- How has it been, working on The Phantom? Any surprises, or did you know what you were getting into with a character with so much history?
It's been both a great pleasure and equally challenging endeavor to work on the Phantom so far. It's great because the Phantom is the original costumed comic hero and being so his ambiance and presents is replete with that stature. There is for me a tacit awareness of that specialness; there is a inescapable power that the Phantom has as a non super power super hero which he imbues. It has been a bit difficult understanding some of the mysterious repercussions of his mythological qualities like not being able to make eye contact when he is dressed as Kit; even the audience!
- How did you prepare for doing a whole comic book series versus a storyboard or a painting?
I prepared by studying the Phantom artist antecedents that have succeeded at drawing the Phantom so well in the past. Jim Aparo and Don Newton are my favorites. I studied the styles of my favorite comic artists from the 60s Kirby and Buscema and Frazetta. wanting the work to have a period, anachronistic aspect rather than it seeming contemporary. I collected photos of characters that resembled the various persons in the story. And I engaged in a daily drawing practice regiment on top of drawing the comic. It's tantamount to piano practice. Lots of repetition of ideal forms like scales.
- You did traditional art prior to this, and so how has working on the first issue changes your perspective on the comic industry (if at all)?
This was my 1st comic so a lot was very new to me. I worked in the film industry for many years in animation and storyboarding at Bakshi and Disney Prod. as well as special effects designing and Matte painting at ILM so many parts of this art form are familiar to me. But the attention to detail and the diversity of skills needed is very challenging. One must not only be a character designer they must be a Production designer as well as a costume, and set designer as well as a Lighting director and cinematographer and Director. And the pace is at times feverish. It's the most challenging art job I've ever undertaken.
- What was the most challenging aspect of working on the project so far?
The most challenging aspect of working on this comic or any comic it to keep the strength of the drawing at it's apex. Also with a period piece like this the need for this plethora of necessary and appropriate detail is very engaging and difficult to say the least.
- Who has (so far) been your favorite character to draw? Least favorite?
My favorite character to draw is usually one of the female antagonists. But of course I love to draw the Phantom! but I have especially enjoyed drawing Kit Walker. I really like to make him very handsome; so It was hard not to be able to show his eyes. Sexy girls good or bad, are my favorite to draw though.
- What software do you use for drawing? Or are you a pencils and inks guy, in which case what type of hardware do you prefer?
I don't use any software at all. I'm an aesthetic luddite. So all I use is a pencil and not even a mechanical one. I use a Ticonderoga F pencil, boxes and boxes of them; with and old 1969 mechanical pencil sharpener.
- Are any of your women you've drawn in this based on real cheesecake? If so, who?
I love the pin-up girls from the 50s. I like the Monroe figure. So all my girls are a bit curvy. I like the Gabor sisters too. Hollywood makes all their girls too thin for me. Mel Brook's governor character in Blazing Saddles William J. Le Petomane's busty red headed secretary in Blazing Saddles is my ideal woman to draw.
- Any comments to the Phans?
As to the Phans. I'm just beginning to get my grip on the style and look and impact I'm striving for. I'm working diligently to enhance and maximize the power and beauty of the characters I'm creating. So if I've done well enough so far the very much better is yet on the way.