? Does it have a flag (I designed one for them) itís touches like those oneís and others that Iím bringing to this book. Or designing movie posters for Rita home or Cliffís tee shirt logos. Little things that donít mean much but when you start to notice them they start to flesh out the character and then Robotman Negative Man and Elasti Woman seems more real, hope that makes sense.

Richard: Which member of the doom Patrol do you most enjoy drawing and why?

Matthew: Honestly each of them have their quirks that I enjoy drawing, especially since I was able to add a little of my design sense to them and hopefully bring them closer now to what they were supposed to be back when they first were introduced. .While they arenít wearing the original outfitís I hope people will see that the redesigns are very much inspired by the original look. Breaking it down

So first we have Robotman the anchor of the group and really the heart of every version of the DOOM PATROL with his look I went with the bike shorts something that screamed athlete I kind of picture him in his human form (If I was to draw that it would be David Beckham as the model) I tried to bring him back to the robot form without muscle definition, heís hydraulics, wires and gears. The piping on the face and chest really stems from the 50ís robot which I thought would be a nice touch.

Negative Man with his look I wanted him to scream pilot, thatís who he is and was from the beginning. Also I wanted to get back to the original color scheme from the first half dozen issues which they wore green. So Larry got the gopers and military turtleneck wool sweater and the bandage tails implying the scarf. His look is very 1930í 1940ís RAF pilot.

Elasti Woman With Rita I wanted her outfit to be the red and white that she was known to wear. I ditched the mini skirt for obvious reason as we are really playing around with her size changing and the new outfit also has a purpose that will be further explained in upcoming issues. I was looking at 1960ís Diana Rigg as Emma Peele from the Avengers TV series. I updated it a bit but very much in that vein. Plus sheís our babe and I wanted to show that part of her off more sheís a movie star with several movies under her belt (see the background of her home for which movies sheís done. More will be showing up)

The Chief Iíve kept him pretty much the same as every other version I just steampunked him up a bit, more changes to him after BLACKEST NIGHT but heís our super scientist so he has bits and pieces of tech but yet dresses like itís 1900ís

Thanks to Keith and DC for really allowing me to tweak the DOOM PATROL to hopefully brand them for a long time to come. Because honestly wouldnít you love DOOM PATROL toy figures based on these designsÖI would lol

Richard: How do you look at Doom Patrol the team as opposed to other Dc superhero teams?

Matthew: They are not traditional heroes is the way I approach them. Sure they have the trappings sometimes and they try to fit in but letís face it were talking about ďFrankenstein, The Mummy and Attack of the 50 foot WomanĒ not exactly League material, They werenít even in the Polaroidís Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were looking at when they were looking for new members and who werenít they looking at. All kidding aside they have freaky villains and are strange heroes and the more you play that up the more fun it becomes.

Richard: You have worked on the characters Superman. Batman and Wonder Woman do you ever feel overwhelmed working on such iconic characters?

Matthew: Yes I did. When I was asked to work on Wonder Woman that was my first real monthly assignment, I was very green and still figuring a lot of things out. And it was Wonder Woman a lot of people are very vocal about how she should be portrayed. Same with Superman except for the fact that I was chosen out of left field I remember reading the announcement Listing all the creators Brian and Jim on Superman, Chuck and Ivan on Action and I kid you not Greg and Matthew Clark? They put a question behind my name. When I started working on ADVENTURES I realized I was in a very small fraternity. There are several phenomenal artists that have drawn that ďsĒ shield and now I was going to be one of them. The stress can get to you and it did I was really working the page and so much so that I knew how I wanted it to look and wouldnít you know it my back goes out from all the stress. Superman/Batman came along after a few years of seasoning so by this time Iím pretty much doing my job.

Richard: Did you enjoy your time working on the "Outsiders"?

Matthew: Yes and No. This was a one issue assignment that ended up lasting two and a half years. I wasnít a huge Outsiders fan when I got the book; It never was in any of its previous incarnations a book that I would pick up. So this was aĒjobĒ job no real attachment. But I found myself enjoying drawing ďBad Boy/GirlĒ comics and what I mean is they like have sex and swear (^%$#@#) Most of my team was getting it on. Then with One Year Later and my Heart Attack I really just didnít enjoy the book. I did my job to the best of my ability but I get a synergy when working with my fellow creators and it just wasnít happening anymore. Most of the characters I liked were gone, the new ones I didnít care for that much. Plus after having been on the book for a while I was hoping for a little input into who would be joining or the type of stories. But I didnít and so my want and or drive to work on the book left. I look back on it and really should have moved on but I liked working with Joan Hilty so I stayed. Officially my last issue was 49, but at the last minute Joan needed me to work on issue 50 I said yes because she asked but told her I could only do the first 11 pages. End my run drawing THUNDER on my last finally looking how I wanted her to look from her hair to her costume.

Richard: Why do you think fans love your drawings of Zatanna?

Matthew: They do? I donít know Iíve only heard a few oh thatís nice and you can count them on one hand. I know and for some odd reason I am asked to draw her a lot at shows but I really donít know why. I donít argue with them though Iím happy to draw her.

Richard: What other projects do you have?

Matthew: I have my own character that Iím doing in my spare time, I keep pushing back the release date and itíll be for the web but Iím still working on the nuts and bolts of the world so it may be a little while. Talking with Greg Rucka which I do all the time anyway but we get a itch to work together every few months. More on that later.

Richard: Which comic book that you have not worked on would you like to and for what reasons?

Matthew: There are a few books. So here we go: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly (Awesome stories and I like those worlds Joss created), and Star Trek: DS9 (not currently being published and more than likely wonít be in the foreseeable future) Legion of Super Heroes: 5 years later era (Giffenís run on the book was really cool and amazing they grew up and they lost the big fight when they went away also this version is gone.) I love obscure heroes Jack of Hearts springs to mind also not being published. Hawk and Dove, The Creeper I have a love for the Ditko DC Era heroes. For me right now itís WHO Iím working with not WHAT book Iím drawing and right Now I have the best of both worlds Iím working with a writer I respect and on my dream book.

Richard: Are you a Star Trek fan?

Matthew: Yep, the Original series and Deep Space Nine are my favorites.

Richard: How can someone contact you?

Matthew: Several ways: Facebook page is Matthew Clark or http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1016280600#/profile.php?id=1016280600&ref=name , Myspace page itís http://www.myspace.com/long_eyelashes , Twitter is EmCeeArtist

Richard: Any final words for all your fans?

Matthew: Thanks. I appreciate all 5 of you and you know who you are. Seriously Thanks for reading and looking at my books.


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