Monday, June 7, 2010

Patric Reynolds

Posted By on June 7, 2010, 12:48 AM

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Of all the degrees you could get in the world, would you ever consider picking one up in sequential design? Or in more layman terms: comic book planning. With various subjects in fine arts found across the globe, along with the large audience of comic book fans aspiring to be writers and artists, the turnout for a serious degree is relatively low as only those who are serious about entering the field choose to apply and achieve the degree. Today we chat with one of the few people I know who sought out this degree and has successfully put it to good use.

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--- Patric Reynolds sought out his Master's in the field and never looked back, working on titles out of the Dark Horse lineup, as well as being one of the fortunate people to get a shot at the Serenity one-shot comic that just barely hit the shelves last week. I got a chance to chat with the man himself about his life and career, the work he's done for Dark Horse, thoughts on the industry and its future, and a few other topics here and there. All with samples of his works for you to check out.

Patric Reynolds
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http://www.theredarmystudio.com

Gavin: Hey Patric! First thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Patric: Wow. I should give you a little historical background first. I spent the first twenty-two years of my life in Salt Lake City, but I moved to Las Vegas to teach middle and high school art. After five years, I decided that it was the closest that anyone ever gets to experiencing hell. Everything about that job was so incredibly exhausting. I was in my mid twenties and I felt like I was middle-aged, so I knew something had to change. Then, out of the blue, the Savannah College of Art and Design sent me a postcard in the mail telling me that they were reviewing portfolios in Las Vegas that summer. I had applied to SCAD when I was in high school, but I couldn't afford to go with other siblings going to college as well. I guess they kept my name on record since then, it must have been at least ten years. So I went, applied, got accepted, and finished my Master's Degree in the summer of 2009. Toward the end of the two years that I spent in Savannah I began working for Dark Horse, and they've kept me busy ever since. Some random, interesting facts that might tell you a little more: My three favorite movies are “Donnie Darko”, “No Country For Old Men”, and “The Iron Giant”. And I still sleep on vintage 1980 Empire Strikes Back bedsheets.
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Gavin: How did you first get interested in comics, and what were some of your favorite titles growing up?

Patric: I really had just a passing interest in comics when I was a kid. My first comic was some obscure
Uncanny X-Men issue, I can’t even remember the title. followed by some of Dark Horse's Terminator and Aliens stuff. I think I got interested in those because I loved the films; they were coolest movies ever to a twelve year old. So when Dark Horse's Robocop Vs. Terminator came out, I totally had a nerd explosion. It was not one, but two cool characters in a single series, and they were beating the crap out of each other. So I started getting into more series, notably The Maxx. But, it was Grant Morrison and Dave McKean's Arkham Asylum that actually made me start thinking about comics and realizing that they could so much more than entertain. They can make you reevaluate yourself and change the way you look at comics, but also how you perceive reality in general. Asylum did that. There were so many layers, so many secrets that it held... it was painted, collaged, hell, there was even a fossil on the inside front cover! I wanted to make something like that. I don't remember wanting to be anything other than a comic book artist after I read it. I think the final nail in the coffin (so to speak) was Bill Sienkiewicz's Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix. It was so beautifully expressive and human, and it perfectly rendered its explosive subject matter. It was just page after page of this tsunami of a human soul gushing out in these little panels of possibility. I was no longer look at a comic, but narrative art.
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Gavin: What first drew you toward artwork and drawing?

Patric: Ah man... I think my mom started hanging up my little robot doodles in her cubicle at work when I was about three. She would always bring home re-appropriated pens, markers, and typing paper from work for me to fiddle around with. Drawing was ingrained into my mind at such a young age mostly because my mom kept everything and always kept me busy. I can't remember not doing it. Then I got into dinosaurs- everything about them fascinated me. In school, teachers would give me extra drawing "assignments" to keep me from bouncing off the walls, sometimes literally. In fact my third grade teacher, Mr. Hastings, was so exhausted with me that one day he told me to go and draw every dinosaur that I knew so he could “hang them up in the hallway.” I think ended drawing about 100 of them. Then I went back to bouncing off the walls.
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Gavin: Prior to comics you worked as a high school art teacher. What made you pursue that career and how was it for you working with teens at that level?

