Creator Spotlight! Greg Rucka and Michael Lark

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Posted October 9, 2013 by Mario Miranda in Nerdy Bits

This is the first entry into a series of articles showcasing a variety of creators, which will hopefully coincide with new titles. In this entry, we at We The Nerdy, will be showcasing Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, who reunite after the stellar DC title Gotham Central with the duo’s latest title: Lazarus.

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Gotham Central

Michael Lark:

Starting off his career years ago with a title called Airwaves in 1991, Michael Lark has continued to produce some of the finest art in comic books in some of the most critically acclaimed titles to be published in the last 15 years. I first noticed his art on Scene of the Crime, alongside Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and the two things I immediately noticed is how well Lark portrays emotion and tone through body language and how well he sets a mood. In a title such as Gotham Central, dealing with normal non-super powered humans (GCPD Detectives), conveying the emotions of the characters was such an important task as Lark could not rely on action scenes to keep the reader interested. Instead, each panel and each character drawn conveyed such real emotion and fluidity that when I first read Gotham Central it felt as if I was watching an episode of NYPD Blue. This ability has only grown since then, and is in full effect with the amount of information a reader can take just from body language Forever displays, in the latest title of Lazarus. Even though at the time I’m writing this, we’ve only seen three issues of Lazarus, it’s amazing how well this world has been fleshed out and  how well we’ve gotten to know Forever, as we see her inner conflict with her loyalty and duty to her family and her true feelings in each issue.

 

Equally impressive is Lark’s ability to perfectly capture the tone of a series or arc. I personally think it was especially true in Lark’s run on Daredevil and Winter Soldier, both written by Ed Brubaker. Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark’s run followed the stellar run on Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, which is a run know for the very dark and gritty tone it consistently held for about 55 issues, and the duo was able to somehow amazingly keep that same kind of dark tone yet make it their own. Perfectly capturing the dark shadows of Matt/DD protecting the city while stalking the rooftops and also adding some great character moments, which I think were  especially on full display with the few appearances Dakota North and Matt dealing with Milla’s mental health problems.

 

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Dakota North

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Milla and Matt

With Winter Soldier, Lark jumps in on issue 6 and does a fantastic job of capturing the espionage feel that the title is known for as well as masterfully switching to action scenes. It is generally regarded that car chase scenes are difficult to do in the pages of a comic book but Lark does an amazing job creating a fantastic chase scene in the pages of Winter Soldier with Bucky and Natasha chasing down on an RV on a motorcycle, perfectly capturing the kinetic fast paced energy found typically in action movies.

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Bucky and Natasha chase scene

Greg Rucka

One of the most respected and high profile writers in the comic industry, starting off writing strictly prose literature, Rucka is known for writing terrific suspense/crime fiction as well for his great portrayal of strong female characters. He began his career writing the Atticus Kodiak novels, which received much acclaim in the mid 90’s. His first and much loved entry into the comic’s world came with Whiteout, published by Oni in 1998 which began his aforementioned reputation of writing very strong female characters, something that we can see with his most recent female character, Forever in the Lazarus series. Over the year’s he’s worked on various titles including, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Punisher, Wolverine, etc, and with each series who comes onto, it always seems as though he introduces a breath of fresh air. Notable entries into Marvel and DC titles are, his fantastic run with Kate Kane as Batwoman in Detective Comics, his collaboration with Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark on Gotham Central and his Punisher run over at Marvel comics. Most of those entries into the Marvel or DC properties involve Rucka developing such wonderfully fleshed out strong female characters. With Gotham Central we see Renee Montoya, Josie Mac, Maggie Sawyer, and Romy Chandler; with Batwoman we see how Kate Kane deals with the loss of her sister at a young age and spends her formative years dealing with that loss as well as her sexuality and finally finding a direction and purpose in crime fighting. Unlike many other strong independent female characters out there, what I particularly like about Rucka’s writing is that they’re not abrasively or offensively trying to assert their strength. It’s something that is very apparent with Forever, she’s not out trying to prove anything, she’s  not hung up on how she appears to the world as a female, she’s just confident in her abilities but at the same time has a softer more naïve part of her personality.

 Notable Highlights:

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Gotham Central

 

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Detective Comics – Batwoman Run

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The Punisher


About the Author

Mario Miranda

I live my life a quarter mile at a time.