Interview with Terry Dodson
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Terry Dodson has been in comics for over seven years now and has drawn several different comic series, including Generation X, Mantra, Star Wars, and, his newest series, Harley Quinn. I recently was given the chance to ask Terry questions about what his experience on Generation X was like and where he thinks the comic industry is going as a whole.

How did you first get interested in comic books?
I first got interested in comics because of Star Wars. I was a huge fan of Star Wars as a kid and would anything I could get my hands on that had to do with it, including comics.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?
No, I never  really knew I wanted to be. I drew for entertainment. I  jumped around a lot from major to major in college not happy with any but always trying.

How did you break into comic books?
By doing portfolio samples and taking them to conventions and showing them around. At first it was difficult to hear the critiques, but later on that's what I wanted to know. What I was doing wrong. Fortunately, when I broke in 1993 , they were handing out jobs to anybody with a pulse. I got my first job on Mantra, for the new Malibu Ultraverse.

How did you get a job on Generation X?
I had been working  regularly in the X-Men office since mid 1994 and was finishing up a X-Man graphic novel in the summer of '97 when Mark Powers offered me the book.

Had you ever read Gen X before being offered the job?
I read the initial run of Chris Bachalo, then lost interest while he left to work on the Death mini. I started looking at again around issue 25 when Chris' style really started evolving.

Do you prefer to have your wife, Rachel, inking your pages?
Yeah, it's the closest I can get to inking the book myself.

You based your version of Paladin on Harrison Ford. Did you use real people for the basis of any of the other Gen X characters or comic characters?
Yeah, they are all over the place. On Gen X, I started using Mulan for Jubilee and Jasmine from Aladdin for M. I used a Polo model for Synch. On Harley Quinn, they are all over. One of my favorite movies is Out of Sight. By issue 3 of the book, I managed to include six of the stars into the book. See if you can identify them.

I've noticed a lot of artists have little "trademarks" in their art, like a character that consistently cameos or a certain animal. Do you have anything you consider trademarks in your comics?
You know there probably are but I can't think of anything offhand.  I usually like to throw in bands I like or comic characters or subversive things so I guess keep your peeled.

Favorite Gen X character?
Probable a toss up between Jublilee. Just because she had such much character.

What do you think of its approaching cancellation?
I think it's a good idea. I think the book lost it's direction a long time ago. There have been 6 writers. three artists and six editors in 75 issues. Not what I would call a strong vision. I know while working on the book how frustrating it was, because I worked with two different writers and four different editors. When the Warren Ellis and Brian Wood came along, I thought it was a great move, but about two years too late. I wanted to stay and see what they would do but, Harley Quinn came along and  it was time for a clean break.  I  believe the best move is to put it out of its misery and move to a new idea with a more unified and long lasting vision. But I still love the characters (sob,sob).

How did you get offered your current job on Harley Quinn?
Karl Kesel had gone to New York to look for some new assignments and he spoke with Matt Idelson. Matt mentioned the idea of doing a Harley Quinn monthly. On the flight back, Karl thought of me as the artist. He called me when he got back  from New  York and asked  if I was interested. So we worked together on the proposal for a month or so. Then it got accepted and I left Gen X.

What’s it like taking a cartoon character and giving her a more realistic look?
The great thing about Harley Quinn is that her design is so solid and yet so simple that it  translates very well.

In general, how much do the writers keep you in on the story-telling process?
In the case of Harley Quinn, I've been involved with the book from the get go. So I been pretty involved in the storytelling process. Plus, I have tons of ideas for the character that I love try out.

Do you think comic books as an industry are in trouble?
Yes, it's been in trouble for a while. There are 270 million-plus people in the U.S. and the best selling book is comes in at 100,000 copies a month.  The specialized direct market cannot keep the market strong alone.  The books need to be available to more people in order for the market to grow again. I like Marvel's idea of making the Ultimate comics available on the new stand and also in magazine format, so as to reach a wider marketplace.

What’re your future plans in comics?
Right now, I am under an exclusive contract with DC, which will keep me on Harley Quinn until issue 18. After who knows, I would like to start writing my own stuff and also do creator-owned material.