Shannon Maer – Cover Artist Extraordinaire!
Join Kenric as he chats with amazing cover artist Shannon Maer!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Ardus
Shannon Maer – Interview
Kenric: [00:00:00] Hey guys. Welcome back to sport the country. And today on the show, we’re really, really excited because if you walked into your, your local comic book store, you’ve probably seen his work on Spider-Man and Harley Quinn and King black and a plethora of others.
Shannon Mayer. Thank you so much for coming on, man. This is, this is a tree.
Shannon Maer: Oh my pleasure. Well, thanks for having me. Yeah.
Kenric: Yeah. So man, you really known for that oil style, the oil painting style cover art and you’ve done some amazing stuff. What got you into painting?
Shannon Maer: What got me? Yeah, because I know you kind of,
Kenric: when I looked you up, they, they, they classified you as a digital artist.
And I know that you do a lot of that, but I also know that you, you do like doing traditional and you’ve mentioned before that you wanted to get more back into doing traditional oil. And so I kind of feel like your digital stuff is [00:01:00] mimicking what you probably already naturally do. And.
Shannon Maer: Yeah, I spent, I spent a long time strictly doing oil paintings.
So when I was in college, that was my, my focus. I guess it was primarily, you know, it was looking or directing myself towards book covers and you know, the oil medium. And I spent a long time on that. And then I was fascinated with working digitally and I started dabbling in that and I found that I still wanted to be able to I guess, maintain that style.
So it was important to me, whatever medium I was moving into to not really lose anything. And I guess for as much as right now, it’s not like I don’t find myself focusing on that. I think it’s still, it’s just maybe. You know, parts of that is coming through through naturally. So I’ve been doing it for awhile.
I guess ultimately, [00:02:00] you know, I’m, I’m happy if the, to work lets you know how I want it to look without it, having to be a specific way, if that makes sense. Yeah.
Kenric: Yeah. What, what called you to oil?
Shannon Maer: What called me to oil? It would probably be the artists that I was looking at and fascinated with their work and a lot, most of it, if not all of it was while paying to now find presenta, Boris full I ho and the guys that were dealing, you know, TSR Elmore easily kind of like that, you know, they were all working in oil to my understanding at least.
And it was I guess for the fantasy art, which was, I had the influence for me kind of, to be very, very I guess, geared towards oil.
Kenric: Was you, you mentioned Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo. The kind of, I don’t know if there’s ever any rivals, but they’re, they’re kind of neck and neck. When [00:03:00] people, when you talk about Frank, it’s hard not to dimension Boris.
And when you look at their work and their style, are those the two that influenced you the most, you think of all the people you mentioned?
Shannon Maer: Probably it, I think it, it became that, you know, there were artists I was familiar with. Earlier on. And then I became familiar with the Boris fillet, how, and then I think soon after Frank Frazetta and there were you know, they were, they were, I guess if we’re going to talk about the two of them you know, they have a background, you know, doing Conan and it was presented during that for some time and then Boris was doing it.
And I guess, and I, yeah, and there were, you know, similarities with their styles, but it’s also I don’t think it’s even fair to just look at it as similar. It was, they were working on you know, the same. The storyline and the book and series that had its luck. [00:04:00] And you know, I think it was reasonable for, you know, Boris then stepped in and, and, you know, do the covers that was established and it was fantastic.
And I think on his own he had She had a bit of a different take. He was more focused on us specific characters and, you know, when he liked to talk about it, he talked about, you know, trying to represent the beauty of the human form. And they enjoyed, you know, working with muscular figures and getting all the veins and everything and stuff like that, you know?
So, whereas Frazetta had more of a I guess a, a freer looser fine arts style. So there were takeaways on both ends of that ends of that, that were, you know, distinct on the road that I really appreciated. So I’d say there was times when I like to focus more on, you know, the, the details. And then other times I was like, I just want to get looser.
Yeah. More [00:05:00] playful. Yeah.
Shannon Maer: like it.
Kenric: I like your dog. Oh boy. A girl,
Shannon Maer: a boy here. That’s his name is his name is Marvel. Nice. Yeah. Yeah. And we have three cats and two dogs, so there’s another dog, right, right behind me. Right.
Kenric: And at one time we had, we were big animal lovers in this house. At one time we had six chickens, four dogs, or three dogs and two cats.
And then, Oh yeah. Then three dogs passed away, which was really lame. Cause they, they all passed away within six months of each other. And then now we have one dog right now, two cats and we’re on the 19th. We’re going to get four chickens. And then yeah, we’ll probably end up getting another dog. And then, yeah, it’s kind of animals in our house.
Kind of go hand in hand my seven year old when she wants to be a vet. So. [00:06:00] Well, so
Shannon Maer: yeah, this is all the, all the animals, you know, I guess, Becky was a big influence on that, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re awesome. Then it just kept expanding and if Becky had her way, you know, she just had, yeah.
Kenric: My mom literally came over and said, you should get Ella a miniature horse. And I’m like, Oh my God, just stop talking right now. No miniature horses
can live in the house. I’m not picking that up though.
It’s funny. So, you know, it’s so funny cause you mentioned for Zetta and I know a lot of people love for that. But like I read his books, the death dealer series, which was amazing and he did all the covers for that. And then his Vampirella when you’re doing something like Vampirella, do you think back of how much you, [00:07:00] what he meant to you when you were kind of going through and paving your own way?
Shannon Maer: You mean when I’m working on Jen, Perella
Kenric: quite, when you’re working on something that is a property that he started, you know? Cause I don’t know if the last stuff that Boris Vallejo has that people are still mimicking except for that, because he’s constantly still creating to this day. Right. Boris’s but yeah, but Frank, you know, like Vampirella is an, is an iconic character now, you know, and I’m just curious when you’re, cause I seen that you’ve done some Vampirella art when you’re doing it.
Do you, do you kind of think back on, on the influence that Frank has on you and like, I want to make sure this is exactly how
Shannon Maer: I want it to be. No. Well, I would say that I don’t try to focus on that at all. And I guess, you know, every once in a while it’d be like a reminder, like rep role. I’m doing regular now, so I’m doing cover.
