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Thread: DARICK ROBERTSON Interview

  1. Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Fan favorite Darick Robertson has done it all. From JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE to (the original) NEW WARRIORS, from NIGHTCRAWLER and WOLVERINE to the AUTHORITY and TRANSMETROPOLITAN. And yet, people still screw up his name. There's just no justice, I tell ya! Well, Darick took some time out from his ever popular work with Garth Ennis on THE BOYS to talk to us here at PROJECT FANBOY. Here's what he had to say.

    SEBASTIAN PICCIONE: OK, Darick, let’s start at the beginning, from SPACE BEAVERS

    DARICK: It was only one beaver. He had a tortoise and a rat for pals.

    SEB:...SPACE BEAVER to THE BOYS, would you kindly sum up your journey into comics?

    DARICK ROBERTSON: "Describe your life of the past 22 years for me, won’t you?” If I tried to, it would be me rattling off my bibliography, and honestly, I don’t have that much time. Space Beaver launched my career, I wrote and created the thing myself with the help from my friends. “Space Beaver” got me going to conventions and I began to meet people bound for success. I met Matt Groening before the Simpsons, I met Jim Lee when he was on Alpha Flight… and I learned the ropes about how to submit pages, how to talk to editors and how to create better work. Erik Larsen raked my stuff over the coals and I learned from it. Mike Carlin hung up on me when I auditioned for a book, and I learned from it. Eventually I was ready to give up on comics altogether when the whole ship seems to be going down in the mid 90’s, but I believed that this new writer Warren Ellis was something special and when he asked me to co create ‘Transmetropolitan’, I chose that over “Spider-man team Up” and that lead me to meet Garth Ennis, and the work we did at Marvel. And when Transmet ended , he asked if I’d like to create “The BOYS” with him. I foolishly said no, I was off to work on ‘Wolverine’. But a year later when he asked again, I was smart enough to say yes. And here we are, one cancellation and nearly three trade paperbacks, a movie option, and an Eisner nomination later.

    SEB: Nicely done, sir!

    SEB: I believe I first became aware of your work back in the late ‘80s, early 90’s on Justice League. You worked on Justice League Europe during “BREAKDOWNS” (Think DC’s predecessor to Avengers: Disassembled, kids!) with the pudgy Ted Kord. Compared to the edgier stuff you work on now, how would you say your approach to drawing an issue has changed, if indeed it has?

    DARICK: Are you kidding? That stuff was edgy! Keith Giffen and JM DeMattis were doing something altogether different with super heroes. I drew a giant nose with wings at one point in that series and was very disappointed when Ted Kord (the Blue Beetle) dropped the weight. That was inspired stuff and I loved drawing it. When I got to draw Ralph Dibny’s demise in “52” I felt so lucky, as he was always a favorite of mine. I was lucky to work from Keith Giffen’s breakdowns as he is a master storyteller and was a great foundation to learn on. But JLE was my first monthly mainstream job so I was cutting my teeth there. I’ve drawn many, many comics since then, so experience would show through now if I drew that stuff again. Also, I have become much more confident as my own inker, and that has developed the look of my work this past few years.

    SEB: You also did a fair amount of work on the MALIBU comics ULTRAVERSE line, back in the day. These characters have quite the following, and they were crazily popular at the time. What was it like being a part of that?

    DARICK: It was my first foray into creating for a business. I was haunted that I didn’t get the rights to my characters like we were promised and that Marvel now owns them. ‘Nightman’ in particular is still a sore spot for me, as it was one of the most successful characters the Ultraverse launched, with a toy and a TV show that I never saw any money from. “Ripfire” was supposed to be my series to write and draw, and that died on the vine with Malibu’s demise. Luckily I got a friendship with my former editor Hank Kanalz out of it, and he’s a lot of the reason that I’m at DC and Wildstorm today.

    SEB: More recently, over at Marvel, you got to work on a series for fan favorite, NIGHTCRAWLER, which I loved, by the way. How’d that come about?

    DARICK: When Wolverine changed directions, Marvel offered me Nightcrawler. I was quite pleased and Roberto Aguirre Sacasa and I really had a lot of fun with that series. Mike Marts was the perfect editor for it, and Wayne Faucher did some great inks. We were off to a great start so I wish it hadn’t ended so soon as we had some great ideas about where it could go, but I appreciate and I am grateful in retrospect that Marvel was so cool as to have me draw two of my favorite X-men on a regular basis.

    SEB: Speaking of characters with a cult-like following, TRANSMETROPOLITAN’s Spider Jerusalem. What is it, do you think, that makes Transmet’s hard-wired reporter so popular with the readers?

    DARICK: I think he’s the living ID in all of us, eloquently lashing out against the system with the words we wish we had ready in the moment and armed and dangerous at the same time.

    SEB: Between TRANSMETROPLITAN and THE BOYS, you’ve worked rather extensively with GARTH ENNIS. How would you define the dynamic of your working relationship?

    DARICK: I’m a fan.

    SEB: Ennis really pushed the envelope with PREACHER, and THE BOYS truly lives up to the tag-line “OUT PREACHERING PREACHER” and tears the envelope to shreds. But it’s not simply shock-value writing, everything you guys do here has a purpose, am I right?

    DARICK: Absolutely.

    SEB: Well said.

    SEB: In the current story-line, “I TELL YOU NO LIE, G.I.”, you guys told the story of THE BOYS’ universe’s version of 9-11. What was that like to draw?

    DARICK: Difficult, and unsettling. Aside from the technical challenges of panel after panel of people on a crowded plane, I was living in New York on 9-11, so I have a very personal memory of that experience and the whole thing is not something I take lightly, and it dredged up painful stuff. I liked Garth’s approach because it shined a light on the powers that be causing more harm than good. I wanted to bring out the emotions of the characters in a way that would convey the panic and insanity of the situation.

