Four Letter Nerd

The Road to Nashville Comic Con 2014: An Interview with Drew Geraci

It’s here! Today is the day folks! Wizard World’s Nashville Comic Con kicks off a 3 day nerdstravaganza! For a 4th and final interview with Con guests, we had the pleasure of Speaking with Mr. Drew Geraci. With work on books like JLA, Nightwing, Thor, Wolverine, and more recently The New 52 Futures End weekly series, Drew is a brilliant comic book artist with years of experience. Enjoy our interview, and make sure to stop by Drew’s booth and say hi to him at Nashville Comic Con this weekend!

 

4LN – Do you remember when you first realized that comic book art, or just art in general, was what you wanted to build a career in?
Drew Geraci – I fell in love with comic books since I was 7 and would draw my own. However, it was a far-away dream for a long time, as I was insecure, and I didn’t want to live in New York. All those movies I grew up with showed the ugly side of New York, not the positives, so it was a scary proposition. Up until the early ’90’s, living in New York was, for the most part, the only route to break in. By the ’90’s comic book boom, there was such a high demand for artists, it lowered the bar, talent-wise. I thought: “This is the time I think I can make it!”

4LN – How did you initially get your start in the comic book industry?
DG – I showed my samples to Dave Johnson (award-winning cover artist) at a convention, and while he wasn’t impressed, he was kind enough to mail me sample pencils of his work. I sent them back and he saw potential, and hired me as his background assistant. First day, he just gave me a page and told me what to ink and I didn’t have time to fret, so I just inked.

4LN – Who were some of your biggest influences when you first started?
DG – Gaijin Studios, based in Atlanta. Dave was a member until he went solo. I was fortunate to have been influenced by Dave when he hired me. Gaijin, at the time, consisted of Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hamner, Karl Story, Adam Hughes, Jason Pearson. All great artists who were very generous with their time, giving pointers and support to someone they never met before. I even pitched in on a Savage Dragon miniseries, and my name was printed next to theirs – a real confidence booster! Sadly that style isn’t in strong demand like it was, for whatever reason. I now have to tone down my bolder leanings a lot on projects and rethink my approach. Whereas Gaijin’s style is strong black/whites, hard graphics, the modern trend is tiny linework that suggests more gray areas rather than black/white contrast.

4LN – In your 20+ years doing comic book work, is there a particular project that stands out in your mind as having been really fun to work on? DG – Legends of the Dark Knight #109-111, written by classic Batman scribe Steve Englehart, pencilled by Dusty Abell, inked by me. Dusty was also influenced by Gaijin Studios and Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. It was Batman, with shamelessly bold graphic art. Dusty even asked me to make the panel borders thicker than your average comic book. Great colors by Lovern Kindzierski also contributed to making this my favorite-looking book. Even the hand-lettering by Albie DeGuzman was perfect, yet unique calligraphy (lettering is all computer-generated now).

4LN – Do you have any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
DG – More Future’s End for DC, and some Disney/Marvel projects I can’t mention, since I’ve signed NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements).

4LN – What advice would you give to someone who is hoping to pursue a career in comics?
DG – Sacrifice and patience. No binge-TV watching. No gaming marathons. Stay focused on the goal, evenings and weekends when you have time away from your crappy day job. This way you chip away at bad habits, get better, and reach new plateaus every week.

4LN – This next set of questions is our 4LN Lightning Round. Just answer with the first thing that comes to mind…What is your all-time favorite candy bar?
DG – Heath bar!

4LN – What favorite possession would you hate to live without?
DG – My comic book spinner rack – it has Superman, Spider-Man, Archie and Richie Rich and “READ ONE TODAY” at the top, so you know it’s a classic!

4LN – Is there any comic writer that you’ve never had the chance to work on but would love to?
DG – Brian Michael Bendis. I’ve worked for DC most of my career, and on my Marvel work, I’ve somehow never gotten to work on his stories

4LN – What non-comic book do you think everyone should read?
DG – The Beatles: All these Years -Tune in by Mark Lewisohn. Even if you’re not a Beatles fan, It gives a vivid view of post-war Britain hardships. Lots of homes and businesses destroyed by years of nightly Nazi air bombings. A fraction of men survived WWII, leaving women mostly alone to manage families and other responsibilities. I’ve had to take a breaks from reading, as it gave me nightmares. But it’s an important read.

4LN – If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life what would it be?
DG – Predictably, I’d have to say The Avengers. These superheroes I grew up with became iconic solo movie characters, then became a team that was true to the comics. It was an unprecedented thrill ride.

4LN – Final question: Dr. Doom, Lex Luthor and Brainiac come to life and challenge you to a match of Trivial Pursuit that will decide the fate of the Earth. They tell you you can choose 2 comic book characters to come to life and be on your team. Who do you pick?!
DG – Tony Stark/Iron Man (Marvel) and Mr. Terrific (DC) – they’re not only some of the smartest characters, but they know both quantum physics and pop culture. Reed Richards and Dr. Manhattan are probably the smartest, but they’re so lost in their pursuits, they wouldn’t devote any time to everyday things we average people are interested in.

 

So that’s it folks! Last interview for the week! Now, get off your computer or phone or whatever you’re reading this on, and get down to Nashville Comic Con! It’s gonna be a blast!

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Stephen Andrew

Stephen has spent most of his life reading comics, watching horror movies, listening to death metal music, and speaking in the third person. His favorite comic book character is The Punisher, and he believes that the Punisher: War Zone movie is criminally underrated. His favorite film of all-time is National Lampoon's Vacation, and his favorite album is Pantera's "The Great Southern Trendkill".

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