So they’re, they’re regular release. I’m doing a cover for that every month. So [00:08:00] yeah, I’m like on my third, fourth covered now and in, you know, the ongoing series there. And it’s, you know, it’s, it’s kinda, kinda cool having the opportunity to do that. It is interesting to look back and be like, you know, presented was, was doing this at some point.
So, you know, they’re big shoes. Not that I’m simply trying to fill them, but you know, they, they would be and, but. I don’t, I don’t want to try to mimic anybody’s stuff out there. It doesn’t mean that they’re not an influence. They absolutely are. You know, this is stuff that, you know, I spent a lifetime studying.
But I want to make sure that whatever I’m doing, you know, naturally syncs with me. And just, just what the work or whatever wants to come out, you know, come out natural.
Kenric: That’s awesome. When did the passion of art take you?
Shannon Maer: Oh, early as I can remember. You know, I was a little kid and maybe I, I, I didn’t talk about it very much, but I remember [00:09:00] having emotional responses to things that I would say.
Like I, one of my earliest memories and hope I can talk about my brother. But my brother is a couple of years older, a little coloring and coloring books, and I believe it was a Batman and Robin that it was coloring in. And I had an emotional response to the colors that he is. I think it was that something was shaded in green.
And then it was outlined in a dark blue. And I was just like, wow. You know, just the response I had to it. I remember that to this day, and that was probably like four years old.
Kenric: That’s incredible. That must have been a really emotional attachment or like a raw emotional connection though. Cause if it’s you’re a four and you’re still harken back to that and remember those color sets, that’s, that’s powerful.
That’s a crazy thing.
Shannon Maer: Yeah. And you know, I remember watching it was, was it Sesame street with the [00:10:00] count and pastel colored blocks and, you know, I had a similar response to, to seeing those colors, you know, and I guess, you know, children, do they respond to colors, but I don’t know that everybody is, you know, go ahead tunes into the show, just to see those blocks.
Like I would just be waiting the whole time to see them do
Kenric: colors in your life affect you drastically still like when you go to places and you see wow, that, that setting or that, that design of those, using those colors in that formation has really hit me a different way.
Shannon Maer: Oh, yeah. I, you know, I feel that I’m kind of always working.
I can be out anywhere and something will catch my interests then, you know, it could be something like that, a color combination, you know, or patterns, or I guess anything that, you know, you would consider to be a graphic layout or, you know, something that would catch my [00:11:00] attention in that respect. And it’s like, okay.
You know, no, no, for later. But I, I guess like, I’m, I’m always, always working out there in life and it’s still a study. Yeah. Yeah. That’s
Kenric: cool though. Cause that just shows that you’ve just got a lot of passion for what you’re doing. That’s amazing. How, what was your parents like when you’re growing up and you’re like, Oh, I’m going to do this where they very supportive of your, of, of you wanting to be
Shannon Maer: an artist.
Yeah, I would say so, you know, I don’t think I ever had any, you know, backlash on that. You’re not trying to push me down another or another road. I think I made my own assumptions about that and it wasn’t based on, on parents. Like when I went to art school I, I didn’t get an, a, a negative response, you know, for wanting to go.
And I guess the assumption I was going but when I was picking a major, [00:12:00] I kind of felt like, well, I should be choosing something that stands a better chance of making a career out of. And I went into graphic design and I did that for a year. You know, you didn’t have to choose that for the first study.
I think it was a. Was two years should fresh shift. Definitely not, but I moved into, yeah, it was second year and I moved into that and it was okay. I didn’t, I had more of a passion as an illustrator and my teachers were even saying that I like you’re, you’re approaching all these projects as, as an illustrator.
And I finally had a teacher, you know, really point that out to me. And I was like, well, I’ve considered switching. And then over the, over the summer, I had to take some courses to make that up in order to switch over an illustration and go all in. But I felt I chose that. Not that my parents were asking, [00:13:00] but to make them happy and be like, Oh, I wanted to, you know, graphic design and I can get a job in corporate America.
You know, this is kind of how, how I viewed it and you know, still do the illustration and stuff on my own time.
Kenric: Isn’t it interesting how much your parents could have that much of an influence on you without even saying anything?
Shannon Maer: That’s fine. Yeah. We talked about it later on and it’s a surprise that I wanted to go into the graphic design now.
Like, well, weren’t going to give you any, you know, backlash on that if that’s what you want, but I guess, you know, I was young and just kind of thought it was the thing to do. Yeah.
Kenric: Yeah. I think you and I are like around the same age. Cause I saw some stuff that you did online when you were like 15 some pencil stuff, which was, which looked really cool.
And it was, I was excited to talk to you because I’ve been collecting comic books off and on. I mean I collected big time in the eighties and I think I was, I was born in 74, so it was 82, [00:14:00] 83 when the magic there’s And mini series for magic. And it’s all about her going to limbo and learning how to be the sorceress.
And then she escapes and all that kind of stuff. And that was the first story though, that I read, I stole it out of my brother’s comic collection. I went into his room and sat there and took them and went up to my room and read them. And I was enamored, you know? And so I’m going through and I’ve tried to draw, I can’t, I can, I can’t draw, stick, figure, forget it.
Nevermind. The stuff that you guys are doing. And when I see your stuff, I was like, this is ridiculous. How did you even begun began to get into this realm where not only is there a realism to what you’re presenting, but you can feel the emotion that you’re, that you’re exuding off the page. And it’s it’s I don’t understand where you’re, you’re getting your you’re.
I guess it must’ve come from within where you’re getting the emotion to be able to do this and then, and then bring it out for everybody else to [00:15:00] enjoy. So when you sit down and you’re looking at something and you have, I imagine when you’re going to work on a, on a cover, they kind of tell you, do they just say, this is the story?
And then you kind of take it from there or do they convey it? We want to have this type of thing, or do they tell you these are the characters you can choose from? You get the question I’m asking
Shannon Maer: here? Yeah. Well, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s different all the time. Not not all clients, you know, do things the same way.
