¦ Features ¦ Richard
Elson Interview Part 3
on pictures for larger versions
CW: I think
it was the advent of your colouring which allowed your comic-strip talents to
suddenly, and spectacularly, bloom. Were you aware of this improvement at the
time, or was it just "business as usual"?
as I'd been computer colouring for a few years before I came back to 2000AD, I'd
pretty much developed a working process that involved me doing a lot of correcting
and re-drawing at the computer. Looking back, when I began to work with other
colourists at 2000AD I couldn't do this any more and I think I lost a degree of
confidence in my ability to finish a page to the required standard in pencil and
ability is the thing that interests me most about comic art. I have no interest
whatsoever in fully painted comic art; it leaves me cold. Just like with the inking,
the colouring of a page is really an extension of the drawing process, for me.
It might not register to the viewer, but I draw a lot when I'm colouring, so it
gives me a good deal more confidence in the finished results if I know that I'm
in control of everything on show.
Having said that,
Nigel Dobbyn and Chris Blythe have done some great colouring over my inks.
I love colouring
other artists. It's a real thrill when I get a disk with some great b/w work on
it. Especially yours, Chris.
shucks! Since then, you've worked on two more original stories for 2000AD. You
are probably too diplomatic to say it, so I will: your artwork was the best thing
about them, by a long shot. Any frustrations over the material you've been given?
only in that there weren't nearly enough monsters to draw in them. Atavar is a
strange one. It's a real slow burner. The first series was basically a prelude
to Dan's main story. I suspect that it may start to shift gears rapidly as it
evolves. This is a real big story. I've had a great time working on Atavar 2.
thought Si Spurrier's 'The Scrap' was a really well written mini series. The basic
premise of the strip (the contrast between both roboticised (?) and brutalised
groups of humans in a confined environment) was, I thought, a powerful metaphorical
tale. If it didn't work as well as it could have done, I accept total blame. I
don't think I played up the contrasts between the two groups enough, visually.
I think I tried for a subtlety that was really inappropriate. The authority figures
should have been far more fascistic, Looking back. Sorry, Si.
in conjunction with Nigel Kitching for seven years on Sonic; I became used to
having a very close working relationship with the writer to the point where I
was involved in the story from day one, rather than presented with a finished
product and asked to interpret it. I much prefer the co-plotting roll. It's something
that I'd like to get into at 2000AD. I'm convinced it makes for more creative
and ultimately more powerful stories when the writer and artist are working as
a team from (virtually) the point of conception of the story.
you like to have a go at some of 2000AD's stock characters, (Dante, Rogue
or Alpha...?) or do you prefer to originate new concepts like "Atavar"?
Atavar is really Dan's baby; other than character designs I've had very little
input into the series, so far. Johnny Alpha, definitely. I'd love to draw a Strontium
Dog series, but the great Carlos Ezquerra has left a pretty high water mark on
that one. For me comics are about iconic characters; I'm not a big fan of the
'blokes in suits' school of design.The more visually bizarre, the better; Nemesis
(absolutely stunning character design) and the ABC Warriors always appealed to
me. But, my all time
favourite is Kano from (my all time favourite series) Bad Company. Brett Ewins
and Jim McCarthy have razor wire around him, though. I did put out the feelers
to Alan Barnes, at the Megazine, about doing a Kano cover when they were reprinting
Bad Co. Book 1, but it came to nothing. I may have to fight somebody to get a
chance at Kano.
I'll pile in on your side, Richard; I'd love to see you draw Kano! What are your
overall ambitions within the industry?
my own characters (believe me, there are a lot of them) into print.
to make that Trans-atlantic leap to comic super-stardom? I personally think you'd
do the best "Fantastic Four" ever! I could see you on "Doctor Strange"
Doc Strange would be great. Much as I loved the Lee/ Kirby FF's I am so in awe
of that work that I think it's virtually futile to even try and follow it. Werewolf
by Night or the Incredible Hulk would be the two books that I'd love to have a
go at. Basically I want to draw monsters and weird stuff, but I also want to work
on stories that have the depth to speak about the important things; you know,
life, death and all that bollocks. I really do believe that comics are at their
strongest when they use iconic characters to metaphorically represent elements
of reality, rather than trying to directly imitate reality. Paradoxically, the
more bizarre and removed from reality the character is, the more it is able to
say things that feel real, to me. Moby Dick and Frankenstein's monster are great
examples of this from literature. Although they engage the intellect, archetypal/
iconic characters also have the ability to communicate directly with the imagination.
They resonate ancient and idle parts of the brain and make the aesthetic experience
so much stronger. These are the types of comic characters I want to create/ work
about wraps it up, Richard. Anything you'd like to add? Maybe start a feud
with another creator, (the surest way to guarantee yourself valuable publicity)?
'em all. They're a bunch of bastards and deviants :)
true! Thanks for your time, Richard!
You can currently
see Richard Elson's work on Atavar 2 in the latest 2000AD.
For more on
Chris Weston, check out his
site, his interview,
or his work on The Filth, available in any local comic book shop.