Artist extraordinaire Liam Sharp stops by to talk with Jeff about his art process, his comic books, and more! Liam is a top level artist so getting him on the show to talk about his work is a true pleasure.
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Transcript by Steve, our transcribing robot with a drinking problem.
Liam Sharp Interview
[00:00:00] Kenric: Join the culture that’s more diverse and welcome back to parlor country. I’m kinda creaking. That’s mr Horsley and today on the show, well he’s an artist that’s worked on green lantern. Judge Dredd, a bunch of other shit. He’s British, which I don’t know why he said that because it really doesn’t matter.
Cause you’ll know as soon as he starts
John: say that, but it does a little bit because I do think that British craters are. Creators, the country you’re from kind of helps determine not to turn it, but it does play into your creative and like how you do things. I really think that like, because an American artist or British artists, they’re going to attack things differently.
So I think it is. I think it is
Kenric: But they do look at things differently. That’s
John: Yeah. It’s relevant.
Kenric: today it’s Liam sharp, the ever prolific artist.
John: Yeah. And Jeff got a chance to sit down with Liam because it was early in the morning and neither one of us wanted to wake up because we were tired and sleepy. And probably had two more streets night before. I don’t know. But Jeff was a fan and Jeff took it [00:01:00] on and yeah, they had a good time.
Kenric: No. You guys go, well, let’s sit back and listen to Liam and his own words.
Liam or Jeff This is boiler country and you’re listening to. Very talented guest. Liam sharp. How’s it going, Liam? Hey Jeff. Good to be on. Thanks for, uh, thanks for having me on spoiler country. It’s, it’s definitely our pleasure. You are an amazing artist. Oh, you too. Thank you, ma’am. Oh no, that’s definitely our pleasure.
I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time. Well, I know I kept you waiting, so I’m sorry about that. You know how it goes. No, it, like I said, it’s totally worth it. We totally understand how busy our artists are, and like I said, it just brought up the anticipation for you and we’re, I’m very excited to, to speak with you.
Good stuff. So where are you based, Jeff? Are you in New York state or? I’m actually in Rhode Island right now. Okay, cool. You’re California, correct? I am California East [00:02:00] Bay. How’s that going for you? What’s a little bit great? Looks like England sporting, but it’s been beautiful the last few days. So that’s been given us a little bit of relief having some sunshine during these peculiar times.
How it on these times in California, are you, are you feeling, the anxiety of what’s going on with the covert, or are you, do you feel you’re pretty safe, you’re secure, it’s not hitting like locally for you yet? It’s, It, everyone’s being pretty sensible about it. To be fair. it is weird outside, but that’s the funny thing, you know, because we, we don’t move out of our house is very much as freelancers.
You know, I’m, I, I’m used to this sort of self isolation as a natural state. So I only really notice when I step outside. On the other hand, it’s quite nice cause we’ve got all the family here so. My three kids, my, my oldest is 23 now. My youngest is 16, and they’re all at [00:03:00] home. so, that’s the one thing that they are getting used to working with a milling around in the background, but that’s, it’s actually, that’s the best side of it.
That’s the good thing of it. Is your family adapting well to the quarantine? Well, I think, you know, we’re fortunate, we all, we all get on, so last night we all made like a, a playlist of songs each and just work through them, picked eight songs each. And, we had a great night. We, we made pizza and drank beer.
And just generally. I had a chill time and, and it was, it was a lot of fun. That’s the second time we’ve done it. So we’re, we’re pretty good at getting along with each other, but when you do go out, everyone’s keeping their distance and, uh, and that’s not just me. It’s, it’s the general vote about, do you know when, when I’ve gone outside, I mean, it hit Rhode Island.
More within the last few weeks. before that, it kind of felt, you know, it was in Boston, it was New York, Seattle, but we didn’t really feel it here, but it’s now getting closer where we now [00:04:00] have, 30 cases in the County in which I live, so is now, you know, is home now. I must say walking outside, especially during or even during rush hour, it’s starting to feel like that apocalyptic feel where like you see a car, someone walking down the street, you’re like, Holy crap, there’s a person, you know, there’s another human being out there.
It’s almost the other way round in a way that seems to be, because everyone’s at home. People are getting out for walks here. So there’s a lot of people skirting around each other and dodging each other, and you know, we’re almost using the roads. There’s walking lanes at the moment, so it’s quite, it’s quite interesting.
Lots of dog walking. So nice. It’s definitely interesting times, but, let’s hope it gets better sooner rather than later, you know? But I don’t know how that’s going to go. Oh yeah, I mean, I, my assumption is from what I’m hearing is, you know, this is going for a few more months and if there is any bright side to this, and it may not be one much of one, but it does seem like it gives [00:05:00] us the opportunity to spend time with the family that we have and kind of renew the bonds that may have loosened .
Yeah, exactly. So, yeah, we’re just making the most of, uh, being together really. So, as you say, silver linings. Well, you gotta find a way you can, right? Yeah, absolutely. So, tell me a little bit about how you got involved with green lantern. Greenland.
It’s like, it was such a gift, really. The thing with grant was I’ve known him for years, but not sort of on any deep level. We just, all from the same industry and he’s from Scotland. I’m from England, so we would occasionally bump into each other over the years. and I had actually been doing it.
I did a podcast when I was doing wonder woman. Um, and I ended up talking about, my novella is called paradise Rex press. Okay. So really sort of weird meta, quite experimental book and very, very personal. [00:06:00] And I ended up talking about this and the guys that are on the podcast were like, Oh, it’s grant Morrison read that.
He’d love that. And I was like, well, I only know grant sort of peripherally. He’s more a colleague. But I don’t know him that well. And I have to be honest, I get, I tend to get a little bit tongue tied around him cause he’s kind of a legend. You know, even when you’ve been in the industry a long time, he still Revere people.
And, uh, they said, Oh, he’s lovely. You should, you should talk to him. And very strangely, about three days later, it was San Diego comic con and I was there, it was the first night and I was at the higher, and it was literally the end of the night and now the dark loomed grant. And he just went, gave me this great big hug, and I was like, Whoa, that’s weird.
And then we had like this really lovely five minute chat. And then I didn’t see him for a couple of, well, no, that was, I kept seeing him after that, so I saw him at the wonder woman premiere. we did, we just kind of shut the bar down. Just chatted [00:07:00] away for ages and ages and that, and I kept banging into him after that, you know, it was really funny.
And then we started talking about, Oh, let’s do a. Correct our own project together. And we kind of initially said, well, you should do something like maybe 40 pages. That’s really, really dense that I can spend hours on the art. Cause I’d been doing the brave and the bold and that was getting more and more kind of dense and, and symbolic and detailed.
And there was, it’s great doing that. But when you, when you’re in a a long run in series, keeping up the. Momentum on on that kind of detailed work is, is pretty wearing after a while talking about what can we do that you know, that would allow me to really go to town. Anyway, we kept talking like this and then I finished the brave and the bold.
I was looking what I was going to do next. Dan was like, well, we want you to do Hawk man, and I was like, that’s cool. Yeah. Scott Snyder was like, well, I [00:08:00] want you to do JLA. And I was like, Oh, that’s cool. and then Dan came, literally phoned. I was pondering which of those two I would do, cause I could see that either of them would be good.
and then out of the blue, Dan called and said, okay. Total change of plan, how you feel about this green lantern with grant Morrison. I was like, what course? I’ve been talking to grant all along anyway. Right. And it seems like rather than do something small, the opportunity to do something. You’re know, really Epic and ongoing for a while, at least with grant, was just a no brainer.
There’s no way I was going to say no to that. Um, and, and so let me think. There was like, okay, yes, I mean, as long as I can, and it’s not about being. Controlling or like denying other people, but it’s like I said, I want to be the only artists on it because you [00:09:00] spent so long building these universes and building these worlds, and if there’s suddenly a fill in, for me at least it really throws you out of the series, or it can be, yeah.
And, grant had said, he probably wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t going to draw it. So we were quite sort of like. Let’s go in as a team and let’s make sure that we can do all issues together and really nail a singular vision of, of what this character is going to look like while we’re, while we’re doing the book.
So we managed to, to swing that somehow we’d, we’ve got them dates knocked back a little bit for the launch and, I just worked like a, you know, a maniac to, to. To stay on top of it all, and to deliver on time and to be, . Conscientious about the book. Really. So that’s, that’s how it happened.
And it’s been an absolute joy. It’s really cool when you use the here, someone who’s as well known as you are, and you know, definitely a name in your own right in the industry. [00:10:00] Still feeling tongue tie when talking to another artist. You know, you kind of assume that once you get to your echelon of a notoriety.
That all of you guys, you know, or just feel like you’re at the same level of everybody else. Oh no. You know, that’s the thing with comic people. We’re all still fan boys and fan girls at heart, you know? Yeah. and a lot of us were those shy sort of solitary kids as well. So we, we had that as part of our nature, I think.