Patric: Ha! Can I swear? Just kidding. It’s a very…interesting story. When I graduated from Utah State with a BFA in illustration, my parents and I thought "um.... so what now?" Illustration is not an incredibly lucrative and stable career path. Although I always wanted to draw for a living, it didn't seem like I could support myself doing that. I never gave it a shot, thinking that there was no way I’d ever be good enough. My parents and I thought that teaching art might be a good way to earn a living, get health benefits, and do art too. So I immediately went into this "Plan B" without really considering Plan A. Representatives from Las Vegas came down to Utah for the annual teacher fair, and I landed a job teaching middle school in a pretty rough neighborhood down there. And it was mostly awful. Las Vegas presents a unique problem. Its hard to value education in a city where you don't even need a high school diploma to work in a casino and earn more money than the teacher of the class you're sleeping through. It’s easy to get a hold of money, but just as easy to lose it. That created a transient environment in every sense of the word. As a Las Vegas middle school teacher (as any middle school teacher, really), you're not so much teaching as you're just managing behavior and making sure kids don't set things on fire. Anything "educational" about my interaction with the students was probably incidental. I mean, you have to tell them not to eat paint for goodness sakes. So, I didn't have a whole lot of time to draw. When I transferred to a high school in a more affluent neighborhood two years later I thought "well, at least the students will be more self-motivated and more like real adults." I didn't really find that to be the case. Granted they didn't eat as much paint, but there were other problems. My class sizes were huge (I had to 56 in a room one year), and the students were bigger and more dangerous. One time I caught a kid making a hollow point bullet with a pair of scissors in my class. No lie. Another “advanced” student questioned quite loudly why she should heed my artistic instruction when I was “just a teacher.” After I got through being volcanically upset, I decided to use comments like that as an opportunity. One thing I tried to do was show them that I was an artist as well. If I wanted them to trust me, they had to believe that I could do it, that I could be successful. I started drawing an autobiographical comic on my own (I'd eventually use that as my portfolio to get into SCAD's MFA program), and I'd show them the progress I was making whenever I got a chance. Credibility goes a long way when teaching students of any age. They took to that pretty well. A lot of them read comics anyway, so they also became motivated to learn on that level, too. I definitely helped "turn the light on" inside some students' heads, which made it hard to leave them behind. But I think that they knew the life I had to lead.
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Gavin: Going back education wise, you attended Savannah College of Art & Design and got your MFA in Sequential Art. What made you choose SCAD and what was their program like for you there?

Patric: SCAD has the unique distinction of being the only college in the country to offer a complete degree program in Sequential Art. You can actually earn a degree in comics. I was very surprised that there weren't many classes that focused on teaching you how to draw, at least at the graduate level. Although one drawing class, Paul Hudson's Drawing for Sequential Art, all but destroyed me and my will to live. Many classes focused on teaching you how to tell visual stories, and to complete well-thought out concepts in very short amount of time. This what a lot of editors in the comic industry complain about when they look at portfolios; that students coming out of school can draw just fine, but they have a hard time telling a viable, engaging story. The faculty at SCAD is made of professionals who have years of experience in the industry. John Lowe, Dean of the College of Communications, has worked for every major comic book publisher and still manages to ink
Veronica (the Archie Comics spin-off) regularly. Professor Tom Lyle has spent the last 25 years working for Marvel and DC Comics, working on Robin and Spider-Man along the way. It was through their years of acquired knowledge and established networks that I began to learn what it took to be a professional. But I had to want to learn in order to take full advantage of their learning opportunities, even if it made me uncomfortable or if my work suffered or lacked confidence. That's basically what I took away from my experience at SCAD; I just learned that I needed to keep learning. It is entirely what you bring to it. I mean, no one needs a Master's Degree to draw comics. Just because you have a degree in the profession does not mean you're getting hired. The degree isn't the important thing. It doesn’t automatically make you learn what it takes to be a successful professional. Its the classroom experiences, working alongside other talented people who are just as hungry and motivated as you are, and constantly being held accountable for your own successes and failures that make SCAD’s Sequential art program an invaluable experience. I don’t think I could have got that anywhere else.
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Gavin: How did you officially break into the business and land a job with Dark Horse?

