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Free Comic Book Day: Interview with Janet K. Lee

The folks at didn’t have the opportunity to run this Free Comic Book Day interview with Dapper Men artist Janet K. Lee, and we didn’t want it go to waste, so we thought we’d run it here!

FCBD: Set your project up for those that might be new to your comic book. What can we expect to see in terms of story and art?

JANET K. LEE: Jim and I created a story which takes place *around* the events in Return of the Dapper Men, introducing a new character who will be very, very important for our upcoming Time of the Dapper Men. The guys at Archaia tell me that artistically, my Dapper Men have grown up. The pages are done in decoupage again, but I think the past year working on Emma and Northanger Abbey for Marvel have added a bit more sophistication to my style. I’ve certainly refined my approach to layouts and backgrounds– which I hope everyone enjoys as much as I do!

FCBD: What has been your favorite part of book or character to tackle?

LEE: Time of the Dapper Men is broader in scope than Return. Return was, for me, a fairy tale; Time is a quest, and adventure! And with the quest, our hero Ayden gets to travel. Previously, our story was limited to only the city of Anorev, but Time takes us around the entire world! That means I get to design new cities, new civilizations, killer robot animals! I love that!

FCBD: Tell our readers why they should pick your book first on FCBD.

LEE: Archaia has completely raised the bar this year; they are giving away a gorgeous, hardcover anthology which is chock-full of stories I love to read. The few times I haven’t been waiting in line at my own LCS on FCBD for the doors to open, I’ve missed out on the book from Archaia. This year it’s going to be worse. Who ISN’T rushing to the store to pick up this book?

Page 1 of "Steps of the Dapper Men" in the FCBD Hardcover

FCBD: What’s your favorite part about being able to work in comics?

LEE: You know, every day I get to wake up and spend the day drawing is an excellent day. But the best, best days are the days I get to meet other people who love comics as much as I do. That’s really my favorite part.

FCBD: Many newcomers will be picking up comics for the first time on FCBD—what was the first comic you remember reading?

LEE: The first comic I remember reading was a paperback collection of Heathcliff comics—you know, the tough cat who beat up everybody? I was maybe five years old and my best friend lived next door to a novelty salesman. He would give us Archie, Heathcliff, and Dennis the Menace comics—as well as amazing stuff like wax lips and tiny, shaped pencil erasers.

FCBD: Where will you be for this year’s FCBD? Do you have any annual FCBD traditions?

LEE: This year I will be signing at Ultimate Comics in Chapel Hill-Durham, NC and I’m thrilled to be part of their event! I’ll be there with Chris Burnham, Joe KeatingE, Andre Szymanowicz, and Tommy Lee Edwards, and Brian Clevinger, so I expect LOTS of folks to join us.

I think I’ll be adding a new FCBD tradition this year and go to see Avengers Friday night.  I’m hearing great things about the movie.

FCBD: Looking to the future of the book, is there anything you can tease about what’s coming?

LEE: You know, I am extremely proud of Return of the Dapper Men—I love the work that Jim and I did there‚but I have to say, I think I love Time of the Dapper Men even more. Jim’s storytelling just gets better and better and the scope of the tale is so wonderfully lush. Look for an announcement about the release date soon. I couldn’t be more excited!