Evan "Doc" Shaner has a style that brings a retro feel yet modern at the same time. He has worked for Oni Press, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Archaia Entertainment, and of course DC Comics. it is well known to comic book fan that he is a huge Shazam fan. In fact he did a Shazam story for the Convergence crossover a few years ago. He recently worked on the Terrifics book with Jeff Lemire and is about to do some work on the Supergirl book coming out in a couple months. He has quickly become one of my favorite artists, his style just gives off a genuinely positive vibe. I can't wait to see what else he has coming out in the coming months. It was great chatting with him and finding out a little more about how he developed his style, hope you guys enjpoy it too.
1. You recently worked on Terrifics with Jeff Lemire, which was awesome by the way, what was your favorite part about working on that book?
Getting to work on and establish my own take on Metamorpho and Plastic Man was a blast as they're two of my favorite characters in comics. Mister Terrific and Phantom Girl also surprised me with how much fun they were to draw as well, but getting to do anything with Rex and Plas has been a dream gig so getting to work with them both in the same book was nuts.
And I can't say it enough that Jeff is a very generous collaborator. From the very beginning while nailing down the new designs it was great talking with and figuring things out with him.
2. Your style has such a retro and "clean" look to it which is my favorite thing about your art. Who would you say you've taken inspiration, artistically, from the most?
My go-to line is that the foundation for a lot of what I do now owes a lot to three creators- Mike Wieringo, Joe Kubert, and Darwyn Cooke. Those were the three that really jump-started my interest in drawing comics in the first place. I came around to them roughly in that order but all around the same time, so I don't think I could trace it back to just one of them. I discovered more "classic" artists like Toth, Caniff, Bernet, and Williamson much later on and they certainly had an impact, but every bit as much as some of the current folks I think of as friends and peers like Chris Samnee, Joe Quinones, and Mitch Gerads. Plus tons of others and plenty of folks outside of comics, but Wieringo, Kubert, and Cooke is my trinity.
3. I know you've worked exclusively with DC so far, but have you ever considered working for Marvel? Which character would you work on?
I've done two issues with Marvel, but they were a while ago and I don't blame anyone for not knowing about them. Part of me actually loves the fact that the only Marvel characters I've really worked with are Deadpool and Howard the Duck, and I almost hate to break that up. I've certainly considered doing more for Marvel (if they'll have me, of course) but at this point it's so hard to imagine what that would look like that I've largely let the notion go. Which isn't to say there aren't a good deal of Marvel books and characters I'd be game for working on. Fantastic Four is my favorite Marvel book/team, and I wholeheartedly argue that the The Thing is Marvel's best character. My son is a huge Hulk fan right now so lately I've thought that could be a lot of fun, and while I'm not a huge fan of either character I've had it in the back of my mind lately that drawing a Captain America book or a Spider-Man book would be great to play with purely because of the iconography.
Anyway, I have a number of friends working at or for Marvel and would never scoff at the opportunity.
4. Have you ever thought about doing creator owned work?
Absolutely! When I first started working I honestly never thought I'd get hired to do the superhero books so my plan had always been to creator-owned stuff. But then things take a weird turn that you didn't expect and all of a sudden you're working on superhero books, go figure. And I'm very glad for this experience and wouldn't trade it by any means but now that I've had a few years of this under my belt the desire to do something that's all mine is definitely there. I've got a couple ideas that I've been holding onto since college, one of which is something that I've got to do at some point or I'd be pretty disappointed.
5. Dude seriously, when are you gonna work on a monthly series already?
Haha, well it's certainly not that I don't want to! It comes down to a lot of factors. I'll admit I'm not the fastest artist ever, and while I'm not a rabid perfectionist, I like to make sure I'm turning in stuff I can be relatively proud of. There was a point years ago where I might've been able to be a penciller that works with an inker, which would've helped, but that's not a possibility for me now and doing both takes more time than a monthly schedule usually allows for. Monthly schedules are intense, and seem to be getting more so all the time. On top of all that I have a young family and of course they take precedence. I love drawings comics but the monthly grind has a way of not just making you physically unavailable but also mentally and emotionally unavailable to loved ones and that's not something I'm interested in at this stage in my life.
So basically, yes, I would've loved to have more solid runs on a number of books by now but this isn't that time for me. I've largely made peace with that, but that doesn't make it any easier, haha!
6. What would be your dream project?
I've been incredibly fortunate so far to have already worked on a few of my "dream" books or characters, so at this point it's really being able to work on a book that I can get excited about with folks I like working with. The creator-owned book I mentioned earlier is something I'd very much like to make happen, and I've long had a dream of adapting or doing some new Encyclopedia Brown stories, but right now I'm happy to be making stuff on my own terms.
7. Is there anything you have coming up that you can talk about? Even if it's just a hint.
I've got a story in the Terrifics Annual that's coming this fall, written by Mark Russell and featuring Java, which was a great deal of fun. Beyond that I'm still doing covers for DC's collected editions of their golden and silver age material, and I've just signed on to draw some issues of a book that I'm actually genuinely excited to be a part of but can't talk about yet. I'll be trading off issues with an artist I have an immense amount of respect for and that's been a great environment to work in.