You know, so sometimes they different clients might want a specific character or I have a choice of what to do, you know, from their storyline or what will be okay. You know, for that issue. Sometimes, you know, they’ll have a bit of a concept you know, naturally like most people, you know, I’m happy when I got a bit more, more freedom.
But you know, it’s not always, always the same. And I guess you know, anybody that’s, you know, looking to get into something like this, you know, to, to expect a mix. [00:16:00] Yeah.
Kenric: When I listen to some of your other stuff you were talking about, you’ve done a lot of female form. And then you’re, you’d like to do more mail and I think, and that was quite awhile ago.
And I think you are, have been doing more because you just did King black. W what do you like about the body form and how do you, when you sit there and you look at female or male, are you studying the body? Have you done this for a long time to that? You can, because your stuff is more realistic than like, I don’t want to name any names, but some people don’t understand they’re, they’re amazing artists in their own.
Right. But then they draw the stuff and you’re like, dude, they got like 80 different muscles that don’t exist on them. You know what I mean?
Shannon Maer: Sometimes, you know, people do that and it does work with their style. You know, and, and other other times, you know, not so much. So it’s, it’s different for everyone.
You know, it’s like that looking back at, you know, for Zetta stuff, it was like you know, Boris was with certain. [00:17:00] You know, it’s not point for point with everything, but in certain respects he was more focused on the realism as a general guideline and Frazetta was, got a bit more gestural. Right. And even when anatomical, it wasn’t a hundred percent, you know what you’d see in reality, it still worked.
If that, if that is making any sense.
Kenric: Yeah, yeah. You know, it does make sense because you can see that with a lot of people when they, when they’re drawing and, you know, even though anatomical might be correct, but it does work, it’s all within the frame. So yeah. You know, I mean, there’s like Frank Miller’s stuff that he did on the Ronin series back in the eighties That works.
And it’s not a hundred percent accurate by any stretch, you know, but it looks amazing. Everything is squared,
Shannon Maer: you know, if it looks cool, it looks cool. It looks cool.
[00:18:00] Kenric: But did you study a lot and kind of learn the form of the body to do what you’re doing?
Shannon Maer: I mean, yeah, you know, it’s, it’s been a, a life of study.
And it’s also, it’s not, as not saying that simple, I’m going to say not as simple as but it’s not just focus on representing reality. Like if you rendered to a T every last you know, inch of the human form it might feel very busy, right? So an important focal. Something that might be important to focus on.
It’s going to be different for everybody. But is the pick out the key points for compliance in the image? Kinda know where to fade things out or fade them into, to shadow or to render a little bit less here and there. So that it’s not overwhelming and it doesn’t feel like just a bunch of hard lines or hard shadows or hard, you know, highlights things like that where, you know, [00:19:00] I’ve talked about it before place where I always struggled would be the collarbone and on the actually talking through this right now and I’m thinking I’m realizing the reason is I often focus on the portraits.
So that’s a key key point, you know, in my art. And what’d you got is the portrait as a focal point. And then out from there, it tends to get less important unless you got your hands coming up, you know, into this, the center of action. So if you picture it as, you know, detailed and then less detailed as you go down and out.
This is the collarbone is still close by. And I always feel like I should get, you know, the highlights in here, strong the shadows, you know, get the shaping. And when I do that, it feels overwhelming. Like I said, it shouldn’t really be a focal point and I’ve had more success, you know, in recent history just imply it.
We’ve had [00:20:00] simple, don’t overdo it. Don’t overshare it because you know, where you’re, you might be looking at the eyes on a cat, or why am I distracted by the, the collarbone that’s right then? Cause it’s close by and it has some distinct ships.
Kenric: That’s interesting. I couldn’t even so when you’re sitting there working and you’re like, I can’t have this be such the focal because you’re overthinking it and now you’re just kind of simplifying it a little bit more for yourself and be like, Oh, that looks so much better.
Shannon Maer: I you know, I start with, you know, let me just. Put a simple brush stroke in to start. I’ll go back to it. Last one. I tell myself and I’ll go back to it later. Let me just indicate right now and leave it alone. And then later on, as I say that the pieces developed, I don’t feel that I need to go in and then, you know, shit, she has allowed the little dip and then, you know, the, the roundness of the the bone that goes straight across.
Kenric: Right, right. [00:21:00] When you’re working on stuff, what do you do to relax, to take a break? Cause I imagine you’re, you’re, you’re hunched over or you’re, I don’t know if you’re standing or your hunch, whatever you’re doing, but you’re working for hours at a time and then Shannon needs to relax you and he needs to get back into a vocal point.
What do you, what do you do.
Shannon Maer: Relax and take your break. I hadn’t really thought it’s that breaks and relaxing. That’s a good idea. I don’t know. I’ll find myself switching from one project to another, you know, typically that’s the break, but I guess, no, it is I mean, we’re. W rounding, you know, winter up here, which is its own animal, you know?
So when, when the weather is nicer, you know, we’re on a big property up here, so it’s nice to get out. You know, we’ve got woods in the back and we actually Becky and I, we carved her own trail through the woods. So, you know, if it’s like a [00:22:00] quarter mile long, but we went through and cut out our own trails through there.
So we’ve got a nice, you know, on-property trail the walkthrough. And we try to try to do that. Not quite as much of a winner we’ve had over a foot of snow for the past. I dunno, two months. That would be very difficult to walk through. You can
Kenric: get internet out there because how do you get your work in
Shannon Maer: if you’re out in the middle of, yeah, we got that signal.
Oh, that’s good. We first moved in, but we did have the option to switch to another. A service provider that had much better internet they’re a little bit worried.
Kenric: Yeah, because you work from home, so you, 100% rely on that. So that would be distracting.
Shannon Maer: What’s that show. Yeah. Becky’s, Becky’s reminding me that we had the wait for the grounds of thought before we could switch providers.
So [00:23:00] we moved in in the winter and then they had the cables run and they’re underground and you know, it’s up in the mountains. So everything was frozen solid. So wait some time before they could go in.
