DESPITE HIS PLACE AS ONE OF THE FINEST DRAFTSMEN IN COMICS, Steve Lieber has stayed mostly below the radar, putting in work on such diverse series as Detective Comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gotham Central, Hellboy, The Escapist, Grendel, Civil War: Frontline, Hawkman, On the Road to Perdition, and others.
Lieber gained notoriety in 1998 for his work as the co-creator and artist of the Oni Press series Whiteout with writer Greg Rucka. A murder mystery set in Antarctica, Whiteout was one of Oni’s biggest early successes, and earned four Eisner Award nominations, including one for Lieber as “Best Penciler/Inker.” Lieber and Rucka returned to the Ice and to United States Marshall Carrie Stetko for a sequel, Whiteout: Melt, and the two books remain the work that Lieber is best known for.
Whiteout has been adapted into a film, which was released in September. While enjoying the attention the film and his work have been receiving, Lieber has remained busy with a variety of comics and commercial projects through Portland’s Periscope Studio (which I recently visited), and has launched a new series with writer and studiomate Jeff Parker. Underground, a personal project that Lieber and Parker have been developing for several years, is poised to replace Whiteout as the book mentioned first when Lieber’s name comes up. The second issue will be released this week. I spoke with Lieber at Periscope on September 2nd.
Wright Opinion: So, after getting together everything I wanted to ask you, I also asked a few other people if they had any questions for you. And one that I really liked was from [Dark Horse digital artist and friend of Periscope] Ryan Hill, who wanted to know abut your recently learning to drive. How’s your experience with that been?
Steve Lieber: I still haven’t gotten a license. I went to one test. I’ve taken a whole bunch of lessons. The most recent go around trying to learn was my fourth, I think. I haven’t gotten the trick of not thinking of all the different ways I could die or kill somebody else, and I really have to change that, but so far it hasn’t happened. Fortunately, I work a job where it really doesn’t matter at all.
WO: The reason I liked that question and wanted to ask you about that is it seems you hear about a lot of comics people who do not or cannot drive, and I’m assuming there must be a reason for it, something connected to the job, or the fact that people work at home. Is there a reason that you keep hearing?
SL: I like to think that we all share the “dweeb gene.” I don’t know, in my case I just never got past that horrible visualization of crashes. I’ve been in two car-totaling crashes, and I’ve seen the end of a crash that wound up beheading somebody. That’s the first thing that I think of when I get into anybody’s car, much less the driver’s seat. The beheading actually happened at the Kubert School. I heard the crash, went outside and saw the car turned upside down. I think it flipped over off of a snowdrift by the side of the road. And the paramedics had to reach in and pull the head out by the hair.
SL: Not one of the happier memories.