Interview: Australian artist Nicola Scott on finally doing Wonder Woman justice, Black Magick and Oz Comic-Con

One thing we can say about Australia and its diverse culture of people is that it will never get boring. So many different characters and so much diversity in everything we do, from our bizarre choices in hobbies, to the work we do in our everyday lives. Some of that work may happen to feel like a hobby too, often the case if you’re a paid artist like the ridiculously amazing and talented Nicola Scott.

After all, Nicola has brought Wonder Woman back to the 21st Century with a style that could make the eyes of most artists bleed. It’s great timing, too, with the recently released DC film Wonder Woman taking cinemas by storm; we can all hope it brings more attention to Nicola Scott’s work, especially her dark and intriguing series Black Magick alongside writer Greg Rucka. This is her baby and it needs attention, hell it needs an adaptation. I spoke to Nicola about her journey from Australia to DC Comics in America and to drawing Wonder Woman. We have a bitch about Batman V Superman and the one thing that redeemed it. Let’s chat with Nicola Scott!

Nicola Scott’s Amazing work on DC’s Wonder Woman!

I must congratulate you first on your amazing success in the industry, showing all of us it takes amazing talent and not just a specific gender to kick ass in this universe. Can you tell us all how a Sydney talent landed in the lap of DC Comic’s drawing none other than Wonder Woman?

By the time Wonder Woman came around for me, I had kind of been with DC coming up to ten years! My way from getting here to there was extensive. I made the decision to draw comics when I hadn’t had much experience with comics, I was more looking for a way to make a living out of doing something creative and drawing was one of the things that I could do and it really all came about because of Wonder Woman! She is a character that I grew up on because of the TV show (1975 TV Series Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter) and I have always loved her, she’s been a little bit of my Patron Saint. The decision to draw comics came from that and then I thought drawing Wonder Woman ‘Oh my god, that’s a real job?’!

At the time, I knew nothing about the industry, I didn’t know anything about the art of sequential story-telling, I didn’t know anything really. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that there really isn’t an industry here (for comics in Australia) and there isn’t enough of a population to really support a huge industry like that here.

So, while there are a lot of people creating comics locally, it’s very much a hobbyist industry and I wanted to get paid, I wanted this to be my job, not my hobby. So, that pointed me very quickly towards the States. At the time, I felt that was the only industry I was aware of. I knew there was a Manga industry in Japan, but the art style, even though I adored the 70’s and 80’s Japanese cartoons, I didn’t really have the affinity for Manga art. I didn’t really have any idea about the European scene, other than Asterix and I had no interest in drawing Asterix. The American industry is where all the superheroes are and I did love superheroes.

It took me a few years to break in on a professional level, but when I did, I went from knowing nothing about the industry to having a monthly book at DC Comics and it took me about four and a half years.

What’s wonderful about your work on Wonder Woman is the fact it will garner even more attention now and it deserves it, now that the new DC film Wonder Woman has been so successful. How much were you looking forward to seeing the new adaptation and what are your thoughts on the outcome?

I have been wanting a new live-action Wonder Woman for ever. The first time I became aware of a new Wonder Woman treatment in development was in the 90’s and it was a TV series. I was auditioning for that TV series actually, I didn’t end up making it through and it was the same people that made the Lois & Clark TV show. They didn’t end up going to pilot, the whole thing stalled along the way. I did however have a copy of the script and the scenes I was auditioning for, they were not good, it was NOT GOOD!

It was the first time I thought of a different live-action Wonder Woman and it was exciting. For years after that I would always hear about a new Wonder Woman treatment in development and working in the comics industry and learning about the comics adaptation, film and TV industry, I became aware that there was a treatment for Wonder Woman in development all the time at any given stage. I got excited to hear that Megan Gale was going to be playing her in a Justice League film with George Miller a decade ago and then that didn’t happen. I was very nervous about the Adrianne Palicki TV series and if you had seen the pilot, it was also really, really not good! No fault of hers either, the development and treatment of her character just didn’t make any sense, focusing on all the wrong things and seeing her character in 100% the wrong way.

