Voici l'intégralité de l'interview de Jonboy Meyer réalisée par fred Massa pour L'INEDIT. Cette interview a été partiellement traduite en français et publiée dans le numéro 26 (dispo).
Hi Jonboy, for those who don’t know you, can you present yourself a little bit? Like your family background? Were you drawing a lot as a kid for example?
Oh, sure. I've a been a comic pro now for about 12 years, and pretty much drew all my life, my first memories of drawing were done for my Dad who was in the Armed forces and overseas quite a bit and my brothers and I would draw pictures and send them to him overseas...I was obsessed with a movie called "The Black Hole" and would draw all the robots religiously...I’m the only one out of my brothers who kept up with it and here I am today drawing for a living.
Sure the Disney movie with the frightening robot Maximilien?
Yes, though Vincent and old bob were my favorites to draw. Max was indeed a very fearsome foe. But visually the whole movie is pretty amazing especially for a 4 year old.
Ok, so did you move a lot like most army children or was it just dady moving a lot?
We did, though when I was 6 or 7 it stopped and my dad went on toursby himself and all of us stayed in Colorado.But moving around was hard. Thankfully I had my art which was the one constant thing for me.
Did you ever live outside of the US? Like in Europe?
No, sadly, but now that I am older, I would LOVE to live in Spain or Italy for a year.Pariswould be awesome too, though I fear my love of wine and cheese would do me in.
Like Jim Lee did with his studio
Yes! It's nice to step out of your art comfort zone and really get influenced by other types or artists. I think we all reach that point where we want to draw from other creative wells...You don't want to stop growing as an artist. And If I am the same artist doing the same thing, drawing the same way 10 years from now, there's really no growth and I think one's work would get dated and stale. The purpose is to always keep it fresh or try other things. You should always be able to track your development.
Indeed. I also saw on your website that you were of Vietnamese origins?
Yes, my father met my mother during the Vietnam War.
So you were born on US soil? Do you have family in Vietnam?
I do have family in Vietnam. My mother’s parents had about 22 children, so they are all grown with their own families and my uncle and his family moved to the US about 12 years ago. Huge family. My father's side not too much, but sadly during the 70s a lot of people were not very tolerant of mixed race families...so many on my father side well did not approve.
Being of Vietnamese origin, do you think there is a conscious or unconscious Asian influence in your art?
No I don't think so, if there is I'm not aware of it, but I just enough great art and if I can take it, learn from it and make it my own I will. But my very good friend, Dustin Nguyen is Vietnamese so it's nice high five my Asian brothers in the industry. Duss draws Batmanand Batgirl and is phenomenal.
Any asian artists whose work you follow?
Jim lee of course, Alvin Lee, Arnold Tsang, Sean Cheeks Galloway and Tom Nguyen to name a few, all super talented folks.
And from the Asian continent, anyone?
Ahhh yes Jo Chen, Bobby Chiu, Digital Painter Benjamin, Koji Morimoto, Kenchi Sonoda, Ugetsu Hakua, oh and anyone from Studio 4C.
This is quite interesting because at the time when manga was all the rage in the US, I often read your style to be labeled as "manga influenced", which of course is a label most critics use when they see dynamic art nowadays, outside their regular comfort zone.
I know I hate being labeled Manga influenced. But it just goes to show you that some editors, (but not all mind you) don't know much about art.
Did you identify with the Asian comic book heroes when you were a kid? Were you looking for them or didn’t care at all?
At that age I really had no idea who they were, but I knew what I liked you know what I mean? I am a fan of great art period and if it's something I'm really into, I'll try to figure it out and make it my own. And growing up in the Mid West USA, we always were the last to get all the cool stuff, but they time it reached us it was already dated.
Do you have any formal training in art?
A little, I'm a year away from getting my 4 year degree in computer animation, but dropped out. And many art schools in the US really don't teach you how to draw. They only hone the talent you already have, but if you don't have any real talent you're in trouble. But if you love art and are serious about it you take the time to invest and get better and you seek out artists and their work in order to progress.
