Without a doubt, writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads are one of comics’ most buzzed about creative combos, thanks to their consistently pleasing stories. Seriously, anyone who complains there are no good comic series need only check out Sheriff of Babylon, their occasional team-up on King’s Batman and, of course, Mister Miracle, which is redefining comic book storytelling on a monthly basis.
On November 11, I was fortunate enough to speak to Gerads in the minutes leading up to Day 1 of Rhode Island Comic Con 2017. Our chat was thoughtful, entertaining and, ultimately, all too brief… sounds a lot like an issue of Mister Miracle, doesn’t it?AiPT!: Mister Miracle is one of comics’ hottest new series. When you and Tom King started to work on the concept, did you have any idea the reception would be so overwhelmingly positive?
Mitch Gerads: I mean, you can’t predict it to blow up like this. If we did, I think we’d be a bit headstrong. I knew it was special, I didn’t know fans would connect to it as much as they have, which has been awesome and just fuels it.
AiPT!: Visually, Mister Miracle has a lot going on, from the page layouts to the digital effects added to your pencils. What did you set out to do with this series from a visual perspective?
Mitch Gerads: So, I’ve said this in a lot of interviews, but there’s no point trying to mimic Jack Kirby, because everyone who tries to mimic Kirby looks like they’re mimicking Kirby, and you can’t outdo Kirby. He is the plateau of his game. So I sat down and tried to come up with a new direction, and that direction, to me, I kind of embraced illustrators–commercial illustrators of his time, like Austin Briggs–even a little further back, so Norman Rockwell, Al Parker, Robert McGinnis–stuff like that. And that was all stuff I was into before, so it was kind of a nice way to bridge it in the mainstream comics world that you can’t really get away with on a different type of book.
AiPT!: What’s the best thing about having Tom King as a collaborator?
Mitch Gerads: Tom’s like a brother to me. We just click, as generic and weird as that sounds. I read a script and I know exactly what I’m going to do and he says the same. He sends me a script and knows exactly what I’m going to do. And then I think the great thing about that, though, is we both try to top it. He knows what I’m going to do, but I try to subvert that even more. The great thing about working with Tom is he’s just open to collaboration. I get a script and if I see something I want to do, he’ll just let me do it.
AiPT!: Sheriff of Babylon is grounded in reality while series like Batman are about superheroes. Does your approach to drawing change from one book to another?
Mitch Gerads: 100 percent. Every new project, I like to sit down and think of a new way to do it, whether that’s obvious or just obvious to me. No matter what I draw, I always tell my wife, “it’s this whole new approach, I don’t know if this is going to work,” and she looks at me and she says, “it looks just like that last book.” So I don’t know… but Mister Miracle has been great because it’s just kind of open to going nuts.
AiPT!: Are you able to tease any cool visuals in upcoming issues of Mister Miracle?
Mitch Gerads: It’s funny, issue 5 of Sheriff of Babylon is like my height of what I’ll ever do. It’s the thing I’m most proud of ever, besides maybe my kid…
AiPT!: Haha, it’s a tie.
Mitch Gerads: Yeah, it’s a tie. But Mister Miracle issue 5 is right up there. It’s kind of a date night, the whole issue. Just that relationship of Scott and Barda and diving into their relationship and the emotion of everything going on. It’s real fun and it’s real heady and it’s real serious and it’s real light. I’m super excited for people to grab onto it. And then issue 6, I don’t want to talk about it, but I’m doing something real wild with the layouts.AiPT!: I loved the scenes with Lightray in Mister Miracle #4…
Gerads: Yeah, haha, such a dick.AiPT!: With Brian Michael Bendis announcing his move from Marvel Comics to DC Comics, I wanted to see if you had any thoughts on that news.
Gerads: Bendis coming to DC–thats super exciting. The potential for what is going to happen there is astronomical. I love Bendis’ stuff over at Marvel, but it’s Bendis at Marvel. It’s a little expected. Even if you enjoy it, it’s expected. Bendis on DC–it’s this whole new world and who knows whats going to happen. I’m loving his Iron Man stuff right now, especially the [Alex] Maleev book. Maybe he can bring Alex over.
AiPT!: And finally: Darkseid is…
Gerads: Darkseid is coming.
AiPT!: And Rhode Island Comic Con is…
Gerads: Rhode Island Comic Con is… just starting? I mean, I haven’t met any fans yet.
[Please note, this story has a happy ending–Mitch met many grateful fans once the convention actually started!]