Joe Eisma talks the art of Morning Glories

Joe Eisma has been drawing Morning Glories since it’s launch in 2010. Described by writer Nick Spencer as, “Runaways meets Lost” it’s set in an exclusive prep school and the plot revolves around time travel, conspiracy and quantum physics. We talked to him about the challenges of drawing a series of such length and complexity.
Comics and Noir: Costume is often an important part of comic books, particularly as a short hand for the reader to tell who’s who on a page. Have you found any challenges in writing Morning Glories, given much of the cast are so often similarly dressed in school uniform?
The Glories

Joe Eisma: It is difficult in making each individual character stand out in a book like this where they wear uniforms.  That said, from day one, my focus has been to differentiate them as much as possible.  Teenagers aren’t the type to conform to a uniform look, so they’ll find ways to make themselves unique.  I think having some be more dressed up than others has helped in this regard.  Some will have ties, some will not.  Some will wear the full coat and tie look, others a cardigan.  I want them to all look like they go to the same school, but it’s important to me that the reader be able to tell them apart.

C&N: Jun and Hisao are identical twins at MGA. Do you approach each differently when drawing them? If you look at one of them out of context, can you tell them apart?Jun And Hisao

JE: I do, actually!  Hisao I’ve always viewed as the more patient one, and he’s much nicer.  Jun, on the other hand, is the firebrand of the brothers.  He’s pretty much always frowning.

C&N: Without giving anything away, can you talk about something you’ve drawn or will draw for a future issue that you’re excited about? I imagine Towerball, in particular, will have some great moments.

JE: Yeah, Towerball is fun, new thing.  Nick has left it pretty ambiguous as to the overall specifics, so I get to fill in those gaps, as it were.  Other than that–the school President campaigns with Isabel and Casey is really going to be some exciting stuff.

C&N: You and Nick clearly have the narrative arc for the comic well defined, and there are numerous things included from early on that have acquired deeper meaning as the story progresses. Is there something that always makes you smile to draw because of what the reader was going to find out about it?For The Greater Good

JE: Absolutely.  When we hit on an aspect of the story that is a major clue to a mystery, it’s always fun thinking how the readers will figure it out.  It’s also why I like to add Easter eggs in the book–I love the idea of our readers poring over things, looking for clues.The Hour of our Release Draws Near

C&N: The different arcs of Morning Glories are structured into ‘seasons’. Do you keep a different aesthetic in mind for these different seasons?

JE: Overall–I want each season to look better than the last!  Going from season 2 to 3, though, I want to change up my style a bit and go a bit more exaggerated.  I’m slowly sneaking it in now so it’s not too stark a contrast by the time season 3 starts up.

C&N: You’ve drawn every issue of the series to date. Have you seen stylistic aspects of MGA seeping in to your other work, or can you ‘unplug’ from the series to jump into other projects?

JE: Yeah, it definitely informs my other work.  There were moments when I was drawing Higher Earth or Evil Empire and feeling like certain panels could have come right out of Morning Glories.  It’s not really something I put too much thought into, though.

C&N: Soundtracks are becoming a more prevalent part of comic books, do you have ‘go to’ tracks or playlists for drawing Morning Glories?

JE: Definitely.  I try and post Spotify playlists for each issue that comes out, and failing that, I do it for arcs.  Nick does it too.  I think the music that I put on most when doing this book is Black Sabbath, IAMX, Tesla Boy, Prince and The Cocteau Twins.
Morning Glories Cylinder
The mysterious spinning cylinder in the school basement, that is somehow associated with the manipulation of time .

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