    SEB: I was living in NY at that time, as well, Darick, and I'd say you handled the task extremely well.

    SEB: How far along are you on THE BOYS?

    DARICK: I am drawing issue #24

    SEB: After “I TELL YOU NO LIE, G.I.”, what can we expect to see?

    DARICK: A bit of fun as we lampoon some different kind of heroes with The G-Men.

    SEB: Any cryptic teases you wanna set our readers a-buzzing with?

    DARICK: That last answer should have sufficed.

    SEB: Do you have a favorite cast member to draw? Personally, I love the expressions you give THE FRENCHMAN.

    DARICK: He’s one of them. I love all five to be honest. Butcher is the hardest as he has to walk this line between being someone you love and hate or just can’t figure out. Hughie of course, as Simon Pegg was my inspiration for his look, and has since grown into his own persona. The Female, since dialogue isn’t part of her character, it comes down to me drawing her so she conveys what Garth asks for.

    SEB: You’ve really run the gamut on types of comics you’ve drawn. You’ve done “fun” characters like Spiderman, The original New Warriors (Speedball and all), and the “Bwa-ha-ha” era Justice League, to today’s grittier more hyper-realistic fare, such as, The Authority, Transmetropolitan, and, The Boys. You manage to balance both humor and darkness in your art by drawing over-the-top situations in a non-over-the-top style. Does that take a lot of planning out, or are you just naturally well-balanced?

    DARICK: I will have to accept the latter compliment. I’m a cinema fan, and study storytelling in movies so I think my stuff reflects that. I’m also attracted to comics that bring the reader into the story, not art that just dazzles, so my focus is always on the story. If I do something big and splashy, it’s because I think that line of dialogue or that moment needs to be punched up, not to bring attention to myself as the artist.

    SEB: So you guys are in your second year at DYNAMITE, and the book certainly hasn’t lost any of its steam. In fact, it seems you guys are a perfect fit over there. AND they’ve certainly, if you’ll pardon the pun, exploded onto the scene these past few years. How would you describe the phenomenon that is DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT?

    DARICK: One name: Nicky Barrucci.

    SEB: I get a kick out your myspace blogs, where you talk about people meeting you at cons and presuming to know you through your work. When I met you at Orlando Con, you struck me as very intelligent and down to earth.

    DARICK: Are you sure that was me? I was sitting with Joshua Ortega…

    SEB: [Laughs]Do people expect you to be more like the dark-and-edgy characters you’ve become famous for drawing? Are they expecting the sixth “Boy”?

    DARICK: I think they expect Spider Jerusalem, or Warren Ellis, who knows how to command a room. I’m not my characters much at all, other than I like drawing the stuff that makes me angry or scares me. I used to act on stage some when I was 18, and I learned how to bring that into my storytelling.

    My comics are like directing the movies I’d like to make if I had the time and money.

    SEB: You also talk about “convention-etiquette”, mentioning how some people linger a little over-long at the artist table, talking away. Now, I seem to recall hanging with you for a few hours at Orlando Con, discussing your work and my horror stories of teaching in Brooklyn, while you drew STARLIGHT’s dignity in my superhero graveyard sketchbook (which I WILL be posting along with this interview, so I can show it off!). Granted, it was a slower Con, but I hope I didn’t fall into the loiterer category. Or am I now guilty of the “you must remember me..” faux pas?

    DARICK: That wasn’t meant to be a blanket statement towards anyone I’ve had a conversation with. I’m referring to the people that don’t know when it’s time to say ‘Thanks’ and ‘good bye'. Like when I’m working on getting my lunch down and someone puts a book down in front of me to sign while I’ve got a sloppy sandwich in hand, or the folks that think because no one’s at your table that’s their cue to return and chat with you while you’re working on someone’s commission about their favorite super hero story from the 70’s. One kid wanted to debate me about the cancellation of Superboy, and I kept telling him that wasn’t my decision, had nothing to do with me, and he would. Not. Stop.

    SEB: WHEW! 'Cause I CAN be a talker!

    SEB: As I recall, you had some rather interesting commission requests that day. Metaphorical gravesites aside, what is the strangest thing a fan has asked you to draw?

    DARICK: I think that the strangest thing I ever drew at a con was a jar inside a jar.

    SEB: For that matter, what is the strangest thing ENNIS has ever asked you to draw?

    DARICK: Fury strangling his enemy with his own intestines competes with a faceless Wolverine about to be vivisected by chainsaw wielding midgets.

    SEB: Are there any “dream projects” left? Anything you would love to take a crack at?

    DARICK: Oh, yeah, a long line of them. Batman, the Fantastc Four, some of my own writings that I’ve been developing…

    SEB: Any other projects or covers coming up from you?

    DARICK: I’m still doing some fun stuff for DCU. A five page fill in on JLA #25 and a short Halloween special story featuring Batman. I’ll be returning to do some more Authority stuff for Wildstorm as well.

    SEB: Is there anything else you’d like to say before we go?

    DARICK: Be sure to vote for change in 2008.

    SEB: Darick, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. You know, you’re not at all what I imagined!

    DARICK: I get that.
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    Last edited by SebastianPiccione; Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 04:28 AM.
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5

  2. Smeets Guest

    some good stuff in this interview! you guys covered a lot! from marvel screwing him over to the hectic life of cons to his many awesome books.

  3. Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Thanks, Bob, for showing me that my whole giant interview, could have been summarized in a singe, uncapitalized sentence.

    Thanks a lot.

    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5

  4. Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Cameron, NC
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    LOL, I thought it was done well. Another great interview by Sebastian Piccione. Always a great read!

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