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Jim Lee

Jim Lee

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Do you find yourself developing an emotional attachment to certain characters when you're drawing? Is it difficult to draw when you don't necessarily agree with the storyline? Or do you remain unattached from the plot altogether?It definitely helps.

That's why I make sure to get on the same page with my collaborators as soon (and) as often as possible.

One of the challenges which I like about my job is trying to make the mundane exciting, to make the silly interesting.

I think even if you get a script that doesn't do it for you ...

you try and make it shine nonetheless.

And I definitely get into the plot.

Many times I find myself involuntarily acting out the scenes with my face, so I'm smiling or pouting or snarling when I draw.Hollywood is really turning to comics lately for blockbuster themes.

What are your thoughts on its live action interpretation of your illustrations?Nothing other than whatever they do, when they do it, I will love it.

I'm not one of these fans who can't handle their beloved works being adapted.

If I want the pure, uncut stuff I go back to the comics.

If I want to see something bigger, more Hollywood, for a larger audience that's a decent adaptation of the comics, I go see the summer tentpole popcorn movies.

As good as "X-Men" and "X-Men 2" were, they will never best the original comics they were based on.

But I loved the movies too, just for what they were rather than what I thought they should be.

If they make a movie from something I had a hand in, even like they did in "X-Men: Origins," where they featured Gambit (who I co-created) ...

well, it's a flattering thing, but it's not why I work in comics.

Movies are icing on the cake.We've been interviewing a lot of local comic book store owners lately, and most are saying those readers who were born in the '80s and early '90s are the last generation that will read and buy comic books.

Now parents will come in with their kids to shop for comics, but the kids don't even bother to look up from their Nintendo DS's because they just don't care.

What are your thoughts on their grim outlook on the industry?I disagree with the generalization.

Comics are as healthy as they have been for over a decade.

The level of story and art are at all time highs and that's not hyperbole.

As long as we have quality, I think we will be fine.

But there will be a transition over to the digital world and rather than fear it, I embrace it.

I look forward to it because that will be just another way for us to do our jobs, which is to tell stories with pictures and words.How does San Diego affect or inspire your work?Well, when it's sunny out, it makes it hard to work.

I'm sure I would be more prolific if I lived in the American Northwest.

That, or more depressed.

I've traveled all over the world for my job and seriously, San Diego has the best weather bar none and it's great when you have a deskj ob having the opportunity to step outside and just bask in the day.

It's the ultimate way to relax from the grind of deadline.

Just stepping out into the sunset and hearing the waves crash along the coast.The next big project on your agenda that we should keep an eye out for?The DC Universe Massively Multiplayer Online Video Game is what I have been working on for the past four years and looks and plays amazing so I am most looking forward to its release.

On the comics world, more "All Star Batman and Robin" I'm doing with Frank Miller ("300," "Sin City," "The Spirit") and a cover I'm contributing for Tyrese Gibson's new comic, "Mayhem," and a short story I'm doing with Neil Gaiman to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.What sort of wise words of advice would you offer to aspiring illustrators?In the immortal words of Jan Brady: "Practice, practice, practice!" Like anything in life, whether you are an athlete or musician, you don't get good unless you put in insane hours of practice, into honing and perfecting your craft.

Whether it is considered art or not may be subject to the whims of fashion and in many ways out of your hands but at the end of the day, if the work's good, it'll inspire countless others and that's no mean feat.

Keep a sketchbook and draw from life.

If you want to become a comic book artist, try and draw a page of panel-to-panel continuity each and every day.

The world of art has no concept of a workweek.Four reasons why everyone should read comics?1.

Because nearly everyone I've met in the world of film, music and games loves and/or reads comics.

It's the secret ingredient which binds creative people and has been for nearly 70 years.2.

They're the cheapest, legal way to reach the edges of your imagination and there's no greater trip than that journey.3.

Superheroes are our modern mythology.

Unless you're wiccan or something like that.4.

So you know who all the heroes and villains are in the DC Universe MMO game when it ships (sorry, blatant plug).The best part about events like Comic-Con?The intensity and love for all things nerdy, geeky and spectacular.The worst?The intensity and love for all things nerdy, geeky and spectacular ...

without deodorant.The perfect S.D weekend according to you?Starts with a bike ride from La Jolla to P.B.

for a great, relaxing brunch (Tofu Happiness) at La Cantina, then crash out on Windansea Beach with my fiancee, Carla, doing nothing while our kids play in the surf.

Later, dinner at either the Quarter Kitchen at the Ivy Hotel where our friend Nathan Coulon is the chef or the Modus Supper Club.

Then a movie at the Mira Mesa IMAX theater or a night out in the Gaslamp.

Sunday afternoon at Petco Park where my Padres win.The perfect S.D.

weekend according to Batman?Probably handserving knuckle sandwiches to criminals, followed with a nightcap at Jack's in La Jolla, then a romantic walk along the beach to see what's he's missing out (on) living in Gotham.The perfect 10-song mixtape according to you? It's an eclectic mix but each song has a story.1.

"Don't Stop Believin'," Journey 2.

"All 'Cause of You," The 88 3.

"Shadow of the Day," Linkin Park 4.

"Cancer," My Chemical Romance 5.

"Aerials," System of a Down 6.

"Closer," NIN 7.

"Tennessee Line," Daughtry 8.

"Hurt," Johnny Cash 9.

"Chasing Cars," Snow Patrol 10.

"Just a Baby Boy," Tyrese GibsonJim Lee photo: Nelvin C.

Cepeda, Union-Tribune

http://www.signonsandiego.com/entertainment/street/2009/07/street_people_jim_lee_1.html
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