Do you remember when you made the conscious choice of being an artist of more precisely a comic book artist?
Yes about 6 months ago.Comic book art is not an end in itself anymore. It's more about just getting better and using new tools and about growth. It's only now that I am discovering how wonderful it is to draw regular people and not just guys in spandex. For all my life it's been about comic books and anime but now it's not. I want to grow past those influences and mediums, does that make sense?
Sure it does, you look as Dustin's work, well, I think he's geared towards a style not necessarily linked to super heroes right now.
YES! Exactly that's what I mean. He's experimenting and bringing something new. It's not about just doing super-heroes, it's about bringing something new to his art, not just the standard black and white stuff.
So you didn't know at 8 that you wanted to be a comic book artist?
That's all I thought about...but now having worked in comics as a pro for 12 plus years, I want to do more than just comics. I would love to do more film and animation stuff.
But did you ever tell your parents that you'd be in comics or art or animation?
Haha they knew but they were not very supportive. They didn't think I could make a living and survive.
From the outside, a fan would think artists make a decent living though, specially with the boom in the original art market (published art or commission).
Hahah well it just depends, you can if your good, but you really have to market yourself and get your work out there. A lot about being an artist is getting people to know who you are and your work. If I can do it, anybody can.
In your specific case, how long was the road from that choice to being able to live from your art? How did you break into Comics?
I got serious about comics roughly 12 years ago, I was working as a Marketing Director for a Comic book Company called MV Creations, located in Virginia, publishing all the He-Man and the MOTU comics but the company was not doing too well due to lack of support from Mattel Toys and the industry and publishing model started to change. So I quit and went back to Colorado. I had met CB Cebulski and Joe Quesada through various shows and friends and decided to take the offical plunge in to comics and send Joe some samples and about 3 weeks later I was drawing Spider-man. My very first stuff was the small 8 -10 pagers I did with Robert Kirkman and Val Staples. But it usually USUALY takes a comic artist 5-10 years of solid work to really find his voice and his niche.
Do you think you have found yours already? I mean aside from our previous talk of constant evolution obviously?
I am finally starting to. All the She-Hulk stuff I've done and the Doom Patrol stuff for DC is me being me. I'm finally pretty happy with what I am doing, though it can always be better and I want to try to get better with every issue I do.
Did you have any mentor helping you along that road? Like comics professionals or someone else?
Yes! I've got two art director friends at Blizzard how really have helped me along, Doug Alexander Gregory and Jeremy Cranford, Christian Litchtner there as well. All 3 of these guys have helped me grow more as an artist in 8 months than I have in like 8 years. My cinematic storyboards teacher and friend Jay Olivas has really opened my eyes up to better storytelling and layout too. that's what I mean about getting out of your art box, other mediums can help you out in the medium you are currently working it, but only if you let it. But when you can do that and let go, you can really come up with something new given time and diligence. I don't get a lot of input from other Comic pros, though I talked to buddies Sanford Greene and Sean Galloway a couple times a week.
I agree, just a matter of broadening your horizons, being humble and growing as an artist…
Yes, it should always be about upping your game and skills as an artist.
You site different artists, quite a bunch actually, as conscious influences on your website. Can you spot the 5 most important to you and elaborate a bit about what in their style/art appealed to you?
OH man, it's pretty obvious, though most are comic book guys, but Joe Mad, Campbell, Art Adams, Jason Pearson and Mike Golden have been pretty much my influences over my comics career. And it's so cool to talk to your art heroes and they actually like my work and know who I am. Haha, I'm such a fanboy. Well its okay to have your influences, take it, figure it out , take what works and throw out the rest. Though I would have to say Joe MAD has been the guy who has inspired me the most.
I would like to discuss some of the artists you site as influences though they don’t appear as obvious ones when one look closely at your art?
Yes! I love Toth, his stuff is always been about clarity and storytelling and economy of line. His sense of composition, if you study his work you can learn a lot of how to pace a story and really look at why he picks certain shots and why.
