FPB: So first off, I always like to begin by asking my interviewees what brought them to the wonderful world of comics. What’s your "origin story"?
JL: I began by going to art school. After 3 months though, I quit. I decided to work on a portfolio, went up to New York City to a comic convention and showed my work around. At the time, I wasn’t good enough to get in. But there was a writer I met named Scott Lobdell. He took an interest in my work and he asked that as I improved to keep sending in samples.
Over the next few months I worked hard and kept sending in samples and he took them up to the Marvel offices for me and yeah, that’s how I got my first job.
FPB: Wow, that’s awesome. What was the first book they assigned you on?
JL: My first comic for Marvel was Marvel Comics Presents issue 85. But the first full comic I drew was Namor #26.
FPB: Were you always a huge comic fan? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do?
JL: I was always a huge fan. I grew up reading them. I never dreamed that I would be able to make them for a living!
FPB: Who were some of your artistic influences?
JL: Growing up I was very much into artists like John Byrne and Mike Zeck...Secret Wars was the first comic I ever bought!
When I started working professionally, I began looking at guys like Simon Bisley, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean...and artists like that.
FPB: I need to talk to you about your Batman. For me your haunting, dark art style custom fits that character perfectly. Is he a character you enjoy working on?
JL: Oh yeah! It was always a dream of mine to draw Batman. The two characters I’ve always wanted to work on were Batman and Superman. To be able to work on them in a single book was a real dream come true.
FPB: That was some of your coolest work, in my opinion. I loved that arc on Batman/Superman. Do you find yourself leaning towards the dark, grittier characters and storylines or would you like to try to work on something a bit different in the future?
JL: Well, I’ve been doing the dark thing for a long time. I do want to take my art in a different direction and switch things up a bit. I always feel like I need to change to remain excited about what I’m doing. I do want to brighten things up a bit!
Which I think I have started doing! I just have to push it a bit further now.
FPB: Is there a comic or character out there you’d like to take a shot at working on?
JL: The problem with working on Batman/Superman is that those were the two characters I wanted to work on the most!
FPB: (laughs) Really?! There's not one project you're itching to work on?
JL: Nope! It’s not so much the character as it is the writers that I love working with.
FPB: Are there any tips you have for young people that are trying to get in the industry?
JL: I would have to say just work hard and practice. Don’t just look at comics but artists from different mediums as well, from different genres. Growing up it was really difficult to find examples of different art that I like. These days with Instagram and social media, it’s so easy to find art online that inspires you.
FPB: I know you have to go, so I'll wrap this up! Thank you so much for speaking to me, I’m a huge fan!
FPB: No problem and thank you!
It was fun to chat with Jae and for him to take a bit of time out of his busy ComicCon schedule to have a chat with me! He really is a class act.
Stay tuned for more MCC interviews from two young ladies who are revolutionizing the comics industry, Gotham Academy's writer Becky Cloonan and the woman behind the return of iconic Canadian supehero Johnny Canuck, Rachel Richey! Don't miss those in the coming weeks, Bleeder Buds!