Keeping Batman visually diverse, Dustin Nguyen’s comic is squarely aimed at a younger audience
Colourful, expressive and sketchy… not words you’d associate with some of Dustin Nguyen’s influences such as Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. However, the Vietnamese-American artist came up with a new concept for DC when he started designing some Batman snow globes in 2006. That idea never took off but the sketching he did around the project developed into a whole new take on Batman. “I wanted to take a break from dark, moody Batman,” he explains.
DC Digital decided to experiment with a download-only Batman comic. Dustin was asked to create both the artwork and the stories for a series called L’il Gotham, where Batman and the other inhabitants of the city face various not-so-noir adventures.
“I wanted to keep the look and feel of the sketchier style I’d been doing. It’s all done with watercolour and coloured pencils for line work. It’s looser to keep that same energy going,” says Dustin.
The lower age-range targeted was something he had to adapt to. He continues: “It was a bit tricky at first – not so much the illustrative side, but more in the stories and premise of the book. Most characters in Gotham are pretty dark, with some gruesome past stories that have made them who they are. So we’ve sort of had to work around those, and pull apart the funny, lighter side of things. A lot of it is dark humour polished into colourful panels.”
With a naive approach to the artwork, L’il Gotham by Dustin Nguyen brings a child-like quality to his artwork, which is meant to
appeal to a younger audience. L’il Gotham started life as a digital-only publication, but because of its popularity DC made it available to its regular print readership.
BOBBLE HEAD Toy designs were an influence on Dustin’s novel-looking series.