I've been a massive fan of Garry Brown's dynamic covers for quite some time now, but he's more than just a pretty cover artist. Just recently, his epic run on The Massive ended with Brian Wood, and he's currently the artist on Catwoman with Genevieve Valentine. Brown was on hand at the Long Beach Comic Expo this past weekend and was nice enough to sit down and answer a few of my questions.
Cameron Hatheway: I've been a massive fan of your covers for quite some time. How do you approach covers to say, an interior page? What's the secret to giving a summary of the story inside without spoiling?
Garry Brown: Well with the covers I approach it more like an illustrator than a storyteller, so my job is to try and make it pop off the rack. Most of the time when you do a cover, you're working previews, which is four months before the book comes out, so I don't really have an idea of what the plot is or what's happening. I might have an idea of "this character's in the issue, and they fight" and I'll do that, so you're kind of making stuff up as you go along.
CH: The Massive was a huge success, and thanks to you and Brian, it ended just as strong as it started. What was it like illustrating that final issue?
GB: It was bittersweet. For two years I've been working on that, and then it's like you're drawing the last interactions with everybody and you see everything, and people, spoilers, dying/self-sacrificing for other people, it was emotional.
CH: You're currently illustrating Catwoman. Your style fits the darker, grittier tone of the comic really well. How do you approach illustrating such an iconic character and setting?
GB: When I was talking to the editor, Mark [Doyle], and the writer, Genevieve, they mentioned 'noir' a lot and I immediately thought 'neo-noir' with Michael Mann movies and stuff like that, so lots of shimmering cities and harsh light, which I love doing that stuff anyways so it was pretty easy to do it. I think Mark told me one time to use more black, which I've never been told that before, [Laughter] because I thought I used too much, so I use it more and it works more for the story.
CH: If it were up to you, what villain (or hero) would you love to illustrate Catwoman going up against?
GB: Probably Two-Face, just because that's more of a Batman staple. He's not really used anymore. I think it'd be interesting because it'd be a conflict between them, she's kinda an anti-hero and he can be non-psychotic, so there's duality for both of them and stuff. Yeah that'd be cool.
CH: I hear you collect original art. What are some of the gems in your collection?
GB: John Romita Jr. / Klaus Janson Punisher page back from Punisher: War Zone, I've got a [Jorge] Zaffino Winter World page, I've got a Dave Johnson pin-up of Russian Batman [from Superman: Red Son], he did one of those for me, I've got the cover to The Massive #4 by John Paul Leon, that's my first issue so I got that. Oh and I've got an Andrew Robinson painted cover to Superman #690.
CH: Do you have any plans for an original graphic novel in the future? What kind of story could you see yourself writing/illustrating?
GB: I think every comic artist plays around with some ideas and stuff. I've got a couple ideas, I'd love to a kind of contained sci-fi thing, not like spaceships or anything but, I really enjoy interdimensional time travel stories, so it'd probably be something like that.
Special thanks to Garry for taking time out of his busy schedule during Long Beach Comic Expo to talk all things comics and original art with me. You can find more of his work at his website or follow him on Twitter.