Comic Creator Interview
with Leigh Walls
Name: Leigh Walls
City: Brooklyn, NY
Comics: Bloody Pulp Magazine #1; Guardian Knight Presents #1; Trey #1, #2; The Gathering #4, #20, #22; Guards of Dagmar (inker); Casimir Effect (inker)
Websites: www.LeighWalls.com, www.BloodyPulpMag.com, leighwalls-artist.deviantart.com, www.Prontocomics.com, www.grayhavencomics.com
QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?
Leigh – I’ve been drawing comic stories for as long as I can remember. Looking at & reading comics, on the other hand happened a bit later. The first comic I ever actually READ was Avengers #260 by Roger Stern, John Buscema & Tom Palmer. I kept reading comics, but drawing them kind of stopped or at least slowed down for a few years in my 20s. I picked it up again & have been going ever since. Reading comics, on the other hand, has slowed down considerable in the last several years.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
Leigh – The first comic I ever bought was Marvel Comics Presents #19, with a Rob Liefeld Cyclops cover. I was hooked to Liefeld then. He spoke to me as a young artist.
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
Leigh – Put out? Hmmm... I drew a short comic in junior high that I did using design markers on the backs of book covers. I also drew a short comic in high school which was full of cursing. A lot of my friends told me it was the best comic they ever read. I also participated in a comic that was handed out in the editorial offices of Marvel Comics when I was 17. But the first published, printed, & semi-distributed comic I drew was Bloody Pulp Magazine in 2007.
QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?
Leigh – I’ll have to say 80s. I loved what was happening in the X-books back then. You had Claremont writing & Silvestri with Dan Green on inks. The art was so simple & effective. The stories focused a lot on the X-Men as a family. It was sublime. You also had Simonson on FF & Thor, Sienkiewicz on New Mutants & Elektra Assassin (which I actually didn’t read until much later), Epic Comics & STAR comics. Ha-ha-ha... I was a Marvel guy, you can probably tell.
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
Leigh – That’s a good question...
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
Leigh – Comics is comics. How they’re made or what opportunities the creators are able to pull from their creation, whether it’s financial or the chance to work on bigger & “better” things is strictly up to them. I just like that they’re being made.
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
Leigh – For Bloody Pulp, we printed 150 copies split between the 3 of us. Then we started pimping it out.
QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?
Leigh – Ha-ha-ha... I guess as much as they can without breaking the reader or the creator. Some books have a really high production value, & that’s great. I love a really good looking book. Some books are about getting a story out there. That’s great too. I’ve bought my share of books made out of someone’s basement or late night at a Kinko’s (anachronistic reference alert).
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
Leigh – I produce about 3 or 4 books a year, but about 12 books worth of art. Ha-ha-ha... I’m incredibly fussy & tend to draw a page 3 or 4 times before I’m happy with it. I plan to see a shrink & maybe get to a monthly schedule. Ha-ha-ha...
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
Leigh – Yes...
QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?
Leigh – There’s this kinda rule to sequential art. In theory, you’re supposd to end each page with a mini cliffhanger. You know, like a person turning their head in a “What the heck is that?” sort of way. It’s supposed to make the reader want to turn the page. A comic strip does that to entice a reader to come back to it the next day since strips are usually done on a daily basis. Also, in a strip you need to kind of summarize what happened the day before in the first panel, usually by re-establishing the previous day’s cliffhanger., followed by a couple to a few panels of substance, & capped with another cliffhanger for the next strip. For books, you have a lot more room to forward the narrative, build tension, explore subplots & characterization as well as just hang around & sightsee. Though, if you’re talking gag strip, then it’s like telling a joke: setup followed by punchline. With that being said, I like them both, but comics are best suited for both my verbosity & lack of patience.
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
Leigh – I once did a 12-page comic in 9 days. Then it took about a month to print.
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
Leigh – I’m pretty much better at it all. I feel like I had an easier time just DOING them, but it could be me looking at the past through rose-colored glasses.
QRD – Do you do thumbnails?
Leigh – Yes... it helps in the thinking process.
QRD – At what size do you draw?
Leigh – I draw on a 14” x 17” piece of 2-ply smooth bristol board with a 10” x 15” live area (if I’m ambitious) or a 9” x 13.5” live area if I’m planning on bleed images.
QRD – What kind of pens do you use?
Leigh – I vacillate between a Hunt 102 crowquil, a Hunt 56, a Hunt 103, a Gillott 170, a Gillott 189 & a score of disposable markers & pens.
QRD – What does your workstation look like?
Leigh – Not so good. Ha-ha-ha... I have an old drawing table at about a 45° angle with my water & pens & pencils sitting on a small table to my left for easy access. Behind me is my computer workstation that I switch to for processing, color, & lettering.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
Leigh – Usually when/if I color or letter. I do actually do some clean up of artwork digitally. Most clean up & correction I do on board.
QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?
Leigh – They’re tops!
