We have a preview of tomorrow’s new issue … and a talk with hot Super-artist Aaron Kuder.
Kuder recently joined the Super-ranks as the regular artist on Action Comics, paired with writer Greg Pak (whom we’ll be hearing from tomorrow). He’s also a writer in his own right and produced one of DC’s best Villains Month entries, on Parasite.
He caught my eye because of his similarities to one of my favorite artists today, Chris Burnham. Which makes sense, since Burnham got Kuder his first comics job.
Kuder, 36, lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, but says he’s bounced around the country in his life: Michigan, Philadelphia, Colorado, Iowa, Ithaca, N.Y., among the stops.
“Growing up, my mom tried to encourage me to become a medical artist,” he explained. “She started buying anatomy books for me when I was 9 years old. I did not go to art school but I’ve always had a love for comic art, and entered many online competitions, particularly with Ten Ton Studios (an online comic art forum). It was here that I met Chris Burnham, who got me my first gig as a comic artist.”
Here Kuder describes his new life working in Metropolis:
This is arguably the biggest assignment of your career, on the industry’s flagship superhero book. How much does that enter your mind when you’re working on the pages?
If I let the pressure of drawing a book such as this overwhelm me, I would not be able to do my job. That being said, there is still pressure but I try to use it as fuel in place of fear. That’s not made easy when you have people like Jim Lee reminding you on Twitter that this is Superman’s 75th birthday. Le Sigh.
Like Chris Burnham, you appear to be influenced heavily by European cartooning styles. Tell us about how you developed your look.
Just after high school, I was introduced to the works of Grzegorz Rosiński, who is a Polish artist influenced by Moebius and best known for his artwork in Thorgal. I like the clean-lines style used by artists such as Alan Davis, Geof Darrow, Art Adams, and Al Williamson. I like to think of my work as a blend of their styles and others to create my own.
Did you grow up a Superman fan or are there other characters that appealed to you more?
What kid isn’t a Superman fan? Who didn’t imagine themselves as a superhero with the ability to fly, shoot lasers from their eyes, and smash buildings over evil-doers’ heads?
How much back and forth is there between you and Greg Pak? How does your collaboration work?
I love working with Greg. We talk on the phone a lot, and email each other even more. We do what we call a “plot first” script, where he writes out the major movements of the story without dialogue, I rough out what I see as the visuals of the story, and then we converse to find the best way to represent the story together.
I thought that Parasite issue was one of the highlights of Villains Month. How much more writing from you will we see?
Thank you very much! Parasite was a true labor of love. I’m definitely looking forward to writing again. (That’s all I can say for now.)
Name two Superman villains you’d really like to get your mitts on.
Mr. Mxyzptlk and Doomsday. Mxyzptlk because he captures a fun-loving element of comic books: He’s a multi-dimensional, time-traveling troublemaker that you could see riding a tricycle from hell or sitting on THE BIG RED BUTTON OF DOOM, all the while singing Stevie Nicks. I’d really love to do something with Doomsday, because he is a force of nature unto himself. In the same way Superman represents truth, justice, and all of that, Doomsday is destruction with thumbs, pure and simple.
What’s the best Superman story you’ve ever read?
One of the first Superman stories I fell in love with is “Superman: Exile,” because you really get to see him in a different light for the first time. He gets depowered, he gets angry, and he has to overthrow a government. I really loved the way that the story showed Superman in a new light. Similarly, this is true for most of Roger Stern’s Superman years. He has a wonderful ability to show the humanity of characters with superpowers without losing an element of their presence.
Reeve, Cavill, Reeves or Welling?
Well … I grew up with Christopher Reeve as THE Superman, and I don’t think I’m going to change my mind anytime soon.
Have a thought? Share it in the comments below!