The Wonder Woman adaptations always came so close, we’d had countless adaptations of Batman and Superman, more so Batman, but Diana (Prince, Wonder Woman) hadn’t had one! Then finally hearing early this decade, that she was finally going to happen, whether it was going to be good or bad, it was going to happen and I was excited. I was glad that they understood that she was the next character they needed to bring in. If they were introducing Batman into the Superman universe, then Wonder Woman had to be very hot on the heel! That they weren’t going to do all the boys and then somewhere along the line stick the girl in, that she was as important. When they were looking for a European actress, I thought that’s a good start!

When they finally cast Gal Gadot, I thought she was very beautiful, but kept hearing all the bitching about how slim she was, that didn’t really bother me because I know you can bulk up and the outfit helps with that too! I was just hoping that whomever was in the casting room was looking for that magic, that special something that spoke to them of Diana, therefore I hope that there idea of Diana is my idea of Diana! I have since found out it was Zac Snyder and Ben Affleck that ultimately cast her and they were responsible for the decision. They clearly did a fabulous job because when she finally showed up in Batman V Superman (that film that is quite divisive and I feel very conflicted about), that film felt like a slog to get through until she arrives as Wonder Woman! For the first time in the 2 and a bit hours, it finally felt like a Superhero movie.

When Wonder Woman finally came out I had my fingers and toes crossed for it to be good and it was brilliant! I could probably do a little bit without the last, sort of, ten-minute CGI fight. I think that was a studio choice. It felt like that was the studio getting what they wanted and needed. If that was the price Patty Jenkins had to pay to get everything leading up to that in, then I’ll go with it. Apparently, the studio wasn’t into the ‘No Man’s Land’ scene… they didn’t get it!? Patty had to fight for that. That was a fight worth battling, the ‘No Man’s Land’ scene is extraordinary! One of the best scenes in any superhero film.

You have your own amazing series of graphic novels Black Magick! Tell us about that series?

Nicola Scott’s original work with Greg Rucka on Black Magick!

I always have a hard time defining this one. Black Magick is the story of an ancient hereditary Witch who is attempting to lead a very simple life in service of humanity, but nefarious forces are trying to push her over the edge for their own purposes. Her two worlds start to collide and creates a very messy life for her and her day job which is being a homicide detective.

We are actually up to starting to realise who she is and what she has been through and the reasoning as to why she removed herself from the practice of Magick. It’s still very much a part of her spiritual identity, but she’s not really actively practicing Magick in this lifetime until she is forced to, someone is trying to get her to break some very profound cardinal rules.

With Black Magick it was something I have always been working towards over my 10 years with DC and in terms of reaching the pinnacle with DC Comics (where else is there to go after (drawing) The Justice Society? The Justice League of course and at the time there wasn’t really a lot of characters in the Justice League I was interested in drawing. So, it was time to bow out for a while and go and do something creator owned and Greg Rucka (writer) and I had been mates for a really long time, he talked about different projects we might work on and when he brought up the idea of Black Magick with me, it really appealed to me. Out of all the horror and occult genre’s Witches are the ones that appeal to me most.

Sydney and the comic book world seems like a small one, I had a great interview with Paul Mason of the new Kid Phantom series the other month and you’re married to Andrew Constant. who works with Paul and is the writer for the series! You have a tight nit comic family there.

Absolutely! We have a really nice little community of creators here in Australia and it’s great when we get to work together. It’s great when we break into bigger markets. Andrew has his first book at DC coming out in November, which will help promote The Phantom stuff that’s coming out and in development now.

We’re seeing you at Oz Comic Con in Brisbane and Sydney! What will you be doing at the con and you’re going to catch Jason Mamoa aka Aquaman?

I have actually met Jason a few times as he has come out to a con before and I actually think I met him for the first time in New Zealand for an Armageddon about ten years ago.

Generally, when I am at a con I spend most of my time at a desk talking to people, I do some commissions but keep them short as doing the conventions tends to be my days off! I would much prefer to be talking to people as working in this industry is very isolating and so I always encourage people to come up and say hi and have a conversation with me and that’s what I feel is the most fun. I’ll do at least one panel each day and they are great fun. I believe it’s a privilege to work in an industry like this, there are a lot of people that would love to do it and only a few that really get to!

Nicola Scott’s work can be found at any good comic or book store along with her Black Magick series having now released a Volume One! You can also win a signed Wonder Woman poster HERE. But the big one, of course, is seeing Nicola Scott and the gang of artists at Oz Comic-Con Brisbane on September 23-24th or Sydney September 30th– October 1st