Friday, April 15, 2011


first seen in New York, NY

At some point in my childhood after I started reading superhero comics, I decided I wanted to make some of my own. I don't recall what exactly led to the decision. I had developed a keen interest in drawing for awhile, and I suppose I simply needed an outlet for it that was different from the usual art class material. I would've been around eight or nine, I think. Maybe even younger than that. But one day, I grabbed a stack of blank pages and my colored pencils and went to work.

Needless to say, these early self-published comics were highly, almost embarrassingly derivative of the Marvel comics I was reading and the Saturday morning cartoons I was watching. (Hanna-Barbera's World of Super Adventure was a definite influence. I used to think that show was the greatest thing ever.) I didn't know anything about making comics, but I had figured it out from reading enough of them, even if I couldn't articulate it: one image follows the next in sequence, dialogue goes in little bubbles with a pointer aimed at whoever's talking, good guys fight the bad guys and win every time. What more did I need to know?

Eventually, though, I realized that I wanted my characters to look more like the ones in the comics. So I put more of an effort into my drawing, and I figured that the only way to get my work to look like the comics was to practice copying the images in them. I could've traced them, but I thought it was more important to copy them by eye - and the one I remember doing it the most with was Uncanny X-Men.

Fantastic Four was my favorite comic, and it had the best artwork, in my opinion, but everyone wore the same outfit, and I wanted to be able to draw different costumes. Plus, the characters in X-Men were so very unique looking: Wolverine with his claws and hairy arms, Colossus with his steel skin, Nightcrawler with his tail and three-fingered hands. I copied images from other comics, but I liked trying to draw the X-Men the best.

I got older and my drawing improved. I went to an art high school and an art college and I learned how to draw figures better. I got back into comics in college after a brief hiatus. A few of my comics-making friends were getting work at Marvel and DC. I wanted to as well, so once again I went back to my old comics and made a greater effort to draw like the pros do. I drew some sample pages with the X-Men again, along with other Marvel heroes, and went to comics conventions in New York to show them to critiquing editors and artists. I was gently encouraged to continue drawing, but was not offered any contracts.

Then I chose to self-publish my own comics, which I thought would make good training for when I eventually broke into the business. Long story short, my work went through some more evolution, from a standard superhero style to something much more individualistic and expressionistic, and I learned that this was not a bad thing. In fact, one could do quite well for oneself in comics with a drawing style that didn't look like it came from a superhero comic.

By the time the X-Men movie came out, I had fully embraced my new style and had made a few comics with it, both alone and in collaboration with others, and received positive feedback. I was no longer interested in drawing for Marvel or DC either. Self-publishing comics was no longer a means to an end - it was an end in itself. I was still reading superhero comics, of course, and I eagerly went to see the X-Men movie like everyone else, but I was also interested in the wider range of subject matter to be found beyond superheroes.

Now I've taken another hiatus from comics, and I don't read X-Men or any other new stuff anymore, but I still remember the care and patience I took in trying to draw like those old X-Men comics, and how much superheroes in general meant to me once upon a time.



  1. Ah, I absolutely adore X-Men in all its forms and I actually taught myself to draw by copying X-Men comics too! Most often X-Treme X-Men since I loved Salvador Larroca's style and it had a lot of my favorite characters. I've stopped reading new X-Men comics too, though, and have been focusing more on independent publishers, female authors/artists, and catching up on some 80's-90's series I missed.

    I've done some short comics (none more than a few pages) and I know it's hard, so I'm really impressed you've been self-publishing! Are any of your comics available online? What sort of subject matter/genres are you doing?

  2. Larocca's okay, but he never really did anything for me. Carlos Pacheco, on the other hand, now he's amazing.

    As for my stuff, well, you've seen the Oscar-related cartoon I did for the LAMB Oscar blogathon. The characters I used in that are from a comic strip I did a few years ago called 'City Mouse Goes West' and you can find that at


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