The DC Empire's New Clothes

By Frank Peebles on May 10 2016

Andy Poon was scribbling away at his teenage hobby. Life as an extra in the movie industry is interminable boredom, most of the time, and this was only Day 1 of a five-day shoot for the second X-Men film.

Thankfully his passion was a portable one, sketch art, and he was focused on a likeness of Wolverine.

“Where’s mine?,” said a voice over his shoulder. There, admiring his pen-on-paper scribbles, was James Marsden, the actor who would portray Cyclops in four of those flicks. So Poon went home that night and did one for Marsden. When the actor showed it around to the cast, Poon got hired to NOT be an extra. He spent that time inside the actors’ inner circle doing caricatures for the principal cast.

And Poon’s art would continue to be noticed, all the way into the back rooms of costume and character and set design for shows like Smallville, to begin with, then Arrow, Flash, and the exciting new hit series Legends of Tomorrow that is fixed on that DC Comics universe as the former shows. He now works closely with head designer Maya Mani on how each of those heroes and villains will look.

“Stormhawks was the first show I art directed,” he said. “I went to the Toronto fan expo for that, and I saw some cosplayers dressed up as the full Stormhawks team, and you can’t imagine how that feels as the artist, to see that.” Poon will bring his art and his creative mind to Northern FanCon this year, adding a whole new depth to the superhero side of the conversation.

That conversation cannot include the stuff coming up in the year ahead yet to be seen by the global audiences now watching his creations. He said there is a fanboy inside him “that really wants to namedrop” but he has to let the various shows unfold on their own.

He is also stroking away at characters and costumes nobody has ever heard of, including TV and film producers.

“I’m at a point in my career where I’m getting control of more of my own intellectual property that one day I may be able to pitch. I’m slowly building up my knowledge, so I am more production-savvy, so when I get there I know how to do it right,” he said. He would be happy to talk about that, he said, with any aspiring artists or art designers who happen to wander into Northern FanCon, a large portion of which is Andy Poon’s universe.

A2016Norm Coyne