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DC Comics' Jim Lee: Using AI robs artists of inventive pleasure

A brand new three-part documentary, “Superpowered”, charts the 90-year historical past of DC Comics, which introduced the world “Superman”, “Batman”, “Wonder Woman” and numerous different superheroes.

Korean-born U.S. comic-book artist Jim Lee has been one of many style’s nice stars since his early days at Marvel within the Nineteen Eighties, engaged on “X-Men”.

When he switched to DC, he helped revive its iconic characters, ultimately rising to be president and chief inventive officer.

He sat down with AFP to speak about his inspirations, the danger of “superhero fatigue” and why he may need been a form of “AI engine” in his early days.

Does the simplistic black-and-white morality of superhero tales nonetheless have a spot in at the moment’s world?

The black-and-white division between good and evil was extra attribute of the early many years at DC Comics.

From the ’70s and ’80s on, the rise of the anti-hero and establishing origin tales for the villains, the place perhaps they’ve a sound perspective… that is helped hold the tales attention-grabbing… and there is a larger diploma of sophistication within the storytelling.

The worth of comics… is to remind people who we’re all going to undergo hardship and trauma, and it is the alternatives you make that may outline your future, as glib as that may sound.

Are you nervous about “superhero fatigue” as followers flip away from the deluge of content material?

There’s at all times a hazard when you might have an excessive amount of content material that individuals do not have sufficient time to eat what is going on on. I undoubtedly really feel that manner and I’m in the midst of it.

There is perhaps fatigue for tales that do not really feel as particular and distinctive… This yr can be very attention-grabbing given the extra divergent takes on superheroes in “Deadpool” and “Joker” (each have sequels popping out).

You have to repeatedly revitalize your self… however as a fan I’d say we have been spoiled for a few years in getting not simply films about essentially the most iconic characters, however a lot deeper within the catalogue… These are issues I might have killed for as a child.

Is AI a risk to the comics trade?

We have to determine a method to reside in a world the place it exists, and the supply materials from which it derives its content material is correctly credited and compensated.

But even when it have been accepted and somebody have been going to pay me to make use of an AI engine to create work, I simply would not do it. I do not create artwork simply so I can have one thing to receives a commission for.

I really like sitting down with a bit of paper and a pencil… I enter this fugue state, hours go by and it appears like quarter-hour, and on the finish, I’ve this unimaginable sense of satisfaction as a result of I went on this journey and I’ve created one thing.

Typing one thing right into a immediate and getting one thing two minutes later? I’m robbing myself of the entire level of why I bought into this enterprise.

What impressed you within the early years?

Different issues from completely different artists. From Frank Miller (“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”) it was the storytelling and the way he composed the panels on the web page nearly like musical notes… John Byrne (“The Man of Steel”) and the way in which he depicted the human type… Mike Mignola (“Hellboy”), the way in which he positioned shadows…

I used to be choosing completely different components from a lot of completely different artists and making an attempt to synthesize it into one thing I may name my very own that did not really feel spinoff.

So perhaps I used to be an AI engine again within the day, Lee stated laughing. That’s an terrible thought.

Is there an excessive amount of violence in comics?

There’s some fact to that.

It could be a shortcut to have them bodily duke it out to resolve a disaster and I’m undecided that is the correct lesson you need readers to stroll away with.

But I feel in plenty of tales when it will get to that time, that is the one method to resolve it and maybe that is a tragic reflection on the state of the world at the moment.

(But) there must be deeper emotion and deeper ideas at work and people are the tales that take advantage of affect and are the bestsellers on the finish of the day.

“Superpowered”, narrated by actor Rosario Dawson, is launched on April 4.

© 2024 AFP