The idea of the Issues with Perspective feature is to highlight a more in depth look at the creators who makes comics and the process behind the making of the issues/series. I am terrible at naming things (take the podcast Pages and Panels, holy shit I hate that name) but the idea is that you will get a better perspective of the issue/series by learning more about the process and the actual creator who made it (Issues with Perspective, get it? Nah). I hope with this feature readers will get a further look into the books they love and the amazing people who make them.
For the next installment of Issues with Perspective I was lucky enough to be joined by one of my all time favorite creators Andrew MacLean to talk about his upcoming issue of Head Lopper #3 out this Wednesday. Andrew talks his work day, Watching the story come together after all these years, and awesome action figures.
Below you will find the interview with Andrew. A huge thanks as always to Andrew for taking the time to talk about Head Lopper and his process. Be sure to pick up issue 3 of Head Lopper this Wednesday both in stores and online. Andrew also put out one of the best graphic novels of the last year in ApocalyptiGirl through Dark Horse which should be owned, read, and loved to death.
Andrew MacLean and Head Lopper #3
Who is Head Lopper #3? (Creative Team)
Myself and Michael Spicers on colors
What is Head Lopper #3?
It's the third quarterly installment of my adventure comic, where protagonists Norgal the Head Lopper and Agatha the severed head of a Blue Witch kill all variety of beasts in an attempt to hunt down a sorcerer.
Why should readers pick up Head Lopper #3 ?
I think it pretty rad, pretty unique, but maybe most important, I hate cliffhangers. So even though each issue is chronological in relation to the previous release I do my best to have strong resolutions in each issue. So if you miss an issue or are new to the series it not devastatingly confusing.
When/Where/How can readers get Head Lopper #3?
March 9th at you're local comic shop is best. Not only is it nice to try to keep those little businesses alive but they are the life blood of the comic itself. Buying your comics there helps insure the comics you like can be made. No one wants their favorite comic to get canceled.
What was a normal workday/writing session like for an issue of Head Lopper #3?
Get up. Eat breakfast. In the office by 9. Start drawing probably with pencil even if there are incomplete inks from the day before, that way my hand gets a little warmed up before I have to grab a brush for inks. And I just draw, one page after another, pencils and inks back to back, until 5pm or later. I work most weekends on a similar schedule.
What would you say was total time spent for your work on Head Lopper #3?
I really don't get a break so each quarterly issue probably takes about 672 hours.
What is your work space while working on the series?
I'll share a picture, but I've got the normal stuff, couple work spaces with all the necessary tools, a little art on the walls, some quirky toys. The only possibly unique thing is that when I complete a page I tape it to the wall next to my drawing table. It's convenient to have all the pages at arm's length for reference but mostly I just like watching the wall fill slowly as I move towards finishing an issue - then I rip it all down and start over with the next issue.
You like most awesome and smart people are into sick toys/action figures. What is the coolest one you own?
Hahaha yeah, against my better judgement I've started collecting. It's hard to choose a favorite so I'll share a picture of the squad that currently lives on my desk which is my current top 5 I guess. But if I had to choose a favorite it might be the silver/brown Deathra made by Gargamel I recently got. I've really been nerding out on the Japanese vinyl toys lately which is a very expensive hobby.
What are the tools/applications/research you used most in the creation of Head Lopper #3?
The only research I remember doing in this issue was for one of the monsters. It's based on this really weird arachnid that I find terrifying. So I tweaked it a bit and made it really huge. A lot of my monsters are inspired by real animals or bugs. We already have such an insane variety of animals on this planet, many of which are so strange they really are monsters - so often I'll start with an animal and turn it into a monster.
My tools are as follows: pencil then india ink (with a brush) on 11x17 bristol. After I get colors from Mike I then letter the pages in Photoshop.
What is the situation that gets the most productivity out of you?
I really don't get much in the way of blocks or anything. I almost never give up on a drawing. So really if I sit down, avoid the distracting computer, I'm pretty productive.
What media were you engaged with during the creation of Head Lopper #3 (music/movies/books/games) that helped the creation process or that you just happened to be into at that time?
For books I think I finished reading all of the Conan stories, then The Golden Compass. I started reading the Subtle Knife (until the library didn't let me renew it), and Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness. For comics I think I read the first installment of Sunny by Taiyo Matsumoto and then started Two Brothers by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. For music I can't be sure because I jump around so much. I know I listened to a lot of Devin Townsend stuff because I always do, like Strapping Young Lad, The Devin Townsend Band and The Devin Townsend Project. Symphony X came out with a new album during that time which I really liked, Solution .45 as well. I found Ghost BC and The Black Queen. And I always jump back and have some MF Doom days as well.
For readers who enjoy Head Lopper #3 what else would you suggest to them that they might enjoy that has a similar tone/style/message of your work?
If you can get past the dated racism and sexism, the original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard are pretty fun. I love Blades and Lasers by Ben Marra. I also love Lord of the Rings and The Song of Ice and Fire. Barbarian Lord by Matt Smith. Hellboy by Mike Mignola. Rumble by John Arcudi and James Harren. For movies, LOTR again, Conan with Arnold, Clash of the Titans from the 80's, classic Kaiju movies, Tarantino flicks. Maybe some of those seem like a stretch but one way or another stuff finds its way into Head Lopper
What is something you learned about the series/yourself/comics from work on Head Lopper #3?
Haha I learned that if you work too hard you'll find yourself at the chiropractor.
Head Lopper started originally as a self published project. A majority of issue one was a collection of the previous published works. Now that you are into #2 and #3 and beyond whats been the biggest difference since the early self published issues?
The biggest of course is the audience. It's much larger publishing through Image. Beyond that, on what happens in the book is the universe has expanded a bit. Writing Head Lopper in these large slow chunks gives me a ton of time to work out what I want characters to do so over and over again I've had the time to redirect a character's path or bring in characters I thought would be one-off throwaways and next thing you know the universe has taken on a life of its own and the characters decide when to show themselves. Its been so much fun watching it fill itself in.
Was there anything that you found particularly challenging or blocks you hit in the creation process? On the same note what was the most enjoyable part of your creation experience?
Drawing the things used to be my favorite but now I just like seeing the story come together. For instance, I'm drawing issue four right now, the last issue of the arch, and it is a BLAST getting to resolve everything. I mean every page has punctuation and that's a story telling thing more than an art thing. That's really satisfying.
Why do you love Head Lopper #3?
In the earlier issues, though Norgal and Agatha are lopping heads as always, the background characters are just being setup. Now in Head Lopper 3, those background characters start really making their moves and we get a good idea of where their intentions are taking us. I just loved having those characters amped up and ready to bring everything to a head for the last issue.