Frank Cho interview

Face front, monkeyboys! You've read his outrageous Liberty Meadows from Image. Now get ready as Frank Cho invades the Marvel Universe with his take on their jungle beauty, Shanna, the She Devil. Worlds of Westfield's Roger Ash caught up with Frank to find out more about the book.

Westfield: What caught your interest in doing a Shanna book?

Frank Cho: The strong female lead. I like drawing strong and sexy females. Besides the obvious, I also love drawing jungle scenes and dinosaurs. Did I mention the strong female lead?

Westfield: Is this a "new" Shanna, or does she have ties to the old Marvel character?

Cho: She's completely "new" with a twist and I do mean a big twist.

Westfield: This was originally supposed to be part of the Max line and Shanna spent a lot of time running around in her birthday suit. Now I read that you're drawing clothes on Shanna. Why the change in direction and how difficult is it for you to add in the clothing?

Cho: The reason why Marvel decided to change Shanna from rated R to rated PG-13 is circulation. Marvel wants this to be a top seller so they decided to move it under Marvel Knights imprint. It's all about getting this book out to as many people as possible.

Adding clothing to Shanna is a non-issue for me at this point. I'm actually having a blast covering up the nude parts. It's a great mental and artistic challenge for me trying to figure out how to cover Shanna up without being overtly intrusive.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the story and who are the characters involved?

Cho: All the characters and the situations are brand new. I'm not using anything from Shanna's past history. You have to read it to find out.

Westfield: You're best known for your work on Liberty Meadows. Anything you'd like to tell us of what's on the way there?

Cho: 2005 will be a huge year for Liberty Meadows. There are many new Liberty Meadows projects on the way, including the complete Liberty Meadows Sunday strip collection book and Liberty Meadows statues by Clayburn Moore. Also my agent and I are in middle of trying to turn Liberty Meadows into a movie.

Westfield: How does working on Shanna compare/contrast to working on an issue of Liberty Meadows?

Cho: It's definitely different. I have to completely switch gears when writing Shanna and Liberty Meadows. When I write Liberty Meadows, I try to communicate an idea in 4 panels. I often write backward in Liberty Meadows. I come up with the punchline first then try to figure out a set-up for that punchline within those 4 panels. But with Shanna, I suddenly have to tell a story in 22 pages. The pacing, the tone, the perspective and graphic language are all different and very challenging. It's been very difficult at times trying to write both but greatly rewarding at the end.

Westfield: Are you working on any other projects you'd like to mention?

Cho: A secret mini-series for Marvel featuring (surprise, surprise) a strong female lead which I can't discuss at this point. Couple of creator-owned projects that will be launched once my Marvel contract expires.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Cho: Shanna is a fun, high octane book that was a blast to write and draw. I hope the readers will give it a try.