Combining the shadowy grit of Gene Colan with the muscular beauty of John Buscema, Nolan has been fueling superhero comic books with barrels of testosterone for decades now. Nolan's electrifying way of framing action sequences distinguished him from the Image clones of the early '90s. Instead of empty pin-ups, Nolan delivered real storytelling abilities with his visual ammunition; like Jack Kirby in his prime, one could feel the pain of fist upon flesh, that explosion of raw power. Nolan co-created Bane in 1992 with his frequent collaborator, writer Chuck Dixon, and Doug Moench. Nolan and Dixon became a Dynamic Duo themselves, carrying Batman to new heights. The two recently reunited for the mini-series Bane: Conquest, and there's no rust at all from their lengthy absence with the character. Dixon and Nolan simply picked up where they left off, packing heat and taking no prisoners.
Mikey Sutton: Every superhero has an origin story. What is yours? How did you become interested in comic books?
Graham Nolan: I fell in love with superheroes from watching The Adventures of Superman and Batman TV shows. I discovered comics when my 6th grade teacher brought a stack in to class for us to read during recess.
M: When did you discover that you had a passion for illustrating comic books?
G: I always liked to draw. I was a huge monster lover before comics and would like to draw the Universal monsters. Once I discovered comics then I started copying the artwork out of them that I admired.
M: You made your professional debut in New Talent Showcase for DC Comics in 1984. How old were you then? How did they notify you that were you chosen?
G: I was 22 and a student at the Joe Kubert School. My sequential art teacher at the time was Sal Amendola who also happened to be the talent coordinator at DC Comics and editor of New Talent Showcase. My first two professional sales were actually class assignments.
M: Did DC offer you work after New Talent Showcase? What books did you end up doing?
G: Nothing regular. My next project was an issue of Transformers for Marvel, then I ended up doing a lot of work for Eclipse Comics before making my way back to DC.
M: In 1992, you co-created Bane with Chuck Dixon and Doug Moench. How did that come about?
G: I had done a few fill-in issues of Detective Comics when the idea for "Knightfall" was being discussed. Scott Peterson called me and asked me if I wanted to work on the one-shot that would introduce a new villain to set the storyline in motion. I talked with Chuck about it and designed Bane based on some of the story needs and Chuck’s notes indicating he was Hispanic and born into a prison on a Central/South American island
M: You've had quite the working relationship with Dixon, a consistently impressive run of comics. How did you guys meet?
G: We met at Eclipse Comics when Chuck was writing Airboy in 1985. There was a back-up feature called Sky Wolf that I had been assigned to do some stories for that Chuck was also writing.
M: In what ways is working with Dixon different than other writers?
G: It’s a true collaboration. We’ve worked together for over 30 years and that makes for a very comfortable understanding of one another. There are no egos to bruise if one of us doesn’t like something the other comes up with.
M: Bane: Conquest marks a long-awaited reunion between you, Dixon, and the character all of you are probably best known for. After a long absence, how did you two end up doing Bane again?
G: It hasn’t been a long absence for us. Just a long absence of us at DC. We did a bunch of projects for Graphic India together as well as Joe Frankenstein for IDW last year. Bane: Conquest was one of those serendipitous things that just timed out right.
M: One of the reasons why I enjoyed Bane: Conquest so much is the quick pacing; fists are flying from the beginning, and it doesn't slow down. How would you describe the experience of collaborating with Dixon on Bane again?
G: We both love the same kind of comics. We aren’t interested in reading comics with 20 pages of people standing around talking. Get to the action and move the story along. We are both at the top of our game right now and while working on Bane again recalls great memories, we are focused on moving him forward while at the same time returning him to the intelligent beast that he was.
M: Are there any plans for further Bane mini-series?
G: No, although we have many ideas.
M: Will you guys be involved with Batman in the near future?