Oh man. He's another guy I've been looking at over the past 4 years. WOW! Stuart can draw anything and own it. You know he did Supermanand legion of Superheroes for almost 10 years and really only now is doing more of his own style and thing in the past say 8 years. He's a machine. I sat next to him at the Heores show about 5 years ago or so and watching him work in like going to school. His Spidermanstuff was a real treat and had a lot of energy. I'm a huge Humberto Ramos fan too.
That guy is like Toth he can spot blacks like nobody's business. But Greg Toschini’s stuff is really inspiring me right now. Last Days of American CRIME! OMG! Awesome!
Jeff Matsuda? For the animation or the comic work or both?
Jeff is awesome too, his X-Ray Kid studios just started up.
Lastly because I could do this for years ;p
Oh man, you know both JJ and Dan Norton are comics best kept secret. And it's a shame too because both of these guys are probably the MOST innovative guys out there too. I hate it when awesome guys don't get their due. Chris Brunner and Jason Latour, also are awesome like that. Rob Haynes too.
Are/Were you a Marvel or DC guy?
Haha! More Marvel, but DC is an awesome place too, but as I learn more, it's about telling a story first. Jay Olivas is always drilling that into my head. Thanks JAY!
Were you an avid comic book reader as a kid? Any favorite books/characters you may want to point for us?
Yeah I grew up first on war comics like Creature commandos and Weird war tales. Then I discovered Captain America and Batmanand wow I love those characters. I’d love to do a Batmanor Cap story.
Same question regarding animation or animated shows? Favorites?
You were watching a lot of anime or US animated shows growing up?
Mostly US animated. I only discovered Anime is say the past 15 years. I know how lame of me. But I realy loved Spidermanand his Amazing friends growing up and the Herculoids and Thundarr, of course Thundercats as well. He-man not so much because he looked too goofy to me. Anime-wise, Burst angel, Ninja Scroll, Sword of the Stranger, Robotech, and Ranma 1/2 were all faves though I hated Dragon ball, ugh. See it's all regional. Living in the Midwest, it took forever for anything to ever reach us. But i'm in Los Angelesnow and I'm like a kid in the Candy Store though Dan Norton tells me I'm an idiot for not knowing what Cowboy Beebop is.
So was drawing Ninja Scroll for Wildstorm an achievment for you?
Yes! I was a dream come true, but the overall book was a bit disappointing as the other artists though quite talented did not draw it like the anime which I feel should be as close to the anime as possible. It's a bit of a slap in the face to fans and I think fans of Ninja Scroll were sad too and hence to book totally died. And the color on the books was atrocious too. There was little or no money behind the series. and people pick up on that and totally check out. And the book should have been a more mature title, I mean come on, people get hacked up in Ninja Scroll. The shitty coloring really kills it and I wanted to color it , but my editor was happy how it looked.
What are you following in anime/animation/comics nowadays?
The New Evangelion stuff is pretty amazing, though I try to follow the artist in anime rather than the anime itself. I love those production art books, it's like free schooling. I think you can do more in animation than in live action.
You worked a great deal for Wildstorm and its imprints. Do you have a particular fondness for those characters or their creators?
I do back in the day, Wildstorm was it for me, I wanted to be there so so badly. And thankfully it happened and I got to work on Gen 13, danger girl, Ninja Scroll among others. So I felt like I finally scratched that artistic itch though sadly the WS imprint has gone the way of the DODO and is gone.
Are you "sad" its ending as an imprint?
Yes and no. The studio IMHO became a shadow of its former self and the books suffered. I'm more about quality of books rather than number of books published.
What other “non comics” influences do you have? Like video games? Animation? Movies. I saw your worked on video games and card games like World of Warcraft.
OH I love working on the WOW properties! I 'm a huge fantasy buff and it's always a huge treat doing illustration for them, I don't play a lot of videogames but I am looking forward to Marvel vs. Capcom!!!!!And I just wrapped up Motorstorm 3: Apocolypse for Sony and it's going to be one of their first 3d games.
Do you work more in the video games industry than in comics or is it 50/50?
Well since I've been living out in LA, I've done more Videogame stuff than comics. And working on some animation too. I miss comics but at this point I would love to do my own comic properties.
