Posts from — April 2009

Revenant Magazine Interview

You’ve done work on most of the comic industries top titles and your work is some of the most recognized in comics. That has to be an extremely rewarding feeling. Can you speak a little about that?
Thanks for the accolades.
In actuality, when I came into comics I arrived, a comics creator, a writer who draws his own material. When I showed up at the Warren offices looking for comic work, I had with me a collection of comics stories that I had written and painted in oils and multi media.

At that time , comic printing was restricted to newsprint paper and process coloring . The writing , for the most part was sophomoric and directed at a very young audience , 7 to 10 year olds, a scenario which presented challenges for me on multiple levels.

I wanted to write and paint my own stuff however the characters that I wanted to work on were locked up tight in a box.
So I decided to wait it out and instead set out on a program of study put together for me by Joe Orlando. One that lasted for decades while I was waited for the big two to grow up so that we might be a better match, while I worked on my owner created stories.

In essence, though I grew up reading and drawing Marvel’s mainstream characters, Spiderman, Thor, Avengers, FF. I avoided working on mainstream books. and waited until mainstream houses adjusted to the changing, market, sparked by the success of undergrounds and Heavy Metal’s more progressive revolution.
Following the success of the Tales of the Dark Knight series , marvel and others followed.
That’s when my interest refocused on mainstream characters and their publishers. I was invited up to Marvel and offered my choice of series. Spiderman and the FF were offered. The Hulk and Thor were discussed. I was anxious to make up for lost time.

1960s Stan Lee Kirby / Ditko style story-lines being my strong suit ,
I offered to write and illustrate an original Avengers, featuring the Hulk and Thor mini series and another one and began working on both simultaneously .
One was a 60s style Avengers mini series. The other was a Conan graphic novel which actually I finished. However this was around 1998 at the time of all the political trouble at marvel. Unfortunately the original artwork for the Conan series disappeared in the switch over when marvel ownership changed hands and fired everyone.
My editor was laid off so I accepted offers for work in film and TV and was touring.

So in essence, though it took quite some time, the Marvel Zombies was actually my first full book released featuring my work on my beloved 60s main stream Marvel characters ( laughs).
Its been an interesting start.
I still have my outline for the Avengers mini series on file and am looking forward to finishing it up one of these days, with the right editor .

Marvel Zombies was a monumental title, I bet those early discussions about the book were pretty interesting. Did you expect the title to be the hit that it’s become?
I take by that you mean that early discussions and most especially the reviews of the project were not flattering and indeed predicted the book was a bad idea and would flop.
One of the things there is no shortage of in the US are opinions.
My advice for the fans, is to beware of those who would try to control them, tell them how to think and what to like.
The internet is full of broken personalities hiding behind aliases.

Actually, soon as I heard the idea, I thought to myself, even if the creative team does a so-so job on this series, the concept is so on the mark, this should do well- and if everyone does a good job this should be huge. I am told that this broke marvels trades sales records.

It’s no secret that you love drawing zombies and aside from the comic titles you’ve worked on, you’ve also released some exclusive zombie sketchbooks (Comic Con 08′). Please tell us there will be more widely released zombie sketchbooks from you.
As I mentioned before, I am on a program of study, anatomical drawings are part of that study.
I have no plans of stopping any time soon.

Zombies have held your interest for a long time now, what is it about zombies that captivates you?
The anatomical drawings of Leonardo and Raphael are what got me started.

You worked with our friends John Reppion and Leah Moore on one of my favorite titles, Raise the Dead for the cover artwork. The cover art for the series features some very clever pop-culture references, can you tell us more about that?
Yea, that series I think has produced some of my best cover work . I could paint those covers all day—- actually all day and night is how its been lately ( laughs).

In addition, who’s kneecaps do we need to break to get more Raise the Dead?
Any fans who would like to have particular talent working on projects can contact the publisher of their favorite books and make that request, especially when it is to show appreciation for the end product.
You ‘d be surprised.

What initially got you interested in art? More so, what got you interested in a more morbid style of art?
Those are two separate questions, one answer for both. Classical art from the 16th century and the romantic period are what got me interested and what still hold my attention.
I regard the works I render to be more anatomical, classical and humorous than morbid.

You have a very original style, is there anyone or anything that has shaped your artistic style?
Sure- early on I had an influential editor and art director who instructed me to copy everything that was good. Everyone painting I have ever enjoyed continue to teach me volumes.

Is there anything you want to do with your art that you haven’t yet done? Anyone that you’re dying to work with that you haven’t yet?
I’m a full time student. The goal is to be the best that I can be given the time I have here and to see how far the experience takes me. In a way it’s kind of like a video game with traps and decoys to learn how to side step a-long the way.

You have a personal project ‘Skin Deep’ that you’ve been working on, can you tell us more about that?
Only that I am told that I write better than I draw , and that unfortunately, interiors is a very slow process for me . The more productive scenario for me would be for me to write and do the covers and to work with another artist on interiors so that we can get some of these series out there.

Do you remember the first zombie movie you ever saw? If so, can you describe the experience?
Night of the Living Dead and it was horrifying. I watched it over a friends house late at night and then had to walk home alone.
I ran all the way and ducked at every tree.
Especially the little girl with the moms hand ….. Blech!

What are some of your favorite zombie films?
I love the funny ones and avoid the gruesome ones. Return of the Living Dead is one of my favorites, Then Evil Dead Two and the one with the Peter Jackson zombie with the rat monkey and the old priest, “ I kick ass for the lord”( laughs).

What can we expect to see from you in 2009?
Surprises and some zombie stuff. There are films under way, figurines of my creator owned projects, a huge Cholly and Flytrap project with Radical Publishing, which I am finishing up now, Aladdin, Hercules and City of Dust for Radical Comics, a Werewolf vs vampire thing, Jason vs Freddy vs Ash for DC, I just got a call for more Marvel Zombie, I have a recording contract with a music company in France to an album, I m hoping to finish up the Skin Deep project and a 140 page Mudwogs book, supposedly some Wolverine, Punisher and Red Sonja.
……hopefully some sleep.

Special thanks to Geoff at Revenant Magazine

April 5, 2009   No Comments