Freddie Williams II – Batman/TMNT! He-Man!
Today on the show Casey gets to sit down with the artist on Batman/TMNT and Injustice/He-Man Freddie Williams II! This is a really fun interview that you will not want to miss!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
Transcript for Steve, you know, the Robot with a drinking problem.
Freddie Williams Intervierw
[00:00:00] Casey: all right, everybody. Welcome again, to another episode of spoiler country podcast today on the show
Freddie Williams: we haave
Casey: Freddie Williams. The second Freddie Williams is the second is an artist and writer. He has done works from Batman Ninja turtles.
To He-Man to Robin, he’s done a ton of stuff and he has a very distinctive style and I really want to get into his, his specifics about that. And, Freddy. Hi, how you doing, man?
Freddie Williams: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on KCI. I appreciate it.
Casey: I hope you enjoyed that terrible introduction, man. If I can only go uphill from there.
Freddie Williams: it was fine. It was good.
Casey: I mean, you ain’t shit halfway through, but I mean, it is.
So how you doing, man? How has things been treating you? How has. [00:01:00] Let me, let me be more specific. How has COVID-19 been treating your productivity and, has it put off any projects that you’re working on?
Freddie Williams: yeah, so, all right. So we had, let’s see. So we, as in my wife, Kiki and I, my wife, Kiki is my business partner and she also is my, she helps me with art and she travels with me and she, you know, we do everything together.
So we had a whole bunch of conventions, planned for. This whole year, we actually had 14 shows planned this year and that’s the most shows we’ve ever planned. and this was going to be the year of conventions for us. So that’s not going the greatest, as you might imagine, but we had six shows planned in six weeks that we’re going to start in February and, go through, it was going to be, let’s see, Vancouver, then.
Hawaii, Texas. And then two shows in Australia. Then we’d come home and do a show, our local show, which is called planet Comicon. And that would be the full six [00:02:00] shows. So two of the shows would have been in Australia, but that’s just a lot of travel anyway. Cause the Hawaii show may as well be a different country just because of how
Casey: it’s a longest flight.
Freddie Williams: Yeah. So we got through five of those six shows and when we were in Australia, we had done Melbourne and then we went to a place called gold coast. Gold coast is kind of like their version of Hawaii in a way. Small sort of side Island there. And we landed in gold coast to the news that Tom Hanks and his wife.
We’re gold coast, a film to film a new project. And they had just announced that they had COVID and they were in, you know, they were in gold coast, the same area that we were in, in fact, the very next hotel over. So whenever we got off the flight and we were, You know, getting checked in, you know, Kiki was looking at her Twitter and was telling me about it.
And she was like, wait, that’s where we are. And then whenever she looked up the hotel, so basically the day before he had been walking around and doing like a Tom [00:03:00] Hanks had been walking around doing selfies and stuff with, with people on the street, who knows how many of those people make casual contact with him and then, you know, infected or not, who knows.
And, It was just a, it was that to me was the first time it felt real. Obviously I knew it was real before that, but before that it felt more abstract because we were basically just traveling, just doing the convention thing. My head was just buried in drawing things for the show, making arrangements and traveling for the show.
And that’s it. now Kiki ahead of time had. TA was more cautious than me. Kiki has a nursing background, so she was paying more attention basically than I was. So, yeah, very smart. she was, she had a thought ahead of time to pack us, you know, gloves, hand, sanitizer type stuff. the, the S the.
Sanitizing wipes to wipe down our seats and stuff when we travel and masks. And, I personally, at the time, at the very beginning of this, I’m talking about in January when we were, you know, in early [00:04:00] February, when we, when she was first bringing it up and stuff, I thought it would be similar to, you know, the stuff you hear about, like, when we heard about swine flu and whatever it was a couple of years ago, like maybe eight years ago, whatever it was.
and I’m not saying that that’s. Casual and to be thrown away, people got very sick and some people died and that sort of thing. But what I’m saying is that there would be a lot of sort of news hype, and then, yeah. And then like a month later you’d be like, Hey, whatever happened with that, it kind of faded away and it sounded really serious, but it just went away and nobody, you knew had it, or nobody knew.
That you knew had, been affected by it. That’s what I was expecting and that’s not at all the case. So when we landed in gold coast, it felt much more real. The show itself was better than we fought because, in Australia, their government had like decided that the following Monday would be the stay at home order or something like that.
But this convention was that weekend before. So it was like, Their rules wouldn’t go into effect until the [00:05:00] following Monday. It was a weird situation where I think the convention organizers were kind of stuck in like, do we cancel voluntarily? But if so, it’s very bad financially. Or do we go ahead but risk something?
And to my knowledge, nothing bad happened of it. but they were just in a really strange position. So then right after gold coast, like the very next morning, may Kiki, our good friend Johnson. Mariva our good friend David yard. And they’re Australian artists who, David Yarden does work for Marvel all the time.
He draws Jean grape covers and storm and stuff like that. And then, Johnson Riva. He’s done, adventures of, The I’m sorry. What I meant to say was the Avenger is not adventurous. I’m like, he’s done the Batman Ninja turtle, the animated looking book, the, the one that’s called Batman industrials adventures.
And he’s drawn a bunch of other stuff and Ninja turtles and stuff. and they’re good friends with us and, and we were all traveling together. And we all traveled to this place that we call the beach house, which was like cold Berra, I think is what it’s called. It’s a place in, in Australia that has a lot of [00:06:00] beaches.
It’s beautiful there. And we were in this beach house drawing, having a good time, not really paying attention to the media. We’d go to a beach, we’d come back. And there was hardly anybody at the beach just to let you know, just to be clear. And then we would come home and. You know, we should get out our phones and kind of check stuff.
And it was like, wow. It felt like a totally different world. It was like we were in this sort of a paradise, just hanging out with our friends, kind of a quarantine in ourselves, even though that wasn’t necessarily the goal. But, Then we would check and see all these scary things that were being announced.
You know, like Australia was about to close their borders. The U S was starting to talk about closing their borders. And we were like, we don’t even know if we can get back home. You know? our flight was supposed to be on the 22nd of March. And then, they post, I’m sorry I said that wrong, but maybe the 21st.
And then they, our airline kept pushing it back. And so. We got in, the 23rd of March or something, we weren’t even sure if that would happen, because while we were in the air, when we landed our next connecting [00:07:00] flight was canceled, it was just like 10 more hours for the next flight to be available.
So, I mean, I don’t end the, any of the airline workers, they were doing the best that they could. And, It was quite the experience. So it has affected us an awful lot. Like as far as the staying at home part, drawing at home is something that we do all the time. And that’s not that big of a change, but while we were in.
Australia. My next project got canceled for DC. The next crossover that I had planned was canceled. And, so, once we got back, I like thought I had several, you know, I thought I had that big project that got canceled. And then I was going to have a couple of smaller projects that all got canceled as well.
And so I was like, wow, that’s, that’s a kick in the gut. Yeah. So, but it gave, it opened up the opportunity. The, the next thing that I’m going to be working on, I just signed the, signed the contract a couple of days ago. It’s going to be a creator own book with, Tim Seeley who wrote in justice versus masters of the universe that we worked on together and [00:08:00] became friends from working on that together.
we’re going to be doing a creator on book over at aftershock with, Mike Martz, who co-created, and he’s like the main editor there. he and I worked together at DC and at Marvel. Oh, wow. He’s a, he’s an awesome guy, Mike Martinez. So I’m going to get to work with two of my friends on a creator own project, and we’ll be starting that a couple of weeks.
Casey: can you tell us a little bit about that? That’s awesome.
Freddie Williams: Yeah. Thanks. it’s going to be, I can’t tell you a whole lot about it, but it’s going to be, it’s going to have some fantasy elements in it. And that’s the main thing that I was talking to Tim about. We went to power con last year, which was when and justice master of the universe issue like five or six was about to come out and they had just.
Announced the new masters of the multi-verse book that Tim was writing. And at the time Dan Fraga was drawing, and we all hung out and went to dinner and we were talking about like, let’s do a crater on book together, sometime in the future. Of course we didn’t know this would be the time. and he was like, what do you want to draw?
