Celebration SHAZAM- Interview with Dale Eaglesham

It’s Celebration Shazam time here on On Comics Ground, with the upcoming release of the film, we are celebrating all things Shazam! Today, we have an interview with Dale Eaglesham.

Dale Eaglesham is the current artist on Shazam, but he is also known for his work on Secret Six, Sinestro, Scooby Doo: Apocalypse, Captain America, and Amazing Spider-Man, to name a few.  Dale, welcome to the website, it is a sincere pleasure to have you here. 

This interview is a little bit different than usual as I sourced some of the questions from our Shazam reviewer, Ian Cameron so we’re going to alternate between the questions from each of us.

Ian Cameron: Which character do you find the most fun to draw?

Dale Eaglesham: How to choose? It’s early in the series but clearly drawing Darla is a lot of fun. She is so bright-eyed, impetuous and exuberant in every line, her presence in a panel gives it instant pop. Even though he is quieter than the others, I’ve been having a lot of fun drawing Pedro as well. We are filtering a more honest experience of the superhero business through him. If anyone will chicken out sensibly, it’s Pedro. Billy and Freddy take a lot in stride; Mary is very mature; Eugene uses his head more but he’s also gutsy; Darla is a lot of fun but she also has a temper. Pedro? He’s us.

Kai Kiriyama: When drawing Billy/Shazam, what differences do you incorporate into their body language? What stays the same to remind us that Billy is still a child?

DE: That’s just it, the challenge is to make the body language the same. After decades of iconic superhero posing, it’s not exactly an easy task. The one difference will be Billy “acting” like a superhero, or how he thinks a superhero would act, probably in less dangerous situations. Alternately, faced with someone like Black Adam, you would see a real kids reaction of fear, and that could make Shazam quite dangerous. So far, as Shazam, I think we are seeing Shazam with a smirk on his face, a kid with a really cool secret.

KK: To expand on that question, do you incorporate anything specific into the way that you draw Billy’s super-powered siblings to highlight their personalities?

DE: How they appear as heroes are generally commensurate with how they look normally. Pedro is big and Darla is small in stature, for example. As an extension of their personalities, they do manifest as cooler versions of themselves in Shazam form. Freddy with his rock star hair and Pedro, a bit of a scaredy cat normally,  with his manly beard are two examples. Beyond that, we haven’t seen enough Shazam action so far to develop in-depth differences. The world of the Rock of Eternity is so incredibly diverse and vast it’s kept us quite busy and entertained with them in kid form!

IC: What was your process like when you were developing the looks of the other Realms connected to the Rock of Eternity?

DE: The worlds are distinct but there is overlap. The Darklands/ Monsterlands and the Funlands/ Wozenderlands could contain similar elements. The challenge is to avoid those overlaps so they stay as separate as possible. Talking trees belong in the Wozenderlands , so I’ll avoid putting any tree decor with faces on them in the Funlands backgrounds. As to the worlds in general, the goal to make them look like they’ve been there for a long, long time. You’ll see a real mix of architecture for {a} different era and the denizens of these worlds truly live these worlds. For example, the rides and decor in Funlands double as houses and taxi’s are clown cars. There are no rules as we understand them. Places, where people live, can be anywhere and strange sights are the norm. The more I can surprise the reader with something as they turn the page, the happier I am. This is the magic of Shazam. 

KK: Billy is still a kid, dealing with a lot of adult things that seem unimaginable to most people. How do you encapsulate hope and joy both in your work and in your life when things are difficult?

DE: The lightning bolt. For Billy, it’s the realization that he can become Shazam if things get dicey. In a way, he’s flash forwarding to an adult state in times of trouble. In difficult times growing up, I often projected to a future adult self that would one day deal with bad things confidently, making them go away.  In real terms, the bolt on Shazam’s chest is a symbol of hope, creativity, positivity, and inspiration in life. The lightning bolt represents the concept of the IDEA. It’s that inner power, that belief that we will figure out solutions to whatever obstacles confront us.

KK: If you had superpowers activated by a word, what would that word be? And what would be the first thing, or things, that you would do with your powers?

DE: A few words, actually. The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick, said really fast. Practice it to get it right. No one else hearing it will get it if they tried. What would I do? Go and live on Mars.

IC: What are you hoping to see in the Shazam film?

DE: The first film is essentially Geoff and Gary’s brilliant first run on Shazam. I guess I’m hoping to see it faithfully represented on film. From the trailers, I would say that is definitely the case. 

KK: Shazam is a very light-hearted concept at the core of it – a normal kid who gets superpowers. If there is a message or one thing that you hope your readers would take away from your work, what is it?

DE: The lightning bolt on Shazam’s chest represents inspiration and ideas. Ideas can transform us into heroes of every stripe and subsequently,  we can lift up humanity. This can happen to anyone and it is magic. I do this with a pencil and share the magic of my imagination with readers. I want to entice them into the world I create, to travel through the foreground right through to the backgrounds and take in the scenery. I want people to stop whizzing through a comic at a hundred miles per hour and take it all in. Read the words, look at the characters’  expressions, see where they are and what is happening around them. That applies equally to life. Stop and smell the roses. Really see things. There’s magic is all around you for the taking. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Dale! It’s been an honour.

You can see Dale’s work in the current run of Shazam! in stores right now.

Shazam! hits theaters on April 5th, 2019.

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Kai Kiriyama

Kai Kiriyama

Senior Editor
A writer, editor and Twitch gamer from Canada, Kai is often cold and usually under-caffeinated. You can find her books on all ebook retailers, including Amazon.
Written by
A writer, editor and Twitch gamer from Canada, Kai is often cold and usually under-caffeinated. You can find her books on all ebook retailers, including Amazon.

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