Patric: That's another good story. During the beginning of my last year in graduate school, I began sending my portfolio off to every publisher I could think of. But, I kept getting the same responses. It was mostly "Great stuff, we'll show 'em around the office." That went on for about nine months. I began to get nervous, since school was almost finished. Then people began telling me that I should start sending my stuff to artists and writers, since they already have established connections with publishers. So one day I sent my portfolio to Duncan Fegredo, who is a regular artist for Dark Horse's
HellBoy series. Duncan was incredibly supportive and seemed to really like what he saw and he said he'd pass the work along to Scott Allie, the Senior Managing Editor at Dark Horse. The next day, Scott Allie e-mailed me and said "Hey, good stuff... call me on my cell phone and we'll talk possibilities." I still can't believe it. Scott got me started on a little 8-page story for Dark Horse MySpace Presents #23, and I think the rest is history.
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Gavin: The first title you did was a one-shot of Abe Sapien. How was it for you working on that title and the challenges you met now doing it on a professional level?

Patric: First off, it was the longest project I'd ever done professionally. Up until that point I'd had done two little stories (the aforementioned
MySpace Presents story and then a six-page back story in HellBoy: The Wild Hunt #7), and this project was 24 pages. Just the length was daunting. My initial thought was "Man, that's a lot of pages with plenty of room to screw up." I got nervous just reading the script, because I thought I had to draw the hell of everything. I thought that every panel had to be perfectly composed with the best possible shot, since it was my first one-shot. I did a lot of over-thinking. Also, I had to draw a licensed character (Abe Sapien,of course), so I couldn't really deviate a whole lot from how he was depicted in past issues. I really had to nail him, right down the placement of his gills and his lack of fingernails. Other than that, writer John Arcudi left a lot of the script interpretation up to me, which was a very good thing in the long run. For instance, the Nokken creature that appears in the end of the story wasn't described in a whole lot of detail. John really wanted me to do explore its appearance on my own. The only real lead he gave me was a Google image of a mass of hair and two glowing eyes breaking the surface of the water. Everything else was up to me. After some research I came up with the creature you see in the book. Initially I didn't want to give it eyes, so that it would seem more savage and emotionless. But, Mike (Mignola), John and Scott wanted me to make it slightly more human, eyes and all. And that was another challenge as well- having six or seven people evaluate and approve everything you do before you move on to the next page. I got a taste of that in graduate school during critiques, but when you've got Mike Mignola, Scott Allie, John Arcudi, and three other assistant editors looking over every panel, it can give you the jitters. Sometimes changes had to made after I drew them. For example, I had to go back and change Abe's outfit to better suit the story, even after I had finished inking the pages, and some panels had to be redrawn three or four times. One issue that is inherent to the more realistic style that I choose draw in is that sometimes the characters appear to be little "stiff" or "posed." Scott wanted me to give the characters a bit more life and fluidity like Frank Frazetta or Joe Kubert, particularly with the action sequences. That became quite a challenge in some panels because I use lots of photo reference, and I'm used to drawing what I see. I dunno, that may be because I don't trust my drawing skills or my imagination completely. Anyway, Scott's point was that I have to make the characters believable, yet extraordinary. There's a sequence in the book where Abe busts into a kitchen in a panic and demands to see the possessed son. This is were I had the hardest time trying to let go of the photo reference and make Abe look like a tense, unhinged fish man. Scott kept telling me to sell the emotion and the action, to look beyond the reference a little bit deeper. I think after four tries Scott approved the page. Scott obviously wants me to be the best artist that I can be so I'm pretty thankful for all that, as painful as it may have been initially. We learn things by doing them, there is no other way.
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Gavin: Since then you've moved onto doing works for P.B.R.D. and HellBoy. What's it like for you working with those writers and creators on titles and seeing your artistic touch on that world?

