In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Name: Georges Jeanty
Notable Work: Whedonverse comics
“Every Buffy fan can cite certain scenes that they’re so passionate about. I’m the same when Joyce dies. If you had not cried in that episode, then you don’t have emotions. I don’t mean to be extreme. Or, I’ll do you one better. The first time Oz leaves Willow, I’m wrecked. Seriously, it’s not even a TV show anymore. You have moved me to the point of where I can’t even think about it.” – Georges Jeanty
Georges Jeanty has always been an artist. Born in NY and growing up in Miami, Georges graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Miami-Dade University. After careful consideration, Georges decided not to go into his first passion, acting, or fine arts, but rather to become a “commercial” artist by trying to break into the comic book industry. Luckily for comic fans, and those who obsess over the Whedonverse, he was able to do just that. As a child and teenager, Jeanty was known to frequent the local 7-Eleven and tobacco store that both carried comics. He would pick up what ever books he could find on the rack, sticking mostly to Marvel. Jeanty was inspired by his childhood heroes like Luke Cage, the Fantastic Four and legendary artists like John Byrne and George Pérez to pursue his comic career. It was Daredevil #183, written by Frank Miller and Roger McKenzie, that really changed Jeanty’s path because it was that book which made him decide that he needed to work on comics. He credits the 70’s era as the storytelling era. He believes he was very lucky to grow up in the Frank Miller time of the medium because it defined his teen years.
Jeanty began his career in 1994 with Paradigm #1, published by Caliber Press. He also drew for London Night Studios, a now defunct underground comic company. This work led him to a lot of other underground comics. Jeanty has been known for getting work, but it hasn’t always been easy. At the start of his career, Image Comics was making it big and influencing how comics were being drawn across the board, which unfortunately wasn’t Jeanty’s style. While working on comics when still trying to “make it”, he worked several day jobs, including managing a comic shop at one point. In 1999, he was able to join Gaijin Studios in Atlanta, a collaborative of comic artists, as a resident artist. Gaijin Studios is highly regarded as the training ground for modern comic book artists. It is also how Georges was connected to his jobs with DC and Marvel.
Green Lantern #91 at DC was his first “big thing”. He was given half of the book in order to give regular artist Darryl Banks a break. Ron Marz, then the writer of Green Lantern was able to get Jeanty more work as a fill in at Superboy. From there, he did Superman #142 and some Team Superman issues.
Georges Jeanty’s big break came with his 15-issue series Bishop: The Last X-Man with Marvel. At the time, Marvel was releasing comics about each character because they were just that big. Excitingly enough, it is Jeanty’s interpretation of Bishop that made the new X-Men: Days of Future Past movie. Originally, Jeanty was inspired to create Bishop’s look because of Busta Rhymes’ dreadlocks.
In 2006, Jeanty worked with John Ridley (writer of films like Red Tails and 12 Years a Slave) on a series called The American Way by publisher DC. The story chronicled America’s first black superhero who rattled the American government. The government had been pitting heroes vs. aliens and communism, all on American television. The series is a commentary on the 1960’s in its way. There was even a touch of having the hero, named Jason Fisher, wearing an astronaut’s uniform and a helmet because the world in the ’60’s wasn’t ready for a black hero. This is an issue that is often talked about in the industry because comic books have often been a reflection of how society feels about certain issues. In the ’60’s, it would have been unlikely for a comic to sell if the hero was black. For Ridley and Jeanty, both African-American men, to put this detail in their comic, and make Jason Fisher a masked man who is accidentally unmasked in issue #3 is a nice homage to the 1950’s comic, Weird Fantasy, in which the character pulls off their helmet in the final panel and is revealed to be black, something that was very shocking for the day, unfortunately.
Jeanty was contacted by Dark Horse editor Scott Allie in 2006 after his run on The American Way to draw the new Buffy series, Buffy: Season 8, a continuation of the acclaimed series that ended at Season 7. Allie e-mailed Jeanty to tell him Joss Whedon had been a fan of his work since his Bishop run and had hand-picked Jeanty to work on the comic. Jeanty thought it was a joke and told Allie that if Joss wanted him, Joss could ask himself. And then he did. As Jeanty says, the rest is history. As far as his knowledge of Buffy goes, Jeanty had heard of Buffy but had not seen an episode. He ended up having to see it out of order so he could catch up quickly enough to know how to draw the books. Today, Jeanty credits Season 6 as being his favorite. What a weirdo. Anyhow, Jeanty is now just about as obsessed as most Buffy fans. And his process for drawing Buffy, Willow and Xander? Lots of pictures. He says Joss has told him not to draw Sarah Michelle Gellar, but rather Buffy herself, which Jeanty says he just understood. He uses the pictures of the actors to get different angles right and to use them as his security blanket. He worked on the acclaimed series from 2007 to 2013, winning two Eisner Awards along the way. Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons 8 and 9 have been on the New York Times bestselling list, and Georges Jeanty’s art has been a great part of that, creating such a likeness to the beloved characters of the television series that the transition from screen to print almost seems flawless. Thank you Georges Jeanty for pleasing Buffy fans so well.
Jeanty can also be credited for penciling Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne for the popular “Dark Knight: Dark Rider” issue aka the Wild West issue. He also pencilled the “Joker’s Daughter” one shot that was released this past February. His art in this book was so incredibly creepy it gave me the chills. That is when an artist knows how to get under your skin (pun intended).
Currently, Jeanty is working with Joss’ brother Zac (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) on the six issue series Serenity: Leaves on the Wind. It is the first Serenity comic to chronicle what happens to the crew after the conclusion of the cult movie. Oddly enough, Jeanty did watch Firefly when it was on the air. Being a fan of the story, Jeanty jumped at the chance to draw the comic continuation. As a fan, I am happy to see his art in this series. Some of his scenes of space are so breathtaking, you can almost hear the silence of the universe when you look at them. It is truly magnificent. What is in the future for Jeanty? Only time will tell, but with 20 years of experience under his belt and his connection to the Whedon franchise, it is unlikely Jeanty will have to go far to look for work.
None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (Caliber Press, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with Fiona Staples, artist for the hit series Saga.
written by Adrian Puryear