I was like, I just want to draw something fantasy. I played a lot of D and D whenever I was in high school. And, fantasy is one [00:09:00] of my, you know, first loves. So, and drawing He-Man is fantasy oriented, but I wanted to do. You know, more of that. So more true fantasy, like elves and wizards and stuff. So there’s going to be some elements of that, but it’s not only that.
And I’m really excited. I’m really excited to be working on I’m like Tim is so busy right now. It’s a total contrast. He’s like writing four different series right now. So I’m just waiting for him to get the, his other he’s about to finish up some other commitments and then he’ll start writing stuff for me to actually start drawing.
Casey: That’s awesome. Have you gotten into like the, the character design stage or anything like that yet?
Freddie Williams: Yes. Yeah, that’s what we pitched. And that’s what got approved, over an aftershock. So I, I did all the character designs and then I drew out what they call a pitch cover, which will probably be the issue one cover.
So it it’s, related to the story, but it’s more of what they call iconic. So it’s, less story specific and more of like a general feel of what the story overall will be about something that could be used for like a first issue or first, [00:10:00] cover for a trade or something like that.
Casey: And aftershock man, that company is they’re putting out some, just some fire lately.
I love that. I love the books we’re putting.
Freddie Williams: Yeah, they’re it’s because they’re, they treat the, the creators really well. And, Mike Martz specifically, he has like long or deep roots at Marvel and DC. So like back in the nineties, he worked at Marvel for awhile. He went over to DC for about eight years and he went back to Marvel for a couple of years and then they started aftershock.
So, I know personally that was a really big draw for me to be working there as specifically working with Mike again.
Casey: so. You you’ve done art for several years. You,
yes, you’ve done the arts. You’ve made the arts. How long, how, how hard was it [00:11:00] for you to switch over to a, a more digital, a more digital look cause you started in a more traditional fashion,
Freddie Williams: correct? Yes. So, I mean, we’re talking about like what feels like ancient history at this point. but I’m happy to talk about it, but it was, when I, when I first started the work processing, the state of the art work process and comic books seem to be.
You drew a thumbnail sketch on a piece of printer paper, what was called typing paper back then? I’m not sure how old you are. I’m an old man. So we called it typing paper. Nowadays it’d be printer paper. you would draw something about the size of a piece of a printer paper. Then you would blow it up to like 143% Gish around in there to make it 11 by 17.
So you had this really bad. Layout sketch, on, you know, that was now blown up to be full 11 by 17 size, but then you would light box. So you would trace that layout, just the shapes and stuff on to your good Bristol board and like light non-photo blue pencil. [00:12:00] And, then you would pencil over that and ink over that, et cetera.
So that was like the state of the art. there were some people who would use like projectors, like, the old school, high school projectors, where you would do your layout, and like put it on the projector and it would kind of project your image onto your art board and then you trace it that way.
So you wouldn’t have to use your light box. I love talking about stuff like that. I love talking about work process and stuff. but, what happened for, so that was state of the art, but whenever I got to, I don’t know, about 2000. The year, 2000, maybe the year, 2001, something like that. I was working on a, on a project with a.
With a friend of mine, but I won’t name the project because I’m about to say I’m about to say something. He was kind of a picky writer. we’re friends now, but we were working and to his credit, I was a much more novice artist. So he was correct a lot of the time with, with what he was requesting. So it was a combination of me being new and him being picky that he was asking for a lot of changes and, [00:13:00] So I would like turn in some rough layouts for his approval and he’d have like, you know, make this bigger, turn this guy around blah, blah, blah.
And, so I would either have to erase my rough layout and redraw it, or, draw on a separate sheet of paper, the revised layouts, and then scan them in. And composite them digitally. And then I started just making the changes digital, right. So I would still draw the first layout on paper, scan it in change things digitally.
And then I just started like any of the roughs I was doing. I would just draw them digitally, still print them out, like at 11 by 17. So it kept it, it saved me the trip to like a Kinko’s back when Kinko’s existed, before it was taken over by FedEx office. Printed out 11 by 17 and then light box is still manually.
And then, so what I’m trying to describe is that it was very organic, my growth into a digital direction. and this would have been 2002 ish. I started trying to draw my layouts a hundred percent digital, and then I would start [00:14:00] doing what are called breakdowns. Digital breakdowns are like tighter structure drawings.
They’re not as. Rough and loose as you know, the rough layouts. And then I would print that out and just directly on my art board now I didn’t even have to light box it and that, and you know, I print it out in light blue round to the art board, and that was like a revelation, you know, cause it saves so much time and the tediousness of light box in something.
so by 2004, I guess I was a hundred percent digital at that time and I stayed. Basically a hundred percent digital other than. Commissions or something like that until, 2006. And then I started doing like something once I, and that was, I started working for DC comics and like really late 2005. And, by the time I was doing Robyn drawing Robyn, I would draw basically everything digital, except for like a cover.
Or a pinup splash page that I might be able to sell later or something that I wanted to try and interesting [00:15:00] inking technique on like a splatter effect or, you know, that sort of a thing. And, so it was an evolution to go full digital. And then after a few years of that, I loved working digital, but, I started going back to traditional for the inking and, and now it’s almost like painting the ink wash stuff that I do.
So, now I’m. All digital on the layouts and some, and the structure drawings. So the breakdowns, and then I print that out still right on my Bristol board, but I usually print it out in gray. Since I’m doing ink wash, it kind of fades into the, you know, the ink blocks will or, or blend with the light gray.
And, basically that’s essentially my, my work process now is digital layouts and breakdowns ink wash on paper. And then I scan it back in and do some digital touch ups and clean cleanups, and then send it over to the colorist and that sort of thing.
Casey: Do you think that that kind of helps keep you sharp and keeps you less reliant on being able to just kind of a [00:16:00] nitpick with stuff that you would normally do if you were doing all digital?
Freddie Williams: I had a pretty good handle on how much I should fidget with things that were digital. I’ve heard horror stories of people who would. Keep futsing digital digitally, keep flexing with something that was very small and it was basically insignificant. And I never really caught myself in that trap, but I fell into a hell of a lot of other traps, working digitally that, that I see other newer digital artists falling into like to clean up a line or to samey.
Same as what I call Samy. Same in quotes, where. The digital brush that they’re using gives them the same result it’s too, even, or it’s too predictably thick and thin, and there’s a lack of variety to their line work. And that was totally the same thing that happened to me. I just, I think I did it maybe a couple of years before, you know, other artists or something.
so working on paper, what I, what I think it gives me is the enjoy the enjoyment of the tactile interaction with the paper. [00:17:00] Sometimes frustration with the paper stock and stuff, but, but usually I enjoy it. Like there’s essentially Bristol board is what we use and it’s made of mainly cotton, but sometimes you’ll get Bristol board that is, has kind of an uneven or an.
Now, what is it irregular sort of finish. So that parts of it will feel a little rougher than it should be, or it’ll take the ink a little different than it should. And that in combination with the humidity or how much ink you’ve loaded into your brush, or even how, how old your brush is, all those things.
Add a slight variance of unpredictability. That again can sometimes be frustrating, but usually it’s fun. Yeah. Cause I know, I know the kind of thing I’m going to get. And so it’s kind of fun, the overlapping elements of, of unpredictability. And so I wouldn’t say that it, it like. It stopped me from nitpicking.
Cause I, I, I am taking longer now on the artwork. So I think I nitpick more now on the ink wash work, but I’m much more [00:18:00] proud of the end result or I feel a much bigger sense of accomplishment when I finish a page or book or something. and part of the reason that I went this direction, by the way, was one of, one of my nieces, Probably, I don’t know, six, seven years ago at this point, she was here in the studio and, I was going through one of my portfolio binders too.
Every at the end of every year, I’ll, I’ll get, all the work that I’ve drawn for that year, print it out and then into a portfolio binder, and then I’ll sleeve the pages and stuff. And she saw me doing that or I was rearranged or something and she asked what they were. And, I told her what I just told you.
And then I said, feel free to take a look at them if you want and you don’t have to. And so she looked at some of the work that when I was younger, And she seemed interested partially because I was closer to who were her age at the time. and then when she got to the stuff at DC for DC comics, like my, more digital clean stuff, and she was seeing it in a form that it was not colored.
