Interview with Darick Robertson
Darick Robertson started making comics at age 17 pulling double duty as writer and artist of cult classic Space Beaver. He went on to work on such well known heroes as Spiderman, New Warriors, and Justice League of America (to name a few). He really made a name for himself when he co-created Transmetropolitan for Vertigo Comics with Warren Ellis.
Since then he's signed an exclusive deal with Marvel, and is in the thick of things handling the art for a revamped Wolverine, with writer Greg Rucka that's due for a relaunch this May. Also, he is teaming up with Garth Ennis for the much anticipated "origin" of Frank Castle with Punisher: the War Where I Was Born. I recently caught up with Darick and he graciously agreed to our interview.
First off, I would like to thank you for agreeing to the
interview, Darick. It's great to cut my teeth interviewing such a talented veteran of the comic
Thanks, I'm flattered.
Let's start off with Transmetropolitan. How does it feel to be the co-creator of a book uttered in the same sentence as Sandman and Watchmen?
A bit intimidating. Reading that question makes me worry I've peaked in my career. I'd always hoped to work on something as important as Watchmen, so thinking that I have already makes me only hope I still have good work ahead of me. I'm still pretty young. (Or at least I
still feel pretty young.)
Now you've come onto Wolverine and given him your trademark character driven style that put you on the map. I can't help but notice the difference between your Wolvie and the movie's lady killer. How did you come up with your version of the Canuck?
My version is based upon a longtime love and understanding of the character that goes all the way back to his first solo miniseries and X-men days. I think Hugh Jackman is a great Wolverine, but
he's not the model for the future of the character. He's clearly into the role and I'd bet if he could alter his height, he'd make himself shorter.
I revel in the fact that Logan is more human than most Superheroes
and the paradox that's he almost more animal than human at the same time. I mean that he's human in character, more flawed. Greg Rucka said it really well when he said "He's the bad guy who's fighting for the good guys. He should be a villain, and he's not. He may even have every reason to be a villain, and he's not."
So I try to bring out that Logan is an old guy, and battered who drinks too much and smokes (even though Marvel won't let us show him smoking anymore). I like all that stuff about him. I want him to have a variety of clothes and I want to show him change from issue to issue, the same way all of us change over the course of time. His hair will grow (since his does; quickly) and change length, including being short at times.
Logan doesn't look like all of the other Superheroes and I like that. I want to emphasize that fact. He's a short, mean old pug of a guy, and the movie has made him tall and handsome. That's fine, but that's the movie. We're doing the comic. We're focusing more on the person that is Logan rather than the superhero. He's in so many other titles now, that there's plenty of room to show him in his action mode. Our series is more about Logan and what he does when he's not being a super hero. Those were always the stories I loved to read.
Besides Wolverine, you've worked with some great characters: The JLA, Spiderman, Space Beaver... Are there any characters you'd like to take a stab at, or someone you'd like to go back and do differently?
Lately, I have had a real hankering to do the Fantastic Four. I was always a big fan of Firestorm and Plastic man, so I'd gladly work on either of them, but DC is already off and running with both of those characters, so I don't see it happening. I'd also like to fully work on X-men, with all of the characters, with Morrison.
Space Beaver was never great. If I was going to go back, and revive anything, I'd probably work on Space Beaver again. Either revamp it entirely, change him into another animal that isn't equated to genitalia, and recreate the story, or do this other fetish idea I have, which is to follow sort of a Robert Crumb path and do this version where Space Beaver is totally aware of the fact that he's in this failed comic book of my youth and breaks the fourth wall, and the whole adventure aspect becomes secondary to the story.
I quickly realize I can't afford to do a comic like that, but it would be fun. If I get rich, I'm doing it.
How about creators? Anyone you gotta work with?
I'd still like to work with Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Alan Moore and Brian Azzarello
I've also had this ongoing dream of convincing a big publisher to allow me adapt a couple of Steven King novels to maxi series comics.
You're working on Punisher: The War Where I was
Born with Garth Ennis. Frank is a rough character, as is Wolverine.Same could be said of Spider Jerusalem. Do you find yourself drawn to a certain type of book, or does it have to do more with the team behind it?
I like drawing gruff characters. The rougher the better, but it's more about the people I'm working with. I get a lot of my pent up rage out through tough guy characters. I'm not very physically imposing, so I really enjoy the thought of being so. Spider Jerusalem wasn't really physically imposing either, but he was so smart he was intimidating.
What (or who) inspires you?
I feel inspired when I read a great comic, or see a great film.
What are you reading now?
Besides this interview? I'm reading the Essential X-men collections volumes 1-4, the Essential Wolverine collection volume 1,
X-Statix, Alias, Daredevil, and Batman. And a great biography about George W. Bush called Fortunate Son by J.H. Hatfield. It got banned in 2000 during the elections and the original publisher, St. Martin's Press
recalled and threatened to burn some eighty-eight thousand copies. Soft Skull
press publishes it now. It's fascinating. Just the chapter of Bush's quotes alone makes it worth the read.
What are your feelings on the new Epic line from Marvel?
Ambivalent. I hope it achieves its potential, and doesn't sink into a place for substandard books like it had done when it was cancelled. There are many ideas I'd enjoy having published through Epic.
Any words of advice for all those fledgling comic artists
Work hardest at being efficient and good. Worry less about getting in and more about the quality of your work. The better your work, the more reliable
you are, the faster you'll get hired.
It's two am. You're crunching for that deadline. What do you grab to fuel your fire?
DVD's, Red Bull and Bourbon.
Millionaire or Playboy? Which and why?
Millionaire. It's harder to be the latter without
being the prior.
Besides, I'm married to a great woman who I love, and I have an equally incredible baby son. My Playboy days are over, so I'd rather be rich enough to spoil them. Living with me, they've earned it.
Check out Darick's homepage: http://www.darickr.com
Did that get you foaming at the mouth to build your Darick
Robertson Library? Go here. Tell 'em we sent ya.: Amazon.com
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