Artist Marcus Muller has been one of Once Upon a Time Machine‘s most dedicated contributors – working alongside writer David Tanh and letterer Jason Arthur, Marcus drew and colored the single longest story in the book. Their take on “The Tortoise & the Hare,” is an anime-inspired, nonstop rush of kart race craziness, The Tea Garden Park Soapbox Grand Prix. Now let’s get started…
Q: Tell us a little about your life as an artist, and how you got to where you are today.
Since I was a kid I had always been pretty obsessed with cartoons and then eventually comic books. Around first or second grade, working in one of those fields became my dream job – replacing becoming a Ghostbuster (still time for that, though, right?). I’m still struggling to make a living from it; I had a few “almost there” moments where I did get some work for DC Comics Creative Services department, but the editor I was working with got canned like 3 months after I started there, so all my worked dried up because I didn’t know anyone else at DC. :-( Ever since then I’ve been taking on odds and ends until something a bit more stable comes along, all while trying to finish some creator-owned projects.
I didn’t go to college for art, so I’ve picked everything up on my own and by picking other people’s brains (not literally, that would be gross…or tasty), like how I learned Photoshop from my more computer-savvy younger brother. If I had gone to college, I’d be really screwed with having to pay off student loans right about now. So I’m thankful for that, heh.
Q: I see three sorts of comic work under your belt: work-for-hire, collaborative, and personal. How do you compare the three?
Work-for-hire is definitely the least fulfilling of the three. But being stuck in a room working on my own comics 12 to 15 hours a day, I’ve really come to appreciate the collaborative process and having someone I can call up or e-mail and bother about a project. I think it’s possible to produce better work that way by, having things suggested that you may not have thought up on your own otherwise; and if you come up with something that is complete crap, it’s good to have someone tell you this before it sees print or before you put anymore work into it. It’s always good to have someone to bounce ideas off of as well. However, with strictly personal work, I’m left to my own devices with no one to save my ass, and forced to take some risks I might not have taken if I was working with a collaborator. They both have their positives and negatives to them I guess, and I enjoy them both equally. Continue reading