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Comic Book Day: Bringing “Trinity War” to Life with Doug Mahnke

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by on July 1, 2013

After finishing up a landmark run on Green Lantern with writer Geoff Johns, artist Doug Mahnke is about to take part in DC’s all-consuming summer event, “Trinity War,” which pits the Justice League, Justice League of America, and Justice League Dark head-to-head-to-head in an all-out slugfest. By all accounts, it looks like one of the biggest crossover events of the year, let alone the summer. Having worked on DC mega-events like “Blackest Night”, Mahnke has proved his artistic adroitness where these matters are concerned. Still, when you have three of the DCU’s biggest superteams throwing down, it’s a mammoth task. Before the summer slugfest kicks off in earnest, I caught up with Mahnke via e-mail to give some insight into what we can look forward to, his role in launching Simon Baz into the DCU stratosphere, and the challenges inherent to crossovers.

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Nerdist: You made waves last year with the introduction of Simon Baz, the first Arab-American Green Lantern. How has the response been, and what was the experience like?

Doug Mahnke: The public response has been positive in general, with some personal contact amongst professionals of Arab extraction telling me how pleased they and their families were with the character. Those personal ones were a great endorsement, in my opinion, quite heartwarming, really.

N: Talk to us about “Trinity War” and how the process has been. What sort of over-the-top insanity can we look forward to?

DM: Over-the-top insanity? It is hard to get away from insanity with just one super team, let alone three of them.

N: Considering your work on things like Blackest Night, you’re no stranger to large-scale comics events. How do they compare to a more standard issue?

DM: Whenever large-scope events are happening and you want continuity between the different books interacting with each other, there is an added layer of work in keeping an eye on what everyone else is doing. When you are just hanging with yourself doing a monthly, it’s easier to get references, as it happens to be in your previous issue!

N: Tell us about your process. How do you work, especially when you’re tackling a larger scale project like “Trinity War?”

DM: Other than trying to know what everyone else is doing, it’s business as usual. Draw, draw, and draw. Late hours. deadlines, skin of my teeth. My actual process is to work straight on the boards, and lay out large blocks of pages before finishing. I always prefer this, as laying out pages is a great warm-up for my brain before carving out lines.

N: Who has been the most enjoyable character to draw in this crossover? The most challenging/frustrating?

DM: Most enjoyable would be Wonder Woman thus far, but I am really happy to draw some Frankenstein again.  The challenging part has been getting up to speed on character’s powers I am not very familiar with, such as Element Woman or Vibe.

N: What comics are you reading and enjoying right now?

DM: Nothing in particular, just what catches my eye at the moment. I am quite curious about the direction Green Lantern will be taking without Geoff, so I know I will keep an eye on that.

DC’s “Trinity War” kicks off in earnest with Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1 this Wednesday. You can keep up with Doug’s exploits here.