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THE ARTISTS: STEVEN LIEBER

Like Jan Duursema, Steven is a graduate of the Joe Kubert School and has done a lot of work for both Marvel and Dark Horse. "Hawkman" was his first stab at an ongoing monthly series. I found his own web page, thanks to a link from artist extrodinaire (and Hawkworld Webring member) Daniel Tomasi, and dropped him an e-mail to see what he was up to. I also managed to find an incredible painting of Hawkman he did (featured below). Presently, he is out of mainstream comics and has recently done the critically acclaimed "Whiteout" and "Whiteout: Melt" with writer Greg Rucka. Check out more on what Steven Lieber is doing at his own site, http://www.unrewarding.com/steve. It's not fancy, but it get's to the point about what he has done and what he's doing now.

Here's some of the information I received from Steve in an e-mail around the time when Whiteout first saw the light of day.

"Hawkman was indeed my first regular series. I was hired by Archie Goodwin to do some pencilling on the "Bloodlines" annual and after Jan Duursema left, I became the regular penciller for several years.

"I was a graduate of the Joe Kubert School, and I suspect it was my strong Kubert influence that got me the job.

"My career has led me away from superhero material. I've recently finished a four issue crime story for Oni Press- WHITEOUT, and I expect to be doing more work for Oni in the future."

Steven Lieber Interview

Tim Holtorf: First off, how did you become involved in the Hawkman series? We talked earlier (over a year ago, I believe) that Archie Goodwin had brought you into to assist Jan Duursema with pencils on Hawkman annual # 1, but what was the final decision, for both the executives and yourself, to continue with the ongoing series?

Steven Lieber: Jan had, I think, received an offer to work on an X-men project at Marvel, and since she didn't want to split her attention by working on both, decided to leave Hawkman. Archie had liked my storytelling on the annual, and after a lunch at the Chicago Comicon, offered the job to me. It wasn't a very difficult decision for me. Archie was the best editor in the business, and as a Kubert disciple, I wasn't going to pass on a chance to try my hand at a character that Joe had defined so brilliantly.

Tim Holtorf: You had worked on limited series, or mini-series, before Hawkman.  Was there a big difference between the two?

Steven Lieber: I'd mostly worked on short and single issue stories. The big differences were the ongoing aspect- getting used to drawing the same characters each month, and only being a penciller instead of doing the whole thing myself.

Tim Holtorf: You mentioned that Joe Kubert was one of your influences, or rather, that you had a Joe Kubert style.  From this, were you familiar with the character when you came on board?

Steven Lieber: Absolutely, although I hadn't seen much of the post-Hawkworld version.

Tim Holtorf: What of yourself did you bring into the ongoing series?

Steven Lieber: I think the quieter moments and the occasional bits of weird visual humor were mine.

Tim Holtorf: It was unfortuneate the third series was cancelled.  Was there any warning at all?

Steven Lieber: I wasn't working on it when it was cancelled, so that's hard to say, but we knew the sales were dropping steadily, and the book wasn't really coming together as a satisfying read.

Tim Holtorf: What made you leave the title after issue # 27?

Steven Lieber: The answer to this is best described as water under the bridge.

Tim Holtorf: There's been a lot of rumours that Hawkman could be brought back during the first JSA-JLA team up on the new millenium. If so, would you possibly be interested in joining a creative team to pencil the book?

Steven Lieber: I'd absolutely love to draw Hawkman again. I think he's still the most visually striking character in comics. Practically speaking, though, I don't think doing an ongoing series makes sense. They get cancelled too quickly, readers are left hanging, and stores are left with backstock that's hard to sell. Far better to do a series of limited series. Tell complete stories, then collect them when you're done.

Tim Holtorf: Some of your previous work has included "Whiteout" from Oni Press.  How was that series received by critics and the fans?

Steven Lieber: WHITEOUT was received with really surprising enthusiasm. I received more fanmail for WHITEOUT than I did for my entire *career* prior to it. Online and print reviews positively gushed. Sales were good, and are still growing. I'm pretty sure Hawkman was selling about 14,000 copies at the end of my run. The first issue of WHITEOUT sold about 8,000 copies, and the tpb has shipped 3,000 copies the last I heard, with orders continuing steadily, and bookstore distribution ready to kick in. Greg Rucka, who wrote WHITEOUT, is a very successful novelist, and we're hoping that people who've enjoyed his prose will respond well to his graphic novel. The three Eisner nominations were a pleasnt surprise too, and I'm sure they've helped quite a bit.

Tim Holtorf: Finally, as I've asked of others, what are your plans for the future?

Steven Lieber: Greg Rucka and I are working on a sequel to WHITEOUT, called WHITEOUT: MELT. It's a four-issue bimonthly series from Oni Press, and the first issue ships in September.

This section is dedicated to those artists and writers who have contributed at different times throughout the history of Hawkman. Check them out.

The Artists

Murphy Anderson
Sheldon Moldoff
Graham Nolan
Jan Duursema
Steven Lieber
Joe Kubert
Michael Lark

The Writers

Gardner Fox
Tony Isabella
Timothy Truman
John Ostrander
William Messner-Loebs
Ben Raab

Hawkman Annual #1
Hawkman Annual #1, Lieber's first Hawkman issue.

Steve Lieber: Hawkman Index

Hawkman Vol. 3 #0,9-17,19,20,22-27, penciller Hawkman Annual Vol. 3 #1, penciller

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