Interview With Kieron Dwyer
(July 1999)

Kieron Dwyer is well known for his stints on Captain America and other comics for both Marvel and DC. Here he talks about the issues of Daredevil he drew and his new project, Lowest Comic Denominator.

Kuljit Mithra: How did you first become interested in drawing comics?

Keiron Dwyer: I think it was either from seeing the Batman TV show as a kid, then picking up the comics at 7-11, or it might have been seeing 'Spidey' on Electric Company.

Mithra: I'm most familiar with your work on Captain America and Daredevil. What other titles have you worked on, and which one do you think is your best work and why?

Dwyer: I think my most recent mini-series, 'Superman: The Dark Side' is head and shoulders above the rest of my work. I poured more love and energy into that than just about anything I've ever done. My most recent work has been an 8-page story in issue 3 of Vertigo's 'Flinch' horror anthology. It's called 'Satanic' and it's written by Garth Ennis. I'm very proud of my art on that story in particular, because there are so few words in it. Also, I drew it in a very different style than most of my other work.

Mithra: Who or what has influenced you most for your drawing style?

Dwyer: As a kid, I was unaware of specific artists, but the ones who seeped in subconsciously I now recognize as John Buscema, John Romita, Sr., and pretty much everyone who drew either Batman or Spider-Man during the 70's when I was reading those two characters pretty much exclusively. [John] Byrne was a teenage influence, as I became aware of the artist's names and styles as distinctive.

Mithra: You worked on Daredevil for issues 289 and 290, right about the time Ann Nocenti was wrapping up her stint on the comic. How was it working with her?

Dwyer: It was great. I only spoke with her once or twice while doing those issues, if that. But I knew her previously from the Marvel offices, when she was an editor. She assigned me the task of doing filler pages in the early issues of 'Classic X-Men', the reprints of the [Chris] Claremont/[John] Byrne stuff. She was very sweet and I had a crush on her.

Mithra: How did you get the stint on DD? Were you only supposed to be a guest penciler?

Dwyer: They were actually hoping I might take the regular gig if Lee Weeks didn't pan out, I think. The editor, Ralph Macchio, had been my editor on Captain America and I had always expressed interest in doing the book at some point, although between [Frank] Miller and [John] Romita [Jr.], there were some very big shoes to fill, so it was a little intimidating. I was psyched to have Al Williamson ink my stuff, but he had to bail after 9 pages or so to do some 'Star Wars' thing. I was bummed about that.

Mithra: What do you think of Daredevil as a character compared to some of the other characters you have drawn? Under-rated? Second-rate?

Dwyer: I think DD is a very cool character and a good role-model for anybody with a 'disability'. I have to say, though, that given the potential limitations of the character, I'm amazed at some of the things that have been done with him, specifically what Miller and Nocenti/Romita Jr. did.
DD is kind of like Batman to me. He's one of the closest to seeming possible as a real person because his powers are only enhanced to a certain degree. Of course, the swinging around buildings and stuff is pretty hard to swallow.

Mithra: For issue 289, the story was largely concentrated on Matt taking up boxing as 'The Blind Boxer'. Did you have to do much photo research to get the 'authenticity' of the boxing ring?

Dwyer: I don't remember having any reference for that sequence, although I probably picked up a boxing magazine or Sports Illustrated. That was some fun stuff to draw actually because it wasn't the usual exaggerated fight scene stuff, it was more real.

Mithra: You drew both Kingpin and Bullseye in your issues. If the choice was left to these two, which one do you think is the 'Best Villain' for Daredevil and why?

Dwyer: Well, Bullseye is clearly the more physically challenging one, but Kingpin works on more levels. He's more sinister because he's just a big guy who's made himself incredibly powerful. That seems more real.

Mithra: In issue 290, there is a page where some newspaper articles are tacked to a wall. One of the articles says "Editor Acquitted in Murder of Artist - Jury accepts defense plea that book shipped late due to penciler. 'Deserved to die,' they say." Did you draw that or was the letterer having a bit too much fun?

Dwyer: That was me.

Mithra: Your most recent project is Lowest Comic Denominator. Here's your chance - free advertising! Tell me all about it and where I can find it?

Dwyer: It is some of the most vile, filthy, perverted and altogether hilarious stuff anyone is likely to read. Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Joe Quesada and many more comics creators have already fallen under the LCD spell. You can currently order the first two mini-comics and some strangely satisfying merchandise at the website www.lowestcomicdenominator.com and you can hopefully purchase a copy of the full-sized issue zero in a few months from your local retailer. Tell them to order some!
It's an adults only book, so nobody under 18 can have it. Sorry, kids!

Mithra: What do you think of Marvel contracting out Daredevil and other titles to Event Comics to produce?

Dwyer: I don't have an opinion about it really, it seems to have worked out well, at least in terms of sales. I've glanced at some issues and they look really nice. I haven't read any of them, but I'm not a big Kevin Smith fan, if only because I'm so tired of hearing about him (particularly in Wizard)!

Mithra: And finally, where do you see comics as an industry headed in the next 5 years?

Dwyer: I hope to God that comics are always around to some degree, but I don't see a lot of hope for the industry as a whole. I think computers and Playstations are making mainstream comics obsolete. I will always produce my own comics, regardless, but it seems to be an ever-shrinking pool of consumers, so I may just be printing them and handing them out on the street to absolute strangers!

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(c) Kuljit Mithra 1999
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear
http://www.manwithoutfear.com
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