Did you relocate for professional purpose?
Yes, I needed a fresh start and Colorado well not a lot of opportunities in art other than comics but I don't work to work in comics for the rest of my professional career, I want to work in a bunch of different places.
It makes make sense to diversify, please just don't drop out of comics completely ;)
Haha, I won't be, but I want to my own characters and my own stories. The sad thing about US comics is that you’re a very small cog in a huge machine and you don't really have a stake in the characters you draw. I'm at a point where I want to do things that build my brand and my name rather than promote Batmanor Spidey though I do have love for those characters. It's nice to do your own thing. Joe mentioned to me that's why he wanted to do Battlechasers. It was his thing he wanted to do and get away from Mutants as much as possible.
You mention Vatine or Cassegrain. What is your opinion on the franco-belgian production? Are you following some European artists producing for the European market?
I love the Franco-Belgian stuff--love it all of it!!! I get so SO inspired. No one is doing what you guys are doing over in Europe, it's inspired, fresh and unique and you can see how much love goes into the work. I try to pick up as much stuff as I can find. Tao Bang is Amazing.
Hip Hop and graffiti art which seems to be a dynamic one can find everywhere in your work? Maybe more in your earlier stuff than nowadays?
Oh, it has immensely influenced me, though I’m discovering all these new Asian and Euro artists and I'm pretty enamored with it. Though I'm working on a couple of pieces with a hip hop vibe to it there's just so many things I'm inspired by right now. I really need to try to fuse it all together.
Do you have some dream collaborator you’re dying to work with? Art-wise or regarding writing?
Yes, I would love to work with Chris Litchner again, we did a bunch of Warcraft stuff together, and I would love to work with Brad Metzler or Mark Millar. Grant Morrison would be a dream. I would love to work with Rick Remender too.
How would you define your art style?
Wow, that is hard question! I'm not sure how I would describe my work other than a "work in progress". Ha ha but as far as a label, people keep grouping into the nebulous American Manga moniker though I'm not as cartoony as manga. But not super realistic like someone like a Bryan Hitch or Ivan Reis either. Haha, my answer is a total non answer!
Ok, so you're not comfortable with manga?
No, not really.
Would animated or cartoony suits you better or is that too generic as well?
Yes, I would prefer animated style over cartoony.
Ok, what is a manga artist anyway?Joe mad? Ben Dunn? Adam Warren?
Haha, I always thought big eyes and big feet but I don't do either of that neither does Joe. Adam does the Otaku style of art but makes it his own. The big eyes are there and cool speed lines. He's awesome! But I guess American Manga would be a more apt term for a lot of us. Guys like Mark Brooks and Ryan Kinnaird would fall into that, Campbell, Joe and me, Pearson…But there's a graphic element to Pearson too. I think once you label someone's art you really put them in box and I don't like that. Can't good art just be good art? Since peoples tastes vary so much as long as folks are drawing into your work and enjoy it, I don't think it's a big deal, but in terms of publishing, I believe many companies feel they have the need to promote a certain house style in all their books which I find totally ridiculous. Diversity in work is a strength and you can appeal to people's varies art tastes. I think I would jump off a bridge if publishers wanted everyone's art to look like Jim Lee. Jim is fantastic but, come on, there is a WHOLE other world you are missing out on and it's a huge disservice to Jim. I don't think he would want everyone looking like him.
Yes, we talked about that yesterday, like DC being the temple of classical realistic art. Remember that in the 70s, working at DC meant aping Neal Adams and at marvel, you had to do Kirby.
Yeah the realistic stuff is a staple now at both Marvel and DC though there are small exceptions to the rule like Ramos and Skottie Young... Though it bothers me that no publisher really understands the genius of guys like Eric Canete and Sean Gordon Murphy. These guys deserve marquee titles. They're amazing.
I completely agree but we've already established we share the same mind.
Yep, it's okay to start out in a certain style. I grew up aping Joe and as times I still feel like I do, but I'm moving past my influences more now and doing new things.
Let's not talk about Rob Haynes or David Williams, JJ Kirbyand so on...