And, and it’s interesting too, cause we’re all still. One of the interests. One of the things that happens in this business as you do seem to, especially at conventions run into. Actors and celebrities and directors and people that are in other media that are also, you know, well known people and we’re all just this kind of what’s around those people as excited as anybody else.
You don’t get too cool for your own boots, you know? It’s like, [00:11:00] it’s still good to appreciate excellence in whatever industry it’s in. You know? So you could say the same about. Many, many different walks of life. So is the combo community in many ways, like smaller than it you would think? Like is it like a really small, tight community or is there, you know, cause I mean, you know, on one hand the industry seems quite large, but it does seem like there’s so much, interaction between the companies and the talent.
Then it must, is it a smaller company, like a small community and used to feel a lot smaller these days? It’s, it’s pretty huge. Back in the eighties when I first started, you know, especially in England, cause this was before any of us really started moving out to the U S or coming to conventions over here.
The world’s got a lot smaller since the eighties. Back in those days there was sort of regular guests to get together. So there was really not that many conventions. There was one, a big one in London called UTEC, [00:12:00] the UK comic art convention. Um. And you’d go to that and they’d be, you know, Alan Moore and Dave givens and all kind of legends of, of Brian Bolland, the generation above us, and really a lot.
We all pretty much worked for 2008 so we got to know each other, and it was definitely a community. And then there was a. I used to be at a pub called the Valiant trooper in London, and they’d have a monthly drink there. So that was a kind of open door to industry people. So you did get to know everybody who, who was able to turn up to those things.
So, so you knew Alan Moore, what was he like? Oh, I met him. I met him at that convention. That’s the only time I’ve ever spent any time with him just drinking Guinness. And he was very, he had this suit on that was slightly too short. When the arms and legs, he’s a tall guy. [00:13:00] and even, then of course, he was already a legend.
and, uh. He was, he was very charming. easy company. Again, I was probably slightly in or, and tongue tied. So, you know, I’ve probably left it to other people to, to talk and just sort of sat there grinning units. But like I said, that all comes around. I’m sure there’s many artists now who are that way around you when you go, when you are at these conventions, who are afraid to talk to you, afraid to.
Yeah, I’ll say hello. But you never sort of bear that in mind when you go to them. And I always try to be as, welcoming as I can be. So I definitely try to be approachable, well, last year, I know you were a terrific con and I actually was a terrific, and I try finding you for an autograph, but I could not find you.
The numbers were wrong. I was like, where’s Liam sharp is and I couldn’t find you. I asked you to ask for help and I couldn’t, and I, I was able to pull it off, unfortunately. Oh, I was on the hero initiative stand, I think. Is that where I was at tricycle? Oh no, hang [00:14:00] on a second. We were, yeah, I’m remembering now.
I was down with. there was a bunch of us with our butt, my, and, he’s, he’s my art dealer, so we were, bright there. So it was good fun. Con, that one’s had a great time. Yeah, it must have. Terrific. I had, I had a lot of good time. I got most of the autographs that I was looking for, like I said, so for years, unfortunately.
yeah, we were right by Michael Cho. I think that was, I think, I think it was different than what it said on the, the book that showed you where the tables were, it happened sometimes. The Portland one that I was on the heroes initiative stand and people couldn’t find me there either. So I’m obviously elusive, welcoming, but elusive.
Well, like I said, if you ever come back to Tribeca, I’m going to go, I gotta definitely go hunt you down. so you’re talking about the size of the industry. Is it, is it because of the nineties, like independent comic book from the nineties and two thousands that you enlarged it so much? I think so.
Well, I think the world is generally. just a smaller place. I [00:15:00] think the internet has done a lot for that. So it’s meant that location isn’t so important, particularly for work. so people can be anywhere in the world and still be working for, you know, a major, one of the major companies, if that’s the direction they choose.
You know, it, of course, if you. Wanting to go independently. It really doesn’t matter where you are and there’s a increasing number of independent creators out there. Do you, do you find it better that it’s. The industry is enlarged like that, or do you feel that there’s something missing with the size have expanded so much to know?
It is what it is. nothing ever is perfect and everything always evolves. So I, I, I don’t tend to look at it in those terms. You know, things become what they offer, the reasons of, of, of everything around them. The way things are distributed the way where the shops are, the, the, the fan base, 1,000,001 things, [00:16:00] it’s easy to point fingers and blame stuff when things don’t turn out quite hell.
You would like them personally to be, but it never stays one way. It never has stayed one way. It’s always been in flux. It’s always been in change. And it seems like my whole career, it’s been on the brink of dying out, except for maybe the early nineties when it went completely bonkers for awhile, you know, and, and had enormous sales.
Um, but I think it’s actually been really healthy price pricing, just in terms of the amount of people doing it. we can talk about, some people say, well, there’s too much stuff out there. Let’s, they should have the title, so should do this. But then what are all those people going to do?
You know? Yeah. Probably we’re passionate about it. Yeah, I remember, I, do my own comic book. I mean, obviously I’m nowhere near at the level of where you are, but I do my own like indie comic and I would call stores individually at a combo called the nightmare patrol, or have still have a combo called the nightmare patrol.
And, I would. [00:17:00] Well, thank you. And I would call a story individually and be like, you know, to sell my Chromebooks to them. Cause, I didn’t have the, the money to do diamonds, like 3000 limit or wherever it was. And I call it, I still remember what one store told me. And when I called him and said, you know, you wanna buy my comic book, for your store.
And he, and he said. I have had enough with indie people, you guys, there’s too many of you guys. You guys need to stop. And I told him, you first, you know which ones of us do you want us to quit? Just let me know. You know? And I thought that was kind of almost a ridiculous statement of like, which artists do you not want to pursue their dreams?
Like, which one should just be like, all right, I’ll back out for everybody else. You know? I can’t imagine anyone doing that. Well, exactly. That’s where people don’t sort of think about it. And it’s the same for like. You know, when you see people online occasionally calling for someone to be fired and to be kicked out of their job and it’s like, hang on, what do you expect that person to do for a start?
They there. They’re doing what they’ve been asked to do, and they all fans and they [00:18:00] love the industry and they love the comic that they’re working on. None of us just do it out of spite. You don’t get into this industry because you’re, you know, you don’t like it and that you just want to make everyone mad and draw a comic that everyone hates.
Nobody does that. Right? And so when people are called for somebody to. To lose their job and be fired, whatever. It’s sort of not taking into consideration that that is their job. They don’t do anything else and that they have kids and family and they have mortgages to pay a rent, pay and roof to keep over their heads.
It’s like essentially saying, you get out of the business for good. If you, if you, if you’re asking for someone to be kicked off a book or something like that, it’s, it’s very, I don’t know. It’s kind of a knee jerk and very. inhumane. Nice thing to wish on anybody, whether you, I mean, I don’t know what, I talked to a lot of creators about this and we’re, we’re all a bit, I don’t know [00:19:00] whether it’s, well, I don’t think it’s just creates, as I think most people, most normal people are like.
Hang on a second. I got into this because I love it. And when I was in the seventies when I read comics, if a comic changed direction and they changed the artists and they changed the writer and I wasn’t feeling it so much anymore, just buy another title. I never just was a Marvel guy or a or a DC guy.
Yeah, I liked good stuff. and I didn’t really care which character it was. So I hopped around and I, I, I read lots of bits of runs when I really liked the team at any given time. And it never, ever occurred to me to get like mad if suddenly that team left and I didn’t like the next team. It didn’t, you know, it didn’t send me on a massive letter writing campaign to try and get the new team fired and get the old team back or anything.
Yeah. I mean, Oh, go ahead. Sorry sir. No, no, no. I’m just saying [00:20:00] that people, that, the mentality of that is a little bit alien to me, you know? Yeah, I mean, it’s, I find it interest in kind of a dual edged sword. The idea of ownership. I think it’s great that fans do feel an ownership to the character, which is where the loyalty comes from.
But I do think in some level they abused the idea of what that ownership is. You have. The right to feel the character important to you, to feel that you’re invested in the characters, to feel that you’re, that you are invested in the success of the character, but you don’t have the right to feel ownership over somebody else over that character.
It never occurred to me to feel ownership over anything really. You know, I don’t feel like I own led Zeppelin cause I love them. and they’ve let me down, God damn that. I don’t feel, Like I own the, any Netflix shows that I watch. I just, you know, enjoy them until [00:21:00] I don’t, and then it’s like, ah, this isn’t going where I wanted to.
Game of Thrones. It’s like, Oh yeah, I can say whatever. We got 10 years of amazing entertainment. It’s like, yeah, trailed off and. Still beautiful stuff to look at at the end and the characters where, you know, whatever, there’s a million things you could say, but, um, generally decisions I love to were amazing.
