I first became aware of colorist Steve Downer due to his work on MonkeyBrain Comics’ Edison Rex. But as I quickly learned, he serves as colorist on a variety of projects, as well as artist on Dracula the Unconquered. Given the variety of Downer’s projects, I thought it would be insightful to discuss his craft with him.
Tim O’Shea: How long have you been a colorist?
Steve Downer: I’ve been working full-time as a colorist since 2009, though I started coloring as a side job much earlier, in 2007, while I worked as a T-shirt graphic designer.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where today we welcome special guest Ron Marz. Marz has written everything from Green Lantern to Witchblade, and you can currently find him working on comics like Artifacts, Prophecy, Blackburn Burrow and The Ride: Southern Gothic. He also writes the column Shelf Life for Comic Book Resources and can be found on Twitter.
To see what Ron and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Happy Labor Day, Americans, and welcome, everybody, to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Paul Allor, writer of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spinoff, Fugitoid, as well as his own anthology Clockwork.
To see what Paul and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below:
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week’s special guest is Simon Monk, an artist whose “Secret Identity” paintings we featured here on Robot 6 not too long ago. Monk is actually selling limited edition prints of his paintings on his website now, so go check them out.
To see what Simon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
A couple of weeks ago, I got to thinking about the holidays and comics. More exactly, I started wondering what some creators might say if i asked them for their favorite comics-related memory. As I got into contact with some creators, they did not have a favorite story per se, but those recollections were definitely memorable. Bottom line, these storytellers not surprisingly had some great stories to share. My holiday memory is an odd one, as a kid in the 1970s reading the Doonesbury comic strip where Rev. Scott Sloan had opening remarks before the Christmas pageant, where he noted that the part of the Baby Jesus would be played by a 40-watt light bulb. A lifelong Doonesbury fan, there are few strips that have made me laugh longer than that one. Told you it was an odd one. Now on to the storytellers with far better tales. My thanks to everyone that responded. Once you’ve read them all, please be sure to chime in with your most memorable comics-related holiday recollection in the comments section.
Every Christmas, comics would show up in my stocking. They’d be rolled up, which I’m sure breaks the heart of every collector out there, but it didn’t bother me much. Comics were for reading. For some reason, my mother thought I liked Thor. I wasn’t a Thor guy, except when he was hanging out in the Avengers. I was, and still am, a Captain America super-fan. How could my Mom not know this? But every year I’d get a couple more Thor comics.
Fast-forward 35 years. I’m the official stocking-stuffer in the household. My wife is the queen of holiday organization, but the stocking assignment has always been mine, primarily because it’s the kind of job you can give to a procrastinator. I can run out on Christmas Eve and grab everything I need: gum, iTunes gift cards, candy bars, extra batteries… and comics. See, my son is 15, and he IS a Thor guy, so I usually try to round up something Asgardian for him, as well as a something with Atomic Robo or Axe Cop. I don’t understand the clothing my daughter is asking for (an “infinity scarf” sounds like something Dr. Who would wear), but by gum, I do know my son’s taste in comics.
Colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser‘s work can be seen in any number of Marvel comics these days. In fact this week sees the release of writer David Lapham and artist David Aja’s Wolverine: Debt of Death one-shot, featuring Breitweiser as colorist (Be sure to enjoy CBR’s preview of the one-shot). Regular readers of What Are You Reading? know how much of an unabashed Jeff Parker/Gabriel Hardman’s Hulk booster that I am–and it is that series where I really started to appreciate Breitweiser as a colorist. This email interview was an effort to discuss her work mostly in general terms, so admittedly I did not discuss the Wolverine one-shot, but focus on some of her ongoing series work. My thanks to Breitweiser (who can also be found on Twitter) for taking the time for this discussion, despite her continually heavy workload. I am also deeply appreciative, that when our conversation led to her discussion of recent specific work, she was kind enough to provide examples of the pages for us to use.
Tim O’Shea: What are the biggest misconceptions in terms of the demands with your job as a colorist?
Breitweiser: Probably just in people not taking my job seriously or not viewing it as a fulfilling way to make a living. Many tend to think of what I do as “easy”. Coloring to them is just an afterthought and not seen as an essential part of the storytelling. I’m pretty sure most of my family and friends still do not understand what it is I do and how I can make a successful living at it. Professional colorists in general seem to almost always be overworked and overstressed. A lot of it has to do with us being at the end of the production line, but it also has to do with people having unrealistic expectations due to an incomprehension of the effort it takes to successfully tell a story with color.
Not to mince words: In the plethora of talented artists that are working at Marvel currently, Gabriel Hardman is the best. His eye for layout alone injects a vitality to his work rarely seen in comics. In addition to discussing his collaborative efforts with writer Jeff Parker, most recently on Hulk (Issue 30.1 hits stands this Wednesday, March 16, 2011), Hardman was kind enough to give Robot 6 a sneak peek of a sci-fi OGN he’s working on, with his wife, Corinna Bechko, called STATION TO STATION. My thanks to Hardman for his time and to friend of the blog, Jeff Parker, for helping arrange this interview. Finally, please be sure to contribute to the comments section this week, as Hardman is seeking suggestions for future Daily Sketches.
Tim O’Shea: In terms of current artists in the industry, you have a strikingly distinctive layout approach. Not every artist is as ambitious as you are. Do you ever back off from challenging scenes to layout, or is that what part of what makes the work interesting for you.
Gabriel Hardman: Storytelling in general is what keeps me interested in comics and the layouts are a huge part of that. My only goal is to serve the story being told. When I read the script, I can visualize the angles and layouts pretty easily. Figuring out a given angle is fairly simple: focus on the most important thing happening in the panel. Then place those important elements on the page in a way that leads your eye from top left to bottom right. It all works best when she script gives me freedom with the layouts.
In 2004 I was fortunate enough to interview Colleen Coover–during her Small Favors days/on the eve of the creation of her and husband Paul Tobin’s all-ages Banana Sunday. I enjoyed her art then, but never hoped for how effectively Marvel would tap her fantastic style for many of its books and characters. Much to my delight, it seems like Coover’s reputation and fanbase is growing larger every day. Last week saw the release of Girl Comics No. 2, which featured a two-page opening piece by Coover as well as a Shamrock eight-page adventure drawn by her (and written by Kathryn Immonen). We briefly discussed it, as well as her other current Marvel work (such as the Hercules back-up tale in Thor and the Warriors Four) for this brief email interview. I look forward to down the road when Coover flexes her “writer muscles” (as she calls them).
Tim O’Shea: Marvel’s keeping you busy at present. How did the Hercules the Olympian Babysitter story land on your table?
Colleen Coover: The book’s editor Jordan White asked me to come up with a Power Pack backup story for a four-issue mini series. I was flipping through Bullfinch’s Mythology one evening, and I came up with the Hercules story when I woke up the next morning. At the time I didn’t know that the Alex Zalben’s main story was a team-up with Thor, titled Thor & The Warriors Four, so it was a happy coincidence that I used one of Marvel’s other mythological characters!