Jim Lee/Gary Frank Doomsday Clock Livestream - Recap

by Hussein Wasiti on October 13, 2017

Hot on the heels of the release of six pages from DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1 shown by New York Comic Con 2017, today we have received even more detail as to what this series is going to be about from the perspective of the artist, Gary Frank. Frank has been relatively silent about this upcoming story and now we finally understand his point of view.


Jim Lee hosted today's livestream, which can be found on his Facebook page. After a myriad of technical issues concerning the audio of the livestream, it began in earnest half an hour after its scheduled time. It seems Lee struggles with deadlines even in the field of livestreaming. I essentially made the same joke when he was late to a signing once. Lee and Frank spend the first half hour or so of the livestream discussing Frank's art background and his relationship with DOOMSDAY CLOCK's writer, Geoff Johns. Frank and Johns famously collaborated on stories such as SUPERMAN: Secret ORIGIN, SHAZAM, and their well-known run on ACTION COMICS.


This is a spotlight on Frank's style as an artist more than anything, as well as some of his personal life. Frank lives in Luca, Italy, and is praised by Lee for being into non-comics related pastimes. At this point in his career, Frank lives a full life with his family and only draws for the sake of telling great stories. Lee claims that Frank's calm and cool personality and attitude comes across in his art, especially in regards to his take on Superman in his work with Johns. Due to their excellent work together, Lee points out that Frank has become "the go-to guy" when it comes to Johns wanting to tell deep, rich stories. Frank goes on to say that his work complements Johns in a specific way; his likes to draw believable characters and wants to make readers believe in the characters, while Johns like to strip away to the character's core to make them personal and believable. "I had no idea he was capable of doing something like this […] I didn't think he could do this density and complexity in a way that he's thinking these things through", says Frank regarding Johns' ability to tell the story.


Frank makes it a point to talk about how he admires many artists in the industry; he came to a realisation that while he can admire other people's artwork, he makes a point to do his own thing and distinguish himself from other works. Whether or not he's specifically referring to Dave Gibbons' work on WATCHMEN is not made clear, but it can be inferred if you can read between the lines. And the DOOMSDAY CLOCK discussion begins now.


Lee begins the discussion by immediately claiming that DOOMSDAY CLOCK is the best work that Frank and Johns have ever done. Frank is inking the pencils himself, calling the work "Gary Frank undiluted". Frank likes to see the mark that he himself makes on the page before handing it off, seeing the work as unfiltered and true. Lee agrees, saying that proofs over pencils don't have to be given to an inker and hence the artist has more control over the artwork. "You guys are creating a book that doesn't get published anymore", Lee tells Frank. "It takes its time" and "has no double page spreads". Frank points out something that I personally haven't noticed about WATCHMEN, in that there are no sound effects in the book. Frank claims that these restrictions forced him to lose some crutches; he questions how to draw someone knocking on a door without an accompanying sound effect. "It forces you to operate on a level that you don't normally find yourself operating at", Frank adds.


"WATCHMEN is the best comic book that's ever been made […] We're doing our thing. It's a tribute […] Like an expression of our love for the original." Whenever Johns and Frank were deciding on a story element or technical aspect to the story, the pair would simple think to themselves, "What did Alan [Moore] and Dave [Gibbons] do?" As is the case with WATCHMEN, the covers of each issue were the first panels of each issue as well, which is something Johns and Frank will be carrying through with this series. Frank finds it to be more fun when playing with the style and mechanics rather than the characters themselves, such as implementing the nine-panel grid.


SPOILERS FOLLOW FROM HERE ON OUT. These spoilers reference the first six pages released at NYCC, as well as details of future covers of the series as well as some semi-confirmed character returns.


Lee tackles the topic of Rorschach, and how Johns and Frank wanted to keep the reveal a secret in order for the reader to experience the twist in real-time as they turned the page. Frank and Lee both agree that in today's spoiler culture, it was something they couldn't hold back on. Lee also adds that retailers needed to get a better grasp of the story in order to know how many copies to purchase. The main and variant covers to the first issue are very straightforward, both depicting a crowd of protesters and Superman overshadowed by Doctor Manhattan's face, respectively. To add to the cover featuring Superman, Lee adds, "This is a pretty amazing Superman story at heart." The main and variant covers to the second issue feature a black costume and assorted Veidt products, while the second cover features Lex Luthor in an intimidating pose with an unknown hand resting on his shoulders. Lee claims this hand, which also sports a bracer, looks eerily like Ozymandias', which Frank essentially confirms. "The cat's out of the bag", adds Frank. The cover to the third issue of the series should be familiar to readers of the original series: it's simply a bottle being thrown against a wall, mid-destruction. This is a reference to the fight between Ozymandias and the Comedian in the first issue of the original series. Frank claims that he and Johns spent hours discussing what kind of liquid would have been in the bottle. The fourth issue's main and variant covers feature a stack of pancakes featuring syrup in the shape of Rorschach's mask, with the variant featuring a wild-looking Joker applying Veidt make-up.


And thus ended the livestream. I hope you guys enjoyed this write-up as much as I enjoyed writing it!


DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1 hits stores on November 22, 2017, and DOOMSDAY CLOCK #2 releases on December 27, 2017, each with a cover price of $4.99 US.