Right? And I sort of think of like star Star-Lord when I first came across Star-Lord it was done by, John Byrne and Claremont. And, there was an amazing story. They did, self-contained, just fantastic. Totally different costumes. Slightly different shit. So different. Five. He definitely wasn’t like comical character.
Did that mean that I hated God into the galaxy? Knows completely different character, but I loved it. Yeah. I really enjoyed the fact that star Wars was in it. The fact that he was [00:22:00] nothing like the character that I grew up with and I loved just didn’t matter to me. Yeah, I’m gonna say that. a couple of days ago, I interviewed with, Kenrick, Regan, Robert wool, and he has a TV show.
He had a TV show, a couple of episodes called assume the position. And one quote from the show was, everyone loves the country in a different way. And I think the same goes for comic books. Every one loves a character, a comic book in a different way, and each way is valid. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. We all, each generation has their take on it and that your generation falls in love with their take on it.
Um, and I am always confused when people think they have identified the singular vision of what any characters should. Uh, should be, yeah. And act as though they’re speaking for all of us, when patently they’re not, you know, so it’s just as confusing to me, but, again, you have to take away is that it’s real passion [00:23:00] talking.
And the positive is that. They love those characters to that extent, you know, they take it seriously and they take what we do seriously. And that fuels that. So do you think social media has allowed fans to get spoiled and far as perspective or control of these characters? There’s a lot of language that I just don’t understand, and there’s a lot of behavior that I don’t understand.
and the times like that when I feel sort of very old, like just from another world altogether. to me, social media or open spaces, you know, their parks and their halls, and they’re places where people gather their pumps and tap houses and they are social environments. And, um, with that, I tend to think of the, they should be a certain amount of decorum.
You know, you can have debate and then you can sit in a pub and have a good old debate. But [00:24:00] as soon as the fists start flying around, there’s somebody comes in and kicks you out and demands that you don’t behave like that and there will a place, you know, and that’s just, that’s just a. I don’t, I think, I think there’s an element of, like when we said don’t feed the trolls, in a way, we kind of let them just exist.
And they, they went away and they found other trolls and they formed tribes of trolls. And now you know, there’s, there’s, it becomes a voice at that point. And instead of just like, learn what keyboard warriors. And I think as well, those kind of responses when people were just saying. I ignore the keyboard warriors.
Don’t talk to them. That doesn’t help either cause that’s just as dismissive to, you know, there’s sometimes these people are like, I’m sure that if you just say keyboard warrior, ignore them. It just infuriates some people. I think sometimes the grievance is a real, and I found that actually if you talk to people, even if [00:25:00] their view is, is really.
Different to yours. You know, it might be strongly different, but you can be very reasonable back and getting in a conversation and that often is not, it will sort of calm down and you can agree to see both sides. I mean, of course there are points where we see that that’s never going to happen and people just cast themselves in stone and they’re never going to change, which again, is alien to me.
That’s not a life, that’s a pickle to me. You know, it’s just, I never got that. Just, never, never be prepared to change. For me, life’s all about change and all about compromise and all about growing and allowing new thoughts and new ideas to sort of permeate because. That’s how you can come and rich, you know?
That’s how you learn and that’s how you live a full life, I think. So that’s my view anyway. Have you ever been on the receiving side of that toxic toxicity? [00:26:00] Really more so. I think. So, I mean, when I was doing wonder woman, it was a fascinating time, of course, because me too was just kicking off in a big way, which is really important.
There hadn’t been a character of her statue who’d,
at that particular time, it was really a big deal. And, and, and so I was right in the middle of that sort of firestorm. and it, it does get confusing. I did have one. A message saying, you know, from, from a, a woman in Australia saying, dude, stop drawing women. And it was like, Hey, even mean. And I did sort of end up talking.
I ended up writing a long, long reply to her saying, you’re not thinking this through what you’re asking for, for a start. I’m on your side. You know, there’s a reason I’m joining the book, and if you read it, you know, you’ll see that hi, I’m being very respectful character. [00:27:00] Secondly, the book is not just for women and not just for the LP community.
You know, it’s, it’s for all people. It is for those people. It is, but it’s also for, for, for men and women, and you know, people of every single denomination and every single sexual orientation. Then this is a book that, yes, she’s an icon for those people, but she’s also a book for. Right. For, for, for, for people like me, you don’t fit into those criteria, but fully supportive of, of, of, of everything, you know.
so it was, and I’d said, you know, you seriously saying that I should say no women should draw a male character. Right, right. Or, you know, and you can, you can obviously spin out from that as much as you like in a load of different directions. I was so proud to be on that book. [00:28:00] And if there’s a single book that, that I know changes life lives is wonder woman because she does represent, sometimes she represents.
Something that a lot of people don’t have in their own families, you know? So then if, let’s say they might be in a community that, isn’t particularly tolerant. No, it was different sexual preferences. So did the fan, at least come to terms with your side or did it become, conciliation?
I think she just went away. She, she was an angry person. Um, yeah. Mostly people were really decent, but it is weird when it happens and it blows up because you’re just doing your best and you’re like, I get it. I get that. I’m, you know, it would have been. [00:29:00] Well we had, we had Nicholas got in the book too, so she was fulfilling that side of it as well, and she’s just great.
We were such good mates and became really good sort of piles. Well, we were working on that book together. Oh, she’s so talented. Yeah, she’s amazing. And she’s just a lovely person too. I like that. I’ve actually, unfortunately, ever had an opportunity to interview her, so I bet she seems nice on social media anyway.
Yeah. She speaks her mind. She’s a C or less and she just, she’s not afraid to say what she thinks. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Well, have you ever had low back on the green current green lantern series or have that been, has that been saved from that kind of a toxicity as well? Well, occasionally, you know, I’ll, I’ll see it.
It, it’s a curious thing too, like as a one person saying, I could draw the book better than that 12 year old. Really. Well, when are they getting the big paychecks then from DC. [00:30:00] Okay.
Well, that’s just stupid when someone says something like that. Well yeah, you’re kind of like, just that point. You could only throw your hands in the air and just kind of, it’s impossible. It’s impossible. So going back a little bit to, to green lantern, what was grant Morrison sales pitch to you on the title?
Well, he didn’t really have to pitch. The funny thing was as well, cause I’d said to him, no. I, um, what do you think about doing something, uh, at DC? Cause I was under contract as well, and he said, Oh no, I’m done with, uh, with superheroes, mainstream books, you know, I’ve got a few years left. Cause he’s just turned 60 and he’s like, Oh wow.
Seeing the F w I, I’m in my early fifties and that’s the same thing. It’s like suddenly the, the end of the road is more apparent to you. You realize that you, [00:31:00] cause the years fly. Past when you, especially when your head’s down and you’re churning out the comics, it’s just how fast they fly by. so you start to realize that you’ve got a limited amount of time to do a certain number of projects.
and he was like, no, I want to concentrate on. Correct your own stuff and things that are personal to me, things that matter to me. so I’m not going to do any more mainstream stuff. And he had a dinner with Dan video and Dan would say, look, why didn’t you do green lantern? And grant said what he did.
Just said to me, to Dan, he said, no, no, I’m not doing that, but if you weren’t going to do it, you should do it like this. And then he proceeded to talk himself into it.
That was lucky for everybody that he was able to study. I was able to do that. Yeah, yeah. No, he’s great. He’s great. And you know, I mean, it was basically. The, because, because we talked about it together right at the beginning it was [00:32:00] like, guys going to be a cop. We want it to be, have some of the European sensibilities that both of us love.
So that sort of metal along heavy metal sensibilities, some of the old 2000 ID UK sensibilities, but also, you know, it being the Greenland and it was going to have. Those elements of, of, of us superhero X as well. He said, actually, it’s almost as if those, those three said it’s like European comics, English comics and American comics got together and had a threesome.
That’s great. Well, I mean, the dangerous thing. How did you want, I mean, obviously Greeley entrance started with Alan Scott in the forties. But how you has been around now since the sixties. Yeah, and, and I mean, he’s gone through some changes over time. Obviously what he was in the sixth, it was wait very like milk toast.
Very. Um, they didn’t give him a whole lot of personality. But then obviously that shifted with O’Neill [00:33:00] and Adams. Why do you think Jordan has survived all those changes and has managed to still be popular. Yeah. What is that, six years from now? Six years now? Yeah. It’s, I think it’s true of any of those iconic characters that have been around for a good chunk of time.
You know, and I know I’m sort of, it’s not that I’m avoiding the question, but it’s odd that whenever someone asks what characters your favorite character. Like, genuinely, I’ve always found that the character I love the most is the one that I’m working on at any given time because, there’s, there’s something amazing about any of these characters that have existed for a long time.
