Hey Stuart! I actually have a question… I love the centrifolia sketch book releases. Wondering if there is any plans of releasing a third volume in the near future? Maybe feature some behind the scenes works while you were in X-Men or any runs on other comics you’ve done to justify a new edition? Your sketches are always fascinating and insightful into your creative process.
I’ve taken the liberty of copying your ask to a public post, but will gladly remove it on request.
Thanks for your comments regarding the Centifolia books and my process posts here. I’d be happy to compile a third volume at some point, but frankly, we are still sitting on quite a few copies of one and two, and I’d prefer to have those go away first. I wish I could say that sales were huge, but it’s actually been a pretty modest endeavour.
As to the possible inclusion of Marvel (or similar)-related work, despite being a possible sales hook, it’s a flat no-go as far as I’m concerned. Not only am I not legally permitted to publish that stuff, I’m not in the least interested in doing so. I think it’s a bad idea. It frustrates me to see members of the comic arts community take advantage of the publishers’ lax rights-enforcement stance by printing their homegrown Silver Surver t-shirts, their Ant-Man digital prints, their Wonder Woman sketch portfolios. They bite the hand that feeds and by example, open the door to imitators hoping to make a fast buck at conventions. Sketching an original for a fan is one thing, but profiting by printing multiples of someone else’s copyrighted material is wrong. Just because Marvel and DC are “big” is no excuse; if there is to be respect for smaller enterprises, personal works, creator-owned books, then the same rules need to apply across the board. You can’t yell about Redbubble or whomever stealing and printing your personal work and then turn around and print and sell a sketchbook filled with characters you don’t own.
I know a lot of people don’t agree with this and I expect there will be a lot of folks looking for anomalies in my own behaviour. I’m trying.
Again, thanks for your question. There may yet be a CENTI III— if and when it happens, you’ll be first to know.
Stuart, first of all thanks for all the work you do, it's a constant inspiration. I have a few questions, no need to answer them all: Have you, in your professional career, tired to quit but felt drawn back to comics for whatever reason? What is something that pops up often in scripts that you don't like drawing? What areas of your work do you feel you want to improve in? Is there some advice, moto or story that inspires you to keep working when you don't think you can?
Hello and thanks for the kind words.
1) I’ve never considered quitting per se, but I have periodically gotten very very tired, sometimes mentally, sometimes physically. I try to take more weekends off now, to get regular exercise and have recently cut way, way back on personal appearances.
About eight or ten years ago, K and I redoubled our commitment to create (or finish) the stories we’ve always talked about doing, and I have found that. despite the added workload of webcomics (Never As Bad As You Think) or OGNs (Moving Pictures, Russian Olive to Red King), the effort is worth it on its own merits as well as having a rejuvenating effect on work to which I am already committed. A change is as good as a rest, you know.
2) Oh, every page has some frustration, but I expect that’s due to my own limits, perceived or real. I find sci-fi environs in general very challenging and feel my efforts often come up short. Hair is hard. Explosions. Trees. Babies. Hats.
3) See above. Every new day, every new page is an opportunity to improve. Knowing there are people waiting for work to get turned in means sometimes letting less-than-perfect drawings go out the door. Tomorrow there will be better drawings. And free beer.
4) I could make something up, or you could take your pick of inspirational aphorisms by which to live, but I honestly don’t give the subject too much thought. My job is telling stories with pictures. That’s what I’ve committed to do, so I don’t waste a lot of time brooding about whether or not the muse is with me on a given day. I wake up and get to work. It was good enough for Kirby.
Dearest Immonens, Thank you for making earnest, thoughtful work in both independent and monthly comics. So few writers and artists choose to play both sides of that fence, and the community often feels terribly fractured along rather superficial lines between commercial and independent comics. Why do you think this is? What led the two of you to ignore that nonsense and do such great work in both arenas? Thank you for your time, thank you for your comics. -Jake
Hello and thanks to you.
Most days I think we both feel like we don’t really belong in either camp, actually.
Our interests as far as consumption goes straddle the (arbitrary) divide, so I suppose it makes sense that we would find stories worth telling regardless of genre. I was in the video store (yes, they still exist) this week and the clerk asked what kind of movies I liked. I don’t think she believed me when I said I would watch anything, even when I came away with The American, Thirst and Kieslowski’s Three Colors. Stories are stories; why limit yourself?
Do you have a particular genre or collection of songs you listen to while you work?
Not really. Because we share the same work space, whomever needs to concentrate more gets to choose what helps them do that best. For a long time the default was just the ipod on shuffle but Stuart’s got a little too much Woody Guthrie in there and we both got tired of diving for the skip button. Our taste is pretty diverse but it basically stops around 1990.
Mostly now, we let the Shaw satellite tv radio play in the next room and there’s a French nostalgia station that is like the soundtrack for the French version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. And that’s basically perfect. As is the 70s station on the days when it decides to be mainly Roberta Flack and Marvin Gaye.
Stuart, I just reread Nextwave again for the first time in a while and it remains my single favorite comic of all time. Would you be interested in getting the band back together, if not for an ongoing series, then at least for an OGN/one-shot/miniseries?
If Warren wrote it, Nick Lowe edited it, Marvel scheduled it, and I was asked to draw it, I would be all over it but I suspect that ship sailed a long time ago.
Kathryn - as a lover of your unjustly short journey into mystery run I'd love to know: what was your personal highlight of the series?
First, as one not-so-secret JiM lover to another, thank you. It was a tremendously good time. And second, at the risk of sounding obvious, the highlight was 100% making a book with Valerio Schiti. He was a delightful companion and a hilarious collaborator right from the get go. And I think we both, inexplicably, ‘got’ Sif in the same way… fierce and elegant, dorky and awkwardly literal… all in equal measure. Totally incapable of telling a knock knock joke, she was our enormously gifted, sometimes misguided and mistaken, Asgardian giraffe. I hope that some of what we were able to do with that character sticks going forward.
