Talking Comics with Tim | Garry Brown on ‘Iron Patriot’
The five-issue miniseries finds Brown teaming with writer Ales Kot to craft the new adventures of former Secret Avenger Jim Rhodes (while it is currently a miniseries, as noted in this late January tweet by Kot: ” … there is room for more if the series does well. We might just extend if so”). Given that Brown is a 2010 graduate of The Kubert School, I took the opportunity in this brief interview to also discuss that experience and its impact on him.
Tim O’Shea: How much do you relish the opportunity to render gadgets and technology, which go hand and hand with a hero like Iron Patriot?
Garry Brown: It was a little daunting, really. I had drawn a lot of vehicles in The Massive, but nothing like this. So my approach to the tech was to ink it with a brush, which might seem counter intuitive (most people would ink tech with a pen/nib), but it gave his suit a different look. Ales, Mark Paniccia and Emily Shaw were really encouraging about my stylistic choices. I wanted to make his suit look chunky and heavy. Like it was a serious piece of hardware.
Can you give a nebulous hint at the kind of opposing forces that Iron Patriot will come up against early in the series?
Like any good hero, Rhodey has internal and external conflicts to deal with throughout. He’s got decisions to make about who he wants to be etc. Plus there are entities who have their own plans and ideas about how they want to use him. Exciting stuff!
You’re a 2010 graduate of The Kubert School. In terms of your career ambitions, did you ever envision having an ongoing series at Marvel as quickly as 2014?
It sounds pretty quick when you say it like that, but it didn’t feel like it. It was a lot of work to get here. But no, I wasn’t sure where I’d end up career wise. I lucked out. I’m pretty excited to have a book at Marvel that I get to do covers for too. That’s great.
You did an interview with The Kubert School after graduation. I thought it insightful you said of the school, “The workload and deadlines instilled a solid work ethic. Due to the tight deadlines we were given on a daily basis, I’ve managed to keep to a fast pace without a drop in quality, so far.” How hard is it to stay on deadline with the monthly grind of an ongoing series?
I don’t really find it hard at all (I’m actually doing two books a month). I guess it depends on how you treat it. It’s a job when you boil it down, and a lot of people are relying on you to get things done on time. So you have to get your mind right for it. It can get really stressful sometimes but being at The Kubert School definitely helped with time management and work ethic. It also helps when you enjoy your job.
Who is editing Iron Patriot, and how is that part of the collaborative process making the story that much stronger?
My editors are Mark Paniccia and Emily Shaw. They’ve been great. If I get an edit it’s always story-based or for continuity, never superfluous. It’s been pretty relaxing dealing with them. I was actually a little surprised by how much input they wanted from me. From the logo design to colorists, etc., the whole process, with Ales, too, has been really collaborative. A great experience.
What do you look for in terms of teaming with a colorist who complements your work?
I don’t really like over-rendered colors. I prefer flatter, more subtle tones, and Jim Charalampidis does that excellently. I also love the textures he adds on there. Give the book an extra punch.
What excites you most about getting to work with Kot?
His writing, ha! Ales has a really unique take an almost everything. He makes even things that could possibly be generic into something interesting. He’s also utterly unselfish. First time I met him to talk about Iron Patriot, he told me to treat the script more like a blueprint and that if I have any ideas on how to make things better to do it.
Are you nervous at all to see how folks react to the first issue?
Yeah, a little. But then again, I always am when a new issue of mine comes out. There’s been a lot of great Marvel NOW! books out lately.
What about the series do you think will appeal to readers and have them coming back issue after issue?
The story’s really tense, to me anyway. It’s got a bit of Tom Clancy spy/government stuff going on, and the stuff that’s going on with Rhodey and his family. Pretty exciting.
For a taste of the series, CBR has a preview of the first issue.