So even if you’re not, if you haven’t done a particularly deep dive or haven’t really been a fan of it yourself, just because there’s so many different titles out there, uh, you can’t. I’ve read everything. You kind of become a huge Uber fan of, of every single character, right? Yeah. You [00:34:00] can come to a character, like how, it wasn’t a massive fan of wonder woman before I started drawing it, but when I did, I totally fell in love with her.
I got what she was about and understood the fundamentals of what this character represented and what she could represent. and then of course, while you’re in the process of doing that, you, you learn more and more about the character. You’ve read more about the character and you, you, you get to know it.
the same with Greenland and the character is so rich. It’s like you say, it goes back so far and you’ve got a university playing with this guy. It, there’s so many different worlds. And so many such a rich sort of set list of the characters. And you know, the sort of Greenland family in a way is a big, by which I mean in his friends and his, relationships he’s had over, over decades now make you make him a really rich character.
But it’s just endless. [00:35:00] It’s an endless playground. Now. Now, what research did you do to prep for the sales order? I mean, I mean, or were you already a fan of me before? Oh, well, I, so my Greenland was the Neil Adams, Greenland. And when I was a little boy, you know, when I was a kid growing up, it was very much that stuff that I saw.
And of course it was striking. beautiful art. And they allowed him to really spoke to me when I was younger and then like to run. It was the, the, the guilt came stuff. Of course I saw, when he really, really, really invented himself and nailed that style that was used to see a lot in the seventies. and then they’ve givens as well.
His rom was, was one that I would dip into. so I had, I had this. I had a knowledge of the character and I was fond of him. I didn’t really read him during the nineties because I was, by that time I was sort of fully immersed in sort of Marvel and you know, that was, that was taking up. a lot of [00:36:00] my energy and time, so there’s a lot I missed in the nineties from DC.
Yeah. I’m going to view the nineties. Well, at least I obviously, Emerald Twilight I guess, and I must make, my Peregrine answer was Carl Reiner from the nineties. So you didn’t miss him, right? Yeah. Cause lot lots of people say, Oh yeah, great coal reiners is the best lens. And of course, you know, and I can’t speak to that cause I don’t know.
but it’s fine that people love Kyle rhino. It’s great that they do. Of course, it speaks to what we were talking about earlier on. It’s that he was the, for some people, he was the Greenland and that they came across in the Greenland and that they, kind of connected with for me as well, for us on this series.
Grant’s name was like, let’s go right back to the roots. And so if you’re going to draw these alien races, you know, let’s look at the original versions and then extrapolate from that. Rather than look at the ones that in the nineties where everybody became like a [00:37:00] giant muscle bound kind of testosterone fuel beast, let’s not build off the back of them.
Let’s go right back to were really weird. Sort of Goggle lied in the John broom era, those really curious designs where they’d be wearing like almost like shorts and little Scouts outfits and weird little hats and things. It was just quite comical, really. So is that because of the oddness of that? We, there was a lot to play with them and um, it sort of seemed.
It made it, made it fun. I’m extrapolating from them. It gave, gave it a sort of fresh direction that was really not, um, visually quite different to how it had been for for a while, you know? Yeah. I mean, I’m sure a lot of people, have assumptions of what would it be like to work with grant Morrison. I mean, the idea that once you get to being that level of celebrity or legend in the industry, you assume some sort of ego.
What does he like to work? Is he. But [00:38:00] to work with him. Does he give a lot of freedom for you to do what you want? Is he more like, this is what I want you to do? Oh, he’s fantastic. He’s, he’s great. He’s been, I’ve barely changed the thing in the entire run. You know, I, I think I’ve had a veil and yeah. What am I on now?
I’m on my 17th sure. So,
yeah, I’m coming to the end of my 17th issue of green lantern right now, and in that time in that run, and three of them were 30 pages. Oh wow. I think he’s asked. He’s asked for maybe three tiny changes. That I, I just missed something or I accidentally got the wrong version cause he knows he’s, his brain is encyclopedic and he really, really knows his stuff.
Um, and so, so it’s [00:39:00] that when you’ve got a vast cast. Characters and all the alternate versions as well. Um, yeah, it’s it, it can be tricky to navigate cause there’s just so much research. But thankfully, you know, thankfully we have this thing called Google now, which, which is very useful. And also just DC have been great in terms of making sure I, I am sending the required reference for any of the.
Any of the books. So it’s been a real joy. He, he, uh, packs in the references. I try to be as, um, because everything he does, he does for a reason. Yeah, so I know he’s in the, in the past, he said it’s frustrating to him because he’ll ask for all of these very specific references in the background and for whatever reasons, whether it’s time constraints or just too much for some people to handle that, they might miss a bunch of those seemingly [00:40:00] extraneous details.
but what you find is that later on in the story. There will be a reason for that is that you might not have picked up immediately, you know? Yeah. I mean, so I’ve tried to put it all in and then add a bit more. I mean, I’m just like, I’m, I mean, I’m just looking at, like issue one, of season two and about two or three pages in, there’s a massive spread, like two page spread almost.
And there’s so many characters, I’m pretty sure I see Valor somewhere in the background. and, and just like how, I mean, you must be spending so much time with that much detail. I mean, this. It’s the details everywhere. So deep. Yeah. God. Honestly, after the first season, I thought, okay, Susan too. I need to pair it back a little bit cause I’m going to go blind and mad.
And then I started on it and it just got even more crazy and detailed, so I don’t know what to tell you really. It is what it is. And some you read the script and if it demands it, then you have to [00:41:00] go there. But I had a lot of fun. With that spread. I’d also have been looking at like Kim young, geeky stuff and seeing how he just channels, uh, his memories and.
When have you seen those amazing spontaneous drawings? He does, I must admit, I have not actually, he’s just an astonishing artist. And he will do these demonstrations where he’ll just draw a scene straight out of his imagination, straight in pen on a, on a large piece of paper. And, and it’s, it’s profound, but they’re so full of life and it’s so spontaneous and it’s so kind of characterful.
And it’s intimidating. We’re all like blown away by his work. So incredible. But, but, but actually he kind of was like, I’m going to try that approach of like almost standing back and trying to imagine the scene and trying to put myself [00:42:00] in it and just let, channeling. I’m channeling. My memory is really so, so there’s a scene with the apes, the big battle over the city where they were carrying guns, and I thought, okay, I’m not going to, these aren’t actual chimps, and they’re not actual orangutans and gorillas.
They’re, they’re an approximation of them, so I’m just going to, it. Do it from my imagination. I drawn gears of war, so I draw lots of guns, and so I’m not going to reference guns, not going to reference the city. I’m not going to reference apes. I’m just going to draw it and see what I can pull out of my imagination.
I was kind of really pleasantly surprised at how it turned out, and it’s the same with that spread room. Just this little little details in that like is that there’s a bear. In a, in a space suit and he’s sort of grinning and just behind him, there’s this alien that’s holding a penny off. He’s obviously just pulled the penny out [00:43:00] of the bear’s ear, and the bear was absolutely delighted and he’s never seen that trip.
And the idea that we’re in this like completely evolved, super civilized. Space environment and these sort of very simple little ancient tricks that’s still delightful to people if they’ve ever come across it before and someone’s playing rock, paper, scissors in the background. My dad’s, they’re actually showing some of his art to a couple of girls in the background.
No, seriously. Where’s that? He’s the big bold bird at Greenland at the back. That is a ma mailer. So you’re talking about probably on the details. I’m actually looking at even clothes. I’m like, Holy crap. You can see all that. I don’t even notice lot the Hawk, um, the, uh, thing Ariens in the background too.
Yeah, there’s, there’s so many, but you try to give each of them like they’re all doing something. So they’re all interacting and, you know, strong woman’s looking out over the city, chatting to the dog with the, with [00:44:00] the, a partner who is a squirrel on his shoulder and things like that. You know, it, it becomes fun.
And then there’s the invisible. Guys coming through the watch, the watch dogs being rude and knocking drinks over, and just me and grant sitting at the board of 12, which, so I’m now officially in the DC universe. Oh, that’s you. And grant in the corner. Huh? That’s awesome. That’s great. Welcome to the DC universe.
yeah, I mean, it’s so amazing. Makes, I’m looking at him just as you were mentioning, more detailed stuff that they may not even notice, and it really, it’s incredible. And. The one, I mean, the couple of things I think about when I see something like this, once again, I’m not an artist. I can’t draw for the life of me.
one is how do you balance the details with and making sure that the primary, the primary doesn’t get lost in like this awesome, you know, amount of characters that you create. I think there’s sometimes where [00:45:00] you have to, you have to be thinking about in terms of the story. So in order to properly service the stories, sometimes there’s going to be a crowd scene, sometimes it’s going to be a city shot.
and I try to think of it as a director. Like it says, it’s as important to establish the feel of that environment to really make you feel like the characters got to speak on the ground. You know? So I try, I always think of the environment has been. As important. and there’s, there’s, there’s a certain amount of, like all of those little details I said to you, they’re there if you want to look.
