Marking today’s release of Princess Leia #1 from Marvel, StarWars.com presents part two of an exclusive interview with artist Terry Dodson — discussing how the penciller brought iconic movie characters to comics, the Rebel leader he enjoyed drawing most, and more. (In case you missed, be sure to read part one on Marvel.com!)
StarWars.com: A book like Princess Leia means making the characters recognizable to millions of fans. Overall, how do you feel about doing likenesses? Do you have a philosophy on them?
Terry Dodson: I actually really enjoy doing likenesses; it’s a great way to “test” yourself as an artist. Lots of times in the work I do, I will base the look or aspects of the look on a real person so it’s very normal for me. For something like Star Wars, I do try to develop a “working likeness” — figure out the gist of the likeness without being slavish to photographs. I try to make it feel like the character as opposed to feeling like a photograph. And in this case, it really helps to work on characters/actors you already like and know their personality.
StarWars.com: Let’s follow up on that personality point: which of the existing Star Wars characters really made you get your groove on here? Any favorites?
Terry Dodson: The story starts at the end of the first Star Wars film so right off I was “in the universe” and it was really just nailing down those scenes that everyone knows so well, really made me pay attention and by the time I finished those “known” scenes, I really had a good grip on the established look and could really run with the new scenes/sets.
I did have a blast drawing Admiral Ackbar and all the Rebels running around with the big Spaceballs-esque helmets.
StarWars.com: Hey, from the pages we’ve seen, looks like a new female character shares the stage with Leia; how did you design her as her own person next to Leia?
Terry Dodson: Based off Mark [Waid]’s suggestion of making her Leia’s physical opposite: tall, blonde, and blue eyed. Then I really angled up her face and eyes to play off the rounder eyes and face of Leia. I did try to unify them in a way; I gave both Leia and Evaan what I’m calling Alderaanian hairstyles: basically, working off the Northern European look of Leia’s original bun and running with it.
StarWars.com: How well do you feel you mesh with the original design sense of the films? And how do you feel about researching all the ships and droids, etc.?
Terry Dodson: I like the design of the Star Wars universe and feel I have a good idea of what makes it work. So I love doing research to get it right and then using my knowledge and understanding of what makes those things “Star Wars-y” to create any new designs.
Jim Beard, a native of Toledo, Ohio, has worked as a professional writer since 2002, not only on comic books, but also on prose adventure fiction. He’s contributed weekly to Marvel.com for over ten years, one of his proudest achievements.