Kenric: So we just moved into our house in November and we had It’s it rhymes with Smarsh mast, and, and I, I’m not a big fan of there simply because of the fees.
And we, we switched over to this other company that has fiber optics and it like half my cost and doubled my speed, but we had to wait like two months fiber. So they had to do the whole neighborhood to get to us too much to get there, but it’s definitely worth the wait, you know?
Shannon Maer: Yeah, yeah, definitely.
It’s a different world. So if you
Kenric: weren’t working, I only know you work through comics. Are you doing other things besides comic book characters? Are you working on things for like, just for [00:24:00] yourself? You know what I mean?
Shannon Maer: Oh I always try to be working on something just for myself. Otherwise I do do gaming.
I’ve done that for a long time. So that’s, that’s, that’s been Constant. And as often as possible, I try to make sure I get to my own projects. Over the past two years, that part of it has been a little difficult to do. But, but I am doing that now
Kenric: because it seemed like you were on every book last year, having a variant cover, like where you had to be on more than 20 books,
Shannon Maer: Probably you all that was Becky sayings, like 30.
I know he was like last year I did 30 something covers
Kenric: yeah. Is nuts. And I love seeing people of your caliber. I mean, everybody who’s doing professional conduct work is amazing. And I don’t want even to get the wrong idea. But there’s not a lot of people that are doing oils, like, like your, your, that you’ve done in the, in the digital work that you’re doing.
[00:25:00] I think of Jason Alexander is. Is doing things in, in, in your realm. And there’s a couple other guys, but I love seeing it because to me comic books and the articles books from Jack Kirby and before too, you know, Jim Lee and Todd McFarland and everybody else now it’s a fine art to me. And it should be thought of that way.
To me. I get frustrated when people are like, Oh, they’re, you know, they’re just this. And it’s like, no, no, no, that’s, these are these, this is amazing stuff that we’re seeing. And it’s cool to see that the stuff that you’re producing, what do you, what do you think of doing your own, like your own, your whole own book?
Is that something in the cards for you or are you very satisfied where you’re at today?
Shannon Maer: I’m doing my own book is definitely something that, that I want to do. I’m hoping, you know, that it’ll be something in the near future that I’ll be able to announce. [00:26:00] But thought about it for a long time. And it is definitely something that I want to want to focus on.
Does that mean you have to
Kenric: go into that? Does that mean that you have to get back into? I shouldn’t say back into, because I don’t know what your process is. I don’t want to please don’t assume that I don’t think I know what I’m talking about, what I’m asking on your process stuff, but does that mean you get back to like pencil and paper to draw out, like you do the cover, but then the internal stuff is always a little bit more flat, I guess you could say.
And does that mean you get into more pencil paper and doing more of a traditional style of comic book? Or do you take it to like what Alex Ross did with kingdom come where it was just ridiculous?
Shannon Maer: Well, I, I would like it to be just ridiculous, like it to be I doubt I don’t want to feel that, you know, It should be less of what you’d expect for link.
What I think interiors, [00:27:00] all Intel is a lot more story-boarding because there’ll be a, you know, image and image and page and page that all needs to tie together, work together. So that, that part of my, my processes kinda change that, but I, I would like to do a book start to finish that that feels like my work.
And I would like each page to feel like an experience. So if that, if that makes sense, it makes
Kenric: perfect sense because I think that’s what Frank Miller accomplished with the dark Knight returns. The first time I read that book, each page felt. Just like you said, an experience. And I think if you you’re, I dunno, man.
I think if your cup is half as good as the stuff that you’ve put, you’ve put out right now, it’s going to be ridiculous. So I’m excited for you to do it. Would you think you’re going to do an independent or are you going to maybe work? Maybe you can’t even talk about this because you might be in talks and if [00:28:00] you can’t just say I can’t talk about it.
And so I’ll get, maybe you’re working with DC or Marvel on something, but what would you like to do?
Shannon Maer: What I, what would I would like to do is a big question, Mark. There’s definitely possibilities possibilities around that, trying to figure out, you know, what the best action is and what the options truly are is, is undecided.
But we’ll get there. We’ll get
Kenric: there. That’d be a lot of fun. The journey is, is, is all of it right?
Shannon Maer: Yeah, it is. When you look back at the, at the time, you know, it always feels like the destination is so yeah, it’s, it is really interesting how, how we function in that capacity is like time periods, you know, it’s like, Oh, I’d love to go back and, you know, be doing that again.
And it’s never like the fond memories of, you know, when I just finished up, [00:29:00] it was now, you know, when, when I was working on these projects and, you know, doing this and that in between, and you know, it was my first apartment and, you know, you think things like that. And it was, you know, wonderful aspects of it.
But at the time when you live in it, it’s Well, I got to start planning on retirement. You know, he’s all focused on retirement.
Kenric: I think that now I always stress out about retirement because when I was in my twenties and thirties, I was so bad with my money, like so bad, you know, I didn’t plan on nothing and now I’m like I better buy some property or some houses.
Shannon Maer: So I try to remind myself, I’m like, well, I’m an artist and I can’t entirely picture ever, you know, just full out retiring, you know, as long as I don’t have to. Right. So if I’m physically [00:30:00] capable, I think I’ll always want to be working. Maybe, maybe having a little bit more, more, more choice, you know, that’s not a bad thing, whether it’s, you know, for a client, this client, that client, my own projects, you know, having that.
Choice, you know, maybe that’s how I view retirement is having more choice around what I’m working on. I
Kenric: think Bernie Wrightson had that, you know, when, once he started near, once he got a little bit older and was able to do that, he kind of just did what he wanted to do. And he did some, you know, I mean his Frankenstein stuff is ridiculous.
So I can’t see why you wouldn’t be able to get to that point at all. That’s good stuff. Hey, why digital and not stick with traditional?
Shannon Maer: Well, it’s an excellent difficult question. I became fascinated with it. Early on. And it wasn’t strictly about, you know, client projects where if that changes, if they [00:31:00] request a change, you know, well, can you just make the background blue?