Patric: My first gig was "And What Shall I Find There?", an eight-page Dark Horse MySpace Presents story written by Josh Dysart. It’s a spooky little story about Professor Broom's (HellBoy's mentor and "father") first supernatural experience. Josh is incredibly enthusiastic and supportive. We were talking on the phone once and he said "yeah, man.. I'd like to work with you on more stuff, because you ink like a motherfucker!" Josh wanted me to do some more projects with him right after I finished the story. Scott had already had me in mind for some other projects, so unfortunately I wasn't able to collaborate with Josh at the time. Scott Allie actually wrote the script for the next job I did, a back-up story titled "The Burial of Katherine Baker" that accompanied HellBoy: The Wild Hunt #7. Mike Mignola also collaborated on that piece too, so the pages had to be approved by him also. At the time, Mike didn't really know too much about me. I think I kind of made him nervous while I was doing that little story. He got a little concerned that the old man/demon villain was looking a bit too much like Santa Claus. For someone who is unfamiliar with the way I usually work, it would be hard for them to imagine the final finished image. I do pencils and inks, but my pencils are more like tight roughs, just contour lines and no shading. Most of the work and detail is done at the inking stage. So when Mike got my first pencils, I could understand why he was a bit apprehensive. That in turn made me nervous, because I began thinking that if Mike Mignola didn't like stuff I was doing and if I couldn't get his characters and stories right, I'd be sunk. Scott reassured me that I should keep on doing what I do, take suggestions, and keep plowing ahead. I never really heard from Mike directly, usually his suggestions and critiques would be passed down from Scott. In all of the jobs I've done for Dark Horse, most of the direction and critique I get is from Scott Allie himself. He's the guy who tells me to consider different angles, change the acting, improve the storytelling, etc. I have the most interaction with him, but every once in a while the writer or creator would drop little suggestions, too. When I got through about the halfway point of Abe Sapien, Mike started contacting me directly with positive comments. He would say things like "Wow, that shot of the burning Nix bursting through the house is pretty nice." I was so thrilled to get that from Mike Mignola that I think I called my mom and told her about it. As far as adding my touch to the whole The HellBoy and B.P.R.D. universes, I'm still a little demure about it. Those stories are so distinctive and visually recognizable, with Guy Davis, Dave Stewart and Duncan Fegredo creating that visual personality is such memorable ways. I just hope my contribution isn't too jarring.
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Gavin: One of the more highlighted gigs you've gotten involved with recently is the Firefly comic that will be written by Patton Oswalt. How did you get involved with that project and how has that been coming along?

Patric: After I finished Abe Sapien, I needed another gig in the worst way. I implored Scott about more work, and he said that Dark Horse was working on securing an exclusive and licensed franchise (more on that later) mini series, but it was pretty far off on the horizon. I did some sample "audition" pages for that, but it was too far away and I needed work to get me through the winter. Scott told me that he had a script for a Serenity based one-shot in his hands that focused on the character of Wash. He straight up told me that he didn't have an artist for it yet, but he didn't know if I'd be the right one for it. Most of my stuff is kind of bouncy and organic, and he wasn't sure if my style lent itself to the sci-fi genre too well. But ultimately he gave me a chance. He told me that if I did a knock-out sample page and proved that I could handle exterior spaceship battles and nailing likenesses of actors, then I'd be considered for the job. Now, I had heard of the movie and television series, but I'd never seen them. Scott suggested I watch the movie and entire television series to get a good read on the universe and characters within it, do some concept sketches, and then come up with a sample page. I really enjoyed the movie, and thought to myself "man, George Lucas should be taking notes." After watching the whole television series, I couldn't understand how or why it got canceled. The character relationships alone were incredibly engaging and fulfilling, and I felt fortunate that I had a chance to contribute to it. I ended up illustrating the "leaf on the wind" scene from the movie, figuring that was the best showcase for Wash's character. The page itself literally took me 24 hours, as I had to get used using rulers, designing multiple ships, and using extraordinary perspective with my trusty crowquill pen. I thought that using a technical pen would detract from the organic quality I usually bring to a page, so I stuck with the old school dip-pen. After I turned it into Scott Allie, we had this exchange:

Scott: "Great! I'll just turn this in to Joss and see what he thinks."

Me: "Joss... WHEDON!?!?!"

Scott: "Yeah, he's got to approve it."

Me: "Oh sweet Jesus..."

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Patric: I had no idea that it was going to Joss Whedon himself. That's probably a good thing, though. Had I known beforehand, I might have exploded in a mushroom cloud of nervousness. After a few weeks, Scott got back to me and told me that we were on for the Serenity one-shot. I was thrilled. It was definitely the sweetest gig Dark Horse had given me up until then. But then I remembered how long one page took me, and now I had to do 24 of them. The hardest part about anything is starting it, and once I got into a routine it was easy to ride the momentum. Twelve hour days were not uncommon, but Patton and Joss would directly e-mail more positive comments and support, so I looked forward to the challenge of the next page because I knew I must have been doing something right. When I sent in the last page, Patton replied "Home run." Man, I hope so.
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Gavin: One particular book I've seen from you is a black and white of John Coltrane, which is very different from other material you've done. What inspired you to do that and how have people reacted to that work?

