Comic-Con 2010: Jason Howard Interview

It’s come that time to wrap up the last of my 2010 Comic-Con articles.  It proved to be yet another grand weekend of stars, starlets, ink, film and fun in San Diego this year.  On Wednesday’s preview night, I took a moment to focus more on the ink than anything else, spending some time at the Image Comics booth.  ‘Booth’, however, is an understatement, as the Image area covers some significant square footage and is dotted with a variety of company talent. One of the most popular writers at not only Image, but in the comic book industry in general, is Robert Kirkman, who is part of the creative genius behind works like The Walking Dead and Invincible.  Not to be outdone by those two titles, one of my personal favorites and another Kirkman creation is The Astounding Wolf-Man.

When the Image big shot set out to create the heroic werewolf, he was in need of an artist who set himself apart from the rest of the pack.  Kirkman needed the sketch talents of someone who could breathe life into the idea that was growing in his head.  He found a guilty party in the very capable Jason Howard.  Howard took some time from the chaos of Comic-Con to speak with Why So Blu about the impending conclusion of The Astounding Wolf-Man, his thoughts on the departure, and what future projects lie on the horizon.

WSB: When was the concept of Wolf-Man first presented to you?
JH: I don’t remember the year, probably ’06, ’07.  Robert (Kirkman) and I had worked on another kind of one-issue thing for Image and he wanted to do a new superhero book and I was up for it.  So he threw out the idea of werewolf superhero and then we kind of talked about it and I worked on some designs and developed it together that way.  The initial concept was his and we ran with it from there.

WSB: When you work with him or any writer on a book, how does that work?  Do you present the artwork first or does he come at you say “Hey this frame, we need to have an angry individual here.  It’s gonna look like this, etc.”?
JH: Working with Robert, he writes full scripts so the story of the book is driven by him as far as the events that happen.  I get the script from him that says page 1, this happens, page 2 kind of details it and I do my best to draw that and add things that I think will make it cool or just dynamic and clear as possible.  Then, if there are things in it that I have, like ideas that would change the actual content of the story, then I call him or email him and we talk about it.  It’s not too often.  He knows a thing or two about writing (laughs), so it works out pretty well.

WSB: Unfortunately, Wolf-Man is coming to a close soon.  Was that planned from the beginning or was this a premature ending?
JH: Well, Robert always told me that it wasn’t going to go on forever.  We didn’t have a number set.  As we were coming up to 25, he was kind of wrapping up with the story a lot of key plot points that were going on since the beginning of the series.  He thought it might make sense to tie it up there.  Twenty-five is a nice round number.  He and I have another project that we want to do that we’ve been kind of talking about and doing sketches for for a while, so that’ll give us an opportunity to jump onto something else.

WSB: Do you get attached to the characters, to a project?
JH: Yeah, I’ll be working on the last issue of Wolf-Man after Comic-Con.  Even on issue 24, I finished that and I was like “Oh no! That’s next to the last issue.  I kind of like drawing this guy or that,” but I’m really excited about this next project too so it’s all good.  If I get that lonely or homesick from Wolf-Man, I can always draw him in my sketchbook.

WSB: When is the last issue of The Astounding Wolf-Man due out?
JH: I’m not sure when it’s on the schedule for.  It’s not finished yet, so it’ll be in the next month or two.

WSB: You mentioned ‘the next project’, but you’re tight-lipped about that.  When can we expect that to hit the street?
JH: I don’t know the answer to that either, hopefully sooner than later, but there are some schedule things Robert and I have to figure out as far as when it will come out, how much we want to have done before it launches and all that kind of stuff.

WSB: So that is another project with Robert Kirkman?
JH: Yes, that was part of the reason when it was time to end Wolf-Man.  That kind of made it not as sad as it could have been because we’re both excited about this other thing.

WSB: Is Wolf-Man dead after this story line or can we expect to see him in the future?
JH: Uh, no comment.

WSB: Ha ha!  Alright, I’ll let the readers draw their own conclusion.  We appreciate your work and what’s coming on down the line!
JH: Sure!  Thank you.

Whatever the mysterious project is of Howard and Kirkman, we don’t have to wait as far as Howard’s works are concerned.  He recently teamed up with fellow Image artist Ryan Ottley (Invincible, Haunt) to create the wildly outlandish Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark.  Both talents split their duties with Howard writing and drawing Sea Bear while Ottley does the same with Grizzly Shark.  The stories are loosely tied together with an evolutionary mix-up being the root cause of nature’s mismatch.  An enhanced soldier has a vendetta with the Sea Bear while a backwoods family tries coexisting (sometimes) in a forest of Grizzly Sharks.  These black & white tales are quick reads that contain an odd mix of limb-severing violence and humor, perfect for disturbed readers such as myself.  Sink your teeth into a copy today and be sure to check out The Astounding Wolf-Man as well!


6 Responses to “Comic-Con 2010: Jason Howard Interview”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    Woah, I never knew this existed! I’m gonna have to track this down.

  2. Fox

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  3. Gregg

    Thanks, Fox. I appreciate the feedback. Gerard, I wasn’t sure if you were referring to Astounding Wolf-Man or the new Bear/Shark story, but I will say the former is awesome. I took a chance on it when I came across it by accident on Amazon. I’ve never looked back. I enjoy it even more than Haunt which was my previous favorite. As the article says though, it’s coming to a close. I did get the hint from both Howard and Kirkman in my discussions with them that a hardbound collection could arrive in a year’s time.

  4. Gerard Iribe

    Yeah, I meant Wolfman, although I’m digging the artwork of Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark.

    A hardbound edition? That would be SWEET!

  5. Brian White

    I think if I buy comics now, I will always wait for the eventual hardback releases. So much cooler having them all bound within a hard cover. My 2 cents.

  6. Gregg

    I prefer that as well, though not all titles find an eventual hardcover release. Some are TPB’s at best. Either of those still take up less space than bagging and boarding x-amount of issues.