Dustin Nguyen is known for his work with early WILDSTORM work like THE AUTHORITY, and more recently his run with Image Comics, DESCENDER. With a unique style and portfolio that stretches across every universe, volume five of DESCENDER hit stores July 19th. We caught up with him during San Diego Comic-Con 2017 to get the scoop on Dustin and what he’s been up to. 

DESCENDER is an emotionally gripping cosmic space opera about humanity vs. machines; a place where androids are outlawed and bounty hunters lurk everywhere. Dustin Nguyen and Jeff Lemire take us across space discovering what a young boy’s robot can do to change the universe.

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ComicsVerse: Descender is hitting shelves with volume 4 or 5 now? What can you tell me about this new volume?

Dustin: Volume five now actually! Volume three was a flash back to each of the characters and volume four we came back throwing things together. So, volume five is where everything just explodes. Everything and all the events that have been building up all happen in five.

CV: How many volumes do you have planned for DESCENDER as of now?

Dustin: Right now, we have four, so another two or three. We’ll see, we pretty let it go organically. As the story goes, we’re like do we need to tell this or do we not. That’s the great thing about working for IMAGE you can start or stop whenever you want. Whatever you feel works best for the story you need to.

CV: You’ve done a lot of work with Jeff, what’s that collaboration process like?

Dustin: It’s great! It’s almost like he writes scripts to things exactly how I want to draw them. I read it, and I understand exactly what he wants, exactly what’s in his head. When he sees the pages, it seems like he gets exactly what he wanted, so it’s just great.

It’s so smooth, and now I call DESCENDER my vacation book because it’s so fun. I feel like when I do it, it’s on my free time but it’s my main gig. Every other project I work on there’s deadlines and approvals, no higher ends up top. DESCENDER doesn’t have that we just have a deadline that we both know. Jeff and I both come from DC where we’ve already done like 15 plus years, we know the routine by now.

Dustin Nguyen Descender
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

CV: Anything else you’re working on right now?

Dustin: Wrapping up the third book of SECRET HEROES SOCIETY, which is the kid’s book for Batman, Superman, Cyborg. They’re all in middle school and the third book I’m wrapping up this month or next month, so it should be out by the end of the year; really excited for that.

CV: A lot of your work focuses on little kid versions of heroes, like BATMAN IN LiL’ GOTHAM and SECRECT HEROES SOCIETY. What are some of the influences you pull from for this?

Dustin: Pacing wise it has always been pulled from classic stuff like CALVIN AND HOBBS, Sunday strip stuff. The style in LIL’ GOTHAM pretty much came from the chibi stuff I used to see, like when CAPCOM did their Puzzle Fighter and stuff, so a lot of was drawn from that. The cuteness, the movement, how they’re that size but they’re adults not actually kids. They’re not kids, just stylized versions of themselves.

CV: How did you get into being an artist?

Dustin: I just love drawing. I love comics, and I think Batman is what got me to start drawing. I think the love of art or anything will gravitate someone to start doing something.

CV: Any future MARVEL plans? Or do you feel pretty set with DC?

Dustin: No, it’s not even that, I’m pretty set with DESCENDER. As far as the next few years I’ll be pretty tied up with DESCENDER. I work on some DC covers here and there. I do some variants for MARVEL here and there. I have some DC stuff coming out soon that I can’t quite talk about yet. I don’t have anything with them (MARVEL) other than variants, but I probably go towards DC more since I know their characters a bit more as of right now.

Dustin Nguyen Descender
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

CV: Who are some of your favorite characters? From any universe.

Dustin: Some of my favorite characters have always been The Punisher, I like Spider-Man a whole lot. I love Superman; he’s my favorite hero. Everyone thinks it’s Batman, but Superman is actually my favorite hero. I just like drawing Batman a bit more. Mr. Freeze, Ivy, anytime I work on a Batman book I hope there’s Ivy, and Freeze in it.

CV: If you got to take on a title as a full-on artist, what would you pick from?

Dustin: That’s a tough call man, I don’t know. I think all the books are doing so great right now. I would create a new title maybe. A new Gotham Girls title maybe, just for myself, just for fun you know?

CV: Anything you want to highlight for the con this year?

Dustin: I love the show, I go mostly for myself because it’s so fun. This year I have more original art than ever.

CV: Will you be attending NYCC?

Dustin: I will definitely be there.

DESCENDER #22 is in stores now which is the beginning of Volume 5 of the series!

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