Soo Lee - artist

Hey, thanks so much for taking the time out to give us a peek behind the curtain at the new Bionic title from Dynamite comics...

1. What's your background?
I essentially started my career drawing kid’s comics but I worked on a short YA series called Fight Like a Girl around 2014 and thanks to that, I soon after started working with various publishers on mini-series and drawing covers for Chapterhouse, Boom!, Image, Aftershock and now Dynamite.

2. How did you get into the industry?
I was active on a lot of online communities, trying to grow my freelance reputation while tuning and developing my skill. I collaborated with a lot of different people and took gigs anywhere I can get them. After my debut on Fight Like a Girl, I had worked more titles such as Strange Attractors and then the rebooted horror series, Fantomah.

3. Who are your influences in the comic world?
This is a hard question to answer because there are so many creators I really look up to! I have the infamous “Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work” taped above my drawing table, and that’s my permanent guideline so he’s definitely one of my most influential. But some of the creators who really move me with their storytelling would be: Katsuhiro Otomo, Frank Quitely, Jean Giraud Moebius, David Mazzuchelli, and Joe Kubert. They tell the kind of stories I want to tell, in a way I one day dream of telling. It’s a pretty generic answer and they’re on a lot of people’s list but it’s because they really are masters of the art.

Original art by Soo Lee - DeathArt by Soo Lee - Batgirl
Original art by Soo Lee. Left, Death and Right, Batgirl.

4. What career path do you think you would have followed if you hadn't become an artist?
It’s really funny to think about now. I took classes in SVA and when I first applied, I was denied. I almost gave up and was going to try my hand at becoming a Mortician or study Forensic Pathology! That also didn’t pan out though because Tom Hart, a former professor at SVA came in for a workshop in my High School at the time and got me an opening to try again. So I got in and here I am drawing, I guess it was destiny!

5. What does a regular working day look like for you?
On a typical freelance work day, I have a pretty strict routine. It’s really just working from sun up to sun down, and even after then. I’ll spend one day on layouts and work on all the pencils the following weeks and then ink all the pages last. I’ll usually turn on a show or movie for background noise and drink a belligerent amount of coffee. It’s probably not the healthiest way to work but I really enjoy it because I get into the zone easier.

Bionic Woman artwork6. How did you get the assignment for the Charlie's Angels/Bionic Woman book?
I received an email out of the blue from Matt Idelson our editor, and It wasn’t until later that I found out that Cameron had actually asked for me by name. Cameron and I were previously acquaintances before that.

7. Is that typical of how the industry works?
I think yes and it was also a bit of luck. I was lucky in the sense that I met Cameron through connections and we both became friends and was familiar with each other’s works. I think that’s a fairly common occurrence in this industry.

8. How familiar were you with the shows/characters when you started on the books? Was there any specific research you did?
I'm familiar with the original tv series, although it was mostly the first 2 seasons that I remember most. I tried to keep a lot of the fashion similar to the characters and the environment nostalgic to the show. I’ve included elements that fans might recognize. I also really wanted to give a nod to the original comic series by way of storytelling.

9. Any particular challenges for you from Cameron's script?
I don't think there were any more challenges working with Cameron on this book than there would be on others. It always takes a little time to get used to the writing style when you’re working with a different writer but when I got into the groove, it really clicked for me. Cameron focuses on detail without losing focus of a scene and it's been really helpful when dealing with more complex scenes.

10. How long did you worked on the title, start to finish?
Currently, I’m still working on the series. Including the character designs, I've been working on CABW since the beginning of the year.

11. Did Cameron have any particular pages/panels that where you really nailed it for him and blew him away?
Yes, he was very positive about the way certain panels came out! I was worried they wouldn't translate well but I do work very closely with Cameron to make sure certain scenes were as accurate to the script and that they also visually made sense. I don't want to say which scenes in particular without spoiling anything for the readers!

12. Was there a decision to capture the likeness of the actors for the books, or more stylised approach?
It was decided that the characters were to be stylized so I changed up the ladies but I wanted to keep a lot of the other elements of the comic to be recognizable by fans.

Charlie's Angels Bionic #1
Covers and variants for issue #1 of the new title.

13. Will we see any other of the shows' regular characters outside of Jaime Sommers and the Angels? I know Bionic fans would love to se like Oscar, Max and Rudy crop up (Obviously no spoilers!)
I can't either confirm or deny! You'll have to stay tuned!

14. I've enjoyed the 6-page preview that's been doing the rounds and pleased that the leads haven't been over sexualised, as could happen with a female-led title. Was there a conscious effort to avoid that given the characters involved?
These characters are very iconic in their looks and I’ve always appreciated how stylish the women were in the show so I wanted to keep that aesthetic with the art. But drawing these characters as a woman’s perspective, I didn't feel the need to visually exaggerate them, especially if it doesn't add anything to the story. I think they stand out enough on their own and I think it’s more of a challenge to keep them tastefully appealing and I hope it translates through my art!

15. The page lay-out looks very much in your style, from what I've seen of your work. Did you have a lot of leeway with how the book looked, what input did you get from Cameron about what he wanted, or didn't want?
I was fortunate to have a team who trusts my vision and style for the story!

Charlie's Angels artwork16. The colour-pallet for the pages doesn't look like your typical glaring super-hero book. Was that a specific choice?
Addison and I talked about how we pictured the colors and we both were on the same page and wanted it to have a 70’s tv-show vibe. The muted colors Addison uses I think, gives a very nostalgic feel to the book and really ties everything together beautifully.

17. Okay, if you had to choose, Team-Angels or Team-Jaime?
I’m a little biased because the Angels have always been my favorite but without spoiling anything, I’m starting to really root for Jaime!

18. Obviously work is work and pays the bills, but do you have a preference for the kind of book you like to work on? Real-life? Superheroes? Fantasy?
I’ve worked on some of those types of genres already and I wouldn’t ever want to limit myself. I like experimenting and going for different stories because then I learn what I’m comfortable with and what my “bread and butter” ultimately is. I also enjoy challenging myself by trying out different techniques of storytelling and each genre has a different “formula” to follow I think. But if I had to choose, I would love to try my hand at a mystery/thriller story in the future!

19. Have you got one comic title that you'd kill to work on, or are you happy with whatever comes up?
I mean, working on Charlies Angels/Bionic Woman is a dream in itself so words can’t express how grateful I am to be drawing this series. I don’t want to sound cheesy but I really mean it when I say, I am truly thankful for any title I work on and I’m really grateful to my team on this book who took a chance with me to help make this an awesome comic.

20. Have you got convention dates in your diary where people can see you this summer?
So far, I’ll be at Boston Fan Expo in August 16-18th and that will be following the release of the first 2 issues. Then I’ll be attending New York Comic Con in October! It’ll be an exciting rest of the year and I hope to meet others who share our love of Charlie’s Angels and the Bionic Woman!

For more on Soo Lee check out: http://www.sooleedraws.com/ as well as https://www.instagram.com/sooleedraws/

Interview ©Cyborg 2019. Comic art ©Dynamite comics.