Exclusive: J.K. Woodward Talks Star Trek TNG/Doctor Who Assimilation2 And More

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Star Trek TNG/Doctor Who Assimilation2 by IDW is into its second issue, and is proving that it is worth all the hype. The two biggest sci-fi television properties in history have finally crossed over officially. Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor and Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard met at the end of issue 2 and the stage is now set for the ultimate showdown with the Borg and Cybermen.

Besides a great story by Scott Tipton, David Tipton and Tony Lee, J.K. Woodward has been providing some spectacular artwork. Woodward took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his his art influences, his love for the two shows, and what’s in store for the rest of the series.

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CBT - You drew the cover for Issue 1 of Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation2 as your pitch which led to you being chosen. When you were doing that, did you try to capture both shows and what this series was offering? What were you thinking when you were trying to come up with that image?

J.K. Woodward -

There were 3 things that immediately sprang to mind when I first heard about this project. 

1. Sontaran/Klingon Alliance

2. Borg-assimilated Daleks

3. The Enterprise D and the TARDIS in a time vortex together. 

I felt 1 & 2 were too story specific for a project where I haven’t seen a script yet, so I went with 3. I painted Patrick Stewart and Matt Smith later because I felt they may want to see how I handle likenesses. I later composited the 2 paintings to create a cover.

I later got around to painting 1 & 2 as a raffle prize for 2 signings I did. 

CBT - You have a very unique style with the art in your books, penciling and then painting. Who are you inspirations when it comes to comic books or art in general?
J.K. Woodward -

My first painted influence came from Bill Sienkiewicz. I discovered Moonknight around ’82 and I thought he was doing some very innovative stuff with just pen and ink. I particularly remember a done-in-one story called “Hit it” that just blew me away. I followed his work on New Mutants and immediately took note of the painted covers. Then Elektra Assassin, Daredevil:Love and War, and eventually Stray Toasters! WOW! Stray Toasters!!! This was incredible. It showed me anything could be accomplished in a story telling medium and it opened my eyes to a new world of art. I became obsessed as a painter and wanted to learn it all. oil, water colour, acrylic, photography, gouache and eventually exploring digital media. I explored fine art and hung a lot of work in galleries in L.A. , Boston and Frankfurt Germany. This steered me away from comics for a while until I decided to group a painted series in a saddle stitch format with prose written over it. What I published was  was essentially a comic and I became interested again in creating sequential art using what I’ve learned over the years. That’s when I discovered Alex Ross and became inspired by realism more than the surrealism I’d been doing for years. That pretty much brought me to what I do today.

CBT - I’ve heard you say you are a fan of both Star Trek and Doctor Who in other interviews. First I have to ask, who is your favorite Doctor and Captain? You really nailed the Doctor Who vibe with the ancient Egypt scenes. When you were working on this series did you watch any particular episodes for reference, use pictures of the cast, or something else entirely?
J.K. Woodward -

Favorite Captain. I want to say Kirk because he represents a simplistic ideal to which every man secretly aspires to; punch the guy and get the girl. However, there is a more evolved sensibility that I aspire to and that can be found in Picard. Picard has a wisdom, reason, and maturity that I admire. But all Starfleet captains have amazing problem solving skills and I enjoy watching them conquer a challenge every episode. Its really hard to pick but if I have to, I’d say Picard. …(pardon the pun) by a hair.
Favorite Doctor. I grew up with Tom Baker so in a sense, he will always be the “real Doctor”. However, some of may favorite Who memories are with Tennant’s run. In fact, I hated Matt Smith when he came around. I thought, “Who the hell is this guy? who the hell does he think he is? Where’s Tennant?”. Then I saw the “Rebel Flesh” and that turned me around. I was impressed with Smith’s range as an actor and started to take notice of the schitzo nature of this doctor. He went from being emotionally devastated, (“He had a heart! and you stopped it!!”), to playful banter with his doppleganger. He just started to become a lot more interesting at that point. For now, the 11th is my favorite.