So it was just like this really open line stuff. It almost looked like coloring books, sort of our org. Yeah. [00:19:00] She started flipping through the book much faster. She had much less interest in each individual page. She had commented. Look how big that. Book was because that, you know, I had done twice as many pages at this much more open style than the more detailed work, which is much slower.
and it’s not like, it’s not like she looked at me and said, I like the more detailed stuff more or anything, but it was, it was kind of like a revelation seeing somebody else look at it who maybe, I don’t know, it was like her honest reaction because she was young enough not to like couch her reactions to try to, Spare my feelings or something, you know, something like that.
So, anyway, it’s like it fed into something in me that made me feel like, yeah, it’s like, I’m, I’m proud of the volume of work, but I’m not as proud of each individual pages I would be if I put more detail in it. And so that got me just headed. Back into more of a detailed direction? I think
Casey: so. So I w I was looking into your stuff earlier today about, about when you decided to [00:20:00] switch to doing a more equal wash technique.
And it kind of made me think, so in 1997, Augusta national golf course, right? Tiger woods, bam kicks everybody’s ass
immediately, immediately. Goes to a, a swing coach and changes up his swing, completely changes up his swing. And, it kinda made me think of that because around the time that you changed your art style, you had, you had recently either you adjust, you were about to win an ISER or you adjust, won an Eisner
Freddie Williams: for,
Casey: your, what is it?
Mr. Miracle, seven soldiers or seven soldiers, mr. Miracle. So, what was that like jumping off the deep end going, I’m going to change how I do things.
Freddie Williams: I, I want to, I could see why. Y, you would connect those, [00:21:00] those series of events, but actually who won the Eisner was grant Morrison, who was the main architect.
But the reason that I know, cause technically I, I, I earned or won one 30th of an Eisner or something because it’s like grant Morrison. It’s it’s like grant Morrison for the seven soldiers series. And the seven soldier series was like five or six different mini series, including the one that I drew, but the one that I drew part of.
So, it’s more credit to, to grant Morrison. Because he orchestrated this big, strange event that worked so well. And, I was just a part of that and it took a couple of years for the, you know, for him to win that Eisner, or for that series to win that Eisner or something like that. So. I think that’s probably, so I don’t think that the two events are as connected as it might’ve seemed in the dates, but I [00:22:00] could see why you’d make that connection.
Casey: for you’re telling me you’re not the tiger woods of, of art, of all the ones
Freddie Williams: that’s always underneath my credits. It’s like, Freddie Williams, the self proclaimed tiger woods. No, I’ve definitely not.
Casey: So I, you know, I made like a huge leap there connecting like art with comics, but I mean, it, it really is, is, is a guy who is, you know, recognized as being, you know, at the top of his game, like really.
Putting out great work and going, you know what, I’m gonna do this, you know, with my mouth now I’m going to hold the brush and my mouth and do it that way. Screw you guys. Yeah, there was definitely a big
Freddie Williams: change. So, so from a publisher standpoint, what DC was used to, to hiring me for was a more simplified, a slightly more cartoony.
[00:23:00] Less rendered art style. And whether I did that digitally or did it on paper, it was still the way that I just described to you. So from their perspective, they didn’t care what I did on paper or what I did digital. It was just as long as I was delivering the work they expected on time. And I’m, I’ve always prided myself and built our life really around.
The artwork really being the focus of, of our lives, essentially. So, but, but separately from what I was doing at DC for a few years, I started working in an ink wash style as an experiment and as a way to reconnect with one of the, The artists that I, I love, I don’t know if you know who Travis Sharay or Travis.
Okay. I believe it’s pronounced. Sure. Ray, but I always used to pronounce it Charisse, like what? This is really hard.
Casey: Like, I don’t live that Travis jurist man, but yeah, if you’ve only ever read it, then, I mean, Yeah,
Freddie Williams: likely you would be like me and say [00:24:00] Charest or, you know, how, how you had said at tourist.
but I think it’s sure Ray, I believe so, but he drew, first of all, I love his artwork, especially around the time that he was at at WildStorm. He was, inspiring and intimidating. his work is so. Powerful and it rapidly evolved. And just a couple of years, it’s like he had 20 years of evolution and just like two or three years, it was outrageous, but, but amazing stuff.
And the style that he worked in that gripped me, or one of the styles he, he worked in that grip me was, on a book called wild cats. X-Men golden age. I think that’s what it was called. and it was, there was a series of crossovers where it was wild cats and X men. But it was like told through, by different artists through, through the years or through the decades.
And he drew the one that focused on zealot is from wild cats. And then Wolverine of course from X-Men. And because they’re both so long lived, they told, he told a story of them during world war two. And, I [00:25:00] believe it was
Casey: looking at the art now and it’s fantastic. It’s
Freddie Williams: amazing. It’s amazing. and it holds up and it blows almost everything away there on the shelves nowadays, not everything, but most of you know, it’s very good.
And this stuff at this point is like 20 years old, which is crazy to me. because it looks so good. And it’s also a period piece it’s artwork that is. Made to look like it’s from the forties, but it’s, you know, it still holds up in 2020. but what I’m getting at is he started off that book. if you see the originals or if you see it without color, he started off the book working in a Penony style.
So just a bunch of thin lines that created shades of gray. The rendering. but by like page three or four or five, he started introducing gray tones in ink wash. And that was the first time I ever seen him wash. The first time I had heard of it. of course people have been working in diluted India ink, you know, for jet, you know, a hundred years before that, but that was the first exposure to me.
And it was an artist that I love their [00:26:00] work so much. And by the end of that book, most of the rendering is an ink wash, with, you know, some pen and ink rendering in there. And I read some interview with him. I don’t think it was published in that book, but maybe it was in wizard magazine or something where he described that he.
got a few pages into this book and he thought, man, this is just taking so long. to draw everything with all these individual thin lines. I wonder if there’s a way I can get, you know, a gray tone in quotes with, you know, another way. And so he that’s what prompted him to create some ink wash and little jar.
So he would have like five different jars and he put like a lighter value in one, then a medium than a heavier, heavier values. And that’s what he would. Brush or paint with, and that style was intriguing to me. So now flash forward to like the year 2007 or eight. so this would have been, I guess, what, 10 years after he drew his book.
I started experimenting with that on commissions. So the, you know, commissions are just like for private [00:27:00] collectors. it’s not for publication and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I would like kind of clear it with the. The art collector, I’d be like, you know, Hey, how about gray tones on this one?
And they would say, yeah, sure. And then I would try, you know, all these different effects to try to get the gray tones that I was after. And, it was like a fun way to get, you know, get paid, to experiment with, a rendering style that I was. Interested in and DC wouldn’t necessarily have seen these, but it was like I was developing this style, you know, quietly.
And so, I started doing certain, like captain Adam, when that came around in 2012, which was a part of the new 52. I drew that and I didn’t do it in ink wash at the beginning. I did it with like these sketch and wash pencils that would let you kind of create a half a gray tone, but with a pencil ed, where you would pencil onto the page with this pencil, and then you would use a water brush and it would try to liquefy it and smear it around and turn it gray.
Really? Yeah. It’s it’s I would recommend it [00:28:00] for anybody who wants to experiment with gray tones, but doesn’t want to get into all the. paraphernalia of ink wash. Like it’s just a water brush and this pencil you’re pretty used to using a pencil. So you likely, you know, that part won’t feel that weird.
And then the water brush you can kind of experiment with. And if you don’t smell it around enough, you can always reliquify it and smear it more. and that was, a breakthrough sort of experiment, a series that allowed me to experiment a lot. I had a, although DC. They were like, you know, some editors were like, we love all this experimentation.
It’s just great to see you trying all these new styles. And then there was another editor I worked with later, who said, let me tell you, you’re scaring the hell out of some of us.
Casey: That’s actually what he said to me.
Freddie Williams: and, and I was like, well, I can still work in the other style, the pen and ink style.