And if she did it in oil paintings, like, no, really, really. And if you could just, you know, move the character over a little bit. Right. Really? I think
there’s a big hall in the middle now it’s moved over it.
Yup. But I think, I think I started just being fascinated with the technology and when when I was in college I guess more so, what I saw was the printed form of the art of these artists that I, that I, I liked and I was captivated by, you know, that, that’s what I knew. So I found myself essentially doing my oil paintings by trying to make it look like a print.
It was like I was focused on it, clean and smooth as possible. And maybe that was [00:32:00] something about the digital format. And I, I just found it fascinating that you could do it, do it there. So, you know, I jumped into that and, you know, after that point, it’s, it’s really helpful. Like we just discussed for, for clients thinking I usually, you know, they’ll prefer it because they they can give more, more feedback in the middle of the piece.
But I guess like, you know, Alex Rossum, I’m sure, you know, his clients are fully aware that once they’ll approve maybe a rough a sketch, if he even goes through that process anymore, that it’s, that it’s on a board or paper and, or traditional
Kenric: I always find it. I always find it interesting. And I want to ask you a question and we don’t have to talk about any kind of numbers or anything like that because I always find it interesting financially. Is there a benefit to doing digital over traditional? Because I always think of the traditional stuff with, especially with comic artists, having the, those originals that they could resell, you know?
And then when you’re digital, you don’t ha I don’t, I [00:33:00] don’t, I don’t unders I don’t know the concepts. I don’t understand how you can, or you can’t, you know what I mean? Maybe there’s there’s baby, you, you have this ability or whatever, but I, I’m always curious, is there a, a downfall on the financial side when you stick with digital over that, because of that secondary market, that’s there?
Shannon Maer: Well, it’s different for everybody, you know? So how people work, how they make their living, you know, lots of people, you know, do all the, the Charlottes. One of them are selling books. Some of them are selling prints. Some of them are focused on originals. Some of them are doing original commissions at the shows.
You know, so it’s not exactly the same for everyone. I like having more and more regionals when when I can, I think it’s, you know, it’s a nice thing to have. So I focused more on that in recent history, you know, trying to have more original pencils that it did for a piece and stuff like that. But I’m still not actually [00:34:00] looking to sell them you know, you know, have other work that I do that you know, keeps, keeps me functioning in that capacity.
But yeah, it’s the lifestyle for everyone. So whether they’re just doing comics or they’re doing other things, you know, what they need to do or want to do. You know, I, I learned about that early on because you’re not talking to. Other artists, when I first got into the comics and, and what they do is they go to shows and I learned about them doing commissions.
And I learned about them, you know, like, they’ll do a cover for this, but they also have an original, and then, you know, maybe they have an agent or somebody that takes care of that for them. So you’re, you’re going to find, it’s not exactly the same forever. Right,
Shannon Maer: You know, I’ve, I’ve enjoyed you know, maybe some faster speed, you know, like I can typically work faster, digitally as opposed to traditional.
And, [00:35:00] you know, that helped me to do a bit more covers. I still feel that I’d probably spend more time on my covers than the majority out there where I can’t account for everybody. But you know, I, I know it takes me, you know, some sometimes to finish.
Kenric: What’s your that’s really interesting actually, because I always think about, I always wonder how, how people do things had, do you know who do you know Marv Wolfman by chance?
Shannon Maer: Not, not if that by name. Yeah. He’s
Kenric: he’s he, he was with Marvel. He was the editor of Marvel back in the seventies for a minute. And then he’s done a ton of storylines that in tons of stories, like he wrote the original Dracula from Marvel, that whole Dracula series and tomb of Dracula and Wolf man by night, a bunch of stuff.
And I asked him about, I like how you answered your question because it was, it was very informative, but I asked him about his first commission piece that he did back in like 1963. And. Yeah. I felt really bad after asking him
[00:36:00] or anything like that. Cause I was like, Oh, I’m just, yeah, it was 50 some odd years ago. I’m sorry. It was kinda funny. Hey what’s your favorite genre to do, do you have a favorite genre? Because you’ve kind of ran the gambit. I know that you’ve done a lot of fantasy stuff. King and black feels much more horror in a lot of ways, especially on that cover that you did.
It looked, I mean, do the guy look bad-ass, I’m going to tell you a little really, really cool. And, and I’m curious, you’ve done a lot of this. You’ve done a lot of fantasy. You, I feel like with the venom stuff that you just did and then King and black, you know, you’re getting closer to horror. Is there a, is there a line there that you’d like to cross at some point to do more of this?
Or do you have a genre that you were like, I haven’t done this yet and I really want to do it.
Shannon Maer: I don’t know. I guess. I mean, I always not always, but like since college, you know, I, I thought I wanted to do fantasy stuff and it wasn’t so much like the dragons and the Knights, that kind of thing. [00:37:00] It was I liked, I wanted to be able to do like, grand, you know, color schemes.
I wanted to be able to get a bit surreal with my work and, you know, I would see that sometimes with fantasy type work. So it was a genre that I was kind of, felt I was falling, falling into. And that stuck with me for a long time. I’ve always had an interest in the comics and, you know, the, they could be, you know, heavy ended with the superheroes and stuff like that.
And when I was a kid, I was very into you know, the independence and you know, like Alf ward fantasy end. That was a big one for me. So I guess I did have a mix of interest. I was kind of fascinated how much I enjoyed doing the superheroes and doing them in their traditional outfits. When. They’d be asked to do a cover and it [00:38:00] wasn’t always like, we want them in there, you know, their, their standard outfit.
I’d be like a little disappointed. I’m like, no, I want the full body series. I, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna do that. So really excited to do that. And then I, I guess, you know, I was doing that a lot. And then all of a sudden, like you said, you know, an opportunity to introduce, you know, the horror and. And you know, like thinking that, that showed that I got excited about that, you know, if I’m doing that on, you know, what do I want to do with that?