I watched all of them and my studio was wallpapered with printouts of all the characters, taken from screenshots of the episodes, at different expressions so that I’d always have a reference of how the various actors handled different emotional states visually. I also payed close attention to things like Picard’s shirt tug, or Riker’s Captain Morgan stance near Data’s station on the bridge, or the way the Doctor ran around kind of T-Rex style with his hands up as if he were wading through waist deep water at all times. These subtle idiosyncrasies are not necessarily always noticed when there, but they are missed when they are not, so including them helps to keep these characters real and moving in your mind when you look at these static panels. I want to try to make it feel as much like you’re watching the show as possible.

CBT - This crossover has been the subject of countless fanboy discussions and fanfic stories. Did you feel pressure taking this job considering how invested those two sci-fi camps are in the respective shows, or was it more about being able to actually do it and have some fun with it?
J.K. Woodward -

Nervous? Well, yeah, sure at first. But then I realized, “Hey, I’m a fan of both, and I respect both properties as much as anyone. I’m the best man for the job.” After that I got to know the others involved and knew they were the same, and just enjoyed this opportunity. I take great care with the work I do on this job, but it is definitely a labor of love.

 

CBT - This series is all you from covers to interior art, so you’re the best person to ask. There was a little Easter Egg in Issue 1 with the Tom’s Bakery sign on 4th street. Was that your doing and can we expect more of that for both the Who and Trek sides in the remaining issues?
J.K. Woodward -

That was my little contribution and there will be many more as we go on. I like to make these things a little more interactive. I sometimes wish every fan of the book could be in on it with me; that somehow they could just hang out in the studio with me and talk Trek and Who with me. I think by dropping in those Easter eggs, I achieve that on some level.
BTW, there were 2 more in that exact scene. I’ll give away 1 since I think it’s only legible on the original art. It may have printed too small, but in the panel where they walk into the bar, I put slightly altered episode names to reflect menu items on the specials chalkboard by the door. They include:  “A Good Quiche Goes To War”,  “The Impossible Hot Wings”, “The Rebel Wrap”, and “Day of the MoonPies”

CBT - The cover to Issue 3 is very interesting. You have Tom Baker, Captain Kirk, and Spock with some of the old style Cybermen. I’m sure you can’t really say much about it, but is that just a nice cover or should we expect a little more with those characters?
J.K. Woodward -

First, I just want to say that this cover is probably the most fun I’ve had since doing the Star Trek/Legion of SuperHeroes cover. Who would’ve ever dreamed that I would get paid to illustrate the TARDIS parked next to the Galileo?!?
Now as far as that issue goes, you’re right, I don’t want to give away too much…..Well, let me just say this; With the exception of the issue 1 cover which was designed before I saw a script, I have never illustrated a cover that did not reflect the story inside.

CBT - What issue are you working on now and can you tease anything coming up in the remaining 7 issues?
J.K. Woodward -

I’m just finishing up 4. I’ll probably be starting 5 when this interview is published. I can tell you that any and all setup ends early in issue 2 and its nonstop action from here on in with the Doctor and the TNG crew interacting together. These issues are everything I could have hoped for in this crossover!

CBT - This seems like it would be the ultimate dream job for many people, but do you have something else you’re dying to do?
J.K. Woodward -

There are lots of projects I’d like to do, projects I’ve created myself or in collaboration with others. This is something I’m exploring now. I can’t really reveal too much now, but I can say that one of them will debut in Mike Norton and Tim Seeley’s creation, Double Feature.
But working with other peoples properties? There are 2 that come to mind right away.

1. ElseWorld’s Finest: Batman Beyond and Space Ghost

2. The Imperial God: Star Wars/Star Trek

CBT - And finally, what’s next for you? Do you have anything in the works we should be looking out for?

J.K. Woodward -

Well hopefully another Fallen Angel mini series. I’ve been working with Peter David on Fallen Angel for more than 5 years. 3 years as an ongoing series and then 2 minis after that. In the last mini the city of Bete Noire (Bete Noire is to Fallen Angel as Gotham City is to Batman) was destroyed and more than half of the reoccurring characters were killed presumably.  A lot of fans(myself included) thought that was the end , but after speaking to Peter recently I learned differently. Its simply the beginning of a different story.

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A very special thanks to J.K. Woodward. All pictures are from his website, which you can check out by clicking here. You can look around and find out more about his work and how to purchase pages from this series and other original sketches. Star Trek TNG/Doctor Who Assimilation2 continues later this month with issue #3 of 8.

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