I know....It is crazy, I know but all of us you mentioned probably are thrown under the American Manga title. Unless you draw hot chicks like Hughes or Campbell and are labeled a good girl artist.
Haha! But I think it's up us as artists to do our own things outside of standard publishing and bring something new to the table like creator owned properties or things like that.
What is the work you’re most proud of? Think hard !
Comic book wise it has to be the Doom Patrol story that ran in the 2009 DC holiday special. It was a 8 or 6 pages story about how Beast Boy got adopted, written by Sterling Gates. Very Christmas-y type story, but it's me doing what I want and my buddy Chuck painted over my pencils. A close second is the She Hulk one shot I did with Peter David.
Something un-comic book-y? I think a lot of your cards, game or trading cards are amazing.
The other would be working in a couple animation pitches that I own that I'm in the process of finishing up and all the work I did for Sony on a game called MotorStorm 3 : Apocolpse. I miss doing the trading cards for Upper Deck, those are fun jobs.
What kind of different projects have you tackled in your career? Comics obviously, video games, toy designs? Movie designs? Animation? Am I missing something?
Yes, that about covers it though I have not done any movie stuff, but everything else for sure.
I love doing character design for animation if I had to pick one.
It is fun and you get to be as creative as you want. Concepting too is fun and it's pretty easy compared to storyboarding for animation or comic books. It's just nice to be able to flex different creative muscles once in awhile.
But you learn less in term of storytelling maybe? Animation is a terrific school for that.
Yeah, well for character design, I try to tell a story about the character in a single pose. It's a lot like illustration, one shot to tell a story.All of it pays really well but I just like working on projects I have love for and care about. I like being invested in a project.
Ok, so basically, storytelling is everywhere, just different applications of the same concept.
Yep bingo! You still have to tell people as much as you can about a character like how someone stands or their base line facial expressions says a lot about who they are and in character design you want to capture that as much as you can.
What is important to you when you draw? What do you want to convey in your art? Where is your attention mostly directed? Storytelling?
It varies, in comics and animation storyboards, I'm learning it's about telling the story first. Is the camera direction clear? How's the action? stuff like that. You can't do splashy shots for splashy shots sake as it loses its punch. You want to key the story as much as you can to moving the story along, pause when you want to pause your audience, bring them up or down.
What is your approach when you do some character design? Any specific mind frame doing so? What you said earlier, telling a story in a pose?
I try to find out what their powers are and I try to talk to the writer or director about the characters personality. Is he smart, confident, stupid? Big, strong, skinny? It's good to ask as much as you can of your director to find out what he is thinking. It's all about hitting the mark for your characters. Usually I get a request to design monsters. You have to ask, what kind--zombie, vampire, etc…Do you want him fat, squishy, strong, etc...You have to ask the right questions in order to hit your mark with what your director or Art Director is envisioning. If you don't you may just be wasting your time drawing things they don't want to see. I hope that make sense.
Do you have brainstorming sessions where you can do that, is it a case by case basis in animation or does the director comes to your drawing table or to you specifically and tell you those or is open to your questions about what he wants?
No, you really need to go to him or the producer and pick their brain. Sometimes they don't care, but if they say they want the character to have a Jack Sparrowvibe. That totally helps and you can key to what they want and design from there.
Is it gratifying to do that or are treated like one of the designers, among a huge cast of them? I guess it depends on how many are employed on a show, right?
Yes, I know at WARNER BROS the teams are pretty tight groups of maybe 15 people or less. But the communication is great over there and that's key to a successful show and of course successful design. It’s always nice when you hit the mark for what people are looking for.
My question was referring to a lot of artists coming to comics out of Animation because they felt lost in a huge group and felt "sad" that people could not isolate their personal contributions.
Haha, that's the running joke in our field "All the animators want to do comics and all the comic artists want to do Animation". It's the grass is greener on the other side, but when you get there it's the same shade of green. But I'm of the group that does both.
Because animation pays better even if you're not a superstar?
Yes, it's always nice to get a steady check.