That’s what you want. And then I ended up working in that on, so after captain Adam, I went to green arrow. I drew. And so captain Adam was like this really funky style that I just described. And then a green arrow was like a traditional pen and [00:29:00] ink style again. And then I also did the movement, which was a book written by Gail Simone in a parenting style.
And those were the books that I was working on right before I did this, eight page short story for dark horse, of Conan for an anthology. They had called a Robert E. Howard Savage sword. So it would just be like a bunch of. You know, Robert, how Robert, he Howard properties, he invented Conan, but he invented other ones too.
And, I drew an eight page short story in ink wash, and that was the first time I drew it sequentially and I was using ink wash throughout instead of this, you know, instead of the gray tone pencil that I was describing and I had a great time on it. I knew that I could do it sequentially. It didn’t feel too muddy to me.
Because there’s some types of styles that you get into and you’re like, what have I done? I cannot possibly maintain this, this, I don’t know this workload or the stamina to keep this going. You know, like if you were drawing something that you only had a week to [00:30:00] do, and you were spending, you know, a full day on one panel, you would be like, what the hell have I done?
What have I started here? You know? but with the, you know, with a little bit of extra time on my deadline, I could do this much more. Detailed labored over page of ink wash. And that Conan work along with a few covers I did for DC is what got me on to, Batman Ninja turtles. And that’s the same style I I’ve been working in mostly since then, which would have been from 2015 all the way up to now.
Casey: So when you did that, that thing for dark horse, what were you, did it kind of freak you out when you turn that final page in and everything, ready to print where you just kind of waiting for somebody to talk to talk about it, or by then, were you established enough in, in your style, in your new style to, to feel fairly confident about it?
Freddie Williams: I felt freaked out mainly because that same short story, I also had to color. And so I did pencils on it and I didn’t [00:31:00] really know what I was doing on the color so much. And so even looking back at it, I think I kind of botched the colors and we had to turn it around really quickly. So I was at the Phoenix Comicon that year, which would have been, I think, 2014 and, We, Kiki, when I say we, I mean, Kiki, she stayed back at the hotel and was working on what’s called color flats.
So she was like flatting out the pages laying in the solid colors. And then, I was at the convention and then finishing up like the last page of that or something. And. we had like, just like a day or two, once we got back from the show to turn into pages. So that’s what, what I was actually freaking out about the most.
but after that, I’m not even sure what my very next, project was. There was something that kept me in between there about a year. and I switched. I remember switching back from the ink wash stuff to the pen and ink stuff, for that next one, maybe it was, there was a project called brain boy that I worked on over at dark horse.
That hasn’t terrible. Great.
Freddie Williams: it’s a terrible name, but it’s, it’s written really well. And the character’s really cool. I [00:32:00] really liked the character. Frank, I’m sorry. Fred van Lente. Is the one who wrote it and he did an awesome job. I really like how he wrote him. So flippantly, but vulnerable still.
and, I did some other stuff over at dark horse as well, but, so it was what I felt like when I turned in that cone and story is at least now I have a project that I could point to. Under my belt, a small project, but a project that I could point to and say, this is what I could do. If you give me the chance, you know, who would be cool?
You know, is there anybody who would let me work in this style? Who knows? I don’t know. But, then it, you know, Jim Chadwick, my editor on Batman Ninja turtles is the one who gave me the thumbs up.
Casey: That’s great. That’s awesome. And that style I’ve always loved that style. When I was a kid, I, I used to, be drug around to all of like the little, like the flea malls and stuff like that.
And the antique shops. And they would always have seventies horror comics. And they would the art in those comics, like the, the writing, maybe not the best all the time, [00:33:00] but some like huge people would be doing the art and it would be in like the quash style. And that was also my first, exposure to Hollywood.
And it’s our work where, I mean, he was a master with a pin, so yeah. And I mean, he would have people basically do like the rough layouts of the page and he didn’t just go in and do everything and eat and,
Freddie Williams: yeah. But it, it creates a great mood that, that kind of inquest style or yeah, while he was with us, a master, of course, you know, I I’m friends with ’em.
With Kevin Eastman. I’m pleased to say he’s a really, really nice guy. He told me a story that was kind of disturbing, and I was gonna, I’m going to run it by you and see if you’ve ever heard of this before. So while he would apparently was a very depressed person, like in life,
Casey: I’ve heard he was a kind of an
Freddie Williams: ass.
Oh. And I don’t even know that that’s, you know, like Kevin didn’t tell me that part, but he said that Wally wood was asked once, [00:34:00] Like, if you could do it, the question was something along the lines of, if you could do it over again, what advice would you give yourself when you were younger or something like that?
And he said, if I could go back and do it all again, I would chop off my own hands and never become a cartoonist. And when, when Kevin told me this, I was like, are you serious? He goes, yeah. He was like really dark. And that he also committed suicide. But I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know if either of those facts are true.
I was going to ask if, you know, if you’re, since you’re a big fan of, of Hollywood, if maybe you had heard those or
Casey: I’ve heard this suicide thing, I’ve also heard he had, like, I think he had like, Issues with, with substance abuse. Oh, like he was trying to self medicate and stuff, but
Freddie Williams: he,
Casey: yeah. Wow. He had a ton of talent.
And, that, that quote though makes me think of the, Jack Kirby quote was comics will break your heart.
Freddie Williams: Yes. Yeah. I’ve heard that as well.
Casey: Yeah, it’s yeah, a little bit, you know, more [00:35:00] extreme, but yeah, it kinda
Freddie Williams: Yeah. Comments will break your heart versus chopping off your own hands to stop you from ever drawing comic books. But it’s a similar sentiment, you know, it’s probably coming from the same point of, of hurt. You know,
Casey: there is another, apocryphal story I’ve heard about him in that. he would slowly increase the size of, power girls bust and, just to see if the editor was paying attention.
So, yeah. Yeah. You, if, if you like power girl, That whole Wally would.
Freddie Williams: Yeah. That might be one of the reasons that she stayed around all these year though. Cause that’s, that is definitely a distinguishing characteristic of hers.
Casey: It’s a look it’s still, I mean, she can’t help it, but yeah. That’s
Freddie Williams: yeah. [00:36:00] Yeah.
Wow. So super prolific and everything, but maybe he just had to be because the market wasn’t that good at the time. And. And maybe if he had a substance abuse problem than that, you know, made him need to draw faster to, to feed it,
Casey: you know? Yeah. Yeah. And so you did, you did Batman and did hurtles. How was that experience?
Because, I mean, how, how do you marry those two worlds?
Freddie Williams: to me they felt married essentially from the, the two movies that came out whenever I was a kid. So, the 1989, Tim Burton. Batman film. And then the 1990 Ninja turtles live action film, have a better active back. Yeah. Back to back in a very similar, visual language.
Now the Tim Burton Batman film was more colorful, but they had a similar, use of like heavy moody shadow and sort of stage lighting and that sort of thing. at least it felt like that to me at the time. And, I was into both of them around the same time in [00:37:00] my life, like as far as the comic books and stuff.
So I feel like that preconditioned me to associate the two of them together. Plus there’s a heavy overlap in the type of mythology or the lower for those, for those worlds. And, so it felt very natural to me, the grittiness of the turtles versus the grittiness of the type of Batman story that we were telling.
but as far as the specifics, like, I had a couple of years before, I, you know, Batman Ninja turtles was a reality. I had heard from Bobby Curnow, who was the editor for the, or it still is the, Ninja turtle editor over at IDW. And, I was pestering him trying to do some other Ninja turtle work because I had done a cover and some other like commission work.
you know, for private collectors, but other than just that one cover, I just want it to do more. And Bobby had said, you know, there’s some talks in the works that there might be, some crossovers between IDW and, properties and DC properties. And if that happens, you’re, you’re kind of a no brainer for it because I had such an established [00:38:00] relationship with.