Stewart, could you share your thoughts when you were trying to break into comics? Were you aiming for Marvel, or something else? When did you know you want to draw comics?
This tumblr recently had a series of posts about the last 26 years I’ve spent in comics and I’m sure there are a dozen interviews floating around in which I detail how and why I got in the business. Working for Marvel is great; it’s not the only thing I do.
I've seen pictures of Stuart drawing on a ASUS slate, do you use that for professional work or personal projects? Do you have a preference working digitally or on paper
Personal projects are professional work, but I understand your meaning.
I’ve use the slate for Marvel gigs (see above for example) as well as on Russian Olive and SNIPE. I like it fine and I’m happy to have some facility with a 100% digital workflow since it makes certain tasks (or entire jobs) available to me that would be otherwise harder or even impossible to do. That being said, I wouldn’t cross the street to draw on a computer screen.
I love all your work, K & S both, and I was wondering if you might pitch a creator owned title with a female lead to Image or the like any time soon. Possibly titled "Totally Not Hellcat. (At All)" <3
Hey, thanks. That’s very kind.
To be completely honest, we’re not really interested in serialized CO work at the moment, which leaves Image out of the equation entirely. (Which is also not to say that there isn’t some great stuff happening over there and yes, arcs are generally written to be collected so, in some ways, it amounts to the same thing.) For the moment, we’re more interested in self-contained books. The next thing on the hovering on the horizon after Russian Olive will also be a single object. Of course this could change, if one of us had some kind of brain wave, but for the moment we are happy to putter along on our current course.
Are you leaving All-New X-Men for good or will you be back to draw more issues down the road? That book has been my favorite comic book for the last two years in large part because of your artwork. If you are leaving for good, then I just want to thank you for all your hard work in making ANXM as amazing as it is and I want to wish you good luck in your future projects. Thank you!
I’d never say “never,” but there are currently no plans for me to return to ANXM in any capacity. However, it’s in extremely capable hands; I’m certain your continued enjoyment will not be diminished in my absence.
Love your new costume designs for the All-New X-Men and your redesign of blue/furry Beast. Did you get instructions from Mr. Bendis or anyone else at Marvel as to what they wanted to see for those characters, or were those designs all you? Either way, they're awesome! Also, if given the chance what character(s) would you like to redesign the most?
For good or ill, the present look of the Beast and the ANXM costume designs, including the colour palette, were my work alone.
The opportunity to rethink costumes comes up fairly frequently; there are some inspired artists for whom the task comes naturally, and there are others who manage in a more perfunctory way— I’m afraid I fall into the latter category. It’s part of the job, but it’s not something I go looking to do.
Seeing as Tom McGraw became a writer on Legion Of Super-heroes, how much input did you have on the scripts during your run?
At the time, we had annual “summit” meetings where Tom, KC Carlson, Ron Boyd and I would discuss general plotline direction for the upcoming year; everybody present was free to contribute more specific ideas, but Tom alone handled the task of producing the scripts. I don’t recall whether or not anything I may have suggested actually made it to publication.
Every year, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund taps the greatest creators in the business for a highly collectible “annual” full of one-off art and stories celebrating freedom in all its guises. Now, a beautiful hardcover volume collects all these piece from 2008-2012, and it’s a strong…
This volume really is one hell of an amazing thing and we’re fairly certain that your local purveyor of books would be happy to sell one to you.
Early one morning on the outskirts of Sudbury on a recent tour circumnavigating Lake Huron, we tumbled into a Value Village, ostensibly looking for a high school sports jersey (another story entirely) but instead finding an unusual volume (alongside a copy of Reg Manning’s What Kinda Cactus Izzat?)on a shelf of humour books; the overbearingly-titled Macpherson: WORLD EVENTS, REPORTAGE DRAWINGS, THE EDITORIAL CARTOON, 1966 CARTOONS A Canadian cartoonist’s review of politics from sputnik to separatism.
Duncan Macpherson, September 20, 1924 - May 3, 1993, Member of the Order of Canada, WWII vet, six-time National Newspaper Award winner, worked at the Star from 1958 to 1993, mostly in the capacity of editorial cartoonist. The book we picked up covers 1966, showing Macpherson in total command of his craft, confident and experimental and bitingly funny. The expansive “reportage” section is especially fascinating, documenting trips to Cuba, East Berlin, Soviet Russia (apparently a thing cartoonists just did, following in the footsteps of his one-time instructor David Low and contemporary Hank Ketcham) as well as sketches from the House of Commons, courtrooms (the trial of Jack Ruby!) and the Queen’s visits to Quebec and the Caribbean.
Barely a week after retiring from newspaper work, at the too-young age of 68, Macpherson died in Beaverton, ON and apart from an entry on Leif Peng’s always-recommended Today’s Inspiration blog, you might be hard-pressed to find more of his non-editorial work online. The plein air work sampled below, with such vitality and gravitas, deserves a little more recognition.
Snipe, originally released as a book object in a very limited edition of 100, consists of two discrete stories. Snipe I follows a wildlife photographer lost in the woods while memories of his previous night’s fever dream gradually surface. Snipe II is a highly detailed and possibly fictionalized account of the life and career WWII’s most celebrated sniper, Finland’s Simo Häyhä. Where these stories intersect is in the territory of memory and inaccuracy, myth-building and psychosis.
This project is another point on the Immonens’ trajectory of continually exploring comics and experimental storytelling.