But they’re, they really just make it seem natural. They make it seem more realistic because they are all behaving in ways that you, I mean, obviously we’re talking about aliens, so perhaps that would be more abstract to humanize, but ways that we as humans understand interaction. make places [00:46:00] seem real.
Uh, and this society, like with cities, I tried to imagine precincts and buildings with, with real functions, or like areas that might be parks or buildings that might be hundreds of years old versus brand new ones and different architectural styles. All of these things are. Are important to, to doing a convincing environment.
Otherwise, I think they tend to look like a convention sets, you know, that have been fabricated in a, in a, in a warehouse a few months before an event and, and thrown up and are all a little bit sort of plastic and wobbly and, you know, not meant for, don’t, they don’t look like they’ve been lived in for, for eons.
So I try, I try to bear that in mind. But to your point, um. You have to be sparing about where you use that, um, those scenes. So you plunge the character into those environments, but then you have to [00:47:00] zoom the camera in on them so that, you know, you pick them out within it. I mean, no matter how big a character is, they’re all, everyone’s gets lost in a crowd from time to time, you know?
Yeah. So I think when the coolest characters you created, are you and Moore and grant created his bulk, the living volcano guy, how did that go? How did that come about? Well, actually he’s been around before I saw him in a, in a Kevo Neil story, but in the figures in the eighties or nineties, early nineties.
Um, yeah, there was like a tales of the core. Series of stories. Um, and he, he was in, he was in one of those stories, but I believe he was in another story even before that. But we were talking about how does he work, you know, is he literally. Is he a magma being, and then we thought, so he’s magma, and then he suits made of rock.
So that’s like the mountain. And, and these vocal chords would be crystal. So when the magma sort of passes [00:48:00] through the, you know, the neck of the volcano. And the fun thing with volt though is like, I’d drawn him. It was amusing, man, and my wife came in and looked at the drawing and said, Oh, I love this space.
I was like, what? I hadn’t realized. I drawn a face in the cloud, and so that kind of thing. Then it’s like, Oh, he’s got, he’s got this funny long little mouth and his little eyes and a very sort of rudimentary face, and it just gave him. Lovely character that was really weird and different than unique looking.
almost like cartoonish expression. And then we were, when, when he’s in space, you know, because there’s no gravity. We, we made this head more of a perfect sphere, but he’s still got a face on it. And Grant’s like, Oh, can you imagine the concentration it takes to keep a face on that, on that cloud. You know?
I love it. I love it. I love how his mind works like that. So, yeah, we’ve had fun with those things. [00:49:00] It’s pretty much funny that you can have creating these cars. Like it’s nice to know that someone who’s been in the industry as long as you have, doesn’t ever get bored by it. You know what I’m saying? I think the second you get bought by it is the second you should really consider looking at a different career because it’s extraordinarily, laborious and time consuming and you know, and it is an antisocial job. You are just alone with your drawing board for huge chunks of your life, Rooney. So you have to find the pleasure in it. And I think if you become jaded, then it’s like you can probably tell him the art when people. I just really not enjoying it and hacking it out and don’t care.
I find, I find every issue, especially work in grant, cause every issue takes off in a different direction. It has a different vibe. You’re on a different planet. There’s a different, sensibility going on, and, and even more so in season two, as you’ll see as the books are all out [00:50:00] there, that almost a bit more experimental and each book has got.
Even more of a unique vibe. and that will play into the story as it’s going along, but it’s like we’re doing a popup one at the moment, which is totally different to anything that came before. And then there’s the one issue, gosh, three I think. This is one that I pretty much sort of painted digitally, so it’s got a much more soft, almost a heavy metal type feel to it.
So it really, really has got a lot of different sides to, it keeps you from. Now, one of the interesting things about the green lantern series is that it’s divided into seasons. Like most serious, let’s go, you know, one, two, you know, 25 30 whatever, but Greenland, it’s divided into seasons. Now you were saying earlier that the agreement that you had was that you would take the title as long as you could do every issue.
But you don’t do the mini series that go between them, at least not [00:51:00] the first one. And about the second one least in the Blackstar one. Is that, was that for the benefit of time for you to help catch up on the next season? I mean, what, what, what that was that set up? That’s literally what it was the thinking of.
Well, the idea of Susan’s was grants right from the start because he wanted to do, he’s been. He’s been in the writer’s room for happy and, he’s doing a lot more TV work. So he was becoming really interested in those structures and having things work as seasons. And, and the whole idea of, of the book being like a TV series and it being a cop series, uh, that was, that was what he was thinking.
So green mountain becomes like a cop and a cop, two new series. And then he was thinking, okay, so we’ll have a break in the middle. And it’d be like, you know, dr who Christmas specialists. That’s, that’s, that’s what the brain, and it allows us to, [00:52:00] to be. Really consistent with our green lantern book, but, and give me some time to, to catch up between the two Susans.
So this is going to be consistent like the next, after season two, there’ll be another miniseries after season three and stuff like that. We’re finishing after season two. We’re just doing the two seasons cause it’s a, it’s a little while. Oh, you guys are stopping after season two, huh? Yeah, yeah. Oh, I didn’t actually know.
I thought this was gonna be a continuing thing. No, sorry. Yeah. I think, well, it will have been, it will have been a pretty Epic run from the pair of us by the time we’ve done 24 it’s like soap and 500 pages of, of, of our, it’s, it’s a big old do sliver a story. Yeah, I mean it, like I said, it was going to be a famous run, especially in the annals of the green lantern legacy.
I mean, like I said, it means six years old, but still, I think this will be well remembered. I hope so. I hope so. I mean, of course you want it to [00:53:00] have legs, you know. That’s the other thing. I think as you get older, you, you appreciate more that the, if you are lucky enough to get on a run of one of these icons, you’re breathing rarefied air and you’re very, very lucky.
And dudes, you know, it’s, um, you’re a custodian and you have to respect the character and, you’re part of a, an unbroken Roman of decades. So. We, we both came to it knowing that and, and it’s interesting too, cause I think grant himself said that how was not his favorite. Green lantern and not typically the kind of character that he would.
Right. So what we found in him is, is interesting, you know, who did he say was the saver? I think, I think it was Kyle, but I could be wrong. Well, points more for Kyle. Are there any Greenlanders that you wish you could draw that you haven’t yet? well, there’s sort of, a lot of them have popped up and I wouldn’t, [00:54:00] I wouldn’t be surprised if they. Sound all pop up before the end. You know, it was fun drawing kilowatt, the, um, in the first issue of season two, at the end there, he was always such an iconic looking character. Um, but honestly, I mean, for me, how was my Greenland?
And so I don’t have that. I didn’t have that. You know, he’s not my favorite thing. He was, he was the Greenland to me. And whether, whether or not he’s our favorite Greenland and Haley’s still, you know, when you, if you talk of the Greenland, how’s the one you think of? Yeah. And then it was established way back in the John broom.
Era that how was the Greenland? And that was the quote unquote, the greatest Greenland and of all. So then it was like, okay, why is that? [00:55:00] And that’s really interesting. Whether whether you personally agree with that or not is irrelevant within the mythology of the green lanterns. That’s what you’re working with.
So then that becomes like a fun. Aspect of the character. It’s like, okay, why is he considered that? What is what? What is the legend about? Or why did he have all of them become so great and so important and so central to the, to the whole conceit, you know? So that’s a good question to ask. Alright, well then I’m going to ask you, what’s your answer to that question?
Why do you think he became, he’s the greatest. I think he’s just like, almost like an idiot savant who’s junior. You know, he doesn’t always know why he’s brilliant at what he does, but he is, it’s like, he, it’s that classic thing. We, we joked early on, like, you could have a [00:56:00] Greenland and from a hyper advanced, Civilization who’s far, far more intelligent and capable than hell in many ways, but they could be struggling over a situation trying to figure out how to deal with it and how to turn up and then. In an instant, in a tiny split second, he would come drop a giant fist, hit it, and it would fix everything.
They could try and do the same thing and it just wouldn’t work. It’s not about it being a giant fist. He’s just, he knows how to act in the moment and it’s that, that’s what makes him unique. We talk about like, astronauts and the, you know, the, the, the Apollo. Lunar landings, all of those people, when you get to that level of reflexes.
Split the split second decision making the right stuff. It’s sort of that, it’s that it’s that level and he’s, he’s, as a test pilot, you know, he’s [00:57:00] got those reactions and he’s got those, that mentality that he thrives on it. He, he, he’s also, I mean, he’s a, he’s a pretty unreconstructed sort of seventies iconic character in lots of ways that we, we don’t get so much these days.
And that’s interesting. Trying to make that work and what’s, you know, who is this guy? Cause he’s, he’s not terribly reliable. He’s brilliant as a policeman, but he’s not brilliant as a person. He would be great fun to have a drink with, but probably leave without saying goodbye. You wouldn’t know when you were going to see him again.