DC comics handout, but he didn’t say specifically with Batman and the turtles, he just said, nah, you know, the Ninja turtles with something over it, DC. but like two years passed and I hadn’t heard anything more about it. So I just assume that that had fallen apart. Cause that’s type of thing happens all the time where a business deal starts, but then something falls apart in contract negotiations.
but then one day I saw this retweet by my editor at the time Jim Chadwick. And it was a retweet of. star Trek and green lantern that was going to cross over. So that’s IDW and DC. And, I thought, Oh, that’s pretty neat. There. They must have worked out some sort of paperwork if that, if they have this crossover, probably there’s other crossovers that they’re thinking about.
so I. Shot Jim Chadwick and, you know, an email and we had a good working relationship anyway. but I sent them an email and said, Hey, you know, I saw this green lantern star Trek thing. And if you guys are going to be doing some sort of crossover with like Batman and the Ninja turtles, please keep me in mind.
Here’s a link to my Conan work, which [00:39:00] was the eight page ink wash story that I told you about. And some of this, nitro work I had done. And also Jim Chadwick, I had already drawn some like Batman related stuff for him, so he knew I could draw that man. And, he told me later that. You know, they were joking in the office that I must’ve been psychic because that was the day they were talking about the potential artists choice for that series.
And I just so happened to have a really good timing. I never have good timing ever in my life. Okay. So this was very out of character and I’m very lucky that Jim Chadwick said yes, and that, you know, Nickelodeon. Who owns the Ninja, turtles and IDW. All of those people said, yes, it, coincidentally, you know, I, Jim Chadwick who had already been working with, he was the editor for the book.
And I didn’t know he was going to be Joan Hilty, which is an editor I worked with when I was drawing the flash. She is now at Nickelodeon and she was, she’s like the person who approves the talent, that’s going to work on the Ninja turtles. And [00:40:00] so she knew who I was that I was hopefully going to do a good job and stuff.
So all of that stuff fell into place in a way that I. Did not know consciously and did not, you know, try to orchestrate it. Just, I got really lucky. cause it, anybody would have loved to draw this series, I mean, and potentially would have done a great job. And, I just got really lucky. So, I, the first thing I did when I got the assignment was, cause I had a couple of months before the first couple of scripts would, would come in.
I did this, did these style guides for myself, kind of to run it by my editors and just to prove, not prove to myself, but to establish to myself what kind of care, what the visual language of the characters. So like, you know, how big and stocky would I make Batman? How big a stocky would I make the turtles and what sort of things would I do to try to differentiate them from one another?
And, All of that stuff took me like about a week to put together and then I emailed it to [00:41:00] DC and to IDW and they all said, Hey, that looks great. And I said, really, you don’t have any notes. They’re like, no, it looks great. Cause like you have a good idea. And I was like, Oh, okay, cool. I just expected it to be harder than that.
You know, I expected you to, you know, give me some notes or something, but they liked everything it did. And. That was the visual motif that I went with. but it, it just felt like a really natural fit as far as the types of worlds and the visual language.
Casey: That’s awesome. And your work on that book is insane.
It is fantastic. If you don’t mind me finding out a little bit,
Freddie Williams: I appreciate that.
Casey: How was your, how was your experience working with, with Tinian?
Freddie Williams: James is awesome. This was our first project together and, he, we were both, you know, he. He had a more established name, I think, as a Batman guy. And now it’s gotten much bigger
Freddie Williams: man, you know, books.
and so the first issue [00:42:00] that he, that he turned in, I was like, I, I honestly can’t think of a better, this couldn’t have been better. Basically. He has like a, or had, or has a. A great take on the characters in a way that fits for a great large story, but also it makes room for likely small character moments throughout.
So it keeps you entertained and engrossed on both levels. That’s a hard thing to do by the way, it’s to keep you engaged on both levels. So, and then since then we’ve become friends and, have, you know, So the, the working relationship on that first volume was more like he was writing a full script, except for, you know, like towards the end of the first series, we had worked together so much by that point that he left things a lot more in quotes open, which is where the script isn’t written fully as much as more written than a plot method.
and then we worked together and the plot method on all of volume, two. And that was partially to accommodate. He had a really busy schedule during the [00:43:00] 2017 timeframe we’re working on it. And then, and 2019. So last year when we did Batman editorial volume three, it was kind of a combination of the two where he left anything that was actually, he left it very open and the plot method for me to pace out.
And then anything that was more dialogue heavy, he wrote a full script on, so it was like a nice balance of the two. So. but he’s an awesome guy. He’s brilliant and a very humble, so it’s great to work with somebody like that.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, you guys, obviously you have a great working relationship cause you, you you’ve done several of those books, any plans for, for any more of the Batman
Freddie Williams: Ninja turtles.
I have a plan for a hundred more volumes personally. I want to draw them forever. now there’s. There’s ideas that it’s like, whenever you’re working on a creative endeavor, you ha you’re kind of inside of that world enough that you start thinking of possibilities that are really good ideas, but they [00:44:00] don’t necessarily work for the project that you’re actually writing or actually putting together at that moment.
So, James and I have ideas for future volumes and we’ve talked about the potential if, if it presents itself. and I hope it does, but that. Just on an aside, like those decisions are made much higher above our head then than what we can control usually. So I’ve made it really clear to DC and tidy w and, and then also James has as well that we call dibs on if there’s more volumes that we definitely are interested in that we’d love to do it.
And that we’d love to work together on another one, but, I think that the contract stuff is, is really where that would take place, you know, is if, if they figure out something again, a similar arrangement. So I hope they do. And I hope they call us back. Speaking
Casey: of contract stuff. Yeah. Can you men Thundercats.
So you’re, [00:45:00] you’re only a few years older than I am. So I’m assuming that you, you had experience with both of those as, as a kid.
Freddie Williams: how,
Casey: how was that experience did you enjoy, did you enjoy getting into that world and, Also, just as somebody who, who works on properties, that you have several people, not just one editor doing oversight, you have several different people.
This also applies for the Batman Ninja turtle thing. How nerve racking is that to have somebody people kind of looking over your shoulder?
Freddie Williams: that’s a very good question. It’s a very, I mean, it’s, you’re right. You’re right. It is, it can be nerve wracking. because, so there’s already an expectation I’m putting on myself because I, you know, as you, you know, to answer your question about, if I, you know, we’re familiar with those two properties or, you know, because we’re about the same age and stuff yet, when I was about in third and fourth grade, those, He-Man and the fender cats were the two best [00:46:00] cartoons along with Vultron, you know, some GI Joe came in a little bit later, but, transformers of course, you know, I’m not wanting to leave anything out here.
I’m just saying that Humana Thundercat specifically really gripped me and they have a very different animation style, but they feel similar in the type of tone, like a fantasy mixed with. Advanced technology and magic and all that stuff. So, there was a high expectation for myself and like a fear of like, don’t screw this up.
but the same thing with Batman Ninja turtles, and this was like, you know, an initial turtles that came out when I was about, those two movies came out when I was like 12 or so, something like that, I think maybe 13, Because I haven’t done actually the math, but the, the amount of the thunder cat stuff came out, you know, when I was younger.
So like maybe eight or nine or something, I don’t know. So I’ve got the whole timetable mixed up, but it’s, it’s something like that. but the, the point I’m making is that, the, the properties are awesome. I associated them together as well when I was younger. Cause I had toys, even though they were very different scales, like Leno was way [00:47:00] taller than He-Man as far as the toys.
cause they were the, The fender cats were at least the one that had the light up eyes and stuff. The liner that had the light up eyes, he was almost like as tall as a Barbie doll or something. and then the, the He-Man toys were much shorter and more squat, you know, but the, as far as having so many.
You know, so many people to be accountable to or somebody to editors and stuff that is, that can be nerve wracking. it can be a lot of cooks in the kitchen. Potentially. I had worked at hallmark cards right before I started working at DC comics. There was a little bit of an overlap there when I was still working at hallmark.
And when I first started working at, at DC and in, hallmark at the time I was working in the licensing department. And so I was used to having. Licensed answer approvals and having several, checks and balances of approval. So I think that prepared me a little bit. for many years later, when I started working on Batman Ninja turtles, and then later human Thundercats, [00:48:00] there was, there’s a certain level.
I think the there’s a, establishing trust. Point in the relationship when you first start, that’s probably the most important time it’s like establishing yourself that you’re open to suggestion and criticism, that if you choose, if you make a decision. Hopefully, they’ll see that you’re making it not out of ego, but because you think it’s, for the betterment of the project, but you’re willing to, so you only pick your battles if you really think you’re correct, but you’re still willing to work with them.