Any medium you'd like to tackle? Movies design like you said? For the money ?
I'm pretty happy doing videogames and animation at the moment, and I'm working on my own pitches and comics too. But if George Lucas knocks on my door again, I will not tell him "no".
Is there a subject you won’t touch? One you’d love to try your hands on? Any character you are dying to work on? Like porn maybe?
Haha, no no porn for me. But I would like I said to the creator owned thing for comics and animation would be perfect. I don't think I would want to draw penises all day. Hahah.
Not dying to do a historic medieval serie or a western for example?
Yes, I would LOVE to do a western. I love the old Sergio Leone movies. I think doing a period piece would be fun but you can totally do your own take it on. Like Western with a Steam punk or Sci-fi feel. It's comics or animation don't limit yourself unless that's the story you want to tell.
Do you use a lot of references in your work?
Yes, for backgrounds and props, it's a must. But “Sketch up” helps with 90% of thatI love sketch up, just build it and go.
Is it a computer program ? (sorry, im no artist)
Yep, free from Google!
It’s like those architects 3d models programs?
Yep, but it totally helps for comics and props. You can pull up reference and tweak the camera angle just as you want it. It's not a cheat, just a tool.
Are you a fast artist?
I can be, I used to do a page and a half a day penciled and inked. But I would rather just produce 4-5 quality pieces a week in lieu of 7 or 8.
How long does it roughly take you to produce a cover?
I've done it in a couple hours to a full day. It just depends what's in the shot but usually a full day to day a half tops.
Do you get more nervous if it's a cover because of its innate exposure?
No not really, it's super easy since it's just one splashy shot and you can really have fun with it.
Do you do layouts? Roughs or do you work directly on the board with blueline pencils to build up your figures? Do you work a lot using a computer?
Yes I do, I used to draw all my stuff on half sheets of 11x17, but now I usually do my thumbnails digitally on my cintiq.
Ok, then blow them up? Or print them?
Yep. It's all about production, I print them blue line on 11x17 paper and pencil over them tighten them up.
Do you prefer to ink your own work?
No, I hate it but many publishers won't pay for a decent inker these days. And rather than get it all hacked up, I'll do it myself in photoshop.
Mark Irwin did ink some of your stuff, right? And he is quite good.
Yes, he is my inker of choice.
What is your typical work day? Are you strongly self-disciplined or do you work whenever you feel like or when there’s some crushing deadlines on?
Yes, working freelance you have to be, but typical day is up at 7:30, work till 12, take a 30 minute lunch, back to work till 6, eat dinner hang out, work from 8 till 11 or midnight. But with a deadline I usually stay up till 2 am and start the whole thing all over the next day. But I try to break up my day. I'll run or go to the gym 4 times a week, anything that would get me off my ass for a couple hours.
Same workday would it be videogame work , animation or comics?
Yes, regardless. I try to keep a steady production schedule though working for Sony my average work week was 60-66 hours a week.
You need to love what you're doing with that kind of work schedule.
Yes for sure. But the rewards are really gratifying, if you want to get better and make a living you have to work hard or not be afraid to work hard.
Does that work ethic influence you when you accept a new project? Are you looking for projects with a strong lead time?
That always helps, but usually when I pick up a job, my client is usually behind the 8 ball already or behind.
In any medium?
Hahah! Usually. That's how some jobs go but when I do get more lead time it's much nicer.
Isn't it different in comics?
No, it's the same in comics. Sometimes it's worse! Hahah! Publishing is a strange animal.
I thought working on mini-series would offer more comfort in that perspective. For instance, you were lined up on Genext vol2, then P.Scherberger and you shared the art chores. Was it a scheduling problem of some sort?
Haha! No, it's a writer's market and usually they don't release a script to the artist until they're satisfied with the story. Pat did the entire first series and I did the entire second series.
Ok, my mistake.
No prob. Actually, Marvel had Claremont trim the script from 7 or 8 issues to 5.But the story was SO condensed because of it and took forever to get the first script, but once it got rolling it was a machine.
