Joëlle Jones is one of the best-kept secrets in the comic book industry right now. Her current Catwoman run has been a high-quality commercial success, which is something that Selina Kyle has not enjoyed in some of her solo books. Both as a writer and as an artist, Joëlle has proven to be a very capable talent and is poised to reach far greater heights in the coming years.
I had the opportunity of doing this interview with her where we discussed her career, her influences, her progress and many other things that I hope you find interesting about one of DC Comics’ top writers and artists.
Lady Killer by Jones. Copyrights by Dark Horse.
Kevin: I would like to start with a very broad question: What about drawing do you find appealing? Why do you have so much passion for this art form?
Jones': I always knew I wanted to be a comic book artist. Basically, since I was 5. I went to college for painting but dropped out because it was too expensive and I knew I wanted to be doing comics.
Which comics influenced you as an artist when you were younger?
Punisher and Wolverine from the 90s. The Dark Knight Returns. The Killing Joke. Those are the big ones that stand out.
And how has working in the industry influenced and molded your drawing style?
You just develop your style as the years go on. I don't think it was a conscious decision. Things just evolved. I also think working under deadlines for many years helps change you as an artist.
Batman by Jones. Copyrights by DC Comics.
Focusing on your beginnings, you left college to pursue a career as an artist in the comic book industry. What motivated you to make that decision?
I saw no future in painting. It wasn't what I wanted to do. I always wanted to do comics and so I left to pursue that.
What lessons did you learn from those early days that helped you break into the comic book industry?
There is no one route. It's all down to the individual. My route was taking my portfolio to shows and sharing it with professionals. David Mack had a look and passed on my info to Diana Schutz. Diana gave me my first job and that's what started it all.
Lady Killer by Jones. Copyright by Dark Horse.
Dark Horse was one of the first companies that gave you an opportunity. What can you tell us about your time there?
My time with Dark Horse has always been positive. From Troublemaker to Lady Killer, it's always been a good company to work with.
One of your first major works at Dark Horse was Lady Killer, which you co-wrote with Jamie Rich. How did you guys come up with the concept for that story?
Well, I came up with the idea for the book, actually. I basically incorporated everything I wanted to draw and built the story around those things. It evolved quite quickly. Jamie was more of an adviser on the first issue and then he went off to DC to become a superstar editor.
Being Lady Killer and its sequel set in the 60s, did it require a lot of research to get the details right? How did that affect your work as an artist?
I love 60's advertising and the art. I'm an avid collector. So, to draw and create in that world was a delight.
If I’m not mistaken, Lady Killer 2 was your first work as a standalone writer. How was the experience of writing the story on your own?
As I said, Jamie helped with advising and had some dialogue ideas early on but I was writing everything myself straight away. So Lady Killer 2 was the second time around.
How was the experience of making the jump from Dark Horse to DC?
Very positive. DC has been wonderful to work with. I have all of the creative freedom I want and I get to play with some pretty cool toys!
Obviously you’re more known for your work on the Catwoman solo comic book, which is currently selling very well. What are the differences of working with a character of your creation, like the Lady Killer comic, and a character with so much history and status as Selina Kyle?
Well, with Lady Killer, I can more or less do exactly as I want. I determine what Josie will do in absolute terms. With Selina, there are more parameters but in a way that makes things a little easier to deal with.
Selina Kyle by Jones. Copyrights by DC Comics.
And having worked with the character for over a year now, did this give you another perspective of the character?
Oh, sure. I think she's way more complex than people give her credit for. I also think separating her from Gotham and Batman allowed her to breathe as a character.
One thing I've noticed about your drawing style is that you seem to combine classic and modern art styles. Is that by design or was it something that was developed by you throughout the years?
Some of it is by design but most of it comes from just working on lots of different things over many years. Your personal voice just sort of develops.
Catwoman by Jones. Copyrights by DC Comics.
While it’s true that you have worked on a variety of comics, your work is mostly focused on noir-themed and female characters. As the years go by in your career, would you be interested in venturing out your comfort zone and trying other types of characters?
Although I do love noir themed things I've certainly done many different things. Hellheim with Cullen Bunn is about Zombie Vikings and I did 12 issues of that (two trades). Swamp Thing was another... the list goes on...
Catwoman by Jones. Copyright by DC Comics.
Now that you have been in the industry for almost fifteen years and you have a name for yourself as both an artist and writer, what goals do you have for the near future?
Just to keep working and developing new stories.
Once again, thank you for the opportunity to do this, Joëlle. Any words for our readers before we leave? Where can we follow you on social media?
www.joellejones.com is a good place to start. All social media links can be found there! Thanks for taking the time!