An EXCLUSIVE Interview With Shannon Denton, Storyboard Artist For The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!
DocBBanner here with the hype on Shannon Denton, celebrated storyboard artist for the amazing TV series ,X-Men (the first series) and now The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! We focus on the spotlights of his career, and much more!
DBB: So, Mr. Denton, it is an absolute honor to get time in to discuss your work. So, beginning here, how did you first get interested in storytelling and artistry?
SHANNON: There was this TV show called the Electric Company and it had a segment that featured Spider-Man. I instantly fell in love and from there I did everything I could to learn more about comics and how they were made. Star Wars was also a big influence. The Star Wars Sketchbook really opened up my mind to the idea that artists and writers created the worlds I was falling in love with. I would spend hours copying everything out of those sketchbooks. One of my biggest professional joys was getting to work as a designer with Nilo Rodis-Jamero on a show and not only getting his insights into design but also getting him to sign those same tattered sketchbooks that had inspired me all those years ago.
DBB: So one of your biggest start-offs was with doing storyboards for the movie “Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius”. Impressive stuff on one of the best remembered family animated sci-fi comedies! Did it lay a good foundation for you on your immediate future projects afterward?
SHANNON: It certainly was a shift in the tone of material I’d worked on. Previous to this I’d been a character designer and storyboard artist on X-Men, Spider-Man, Avengers, Dan Dare, Mortal Kombat, and a bunch of other action oriented shows. I had worked on a few comedies like SpyDogs but this was really my first opportunity to do something comedy oriented and I loved it. I think it helped strengthen my action work as well.
DBB: Great! …And your history of creative contribution to a multitude of comic book animated shows on Fox Kids; you definitely have entertained and thrilled many a generation X and Y audience throughout the 90′s on… What do you consider your most creative work then?
SHANNON: Working on my own projects is always going to feel the most rewarding. When you’re working on a TV show/movie you’re working on characters that aren’t your own. You have to be able to take directions from the producers, whether you agree or not, and help them execute their vision of things. When I do my own comic, it’s my vision of things I get to present.
DBB: You have also made in-roads to the creation and co-founding of your own independent comics production group, Komikwerks. How is that going along with your career these days?
SHANNON: Komikwerks is going great. Lately it’s focus has been on publishing the Actionopolis and AGENT OF D.A.N.G.E.R. line of books and we’re really looking forward to even more in the coming years. As a creator it’s an awesome outlet for me in addition to the other works I’m generating for other publishers.
DBB: Now, for the meaty detail here, we just wanted to say how much we love The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Do you feel those were an excellent prologue to getting the series started? What are your thoughts on it?
SHANNON: Yes, I thought they did an amazing job promoting the show. Making the mini-episodes available online was great for everyone that doesn’t have the Disney XD channel.
DBB: Fast forward onto present month and time here, can we hope to see great material appearing in this series and will this series aspire to expand storytelling on the Marvel Universe as a whole?
SHANNON: Of course. Season 2 is going to have an even wider variety of heroes and guest stars. It’s going to be awesome for Avengers fans and a great intro to the kids who may be seeing all of these folks for the first time.
DBB: Any other exciting projects waiting in the wings that we can look forward to see from you?
SHANNON: I’m drawing a book with my GRUNTS collaborator Matt Jacobs. They haven’t announced it yet but it’s part of the new line of comics from Kickstart Comics.
DBB: Last, our Comicbooktherapy personal opinion questions Mr. Denton: What’s your favorite Marvel or DC character, the one character you enjoy drawing the most, and what is your own outlook on the comic book movie and animation industry trends?..
SHANNON: My current favorite Marvel or DC character is whichever one I’m getting paid to work on! Creatively I love almost everyone. As for the animation and movie industry intersecting with comics, I’m all for it. As someone who has optioned stuff to Hollywood it’s just one more avenue for the creator to pay his bills. And the hope is that if the creator is able to pay their bills, it frees them up to have more time for creating. I think we’re currently in a great time to be a comics creator and hopefully it just keeps getting better and better.
DBB: Thanks for your time, Mr. Denton. Again, its been a pleasure and an honor to have this time interviewing on your amazing career. Good luck on your many projects, present and future.
SHANNON: Thank you! Really appreciate the opportunity. Feel free to check out what else I’m working on at twitter.com/shannondenton and as always feel free to say howdy in person at all the upcoming conventions.
That’s the feature interview for now. Next feature up, the hot picks for comic book related animated features for TV and video in early to mid-2011.