Chris Kemple, Richard Case, Craig Rousseau, Kelly Yates and Rich Woodall are five guys who, in addition to their other gigs, have formed the webcomics community Artist Alley Comics. We’re profiling all five this week with MIGHTY Q&As and if you wanna know more — and you do — check out our story here.
Dan Greenfield: What’s your Secret Origin?
Craig Rousseau: After voraciously reading comics growing up and going to art school thinking I’d outgrown them, and planning on a career in “real” art and illustration, I fell back into comics my senior year and worked up samples that got me a fill-in issue on Impulse (then another, then a regular gig!) … and pretty much steady work ever since.
Tell me all about your Artist Alley project and how it came about.
Kyrra: Alien Jungle Girl is exactly what it sounds like (with plenty of twists and turns along the way)… It basically started as a one-off pin-up for the Emerald City Comic Con art book Monsters and Dames… Rich (Woodall) saw the art and immediately came up with a whole back story that we’ve been building on ever since…
What other published work have you done that you’re especially proud of?
Working in comics for over 15 years, I’ve worked for pretty much every major publisher at one point or another… It’s been a thrill to work on my creator-owned book The Perhapanauts with Todd Dezago, and I’ve really been enjoying working on Batman ’66 stories over at DC recently!
What about some of your influences? Name some of the artists and writers who you’re really into, past and present.
I was just realizing that some of my favorite artists and inspirations are still working in comics, doing some of the strongest work in their careers — Walt Simonson (Ragnarok), Mike Mignola (Hellboy in Hell), Duncan Fegredo (MPH), Sean Phillips (The Fade Out), David Petersen (Mouse Guard) and Mike Allred (Silver Surfer).
In a perfect world, what’s your perfect gig? Besides Artist Alley, of course.
I gotta say, doing what I do now seems pretty perfect, working on both creator-owned and books and stuff for the big publishers… But I suppose I wouldn’t say no to working on developing The Perhapanauts and Kyrra for animation and/or feature films…
What was your first comic? Do you still have it?
I couldn’t say what my first comic was, but the one I remember clearly (and still have my dog-eared copy) is Avengers #158.
What’s the most sentimental comic-related item you own?
Hmmm, I’d have to go with a page of Tellos from Mike Wieringo, hanging in my studio.
What artist or writers not involved with Artist Alley should be getting more attention? What’s your favorite work of theirs?
Besides the folks I mentioned in my reply to Question 4 (who probably get a fair amount of attention), I can’t say enough about Matt Smith and his Barbarian Lord book.
Single best comic book you ever read. Not story. Not arc. Comic. Name it.
I’ve got a real affinity for Batman Chronicles #9, with Photo Finish, written by Devin Grayson and drawn by Duncan Fegredo. I’ve got the first and last pages hanging in my studio as daily inspiration.
Tell us something about you and your work that we haven’t covered.
Besides Kyrra on Artist Alley Comics (with a new chapter coming any day now… heck, it might already be there by the time this gets posted), it’s available on Comixology (along with quite a bit of my older work on Batman Beyond, Harley Quinn, Impulse, The Perhapanauts and more). More Kyrra and Perhapanauts are on the way in 2015.