And you’d always love seeing him, but you don’t always be slightly frustrated cause he just. Well, girlfriend, you never see him. And where did you go? I was just now probably won’t see him for like five years. Yeah. Now with everything that’s going on, in RC Komberg’s have stopped that being distributed.
You’re still producing the Greenland and pagers, correct? [00:58:00] Yeah, I mean, I’m not sure what’s going on there, I know DC is doing its best to try and help retailers and to keep everything taken along. Uh, I mean, I, it’s, these are troubling times and nobody has a solution because we’re kind of making it up as it, as it goes along.
There’s so many people losing work and out of work, and, um, it, it’s. It’s unprecedented. So I don’t think we can all sit around and come up with our own solutions, but there are many minds on this and many people thinking about it and there’s going to be mistakes made and there’s going to be things done right and things done wrong, but we, we, we won’t know.
We won’t know until afterwards. Again, we’re just going to hope that we get through it. Yeah. Now. I know you’ve been talking for about an hour. Do you mind going back in time a little bit and talking about some other other things if you don’t mind? Sure, sure. Cool. Cool. one thing I wanted to ask you about, I’m going to, I’m probably going to get [00:59:00] the pronunciation totally wrong and I’m going to apologize ahead of time.
Um, mom tore publishing what is it and you did win an award for, so tell me about that as well. Let them to, publishing was born of a, basically a tricky time when the. We came out to the end of the nineties I’d been doing Marvel and I was doing sport in the dark ages, and I did a Superman graphic novel with Damascus at that time, Mt.
Damascus SU Superman, whereas they sting and so things were going really well and then suddenly work just dried up and just the, the, the print industry collapsed. Yeah. There just wasn’t enough books to go around. And I couldn’t get my foot in the door the right time, you know, there just wasn’t another title available for a long time and it was really rough for us.
We had, I had a year where I basically didn’t get any work at all. [01:00:00] I put in so many pitches. I think I put in enough pitches. We worked out that if they had all been picked up out of, had about 35 years of work, it’s ridiculous. And yet I just couldn’t, I just couldn’t land anything. So it was a rough year.
I ended up losing our house and having to move to a cheaper area. Oh, wow. Which actually ended up being a great thing. I moved back to my old hometown where the houses were cheaper than we could afford to live, and then we’d sort of looked around at everything, and you also ended up, you can get quite paranoid in those times because when the work stops, there’s those.
Two things happen. you start to think it’s, you like your work, so you, so you get paranoid. And with paranoia you can get a little bit desperate. And with desperation, there’s nothing that’s going to send people running than a fight. With desperation, you know, next people. And then, and then another thing people start to, rumors [01:01:00] can be generated.
People can be thinking that like, there must be something wrong if you’re not getting the work. And, and so it’s like, okay, how do you combat all of those things? Yeah. In a positive way. and we talked about it and I talked with my wife and we basically said, no, this is, I mean, another thing was I tried to get illustration work at that time, and this is how things have changed for the better.
At that time, I couldn’t get on an illustration agency because they all said. Oh, no, you do comics. We’re not interested in comic artists. It’s just, yeah, I mean, it’s just, it’s, it’s crazy snobbery. That makes no sense. But they basically were, very, very sort of, just. Just rude about comic artists. And there’s always been a snobbery about comics, you know, you know how it’s been.
I think it’d be, I think that is, it really is changing culturally, but it’s taken a long time and, Oh, sorry. I to say, it’s just interesting. it seems like in many ways it’s, [01:02:00] it’s these, cinematic movies that have changed that in some way. Like, you would like to think it’d be something like, the artistry the.
The great literature found a common look, but in many ways it’s the pop corn movies, like the Marvel cinematic universe that seems to have changed people’s minds of comic books. Yeah, definitely. It’s part of it, I think. it’s hard to know. I think there’s a whole bunch of stuff I’ll come back to in a second because I want to answer your question first about mentor.
Um, but that would keep that one on the back burner. Cause that’s, that’s, um, there’s a lot about that. So. So, yeah. So basically me and my wife said, okay, the best thing we can do then is to create a, is to publish something. I, I did it, we did it like an art book for me, for San Diego. Um, cause everyone was doing art books at that time and they were becoming a thing.
This would have been round about 2001 2002. [01:03:00] people were doing Kinko’s, you know, sketchbooks and things like that. And we did kind of high end sketchbook on, on glossy paper. And I took it to San Diego and we had quite a nice experience publishing the book. My wife was at Marvel UK and we met there and she was in production.
And so she knew about sourcing paper stocks and sourcing, you know, print printers and dealing with distribution. All of those things I, I knew about, um, obviously the comic creation side of things. So after we did that first book, we said, well, why don’t we do a proper anthology. Ma’am tour is, a healer in Darby, which is my County I’m from.
Yeah. So a tourism is a mountain and, uh, and ma’am is actually literally means moving mountain. The idea is like, we’re going to try and move a mountain by [01:04:00] creating this publisher. Nice publishing was born and we did the anthology called event horizon. Which was partly about letting well known people. So we had Chris Western and Brian hold green, and me and Glenn February was, had a bit in there and you know, there was some real fantastic people, but there was other people who weren’t getting breaks.
I’ve met, I’ve met Dave Kendall is a fantastic artist, but he couldn’t, he was working at yellow pages just doing middle. No design jobs, and he, he, he, he’s really should have been in the comic business. Anyway, we got him to do an incredible story in that, which was like, it was basically crossing the mid God serpent with Moby Dick cool for hunting him.
So it was, it was fantastic stuff. and it was great cause he ended up getting worked for magic cards and now he’s been in 2000. They do [01:05:00] doing, you know, the death world series, which is just brilliant. Brilliant. so, so we, we, the anthology was a real adventure for us. We ended up doing that and that also ended up publishing a bunch of novels.
Including my first novel. I didn’t make it the first one because that would have felt too much like vanity publishing. So I waited a couple of years until we had a few books out and then made sure that I got it under enough noses of, of people that are respected, um, to feel confident. And, uh, we did that.
We went in the bookshops all over the country and it was a great experience. But yeah, so that was, we did it because I couldn’t get any work. But it ended up being, um, it ended up just being an amazing learning experience that changed my life because eventually that led to made fire, which led to us moving to America, which ultimately led to me returning to, to [01:06:00] DC and, and getting on some of these, uh, you know, the titles I’ve been on for the last four years.
So my journey. Desperation breeds innovation, right? Yeah. Well, even, even in these current times, it’s made me acutely aware of my mortality. We were talking about it earlier on and a lot of stories that I really want to tell. Um, so I’ve started working on a very personal Epic. Book that I’m just because I need to do it.
There’s no, no times like the right time. So it’s, it’s sort of. Focused me a little bit more even than I have been. Can, can, can you drop the title on it or not yet? Uh, not yet. It’s, uh, it’s very early days and I’m still trying to figure out where this. Well where I’m taking it, but I think, I think we should, yeah, I think [01:07:00] fingers crossed, it’s a, I would like it to stay or do see, so fingers crossed that that’s where it will be.
Well, they’ve been so amazing to work with. What I do want you to promise when it is ready to come out and you come back and talk to us about that book as well. Absolutely. That’s fantastic. Oh, I’ll go ahead. And the other thing was a, if you get to where you were saying about, what has elevated comics?
I think there’s a bunch of things because I’ve been really lucky. I had a, I had a 10 week show in a museum in England, and when Darby museum, my hometown, which was fantastic, but there was also at the same time, Frank quietly had one in Glasgow. And, and John Higgins had one in Liverpool, and they had some of the best turnouts for those museums of footfall, you know, the than any of the shows they’ve had that year.
So people are going, and maybe that is because of film, and I think it’s a whole bunch of things. [01:08:00] It’s like film is one aspect. Seeing exhibits of comic art in museums and being treated respectfully is another thing, you know? and just generally, culturally San Diego has become such a big thing. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world.
People know about that show. the New York ones, the same comic cons are becoming a thing. And I think it’s just become much more of a part of everyone’s sort of. Cultural landscape. What did they read them or not? They were aware of them. Now is Montour publishing still active? it’s, it’s, it’s sleeping, it’s dozing.
We often, there’s barely a year. It goes by when we, when we don’t sort of thing. It’d be nice to bring it back again. People. W we, we had someone who wanted to buy the name quite recently. It was like, Nope, [01:09:00] we were keeping it. I would like to do something else with it. I just don’t know what yet. cause it does, it does take a lot of time.
Publishing is, it’s a, as you know, it’s a, it’s a big, it’s a big old process. Is there any chance you’re gonna turn back to it once that you finished the green lantern?
well. We, like I say, sometimes I think we should resurrect it and give it another shot and this time, do everything through that. But, again, when things are going well and you like the people you’re working with, you, you don’t want to change. You don’t want to force change unnecessarily. Um, and DC have been really, really good to me over the last few years, though.