Almost like I want to get in close on him and I want to see the two teeth. I want to see the droll. I want, you know, texture on the tongue. And I guess it’s like, you know, like you said, the horror ended that, and that was followed by King and black. And so, then Dennis started doing the drag sealer, drag Q a series.
We had a good laugh about my [00:39:00] pronunciation of that, you know, on a livestream the other day. So if it’s slips, it’s my long Island coming out warning, you know, so cult of Dracula what I’m most likely to,
Kenric: we just had the the, the creator of that on
Shannon Maer: Oh, yeah, the writer.
Kenric: Yeah, he was just on the podcast.
He was awesome.
Shannon Maer: Wonderful. We
Kenric: adore him so happy to hear that. He’s such a good guy. We talked with him. Yeah. Very
Becky Maer: cool. You mentioned the scholarship fund for Amber
Shannon Maer: scholarship fund for Amber. Oh, I dunno. I
Kenric: don’t know if you mentioned it. I don’t know, just because I didn’t. So I started this podcast in 2017 with my partner, Johnny, but we have so many interviews now.
It’s crazy that we had to have three more people. Join us just to handle all the interviews. And Melissa got to talk to rich, so I have to go back and actually listen to it. [00:40:00] Oh
Shannon Maer: yeah. Yeah. It’s coming on. Hopefully it did
Kenric: promote it. Yeah, hopefully you did. Well, we can mention it now, too. You know, if Becky, if you want to come in and tell us what the, the fund, the foundation and the fundraising, I’d love to put it in the show notes and everything.
Becky Maer: Yeah, I don’t really have too much information like a name or anything.
I don’t really have a name or anything, but his, his wife passed recently and she was really involved in theater and she was just a huge nerd, like all of us. And in honor of her, he set up a scholarship fund where he wants to send two people to school. I believe, I believe it’s for women to go into theater, like one to go into theater for the acting side and one for the technical production side
Shannon Maer: theater.
Becky Maer: yeah, so he, he brought, I wanted to honor her memory that way in a way that gives back [00:41:00] to people. And I just, that really resonated with me and she seemed so wonderful. We met rich. Like right before it happened. And we were looking forward to getting to meet her. And unfortunately that didn’t get to have him, but she’s, she seems so wonderful.
It’s such a bright light and it just, I really loved that. He did that. And so I wanted to make sure that if he didn’t mention it, that I did,
Kenric: yes. Well, we’ll reach out to rich and, and get the the actual like website and all that kind of information and stick it on. Not only in this one and make sure it’s updated on, on his, if it’s not on there now, which I’m sure it is because I can’t see him not mentioning that
Becky Maer: I can’t see him not, but that was just my, my polite way of saying, I want to make sure he gets
Shannon Maer: mentioned because we
Kenric: really like him.
That’s awesome. Coulter Dracula, it looks like such a fun thing. Cause he went in and he said he did all this research and then that, you know, he, he, he gender bended Dracula, which I think what I thought was genius, the way he did it. And then having, bringing in all these different historical [00:42:00] monsters kind of tying them in.
It was, it sounds like a fantastic, I can’t wait to actually read it, read it. Yeah.
Shannon Maer: He’s there, the research on that and the descriptions, you know, that I was able to receive for characters. I got really excited about that. And like just of, you know, the brides alone in each one was a distinct character.
They had a fascinating backstory and I was like, I really want to portray that and a talk to them about, you know, representing, you know, each one of them on their own cover. And he got excited about that because, so number one was still not at first. And I just thought, you know, that they, they deserved, you know, that they’re on their own space opportunity to, to show what, what he really was pushing for in the store.
Kenric: Yeah. So you say you guys go, when you go to your LCS, your local comic store, everybody listening. Make sure that you want Coulter Dracula, because it’s going to be so amazing stuff. It really is, as you can, [00:43:00] Shannon’s going to be on there and Richard’s going to be writing it. And I know I’m super excited. I didn’t know that you were working on that with him.
Shannon Maer: awesome. The first time that I committed to, you know, any ongoing series, you know, to do it’s a six book series. So I agreed to do one, you know, a cover for, for each of them. And that was kind of a big commitment for me. Yeah. So I was, I was excited. I really wanted to be a part of it. You know, we were in talks for a long time and they didn’t know that my schedule was lining up for it.
And then it was like, all right, we’ve got, gotta find a way to make this happen.
Becky Maer: Yeah, this was, this one was a long time coming here, reached out to us. Well before KOLs Dracula was picked up by source point press.
Shannon Maer: And
Becky Maer: he had, he had a lot of foundation, but he had, hadn’t made it too far with actually producing the book yet.
But [00:44:00] he had so much foundation whenever he reached out, it was, we both really hated that Shannon didn’t have time to do it because there was already so much work put into the world and the characters and they were really appealing and we were just really drawn to him, but this isn’t working out, but you know, we can’t right now.
And so then whenever things circled back and we were able to have the opportunity to try to make it work again, we’re very excited to get to do that.
Shannon Maer: That
Kenric: sounds awesome, man. I’m excited. Where did you guys meet? If you don’t mind? Me and Becky. Yeah, you guys are so cute together. So I got to know.
Shannon Maer: Okay.
Becky Maer: Do you want, when we actually met or do you want, whenever
Kenric: you tell me what, what, which, which one do you? So the
Becky Maer: very first time we met was at New York Comicon a few years before we started dating and [00:45:00] he doesn’t remember it, which is fair because I was in sensory over prof. I was in sensory overload because it was a packed day.
And I went down to artist alley and he was my favorite artists because I was just in love with how beautiful its colors were. You know, how well he’s able to capture the female form is all a bit. He was my favorite. And so by the time I made it to him, I was a bumbling mess. That was just like, I need to get out of here and get to the Firefly panel.
So that was, that was when we first met. But then. When we really, really met was we became friends on Facebook. I, I still don’t know why I sent him a friend request, but it was kinda like, Oh, it looks like he accepts friend requests from random people, so maybe he’ll accept mine. And so then we became friends on Facebook and I was married at the [00:46:00] time.