And then they feel the same way. It’s so on that level, it’s almost like just establishing trust with friends and coworkers, you know? and so with human Thundercats, it was like, Towards the end of Batman is turtles. I was working on issue five or six, like I was pretty close to the end of it. And I contacted Jim Chadwick and I said, We’re getting pretty close to the end of Batman Ninja turtles.
Do you have any other projects? I would love to do some more crossovers if you have something like that in mind. And, he wrote back and he said, yeah, we’re thinking [00:49:00] about doing something. I think he said DC just acquired the license to thunder cats. So we’re thinking about doing something with them.
That might’ve been his response. It was something like that. And I replied back and said, I would love to draw a fender reboot. and if you guys are still doing crossovers, you know, I would love to cross them over with Humana if that’s a possibility. And that was one of the many things that they were talking about at the time, because, they have a good relationship with Mattel who holds, who holds the license for He-Man.
And, so I think that was already kind of in the works as well. Possibility. And since I was expressing interest and they ran in my artwork by the guys at Mattel and it worked out pretty well, there was a little bit of a stumbling start when I first started with them. just to, I had never worked with Mattel before.
And, Just getting, you know, getting connect. So as opposed to, you know, I had worked with Bobby who was an IDW editor and worked with Joan Hilty, who was at Nickelodeon and of course worked with Jim Chadwick at DC. Now suddenly I was working with, a [00:50:00] new group of people. So there was, you know, the first issue was a little bit rougher.
But we established a good working relationship after that. And then after that, it was, it was much easier throughout the rest of the series.
Casey: What’s that? Okay. I was going to say it’s smooth sailing after the rest of it. So just putting this out there, man, next time, if you do another human thunder cats,
Freddie Williams: I hope so.
I hope to, but go ahead.
Casey: I’m going to put a bug in your ear. Okay. Snark. And Orco, they got a gun
Freddie Williams: man. What’d you say they gotta go.
Casey: They gotta go. I’m putting it out for Norco. They irritate the dog shit out of me. I’m going to piss a ton of humane fans off Puerco is awful. I recently watched the, the Christmas special, the Shira He-Man Christmas special with my five-year-old.
Cause she loves it. [00:51:00] And, Orco like idiot. yeah, not a fan and cringy. Yeah. Fuck cringy. I’m sorry.
Freddie Williams: Wow. That’s a lot of vitriol. I, man,
Casey: I’m done, dude. I’m putting my foot down.
It’s been nearly 40 years done.
Freddie Williams: Time is for that. I’m going to, I’m going to call Mattel up tomorrow.
Casey: Men let them know. I will.
Freddie Williams: We gotta just knock it off with Orco. And let that let DC know as well. that’s funny. Yeah, I I’m, I’m, I’m fine with them. I think,
there is, I mean, if I watched cause we Kiki and I sometimes we’ll have stuff on, in the background in the studio here. Sometimes we’re listening to our own stuff in our headphones, but then other times we’ll turn on something, like watch it in the background and we were watching some, Some He-Man in the background once or not.
It was right before we started doing all this travel at this point. So now it was, you know, [00:52:00] four or five months ago, but, and there was this, so nothing really weird happened with Orco, but there was this, there was, I can’t remember the, the name of the episode, but like he, man. Gets a log thrown at him, a log hits him in the head and it knocks him unconscious.
And I wa I actually, I yelled out in the studio. I said, what was pointing at the screen? Like, cause I wanted, I wanted Kiki to make sure she had seen it. Cause he like, she might not have been looking or paying attention right then or something. And I was like, You know, Tim Seeley and I were, and he, so in injustice versus masters of the universe, Superman, the injustice, Superman, who is, you know, equal in strength to the normal Superman, but he’s more Tyron nickel and more evil or just less good.
Maybe it’s the right way to say it. He like used his heat vision on, on He-Man and in the script, Tim had written, we’ve never really seen. [00:53:00] He-Man injured before, so we’re not sure exactly what he should look like when this happens. Like, we’re not sure should he blister and peel, like, cause he’s getting hit with the eyes of, you know, sunrays or whatever the hell laser vision heat vision, or is he resistant to it entirely or does he, is he injured?
And then immediately he’ll like, these are the conversations we were having. And, I also felt the same way. I had no memory of seeing He-Man injured and here we just saw him. Now he wasn’t visitable. He didn’t have like a gash on his head where it was bleeding, but he did get hit with a log and was just knocked unconscious.
And it was, it felt like surreal to me. Cause I’d never knew he could be vulnerable to a log attack. That was a bigger deal than seeing Orco or do it, or SNAR for cringe or anything, you know, kind of mucking up the works. just because I part partially because I just didn’t remember. I didn’t think it was even possible for a log to knock them out.
Casey: I love that that is your work discussion. [00:54:00] That is, that is amazing to me. And it makes me so happy that, that that is like a serious conversation. You haven’t worked, like what, what are we going to do about that? Does he,
Freddie Williams: does he get hurt? That’s all right.
Freddie Williams: there was several times about the process of working on human Thundercats and, and, you know, Batman editorials that I would look over at Kiki and say, you know, I can’t believe I’m getting to draw this stuff for a living.
It’s it feels totally surreal. And so, you know, it’s like there are long hours involved and sometimes sitting at a desk for that long, you can, you know, your hand hurts or your wrist hurts or your back or neck or whatever, but this. You know, other than stuff like that, which is just like the nature of being a human.
there’s really, I mean, it’s like a dream come true that, so I’m I know. And remind myself often how really lucky I am that I get to do this kind of stuff for a
[00:55:00] Casey: living. That’s amazing. And I want to get into that in a little bit and about how you take care of yourself and, how you you’re, you’re married.
You, you have, somebody else in your life. Then at the end of the day, sometimes she’s like, I don’t want to hear about damn comic. I won’t you buddy. So I want to hear about that a little bit first though. Like, are you excited for the new He-Man? there, there are two new He-Man shows coming out.
There’s the Kevin Smith Elm, masters of the universe. And there’s also a more kid friendly, masters of the universe cartoon also on Netflix. And, we actually talked to Amanda divert who was one of the head writers from that show. And, I think that the interest in Humana’s is going to pick up quite a bit.
I mean, it it’s, you know, no, no small, thanks to you guys. It’s, you know, been building even more. And, I’m also wondering if maybe that’s kind of what helped get it, [00:56:00] where it is today, where they’re, they’re actively making two new cartoons based on that property. So, are you planning on watching those series when they come out?
Freddie Williams: Oh, sure. I will definitely watch the Kevin Smith run one. I haven’t even heard of the other one, to be honest, I don’t pay real close attention to, Like the comic sites or anything that, that talk about the new announcements or anything. So, the, I was, but I was at power con whenever the Kevin Smith thing was announced, and he was walking around, there at power con.
And so I got to, I wasn’t in the panel with him, but I heard it as a rumor and then saw him walking around and talking to the press and stuff. So that sounds really cool. And I’m quite interested to see that,
Casey: he has a new villain named berserker.
Freddie Williams: Yeah,
Casey: I’m joking. I just made that up, so, okay. I
Freddie Williams: don’t know.
Casey: I would have been like, okay. Evan Smith nerd anyway, probably should have gone with cock puncher or cotton knocker.
Freddie Williams: Yeah. I would watch all of the, the evening with Kevin Smith’s the three [00:57:00] evening and the, you know, all that stuff.
Casey: Darn man.
Freddie Williams: Yeah. Yeah. He’s very interesting. I feel like I got to go with him on the journey with his.
love for Bruce Willis and then disappointment. We were working with him. It felt very heartbreaking to hear all that stuff. So all of that was, I’m, I’m a fan of listening to Kevin Smith, probably more than most of the films even. but I, you know, still like clerks and, dogma and James had a Bob strike back and, I heard that there’s a new, Jane signed, Bob get old or something that’s going to come out.