Do you prefer to work from full scripts, hyper detailed ones even or receive the plot, do your thing and then have the writer include the dialogue (the infamous marvel way)?
I like the old Marvel open plot stuff, but nowadays it's all full script and usually my scripts are like 40 to 60 pages long. With lots of notes at times. But again, it's all part of the job.
Do you get in contact with the writer if you have a change or suggestion to make to his writing, his layouts or his pacing?
I tried, but in the case of Chris, he is a pretty busy guy so, no, it really didn't happen. Sometimes through email but most if it was handled through my editor.
And in other cases than with Chris?
The last 10 books I've done has been done the same way. No contact, other than working with Jeff Parker who is all about communication. I wish more writers were like Jeff.
I thought it would be OBVIOUS than close collaboration is the best way to produce something better but...
You would think so. But they spend SOOOO much time on the script they just want you to follow it.
Yes that makes sense too even though it IS a visual medium. Still, it sounds a tad egotistical.
Haha, I feel the same way.
But like you said, currently the comics industry is “writers power!” In the 90s Image era, it was all about the artists superstars.
Yes, though it should be more about the power of the team. Haha Image Ruined it. Those bastards!
And I also think a very few writers write for their artists or even with a visual point of view.
They think visual means movies which is different than sequential art.
True. You don't want to sacrifice story.
I think Alan Moore and Warren Ellis do it perfectly but we were speaking about Morrison, when I see some of the artists he works with. I have my doubts.
Yes, Bendis too and Millar on his Ultimate stuff as well.
Do you like the intervention of an editor on your work? Do you expect it? Do you resent it?
No, but it happens.
Do you think the function of editor is that essential in comics for instance?
I think to an extent, though you hire creative talented people to do what they do. So let us do it, just keep us on schedule. Micromanaging your teams can take away the fun.
Well, so they should stick to schedule making. Pairing creators for instance, does that happen a lot?
I think that's happening now but only on the bigger books for Marvel and DC.
The rest of us it's still working crazy.
Would you be interested in doing more creator owned work? Are you interested in writing for example?
Yes, I would like to try my hand at it. It’s much more rewarding to do your own thing.
The Kirkman view?
Kinda, though Robert is a pretty unique exemple.
Don't you think it will lead a lot of artist to pursue movie deals, big properties à la Hellboyinstead of doing what they do best.
Yes, I think in the end your doing something that enriches yourself in lieu of just being a cog of the corporate wheel.
That's a sound rationale.
Yes, though it's on the creator to push their properties. It's a lot of work.
I was referring to those days in the 90s, when everyone was self-publishing load of shit during the independent boom.
Haha, true. Well you always get hosed on the first deal. But I've got a million of ideas.
I’m all for new creations evidently but fear some would lose their time, soul, money.
On your website, you list a project called “The Hand of the Demon GN”? What is it? Is it still planned? Is it creator owned? Can you talk about it?
Yes, still working on it but it's much more mature and I want to do more of an all ages thing first. I keep tweaking it. But I've got like 6 other projects I’m constantly tweaking.
You mentioned pitching some animation stuff as well, right? Frankly, I didn't know that a single person could pitch animation project all by himself. I thought they were group effort from the start, you know, to get more credit.
You can but you just work on one at a time. Well not when you pitch. Everything up until to pitch, but once it's been green lighted, it becomes a team thing.
What are the chances of success when you're doing it alone?
Well it just depends if the studio executives like your property. But to option it you get anywhere from 8000 to 11000$ just to option it.
That they pay you for the pitch?
No, just when they option it.
Meaning they get the first call to produce it should they decide to?
Yes, for about 1-3 years to take the option to produce it. After that, it goes back to the creator.
And I suppose you can buy it back if you decide it’s not moving quickly enough?
No, but once they produce it, they do want to pretty much own it but you get percentage on merchandising and stuff like that.
My last question would be what's your next project? When will we see your name on something?
I am working on stuff for Blizzard on their World Of Warcraft property, and two animated pitches.
Blizzard being a videogame company?
Well, Jonboy, thank you so much for having us and keep up the amazing work!
Thanks for having me
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