And so there was no, there was nothing romantic there. It was just, you know, Oh, my favorite artist accepted me as a friend. That’s cool. And, you know, fast forward to a few years later and I am newly divorced and it’s Valentine’s day and he’s posting on Facebook about how he doesn’t have any plans for Valentine’s day.
So I decided to grow fine and, and be like, Hey, I hear you. You don’t, you don’t have any plans. And.
Shannon Maer: That’s amazing
Becky Maer: from there a week or two later, we were on our first
Shannon Maer: date. That’s amazing.
Kenric: That’s awesome. Yeah.
Shannon Maer: Becky took the train into New York city, the big city, cause
Becky Maer: yeah, it was. It was interesting. And it was funny because I was still living with my ex-husband at the time. We’re still good friends. We have a kid [00:47:00] when we were really young, we, we just kind of grew apart romantically, but we still care about each other, you know, the person. So, you know, I was still living there at the time.
And so it was funny cause like he drove me to the train station. Like the first time I was going to meet Shannon’s family and I was taking the ferry to long Island and he was like racing me to the ferry to go meet Shannon’s family, his buddy. But yeah, so it was definitely different, you know, like people, a lot of his friends and family were like, wait, she still lives with her ex husband.
You might not want to do that. You might want to steer clear of that. And you know, it was, it, it wasn’t like that. He was, you know, like. If, if you want to be with your ex-husband, you’ll be with your ex-husband. If you want to be with me, you’ll be with me or, yeah,
Shannon Maer: exactly. So your question was where did we first meet exactly
Becky Maer: to answer?
Shannon Maer: like me to go,
Kenric: but it’s it’s it’s it’s good stuff. I love it. [00:48:00] Are you helping Shannon on his day-to-day now with his, with his business?
Shannon Maer: Yeah.
Becky Maer: That would be an understatement of, of it. Yes. I, I tried to take care of everything that I can. So all he has to focus on is art.
Kenric: A lot of artists, when they start out, they, they have to do everything.
But once you get to a certain level, it’s impossible because I imagine he must get inundated with requests.
Becky Maer: Yes. And it’s, it’s really difficult sometimes because it’s, you know, everybody wants to work with Shannon, which is completely understandable, but sometimes I can’t give them an answer and I. You know, like, I don’t want to tell them no.
And it’s like, well, if you need to answer right now, it’s going to be no, but if you can wait, we can maybe figure
Shannon Maer: it out, sneaks up on you. Cause like, I feel, you know, sometimes like I can’t right now, but I like to, you know, we can do it later on. We can do it later on and then they follow up again and I’m like, Oh, not quite yet.
And then they follow up later on and [00:49:00] before I know it, all of a sudden it’s like, no, it is later, later on, you know, it’s time to say, okay. And then I find that, you know, to be a few of them at the same time that I can’t put off anymore. And then my schedule gets overwhelmed.
Kenric: You don’t need a Becky in our life, keeping that stuff organized. And in order
Shannon Maer: the big challenge, we have
Becky Maer: a giant 12 month dry erase calendar. On one of our walls, because that’s just the only way to keep it all straight out because we’d schedule stuff so far in advance. He’d get hard to keep track
Shannon Maer: of at all.
Something like that. Yeah. It’s
Kenric: gigantic. If you’re that busy. I imagine doing commissions just isn’t in the cards for, for people, for you. Yeah. That’s all to me. I, I love that for you because that means, I don’t know who is calling me on my Google voice number and why is it coming across my phone? I love that because that [00:50:00] means you’re being very much successful.
You know, like Eric Powell do I don’t know if you’re familiar with his work, but he does hillbilly. He did the goon and he has his own albatross press. He’s, he’s an amazing artist. And he’s a really cool guy. He came on and we talked for like an hour and a half and we were like, we gotta get off the phone because we’ll be on here for two hours or three hours if we don’t now.
And he’s the same way. He’s so busy. He can’t, he can’t do commissions. And I, I always feel like when you get to that point where you just don’t need to do commissions anymore, it’s almost like you’re, you’re there.
Shannon Maer: Yeah. Well, I just want to point out there, you know, back where we were before, it’s simple for everybody.
So some people commissions might be great for no matter how, you know, Successful. They are, it could work with their set up where they got where maybe they work really quickly. Maybe they enjoy it. Maybe they’re doing, you know, digital all the time and then just allow to get into the pencils, you know?
So I just want to point out it’s going to be [00:51:00] different for everybody and it’s not a telltale of, of anything. Like I, I tried you know, I was doing some remarks, you know, early on or what I’d refer to as my second round of deer in comics. And, and it was like, it was really difficult with my schedule and I’m like, okay, I’ll do them.
And I thought I was going to be like eight of them, you know, tops. And then next thing I now is I get like, okay, you know, we need 30 of these. I’m like 30
So, you know, that was, that was rough for me. Plus I wasn’t in love with working with the markers for so long like that during that many of them, you know, so there’s, there’s reasons why I kind of veered away from doing that. Yeah.
Kenric: Well, Shannon, Becky we’ve been on for an hour.
Shannon Maer: Oh, okay. It
Kenric: went quick.
Can you believe it? Yeah. I got to tell you right now, that’s a good, that’s a good sign. Good sign. When you’re like, what? Wait, wait, what? [00:52:00] Shannon. I gotta tell you. I, I honestly didn’t know. I didn’t know what to expect. You know what I mean? I knew that you did amazing art, but I watched some watched some interviews today.
That was the first time I actually heard you speak. So you never know what you’re going to get when it comes to podcasts and stuff. You have been awesome. And this has been, there’s been a lot, a lot of fun, and I hope I can convince you to come back sometime especially after cult of Dracula is done.
I’m hoping maybe we can go through each cover
Shannon Maer: in time. You know, that would be, that would be fun because you know, I, I think they, they put a lot into creating that. And like I said, I really wanted to try to portray and do that practice justice, and I’d be really happy to talk. What would be cool
Becky Maer: is if we could do that with rich,
Kenric: you can get, ask rich, I’ll have Jeff reach out to rich and see if he’s down and then I’ll have him coordinate with the three of us [00:53:00] on a phone if you guys are okay with that.