They treated me extremely well and looked after me and kept me very busy. And, as long as that’s the case, then, you know, I’m, I’m happy to keep working with them. No, I, I, I actually had a whole bunch of questions about, Testament, but, the people who I, who I do for a country work. [01:10:00] Asked me to ask you a specific question.
I’m definitely gonna ask you. he said there’s a story that you tell about working with Frank Frazetta on death dealer, and they wanted you to share the story. Well. It’s funny. I mean, of course, if you’re dealing with Danzig way back in the day, I’m not sure precisely what story that was. You know, there, there’ve been times in the past where
I’m probably guessing it’s the one where, cause I was going to talk to him and it never happened. Okay. because he had suddenly had the stroke. I’m sorry to hear that. So I never got to talk to him, and I sent him some art and, and I, I was thrilled to be doing that book. But, um, when, when his icon book came out, he, I saw my name in there, so I was looking through it.
I’m a huge fan. Yeah. Um, so I was, I went out and I bought the book and I was looking through it, and then it got to the [01:11:00] deaf dealer bit, and then I saw my name and basically he was really disparaging work, you know, it was, it was heartbreaking. And it’s basically like, ah, we’re saying that we’re not real artists, and I was just not like him, you know?
Yeah. And, it was one of those things where it just broke my heart. I wrote a huge letter. I never sent it in the end. Just so I, I don’t know why you said this. I thought you approved every page and I thought you appreciated it anyway. The long and short of it is that, you know. First, it was quite famous for his self aggrandizing.
He’s one of the few that that really was good at selling himself, um, and selling his legend. And, and he genuinely was a legend. But, I’m even low [01:12:00] telling the story, because to me it feels a little bit like I’m saying something disparaging about a fellow creator and I, I really don’t like to do that.
it’s just, it’s so, so in that sense, it’s like I, what I took away from that story was like, okay. Not all of your heroes are going to be necessarily who you would like them to be, but I actually did work again with them way later on his 80th birthday. I did a attribute piece in a SFX magazine, which Chad quite long, so.
digital painting, and I tried to, to do the character justice without sort of aping his style. and he, he was very gracious about that. So I think, it was mainly. I don’t know. Dan Joe Jesco said he’d talked to, to present to her about my work and presented was [01:13:00] very nice about it. So I think perhaps that the, the person who did the copy, Push it a little bit that way, maybe. Yeah. Yeah. Now as no, as an artist, when someone especially, who’s well known, like for Zeta, said something disparaging about your work, how do you mentally get yourself back on the wagon again and keep and continue to do your work? Was there, was that ever even a question when you received some, you know, the, the comments.
Oh, no, not me for six. It really did, because I thought, I thought I was doing him justice. Um, but you know, really as well, it was more about the content because I, I think those books were way more violent and dark than he would have done them. You know, it had a reputation for doing very dark, very violent stuff.
And I, I actually found some of those stories quite uncomfortable to draw. And especially with the violence, [01:14:00] that’s, yeah. You know, they’re not, they’re not. Yeah. So the more extreme than I would naturally do myself. So I kind of had empathy for whose view towards that. Yeah. I think he’s, his version of that character is more in line with the Jim silks version, which is a much more sort of romanticized version of it, you know, from Jim’s novels.
Yeah. I mean, from a standpoint of someone who’s trying to break more into the industry, and I’m sure there’s a lot of people. Like me and probably that you at that moment that have been rejected by publishers, you know, sending, we send scripts stories and obviously we get our rejection of, you all have our rejection letters.
And I do think the important thing is. Trying to figure out how do those who do overcome it or get past that, what is the thought process in doing it? And again, I get to understand how long was that process did it take for you to go, you know what, screw that. I’m just gonna do my own thing, you know, I’m just [01:15:00] gonna keep going.
I think ultimately, sometimes, sometimes you can, you can, um.
There’s so many angles to this question cause it’s, it’s, it’s a really good question. You thought for a start as a creator, every, every decent artist I know has, is, is riddled with self doubt. And that’s part of what drives them anyway. So in order to continue to get better. You have to see what’s wrong.
But you also have to innately know that there’s something there worth pursuing. So you have to, you have this weird duality of, of, of, of having sort of believing in yourself and knowing that you have people behind you, uh, enough to keep going, but also knowing that almost everything you do, you personally hate.
You know, you see all the weaknesses. So no page has ever fully done. It’s [01:16:00] never right. It’s never as good as you want it to be. and you could keep rubbing it out and drawing it again and scrapping it and drawing it again. And I’ve heard people saying, you know, I start things and I, I never finished a thing because it’s never as good as I want it to be, and I’m always disappointed.
So that’s normal. That’s just how it is. The only thing that gets you to the end of every issue is your deadline. You have to, you get to a point of being a professional where it’s like years and years and years of like, if I don’t finish this page today, I’m going to miss my deadline and then I’m out of this industry anyway.
You know? My reputation will perceive me in a. People have just stopped giving me work. So you have to, you have to have that in mind. That drives you to finish the pages. You look at it, you’re not happy. But in the process of doing it, you learn. So you’re constantly getting better at getting the pages done, getting better at delivery, getting better at the storytelling part.
Part of the answer is also [01:17:00] to stop worrying about. The art as much as the storytelling. Storytelling is way more important than they are, and there are artists too who are like, Frank Miller can draw in a really realistic style if he wants to. He chooses not to because he’s about, he’s all about the story club.
Yeah. And that’s a conscious decision to put the storytelling ahead of everything else. And, and, and that’s why he’s so amazing. I’ve learned increasingly over the years that that is the case. Not to not worry so much about how good the artists, you know, I mean, I kind of, I don’t, and this, this might be the right word to use, but I feel like there’s almost a math cystic nature to.
art of any kind of writing art, um, penciling where there’s a certain, when you do it, does that struggle and you know, you’re going to struggle as a writer. I know there’s, I’m working on an issue of 32 of a comic book right now, [01:18:00] and there’s a couple of pages that I know don’t work. I’d fully say, don’t feel like they weren’t, I feel confident about it and there’s that struggle.
But the same time. There’s also that enjoyment of knowing once you get past it, it’s going to feel even better. So there’s like this weird massive system where you feel, you know, there’s like the pain of the struggle, but the enjoyment of knowing you’re going to win, it’s when you finally do it right.
It’s gonna feel good. Yeah. I mean, when, when you, weirdly too, you’ll get in the flow. So you can have whole periods where I might have an issue where 18 of the 22 pages just flew out and there was a joy. And that happens rarely, but like when that happens, you kind of feel like it’s going to go on and for some reason it doesn’t.
We get on the next issue and it’s like really, really hard work and every page looks terrible to you. We’re thing is though, often as not. The issues that I’ve really struggled with, other people have looked at, and sometimes it’s their favorite issue. And I [01:19:00] sometimes look back at the page, the issues that were really hard to do and that I thought were subpar and not very good.
And then I looked at them and I realized that actually all the years of craft and graph. Been honed to the point that actually it’s better than I remembered. and sometimes it’s better than the stuff that I’ve really spent lots of time and then my most satisfied with, you know, doing so it’s, it is strange.
It’s, I think it’s hard for us. You can get too close to your own work. So it’s hard to be subjective about it. It’s hard to see what’s good and what’s bad. You just have to hope that overall, the, the effort and the passion is, is palpable enough that it somehow transfers to the readers. No, I, I totally agree with you a hundred percent on that.
so we’ve been talking for a bit, so I’m gonna, wrap things up. I do definitely appreciate you talking to me. You are phenomenal. but I do want, if you can do the outro for us, I would really appreciate it. [01:20:00] Absolutely. Yeah. yeah, no worries. Um, spoiler country, spoiler country, of course. Yeah. That’s me. My train of thought is all over the place. No worries. So, uh, and you just want me to say you’re listening to spoiler country. Oh, yeah. This is, you know, this is
Sorry. this is Liam sharp, and you’re listening to my being mistaken for loop. So this is Liam sharp, and you are listening to spoil a country. Thank you so much, sir. You really were absolutely phenomenal. The only reason I’m cutting it short, I actually in about five minutes of an interview, I’m talking to someone about a Sandman, his interview about a graphic novel of man.
So I do have to take it, but you are so phenomenal and I would want you to back come back on, cause I have so many questions about, about Testament. I got more questions. I actually had a drop unfortunate agreement and I wanted to talk about. I really would like you to come back at some point, especially when comic books are so shipping [01:21:00] again.
one last thing. is there anything, for, for your fans, are there any conventions you definitely are still scheduled for? And also what can fans do to help support you. I don’t know what’s happening with conventions this year. I don’t know about San Diego or, I mean, if the, the ones that I was going to I think have been canceled.
