Artist extraordinare Mike Allred stops by the Outhouse to talk about his latest Madman special and his sucess in creator owned comics.
Mike Allred's art has been one of the most dynamic and unique styles in the comic book industry for over two decades. He stopped by the Outhouse to discuss his career, his drawing process and his latest comic, the ALL NEW GIANT-SIZE SUPER GINCHY SPECIAL.
The Outhouse: For those that don't know and for the new generation of comic book fans, Madman has graced the page of many an independent studio in publishing history. From Calibur Press, to Dark Horse, Oni, and now Image, how would you describe the ride so far?
Mike Allred: Phenomenal. You caught me on a great day. Our copies of the 1000+ page MADMAN : Atomica just arrived. And it's humbling and joyful to see your work collected in such an amazing classy format.
OH: How would you compare publishing an independent comic now to back when you started publishing Madman?
MA: I'm more confident now, personally. I've always taken the same indy spirit everywhere I've gone. In at Marvel and DC I've always felt free to be creative in remarkable collaborative experiences. So, I don't have any hard lines drawn. I just love making comics and have been blessed with each project.
OH: A Madman movie has long been a mutual effort between you and famed director Robert Rodriguez. Is it still happening?
MA: Yup. Still slowly progressing forward.
OH: We've got a lot of independent artists over at the Outhouse who would be eager to know what kind of gear you use when it comes to crafting your comics. What is the most important tool you use when making comics art?
MA: A pencil. You could do absolutely everything you need to if you only had a pencil. I've tried every kind of pencil, pen, brush and marker. My preferences have boiled down to a clicker pencil, and a Windsor & Newton Series 7 no. 3 brush. The Faber Castell Pitt Pens would be my second choice for inking.
OH: What would you say is the toughest thing an Indy creator has to face in today's publishing business?
MA: Getting your comics in stores. That's the most difficult thing for any title, but especially hard for the small or self-publishers. But now, with the internet, there are more and more opportunities to get your work noticed. Skies the limit.
OH: Your wife Laura Allred is also your primary colorist. Many struggle to find a happy medium between work and life with their significant others, yet you and your wife have a fusion that really pops off the page! What's the key to your success and is it for sale?
MA: I just got lucky that the woman who turns me on and is my favorite human to spend time with is also incredibly talented with an amazing color sense. I sell my originals through Simon Miller at gotsuperpowers.com. Laura's work is for sale in the actual comic books. She used to do water color proofs for color guides, but now all her work is on the computer and then in the final product.
OH: What do you believe to be your strongest work to date?
MA: Hmmm...I always feel like what is currently on my drawing board is my strongest as I'm always struggling to improve. But looking back I have to admit that some of my progressive experiments didn't yield the intended results. But I can honestly say that I feel my biggest breakthrough happened somewhere around iZOMBIE #10 and everything since including the story in the new MADMAN Giant-Size Super-Ginchy Special and my Rocketeer story in the first issue of the upcoming Rocketeer Adventures is my strongest.
OH: Your latest Madman comic, Super Ginchy Special, is hitting stores this week. What can readers look forward to in this issue?
MA: All-new grooviness! A big new epic Madman story from yours truly, thre back up stories by Emi Lenox, Matt Kindt, and Tonci Zonjic, and then a slew of great new pin-ups.
OH: You've been publishing Madman for over twenty years. What keeps you coming back to him? How have you kept the character fresh for so long?
MA: Snap City is home. It's the world I created where anything and everything can happen. It's also where I can express myself the most with personal thoughts, theories and questions.
OH: Do you have an endgame planned for Madman? How many more Madman stories do you have left to tell?
MA: No endgame. He'll end when I end. In many ways Frank Einstein is me.
OH: What can friends and enemies of the Outhouse expect to see coming out from you in the near future?
MA: More iZOMBIE which just keeps getting better and better, The Rocketeer story, and then before the end of the year is the MADMAN 20th ANNIVERSARY MONSTER! This will be 20 new strips from the best cartoonists in the biz, an all-new story of mine and then every pin-up from the past 20 years, all in a monstrous 11 x 17 Hard cover format. A MONSTER!
OH: Last question and a little off-topic, but it's been some time now, but what was your first reaction when they approached you to take on X-Force, a book that 90's Marvel artist and Image co-founder Rob Liefeld created? Did you know you were going to turn the book into X-Static?
MA: My first reaction when Axel Alonso first offered it up was that I would get to create all new Marvel mutants with Peter Milligan! I was so jazzed that I doodled most of the main characters on a sheet of paper while I was still on the phone with Axel. Later Axel suggested the new title since we'd clearly moved far away from the original X-Force concept.
Mike Allred's ALL NEW GIANT-SIZE SUPER GINCHY SPECIAL hits stores April 6th.
Written or Contributed by: J M Hunter and Christian Hoffer