Because one of the things we always, we like to do, we do a commentary track where we get creators and pull out their book and literally go page by page and go over what they’re talking about. And it’d be interesting to do it with it covers, you know, and it’s fun because You’ll get some insights that you’re not ready.
We did a, if you, if you’re interested in hearing anything like that, I would suggest the the one that I did with Stephan Frank seven, Frank was the animation supervisor of the iron giant.
Shannon Maer: Oh
Kenric: yeah. He was animation supervisor. He has a set setup called silver which is set in Dracula’s castle and it’s a grift.
So it’s like, ocean’s 11 inside. Dracula’s castle. It’s awesome. And there’s three volumes to the book, to the set and it’s really good. And we, we did volume. I think we did issue six. I think it’s his favorite issue. So that’s the one we did. And we went through, we went line for line and we went through it and talked with Stephan Frank, and it was amazing.
And now he’s got a new one out called Oh, what is [00:54:00] it called? Yeah, it doesn’t matter. You can look up and you’ll
Shannon Maer: see it. It’s, it’s sensitive, stuck on iron jive for, for, for some time he’s
Kenric: doing what F right now for Marvel, for the for the Disney channel. Oh really? Okay. He’s finishing that up. So that’s going to be amazing, but yeah, I, if you, if you’re interested in doing one of those and I think we could, it’d be fun to do it with like pick out 10 of your covers and maybe do that, or do, just do cultivate.
I won’t do cult Dracula, and then maybe later on we can do something else. Cause yeah. You’re, you’re a blast, dude. I’m not kidding.
Shannon Maer: That would definitely
Kenric: be fun. I mostly like, cause you called me out on shit for questions that were like, well, actually.
Becky Maer: Okay, well let’s should be fair on the other end of things.
Since. Since you bring that up, I want wanted to say that you did ask a lot of different questions. I was hearing stuff from Shannon that I have never heard
Shannon Maer: before. Oh, cool. I pride
Becky Maer: on that. [00:55:00] Yeah. So very, very early on. I was hearing different stuff. I am exhausted. I thought I was going to pass out as soon as I wasn’t needed anymore.
So the fact that I’m still awake and I was actively listening, it was holding my attention even though I’m exhausted. So that’s, that’s
Kenric: saying something, one of my favorite things to hear is when I ask questions that other people don’t ask, because what I do is I go through and I listen and I always try to find things that, Oh, they almost asked the right question because that peaked his interest.
And then he said something and then they didn’t follow up, you know, because they have a list. And if you notice, I don’t have a list because I want to know Shannon. I don’t, I don’t, he’s an amazing artist. We all know that, you know what I mean? And we can go through and that’s great, but I want to know. Him, you know, that’s cause he’s the one who makes the art and that’s, what’s fun.
Shannon Maer: No, you don’t want to know what makes him tick. What makes him
Becky Maer: tick the off, but no, that’s funny because Shannon [00:56:00] and I will sit there and we’ll watch when people will do interviews and stuff like Todd McFarlane and stuff, and they will interrupt him. And stop him from what he’s studying and move on to a different question.
It’s like, what, what are you doing? You have to just let him talk. And so like, it’s funny. So like, it sounds like you were watching interviews and you’re like, wait, that, that peaked his interest. Why didn’t you follow up on that? I’m appreciating that because we’ll watch interviews and we’ll be like, why, why did, why didn’t you, why
Shannon Maer: I love watching MacFarlane, you know, interviewed.
And I I got a lot of appreciation for it because it’s not just watching him go on a big show. And then now he talks in depth about stuff. It’s any time he goes on, it could be with anybody, you know, no matter what size creator they are, it looks like he puts the same amount of passion and excitement into telling his stories, you know, and, you know, he’s told it before [00:57:00] and kind of expect them to console yeah.
You know, such and such, but he’d get enthusiastic and talk about the details behind it, you know, and to be a busy man. And it’s like a lot of respect for that. I was really, really happy to see that.
Kenric: It’s awesome. I wish he’s a bucket list item. You know what I mean? Like I’ve, we’ve reached out to him so many times and we’ve had some big people on, we got Tommy Chong on, we had Robert wool on, I don’t know if you know who Robert wool is.
Shannon Maer: I am not familiar.
Kenric: The original, the 1989 Batman with Michael Keaton. He plays, he plays and he had his own TV show called Arlis on HBO, which was like my favorite TV show of all time. Oh, cool. Yeah, he’s on a bunch of stuff. And then and we had Chadstone, the director of John with all the John wick movies on.
So we’ve had some good people on and I’m like
Becky Maer: you and you’ve had Eastman rental, haven’t you? I believe you had Kevin Eastman [00:58:00] on.
Kenric: Yes, we had Kevin eastbound.
Becky Maer: Once we got Kevin Eastman, then it’s like, okay, I know qualified to approach Todd McFarlane. It’s reasonable. So
Shannon Maer: your crown jewel was shot in there, right?
Kenric: That’s right. That’s right.
I mean, Shannon was cool, but he brought the special guest with them and she just stole the show. So
Shannon Maer: I don’t know.
Kenric: Eric Larson was a fun talk, you know, he’s this at the time he was, yeah, he was very, I was like talking with people that are brutally honest, you know, like if I ask, if I ask a stupid question, tell me, you know what I mean? I like that. You know, so it’s, it’s been a lot of fun. I got it. Honestly, though, guys, you guys have been great and I can’t wait.
I’m going to have, I’m going, as soon as we get off, I’m [00:59:00] going to call Jeff and have him set something up with, with us and rich. Cause that would be too much fun.
Shannon Maer: That will
Becky Maer: be awesome. Yeah. He’s about to wrap up his last cover for that series. So, yeah. It’s
Kenric: Oh, well, I’m going to add it to my pull list tonight, tonight.
All right, guys. Well, I’m gonna let you go let you relax. Get your night going and thank you so much. I really
Shannon Maer: all right. There’s a lot of fun. Thank you again. And you know, everybody out there listening. Thanks so much.