So I’m sure I’ll see that as
Casey: well. Oh, yeah. Yeah. There’s actually a film on prime where he’s like the new, what is it? It’s a game. It’s like a sequel to Jay and silent Bob strike back. I saw a little bit of it the other day, but like, my usual work day starts at 4:00 AM. Yes all the time. I’m able to actually sit down and watch something [00:58:00] without a, a five minute nine-year-old sitting around me.
Like, I’m dead, dude. I’m out
Freddie Williams: of that. I can totally see that. Yeah. that is really rough getting up at that early, so, Oh yeah. Work life. Say again, my life balance.
Casey: We’re work life balance. That gets as a nice segue into that. Like finding how to do what you do and, kind of be cohesive with your significant other with your family.
How, how does, how does that happen? What do you do?
Freddie Williams: since Kiki and I worked together all the time. And we, we work in chill and hang out together and I just can’t get enough of her to be honest. Like we, worked together in the studio all the time, but we’re kind of on opposite ends of the studio. So we’re not always talking, but we’re still like coworkers in that sense.
And then, we traveled together to any conventions and, you know, hopefully those will start up again after the pandemic. you know, if things get [00:59:00] under, under control more, but, But we have, and travel, traveled to a bunch of different countries together and all that. and then whenever we’ve actually had, if I have a night off, I just want to hang out with Kiki and, you know, watch like, sit on a couch and watch a movie, or, you know, go with her to a movie back when people, you know, could
Freddie Williams: Yeah. Whenever people could move freely to theaters and stuff. So, but really it’s like the balance to me is that Kiki and I work together. So, you know, we don’t, we don’t have children. We do have, 14 nieces and nephews that we see occasionally a Kiki season a little bit more than, than I do. but we, you know, we’re.
The balance, everything is off. I mean, as far as the balance of my work versus the rest of my life, you know, Kiki and I were good, but then almost all of my personal and family relationships have totally suffered because of, the amount of time that I’m devoting to the artwork and stuff. So, I don’t, I couldn’t [01:00:00] say there’s much of a balance on that end.
as far as like exercise or other interests and stuff, I basically do stretches every morning while I’m making the coffee. That’s about the extent. And I do some exercises while I’m brushing my teeth. So the combination, and then every, throughout the day, I’ll take breaks and stretch and that sort of thing, but that’s really about it.
So, I’m not in particularly great shape, but I’m at least kind of limber. and then. I usually don’t see my friends except for maybe once every six months. it’s, it’s not, and I, you know, I’ve made clear, well, occasionally text and that sort of thing. We keep in some contact like that, but man, I it’s just a, all of my like hobbies and interests and passions and career and, you know, making money, everything is just wrapped into comics.
So if. You know, I find interest in studying comic book artwork. So it’s like a [01:01:00] hobby to me to pick up sometimes old, sometimes new comic books and try to dissect what makes that comic book page work. and then I find interest in this new rendering technique or this new shadow, attempt and like, attempting this really heavy shadow look or whatever I’m an ex on, on a horror project or something.
So that to me is entertaining. And it’s a hobby. So, everything is just kind of wrapped up into that. it’s and then unfortunately all my home, my friends and family relationships have suffered because of it.
Casey: Well, it sounds like you married your best friend so that, I mean, you, you have a, you have a really awesome partner to kind of help you navigate all this stuff.
Freddie Williams: Yes. That’s a perfect description. And, the first night that, so Kiki and I went to high school together, but we. I was a geek and then like three or four friends. And then she was actually a jock. Like she played, volleyball and basketball [01:02:00] and softball and I mean, she was in ROTC and everything and, but she was kind of a closet geek.
So most of her friends didn’t. Weren’t into that kind of stuff. So she read the Lord of the rings and the Hobbit and, and I have never read those. So she’s more of a geek in the fantasy world, but what, what connected us the first, the first time I was like, wow, you’re awesome. Was, So after high school, she was hanging out with some of a group of friends that were also hanging out with my friends.
So we just had an overlapping group. And, one night we were talking and I found out that she read elf quest and elf quest was one of the books
Freddie Williams: penny is amazing. her art style still holds up. Now some of her inking techniques are a little dated. But that’s because she, she drew them in the seventies and eighties.
I mean, she inked in the seventies and eighties, but her, her fusion of like American, cartooning and her characterization mixed with Disney mixed with manga all together was revolutionary at the [01:03:00] time. I mean, it was a popular, independent series and stuff. but it still holds up. It’s still looks pretty contemporary even now.
And it’s been 30 plus years, which really says something about her art style. but when Kiki and I were talking that night, I had said, you ever heard of elf quest? She was like, yeah, self quest. And I, and she said, yeah, there was a couple of books, at the library that I used to check out. And, one of them was elf quest all the time.
And then the book went missing. This is what Kiki was saying. And I started laughing really hard cause I was like, yeah, I’m the one who
Casey: stole the book that helped wasn’t book book free.
Freddie Williams: The one with the blue cover and cutter is like kneeling. And then like one of the tall high elves is like standing. I forget the names at this point, but I, I, the artwork is what I’m most interested in to be honest.
I stole that. I have it. I’m looking at it right now. It’s right on our shelf right in front of my face. And she said, she was like, yeah, they told me someone stole it. You’re the jerk. That’s still that like, and we [01:04:00] like hit it off. I mean, we were, and then there was a bunch of other overlaps as well that she was, had never tried roleplaying games, but it was something that kind of interested her.
And then, that’s actually how we started hanging out. We were playing. Vampire the masquerade. And then we played some palladium book stuff, which is like riffs and heroes unlimited and stuff. So, Oh, sorry. What’s that Kiki
Casey: you have since paid for the book? Oh, yes. Yeah.
Freddie Williams: So, so I have since contacted that library and I purchased that book.
I, in fact, So, so yes, so everybody can
Casey: kill send email then. Nevermind.
Freddie Williams: Yeah. You were in the middle. I heard that piece typing, as you were saying, like, you know,
Casey: Kansas city,
Freddie Williams: public library, be aware that this young man or this old man now, stole your book. so I actually contacted them cause I had felt guilty and said.
what I, what I told them was, yeah, I, moved away, which technically I have. and I found this old library book that I just must’ve never [01:05:00] returned. And I’m wondering if I could just, it didn’t feel right to me, so I’d like to pay for it. And she said, well, you can send it back to us. And I said, no, it’s just really messed up.
It’s a terrible condition. I would just feel better if I paid for it. And she said, yeah. And it was like 50 bucks. I know I could have bought a brand new one for much cheaper, but this is the book. This is the book that helped to inspire me and has Kiki’s name written in the back because she had checked it out a bunch of times and I checked it out and stuff.
So, this book, the physical item means a lot more than just than just the amazing artwork that’s inside. It’s the actual physical book, you know, I
Casey: wonder if they even have the other elf quest books in circulation at that library because, you know, books wear out over time. So I’m wondering if that’s like the lone alphabet book at the library that you paid for.
Freddie Williams: Yeah, that could be, I dunno, I, I, the other books that I remember from that time that was in a similar vein was there was a book called Espers or [01:06:00] ESP first that was, Kind of a, it was drawn very realistically at the time that I remember. And it was about these young kids who had been through a government program had been given like Sonic abilities, almost like Firestarter, but you know, not exactly that, but kind of inspired by that.
and then they had a bunch of mainstream stuff that was more like X-Men Hulk Spiderman, that kind of stuff. So, but the, and I was attracted more to the artists, you know, it’s more about to me that the art. It’s the, the, the character, I don’t, you know, I don’t gravitate towards Wolverine unless like Jim Lee or Mark Sylvester or lineal, for instance, you are drawing them.
And then I’m like, I’m in it all the way, you know?
Casey: So we’re, we’re gonna start wrapping it up in a second. I really want to ask you so things are kind of scary right now in the comics. Injury’s starting to get better. Comic shops need to stay open. we’re a big fan of comic stores. We’re a big fan of that mom and pop stores.
Do you [01:07:00] have any in particular that you want to shout out and what they exactly mean to you? Why you, why you appreciate them?
Freddie Williams: yeah, the,
Casey: the one.
Freddie Williams: So there’s, there’s two shops. The two shops that I go to here locally in Kansas, one is called elite comics. and that’s an Overland park, Kansas. So that’s when we’re on the Kansas side.
