The following is an interview with artist Josue Justiniano or better known as just Justiniano who provides the art for two issues of the DC Universe title Doom Patrol, both of which tie-into BLACKEST NIGHT. Brought to you by the Green Lantern Spotlight Podcast.
Green Lantern Spotlight: Thanks for taking the time to do this, it means a lot. How about we start off with your start in the comics industry? Take us through the journey.
Justiniano: Growing up, I had no knowledge about anything called the “comic industry”; nor care for that fact. Comic properties like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and The Hulk, were just part of life like having Frosted Flakes in the morning. You don’t question those things when you’re a kid, you just know they’re there in the morning and expect them the following one…
As far as how I came to grab a pencil to draw these characters, I have no recollection how it started, it was simply there when I noticed. I do believe most of my earlier images came from television; scenes I had seen in a film or serial. My earliest memory of any drawing, is one of the Lone Ranger my father drew for me before heading to work, and since he was in a rush, he drew him with his arms behind him to save some time. That wasn’t enough for me, so I added ropes to show that he was tied up. I was probably 3 or 4.
Comics were just there, and I read them often when I was able to get them. I never paid attention to who drew them, nor wrote them. I just enjoyed getting absorbed by them. If my memories are correct, I think that the first comic to simply blow my mind, was the first issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths. It had a million different characters in it, and the notion that there were hundreds of different versions of Superman and The Flash was completely amazing to me. After that, I wanted to know more, and even more importantly, the urge to create, create, create, had been ignited and I would draw, draw, draw until my eyes and fingers burned. Even still, I never had any plans to work in comics. For me, it was something I just loved doing.
Fast forward about 10 years or so, I attended my second comic convention and met the creators of the now defunct Chaos! Comics, who were on tour to promote their infant company. I learned that their next stop the following weekend was a comic store not too far from my hometown in Connecticut. For some reason or another, I dared to make some samples based on the first few pages of Evil Ernie and when they came around, I gave them copies. I did not hear from them for a while, but eventually, they put up a talent search ad in one of their comics and I sent them the same exact copies I previously gave them. Few days after, publisher Brian Pulido assigned me what became my first published piece.
A few months after that, on the same store, I met a young fellow who claimed he worked at Marvel, and insisted that I showed my stuff to the editor he worked under. For some reason I believed him and sent some stuff out to Marc McLaurin. It worked out, because he called me back a few days after, and hooked me up with an issue of What If…?
That’s how pretty much I broke in. No plans; just happened…
GLS: You’re working with Keith Giffin on Doom Patrol for a few issues. What’s your relationship like with him?
J: I’m working on those issues simply because editor Liz Gehrlein called me up and ask me if I wanted to cover those issues for regular guy Matthew Clark. I said “Hell yeah. I dig the DP!”. That project has been tons of fun, and it hasn’t been the first time I’ve worked with Keith on something. I penciled over his breakdowns on 52, and I drew two chapters of the Doctor Occult back story for Reign In Hell, which he wrote. I’m also drawing over his breakdowns on DP, to say the least. As far as a relationship, we’ve spoken on the phone a couple of times, and exchange a couple of emails as well. He’s a “straight to the point” kind of guy, or so I got from our interaction. I found him very pleasant and very smart. I think he really knows what he’s talking about.