So at the moment, I can’t really say for that, but as soon as I can, you can find me on Twitter and that’s where those, uh. That’s where that information will be, or on Facebook. and I have my own website too, which I’m wanting to get a little bit better organized to let people know, but that’s, that’s xapi.net.
Um, and what convince do they can, well. Honestly, I appreciate all the friends that I have, especially it’s great interacting with people on Twitter. People are very decent on there. Amazingly, we managed to keep a good page run [01:22:00] well-behaved. Kindly people, no, just by the books is the best thing.
Seriously. I can’t ask for more than for people to support the comic titles, preferably in print. but either way, you know, by the trades, by the books, by the comics, and, you know, we were very grateful for all the people that do, and the support the industry in general, so that, so that’s what I would, that’s what I would ask.
Well, hopefully people, do, check you out and hopefully do get to go some conventions and they get to meet you and hopefully I get to meet you finally and get the autographs. But thank you so much, Mr. Sharp. Alright. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks a lot. You were wonderful indeed. Thank you. Bye bye. All of us take care.
You as well.
Kenric: Jeffery’s such a super fan.
John: Jeff is if it’s a bit of everything.
Kenric: He’s questions are [01:23:00] always, I feel like they’re always a, what’s the word I’m looking for? Very specific in what he wants to find out.
John: Yeah, it’s cool. It’s cool. And Liam’s a cool guy, man. Liam’s a good guy to interview. And you know, if you listen to our Dan add the interview from a couple weeks ago, you’ll know that Liam and Dan worked on death’s head too for Marvel UK or Marvel way back in the day. And it’s kind of, I always love it when we have some kind of a connection between our guests because it’s like, Oh, we talked to you and we talked because I’m a completionist.
So I’m like, now let’s talk to the whole creative team. You know? I don’t know. It’s just.
Kenric: That was talking to everybody.
John: So yeah, he was cool. Liam’s called and Liam’s an amazing, if you don’t know his work, just Google search his name. He’s an amazing artist. There’s, it’s the level of detail he puts him in. His inner step is, isn’t it’s inspiring to him.
And also like makes you as an artist, go, well, I’ll never be that good, you know?
Kenric: well, that’s all to be fair. That’s all he does,
John: Right. I mean, he’s a
Kenric: know? Yeah. Well, if that’s all you did, you would, you could get up there [01:24:00] if you, if you didn’t do anything else and you worked on it eight, nine, 10 hours a day, then you too could probably get to a level of Liam sharp. But you don’t.
John: Well I think I can get a lot better. I don’t think I’d ever, I honestly don’t think I’d ever going to get to his level cause this guy
Kenric: you don’t feel like you have the talent to get to that point.
John: I don’t feel like I have the
Kenric: raw talent, I
John: no, I don’t think I have his, I mean, I think I have talent and art, and I think that I am a good artist, and I think that if I did more, I would be way better than I am.
I don’t think I have this guy’s level because this guy is a master of art
Kenric: think that’s true with anything creative, you know what I mean? I mean, I dunno. It’s hard. Like I play guitar. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 15 years old, 16 years old. I’m 45 I’ve been playing it for a long time. I sound like shit compared to anybody that, that has any ounce of talent because I have to work hard on it.
You know? I have to really try. That’s all I really care about. Do you have fun? Do you enjoy what you’re doing? And at the end of the day, that’s. All that actually matters, you know? [01:25:00] But you know, it is frustrating sometimes when you see somebody who has just pure raw talent doing the things that you love and you, and you look at it and you go, I’ll never be that good.
I could do 12 hours a day for 10 years straight, and I will never reach that level.
John: Well it comes, it comes down to the conversation. I’ve had other people’s like, is there, is there a thing such as talent or is it all just hard work? And I think that both of them go together. I think there is a hundred percent of raw talent that happens, but. You can still get really good with hard work and not have that raw talent and get to a spot where you’re a professional, but the people who will have the hard work and the raw talent, it’s just like
Kenric: yeah. It’s a whole different level.
John: That’s not fair.
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s kind of crazy. It’s, it’s all about brain chemistry and how you think of things and how your body and your brain kind of work together. You know? And it’s just a different level and, but [01:26:00] that’s, but the thing is, is everybody has something. You just have to find what that talent is.
I honestly, 100% believe that every single person on this planet has something that is unique and special to them. They might share that uniqueness and specialty with other people that have the same type of uniqueness. But I believe that everybody that sits back and thinks that they’re not worth anything, get that shit out of your mind.
You are totally worth everything and there is something special and something unique just to you. And you know, maybe you can’t draw like a Liam sharp or a Todd McFarland, but I bet you there’s 10 other things that you do way better than they can ever think of doing.
John: Oh honey, I a hundred percent agree with everything you just said. I wholeheartedly
Kenric: Yeah. And Jeff had a lot of fun during this interview.
You can tell he was pretty giddy about getting to talk with him, and he talked about it for a couple of days leading up to it.
John: You [01:27:00] know what’s funny, and I’ll say, I said this before, like, you know me, there’s only a certain, there’s certain people, but there’s only certain times where I’m like, yeah, I want to be on an interview with somebody, right? Because I like, I like listening in. I don’t really care too much about talking to interviews, and I’ve said that before, and it’s not that I don’t want to talk to people, it’s just that I.
I’m more interested in having conversations rather than asking questions or whatever, but every single time we’d have an interview where we talking, it’s not us on the shelf. I’m always like, man, I wish we were on that
John: every time.
Kenric: yeah. Just because you, you know, you, you, you, you listening to what they’re talking about and you’re like, Oh God dang it.
John: yeah. Oh, I want to, I have
Kenric: I have so many opinions right now.
John: Yeah. So I guess moving forward, we’re going to be on every interview no matter what. Sorry, Jeff. Sorry, Casey, you’re out.
Kenric: Right? Like that could ever
John: Yeah, just kidding. We have too much to do.
Kenric: Well, there you guys
John: for doing that.
Kenric: Yeah. Thanks a lot, Jeff. Thanks, Kevin. Thanks Kevin kinder, because we have a list of people in front of us [01:28:00] and I’m looking at the list going, no, thank you, Liam, for coming on. We really, really, really appreciate it.
John: we do. We do. And if you ever want to come back on and talk to talk to us on non, uh, ask early morning hours, we love that.
Kenric: Right. All right guys. I hope you enjoyed that. If you want to go back and listen to more interviews with other artists, then head over spoilers.com cause we have some amazing interviews with some amazing artists. We’re talking like the Ben temple Smith’s, the, I dunno, Eric Larson’s of the world. The list goes on and on and on and on and on, and I think you’ll find somebody that you’ll really, really enjoy listening to.
John: I agree. And you and you should definitely go back and check out the Dan, add the interview cause it connects to this one with the desktop to reference there. It’ll be a lot. It’s a lot of fun. That’s actually one that I did, which is kind of funny that we talked about me not wanting to do interviews with a minute to go and now in town tell you to go listen to him than I did, so whatever, but took them all out.
Go to spillovers.com and [01:29:00] you won’t, you won’t be sad if you do because it’s wanting to, not to toot my own horn, but it’s a pretty cool website and it’s a lot of information up there. A lot of interviews, a lot of podcasts. He was like 13 shows up there. You can go check out all for free, not to behind a paywall.
There are some ads there, so it’s like, Oh well there’s ads yesterday. There’s some ads on the site cause we had to pay bills
Kenric: gotta do something.
John: Guidance is something, but you don’t have to, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to click the ads. You don’t have to pay us any money. But if you do want to pay us money, which we’d appreciate, you can click on that store link in the top and takes you right to our T public store where you can get a tee shirt, a hoodie, you can get a, you can get a onesy for your baby.
You can get a mug, you can get a giant tapestry. You can get posters, you can get a notebook. I mean, there’s so much stuff. You know, you get a mass if you go outside for Cobra. Do you have a cool split country liberal on your mass? That’d be awesome. Go do that. Go pick something up from there. If you do, send us a picture of it on Twitter.
Spoiler alert for our country and we’d love to see it.
Kenric: That’s, that’s some great advice right there. Go check that stuff out. Hey, on top of that, if you love what you heard [01:30:00] and you want to support us beyond money, bring out your smartphone, check out the pod catcher that you love. Do a search for spore, the country, and hit subscribe. It really, really does help.
And then on top of that, why don’t you get a chance? Well, when you get a chance. Go to iTunes or Google play or wherever online that you like to listen to podcasts or us specifically and give us a review. It tremendously helps and share it out. It really, really does. It’s, I can’t beg enough.
Kenric: All right, Johnny, that’s a show.
John: a show
Kenric: that’s a show. All right. And an ocean’s a podcast.
John: we are going to do. We’ll do
Kenric: as gifts do, Lou compels you to do open the mind.
John: and read more. [01:31:00]
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