Exclusive: Joe Eisma on MORNING GLORIES, Missing Dead Folk & His Dream Cast

From the moment the first issue dropped in 2010, Morning Glories has been on fire.  Critics love it.  Fanboys and fangirls love it.  Many of the staff on this site love it (many of which are both fans and critics at the same time).  And most importantly, my cousin Ari loves it!  That’s why, when I saw artist Joe Eisma sketching behind his table at this year inaugural Special Edition: NYC comic convention, I knew I had to interview him.  So I begged and pleaded for a moment of his time.  Errrrrrrr, actually, I did none of that; all I did was tell him how much my cousin loved his work and he was happy to chat with me.  In fact, the dude was nice as heck and beaming with excitement to talk about the popular series.

I thought about giving you a brief recap of the series, but naaaaah.  Go cop it from your local comic shop or hit up the neighborhood library to check it out for yourselves.  All you have to know is that it’s about a prestigious prep school filled with super geniuses… and murder.  And best of all, the murder and the super geniuses are trapped together.  Ya dig?

BTW, Morning Glories is consistently one of Unleashthefanboy.com’s top rated comics.  Our resident Morning Glories reviewer, Harrison Rawdin, has too many nice quotes about Joe Eisma’s artwork to list, but here is one of my favorites (because it uses the word “ethereal”): “[Eisma’s] complex visualizations bring this energetic and almost ethereal world that’s full of terrors seamlessly to life.  Each pencil stroke evokes a soft but sturdy image that encapsulates the essence of this jaunt, literally offering a layer of tranquility while belying its true nature below the surface as more questions and conundrums abound.“

BTW part two, My cousin Ari Berenstein, author of A Little Column of Honor, helped me with these questions.  K, he kind of didn’t just help me, he kind of wrote them all and I am trying to steal his credit.  But I did ask them all, and I am really good at asking stuff.

morning_glories joe eismaUTF: Thank you so much for your time.  Have you ever been shocked by what Nick Spencer has written or done with characters?

Oh yeah, constantly. I’m as much a fan of the books as our readers so you do get attached to the characters a little bit so it’s kind of shocking when I read what kind of weird fate befalls them every once in a while.

UTF: What is the funniest or most out-there theory that you’ve heard from fans about what’s going on at Morning Glories Academy?

I’ve heard the ones that everybody is dead or that it is on a giant spaceship or something somewhere. The one that makes me laugh the most is that they’re all dead and that it’s purgatory or whatever.

UTF: Awesome. You have quite the community by the way. There’s quite a following for your series.joe eisma cast

Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s really gratifying and you know our fans are awesome.

UTF: They are pretty awesome. At one point you were drawing to bi-weekly issues.  How did you get through that? What was going through your mind when you were doing it and would you ever do it again?

I do not ever want to do it again, and that was what was going through my mind the entire time; never again, never again. It took a lot of coffee and basically getting up really early every morning and staying up really late and getting on average about 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night, on a good night.

UTF: Do you get confused by the constant flashbacks and flash-forwards in the series? Do you ever draw the wrong thing and have to do it over?

No, not often. There was one instance where we did a flashback and it had a character in the script, a minor character that had shown up and I drew the wrong character. Nick didn’t even catch it, so we just kind of put the issue out and then we were like, maybe nobody will notice. I think a couple of our readers did notice.

A pic of Miss America Chavez by Mr. Eisma- because I love her

A pic of Miss America Chavez by Mr. Eisma- because I love her

UTF: That’s funny. That is so great. What do you like to draw most? The huge double page splashes or the background settings or the multi-panel character discussions?

The splash pages are more fun, that’s the most fun. The talking heads shots of all the characters, that can be kind of boring but it’s really easy to draw. I can knock those out really fast, I like those in that regard but the most fun is definitely the splash pages.

UTF: What character who’s dead do you miss?

I would say Brendan, the guy from the first issue that got mauled by David at the beginning of the first issue. He didn’t really get a lot of time in the book so it would be nice to explore his character a little bit more.

UTF: Will Hunter ever find the right girl?

I doubt it. It may not happen until he’s an adult because he’s a pretty awkward teenager and tends to screw things up a lot.  So I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon.

UTF: Did you expect this series to take off so quickly and so large?

No, if anything, I expected us to carve out a niche, like a cult space type of thing. Yeah, when it came out and it exploded the way that it did it just blew me away.

UTF: Do you hope to get rich off a movie some day?morning glories

Well, that would be nice, but I would love to see it made into a TV series. I think that would be the best format for it, but yeah I would like to see it. Not only from a creative standpoint but also from a spiteful standpoint. To be like to all the people who doubted you, to be like, Yeah look, that’s my thing on TV.

UTF: Who would you cast?

Who would I cast?

UTF: Yeah.

Some of our readers did a fan casting thing and they’ve done some really good choices. I’m not really too up on who the new teen actors and actresses are but I do know that I think Carla Gugino who was in Watchmen, she would make a really good Miss Daramount. That would be interesting. Somebody actually floated the idea that Daniel Dae Kim, the guy who was on Lost who played Jin would be a good Mr Gribbs. It was like way out there. I was like, Mr Gribbs isn’t even Asian, but it could work; I could deal with it.

UTF: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time.

Image Sources: Deviant Art