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
Leigh – Black & white because it’s so immediate for me. Because I’m usually scanning & cleaning up & stuff like that before going to color, it takes me out of the process & I have to find the flow again. If I do watercolor, which is rare, I can continue the flow from the previous drawing.
QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?
Leigh – As many as it takes to complete & do whatever job they do best. There was a time in the industry, when they would just stack people into a book to get it done. I like the cooperative quality of that kind of thing, like when people would make a chain & pass a bucket of water along to put out a fire.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
Leigh – Usually through social media. A lot of times through friends.
QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?
Leigh – I can work from a tight script or from a couple of notes on a Post-It. It would all depend on how much control the writer wants. There’s a story I heard about Stan Lee & John Buscema working on books from phone conversations. It was done like that because John Buscema didn’t like having to read stuff he & Stan already said over the phone.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?
Leigh – Someone compared me to Wally Wood once. Not to my face. I think I would have tried to talk them out of it. Ha-ha-ha... I really love his art.
QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?
Leigh – They like them. I get constructive criticism from my brother from time to time, which is awesome & all my friends are basically comic book folk, too. We’re all fans of each other.
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
Leigh – Love them. Working on a couple superhero stories right now.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
Leigh – I’m definitely a FOOM. (Friend of Old Marvel) There are some DC characters I like, mostly the Kirby created stuff.
QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?
Leigh – I’ve been writing stories in my head for Marvel’s Sleepwalker... go figure.
QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?
Leigh – I love self-publishing. Getting the books together & having a finished product that is the result of the sweat from your brow is the best feeling in the world. Comics is one of the few visual storytelling mediums where one person can do everything & still walk away with a product that can have the same scope & brilliance as something that was done by 20 or 200 people. There are some animated movies that are completely done by a single person, but not enough to make it a standard.
QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?
Leigh – I love MegaCon in Orlando. It’s the biggest intimate convention I’ve attended. I think it’s because the big companies aren’t there (yet...). I would like to have a table at NYCC (New York Comic-Con) & SPX (Small Press Expo). NYCC because it’s a BIG con right in my backyard & SPX because it’s a smaller show with a lot of artists attending I’m a fan of & respect. I’ve yet to get a table at either. NYCC keeps rejecting me... ha-ha-ha. I keep forgetting about MoCCA Fest (Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art Fest) until the week before it starts & there’s a local Brooklyn jammie where I would love to exhibit, but always forget until the last minute. This year, I’m going to be at Florida Supercon for the Saturday of the show as well as PalmCon & Creator Owned Expo, both also in Florida.
QRD – How do you feel about doing work for anthologies?
Leigh – I’ve done a bunch for anthologies. Besides Memoirs of the Mysterious, Bloody Pulp Magazine was an anthology as well as Guardian Knight Presents. I also do anthology work for Grayhaven, occasionally, & submitted some work for the Creator Owned anthology, Love, Resistance – Part 1, last year.
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?
Leigh – To promote, I try to hit all the social media sites I can. I still need to do a better job. Maybe, for my next book, I’ll try the press release idea like Eastman & Laird when they put out their first Ninja Turtles book. That seemed to work pretty well for them.
QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?
Leigh – I think so. I’ve sold Bloody Pulp in a comic store as well as another book I was involved in called Trey. I do so enjoy selling books with just a properly pasted URL, tho. Gotta loves the ‘nets!
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
Leigh – All of the above? Ha-ha-ha... I won’t lie, the appeal of one of my properties making me money in the seven figures is very real. I would love to be made comfortable by something I created being made into a movie or video game or something, but I’m a comics guy. I love comics. It would have to be a very lucrative for me to think in terms of any other medium.
QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?
Leigh – Neither, anymore. I think I stopped reading on a regular basis about 7 years ago & I never really collected except for those Darker Image books I decided that I would never open... until I opened them. Ha-ha-ha...
QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?
Leigh – I think print might be going away very soon. That’s not a prediction as much as a fear. I love print but it’s so much cheaper to publish digitally. So I’m thinking in that regard, web distribution is going to be the way to go in 10 years. That’s unless something better comes along, which is very possible.
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
Leigh – I would love to see more all-ages books. The comics medium has definitely grown up but it needs to stop being so id intense. There’s a lot sex & violence that goes a little overboard. I started earlier with a book that was wholly from my fevered teenaged brain & now I’ve come out the other side wanting to see a little innocence... a little fun. Make a world, play in that world & make the world play with you. Serious messages are awesome, make metaphors & allegories all you want, but sometimes the fun is forgotten. We gotta stop thinking like adults sometimes when making these things. (Steps down from soapbox)
QRD – Anything else?
Leigh – I’m relaunching Bloody Pulp Magazine with a new issue one slated for a July release. For more info go to www.bloodypulpmag.com. Also, I’m working on a superhero comic book that will be available in June & a sci-fi comic that will be available around May or June as well. You can also check out www.LeighWalls.com for information on them & whatever else I’m working on.