And then, there’s another one called pulp fiction comics and games. That’s on the Missouri side, which is closer to my house and that’s actually my primary shop. so. I mean, I don’t, I, when I was much younger, I used to hang out at shops, not, not at either of those, but that’s how I looked at comic book shops was like a place to congregate and sort of, for lack of a better term fellowship with your fellow geeks, you know, You know, just to talk about it and then like message forums kind of replaced a little bit of that.
but there’s not the same interaction, you know, person to person interaction. So, but elite comics, they helped to run the big [01:08:00] local comic book convention here, the planet Comicon, and, that’s a big deal. That’s grown. Hugely where we have, you know, CV Soboleski from Marvel comics. And we had Dan video, actually, he was supposed to be at the show that that ended up getting postponed so that the show that got canceled because of the COVID thing will now be rescheduled to August.
Assuming it doesn’t get canceled then as well. but they, those shows have attracted really big talent and help to establish a Kansas city is like a. I don’t know, like a city to be reckoned with, with the type of talent that lives here or is attracted here and stuff. Scotty young moved here. Jason, Aaron moved here, as you said.
so, that’s a big deal to me is elite comics helping to run the local planet comic con show. That’s huge now. And then, pull fiction comics and games. there was a time where I played some magic, the gathering and would play up there. So I was like, Drawing comic books. And then on [01:09:00] the off chance that I would have a night off, I would go up there and play like an, a booster draft or something.
And, they would not say who I was, which was good. Cause it felt would have felt weird if people happen to be in comics and then I was playing against them. It would just be strange. and also if I order like extra books, you know, I always get it through, get them through pulp fiction and stuff.
So the guy who runs it, his name is Andy is just a really nice, really funny considerate guy. But, I have once, actually just a couple of months ago, I was up there, just sketching cause I had some sketches to do and I was just chit chatting with him. And, it’s a great PR I mean, comic book play, shops in general are.
Great places to find people that even if it’s not a specific comic book that you are aware of, they’re interested in that type of thing. So you can, there’s like a similar energy, and with, with Andy, as soon as I mentioned, elf quest, he, man, he knew so much way [01:10:00] more about specifically the story side of stuff than I did.
And it was like getting, I, it just an unexpected, dissertation on the sort of influences that probably led to the windy, the pennies sort of going in the direction that they did with the story. And, I don’t know. It’s just, you know, you don’t always have the time to do that in a comic book shop, but I would, I would, I hate that they’re having such, such troubles along with a lot of other, Stores and not stores, but a lot of other business types in this, in this economy with all the, you know, social distancing and stuff like that.
So I hope that, you know, as many of them can, can hold on and stick around as possible.
Casey: So, in, in that vein, tell our listeners what they can order
Freddie Williams: right now, featuring
Casey: Freddie Williams. The second. Oh, okay. Yeah. Coming up that, you, you, you got the Robin thing coming up.
Freddie Williams: Yes. man, has that actually come out yet?
Cause I, I remember see, I, I had [01:11:00] received, so what we’re talking about for anyone who’s listening, there’s an 80 page. Giant oversize, not large as in, you know, tall or wide, but just thick. Like it’s a a hundred page, special featuring different short stories of Robin in there. And I drew, I think it’s a 10 page story.
I can’t remember now, but it’s a 10 Drake 10 drinks. My favorite Robin. I love drawing Robin. but I already had my, my comp copies. So every time that. I do work for DC or IDW or whatever. They’ll send me some free copies of the printed book. I already had received those, but I did that not come out yet. I thought it had physically come out, but maybe it didn’t because of the diamond shutdown.
Casey: Yeah. I thought it was, I thought it was on hold because of the diamond shutdown, but
Freddie Williams: I could be
Casey: completely and totally mistaken. Okay. Well, let’s
Freddie Williams: eat whether it’s out or not that the books that I personally have involvement with that I think you should order are. I, there is Batman Ninja, turtles volume three.
The hard cover is supposed to come out. or maybe it is currently out. I [01:12:00] believe it’s supposed to come out, this week. So the last week of may, So that has all six issues of Batman Ninja turtles, plus a big sketch section in the back of like a bunch of pencil studies that I did of different characters and stuff.
so that gives you what the full story and a hard cover there’s Robin, the 80th anniversary special. So I needed a short story in that, but there’s a lot of really cool stories. I got to see a PDF of the whole book and flip through the comp copy to, you know, I didn’t read every book, but there was a, a great variety of different Robins through his like stories throughout the years of Robbins.
let’s see, I’ve done the coverage for a series called a transformers versus a Terminator. so I didn’t draw the interiors, but it’s from IDW and it’s, I did, it’s a four issue mini series and I know issue one has already come out, but then that’s when things got put on hold. So, you know, I think issue two will probably come out within the next month or so.
And then, I did the cover for issue a variant cover for a upcoming issue of the Ninja turtles. I don’t know if they’ve announced it, but [01:13:00] I’ll just say it here. Issue. I think issue one Oh five. And then issue one Oh eight. so I’m still involved with the turtles. I love drawing stuff with the turtles.
I would, in a
Freddie Williams: slightly altered reality. if the COVID stuff didn’t happen or whatever, I would have had a much bigger involvement with the turtle stuff. But, you know, instead of going the direction of the, of the crater on stuff right now, I want to do create our own stuff, but I just, we weren’t sure where it fit.
And then, you know, this sort of told us which direction to go. And, and then I did a cover for there’s a podcast that is called voyage. To the stars. and they have a, they have a comic book that’s coming out and I did one of the covers for the first issue of that. So, and a few covers for GI Joe.
So over at IDW, I think issues eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, there was like five issues in a row that I didn’t cover score. So I’ve got a lot of work that’s floating out there, but most of it right now, that’s about to come out as [01:14:00] a cover work. So for GI Joe, A Terminator or transformers versus the Terminator that podcast cover, which is called a journey to the stars.
And then Batman Ninja, turtles volume three, the hard cover. And then Robin, the 80th anniversary one.
Casey: Alright, you guys, so go out there, order all that stuff. And, Freddie Williams, we’re going to have to keep our ears to the ground for the temp, the upcoming Tim Seeley project.
Freddie Williams: Yes. Yeah.
Casey: Because that sounds rad.
I can’t wait to hear more about that. if, if, and when you want to come back on the show to talk about it, I’ll make sure that you get a better interviewer because I’m sorry. Whoa, what are you talking
Freddie Williams: about? No, this, this was great. I hope I, I hope I didn’t, No go on too long. I have a tendency just to be long winded, but
Casey: we love it.
We love it. And, I
Freddie Williams: mean,
Casey: it’s one thing to just talk about the next upcoming project. It’s another to get into process and where you are when you’re [01:15:00] doing stuff. And I really that’s one thing that interests me because I mean, I’m going to read the comics anyway, but actually. Getting the, the behind the scenes and getting to know the creators behind it.
That’s that’s the fun part for me. So Freddie Williams the second, man. Thank you again.
Freddie Williams: Yeah, my pleasure. And thank you for having me on and you did an excellent job interviewing me. Don’t go put yourself down. Well done.
Casey: Thank you very much. Take it easy. And, man, wash your hands. And what are the masks in Alabama right now?
The rates are, it went up in two weeks. It went up, over a third. Oh, okay. Yeah. So don’t go to Alabama. He Thompson.
Freddie Williams: Okay. Yeah. I mean, and we, we are very careful. We don’t actually leave the house much anyway, but we’re, we have like a, pretty established protocol of how to wipe everything down. Once we do go out and then come back and, and take control of [01:16:00] that stuff.
So we definitely wash our hands and we. Are careful with that kind of stuff. So,
Casey: and I mean, we, we have two kids, kids are nasty, so we’re making them move on the port right now. So occasionally I’ll pour some water out of, you know, just through the back window. I’ll just with some water.
Freddie Williams: Yeah. It makes a puddle on the ground and they can drink from
Casey: that from a snack packer to they’re good.
Freddy, take it easy, man.
Freddie Williams: Thanks. Great talking to you. Thanks.
Casey: Save. Bye. All. Alright,
Freddie Williams: take care.