Patric: I always loved John Coltrane's music. But I wanted to know more about it, and I wanted to know why I liked it so much. So when the SCAD sequential art department posted its call for entries for its annual anthology, I thought John Coltrane would make good subject matter for the "Biography" theme that year. But entries were limited to eight pages, so I had to choose a part of Coltrane's life, and not try to tell his entire life story. I had seen Ken Burns' extensive documentary on jazz, particularly the "Masterpiece By Midnight" episode that featured John Coltrane. I also read Lewis Porter's biography "the Life and Music of John Coltrane," and I became fascinated by Coltrane's story. He believed that jazz music was universal, and could "heal the corrupt and tortured world." Coltrane thought that it was the musician's responsibility to give the listener a "picture of the wonderful things he senses" in the world. He was a like preacher sermonizing to a congregation, trying to show you the path of some kind of righteous understanding. People often wondered how he, or any other jazz musician, could sustain those improvised 40-minute solos in the upper registers on such a consistent basis. The physical demands were astonishing. But, when an artist of any kind gets into that frame of mind, what is physical? In that state, an artist transcends that physical state, and ascends to something bigger than themselves. When you hear John Coltrane, you can hear him disconnecting, elevating, and finally bringing back something earnest and spiritual. I don't know what that something is, but it’s bigger than I am. It was like Coltrane found out what the world would sound like when it became itself; free, united, and pure. He was just the messenger. But something else that fascinated me about Coltrane was his humanity. Coltrane lost both his father and grandfather when he was eleven. The only thing John remembered of his father was the sound of his banjo and violin being played from behind the door of his room. John started playing music so that he could remember those sounds, and therefore his father (not a single photograph of John’s father exists). He got so obsessed with it that he was given the keys to the church where he could practice into the night. He needed to keep sustaining that energy, so he turned to heroin. He got so wrapped up in it that Miles Davis kicked him out of his band in 1957, punching Coltrane in the face backstage. Coltrane then went home to Philadelphia, locked himself in his room for two weeks, and had some kind of spiritual experience. The story goes that here he made a deal with God that if he was given the strength to kick heroin, he would do nothing but use his music for good. Two weeks later, he comes out of his room, never does heroin again, and commits himself to "becoming a saint." I thought that would make a good comic short story, and I titled it "Ascension." When I sent my work to Duncan Fegredo, those pages were included. He said he really loved the title, so I guess it turned out pretty good.
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Gavin: Very recently you relocated to Utah. What made you want to move here, and how are you enjoying the community and location?

Patric: Actually, I missed Utah after living in Las Vegas (the hottest place on earth) and Savannah (the dampest place on earth) for the last seven years. I had originally planned to move directly to Portland, Oregon from Savannah when I graduated from SCAD. Tragically, my dad and uncle were killed in a small plane crash last August. So I moved back to Salt Lake to be closer to my family for a while and help out wherever I can. What made that tragedy even harder was that I was literally right in the middle of doing Abe Sapien: The Haunted Boy, and I was about three weeks away from graduating from SCAD. I had to fly home for two weeks and then fly back and finish both school and the Abe story. But I know that's what my dad would have wanted me to do. I couldn't not finish. When I finished Abe, writer John Arcudi told me "you did great. Your dad would have been proud." John's such a great guy- that really meant a lot coming from him. I still have plans to move to Portland in the coming months, but that all depends upon when I can get this next miniseries done for Dark Horse. While I've been here, though, I discovered that Utah has a pretty visible comic scene. I think that's helped in very large part by Eisner award-wining distributor Night Flight Comics and organizer Mimi Cruz, who have put together lectures and signings at the Salt Lake Public with industry greats like X-Men mainstay Chris Claremont, back on May 1st for Free Comic Book Day! I was pretty fortunate to share a table space with Chris and artist Bill Galvan (Archie, Simpsons), writer Jake Black (TMNT, Supergirl), artist Brady Canfield (Wombat Rue) and writer Quinn Johnson (Rune Stone). Those guys are great, we were talking about doing some sketching jams at coffee shops and getting together for beers to talk shop before the night was done. I had no idea there were so many professionals living in Utah, including Ryan Ottley (Invincible). I'm not going lie, I thought Utah would be a comic industry vacuum. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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Gavin: Without giving away any major details, what have you got coming up that people can check out?

Patric: Oh yeah. That "exclusive licensed miniseries" I mentioned earlier is actually a four part story that is based off of the upcoming film "Let Me In." This film is a remake of the Swedish film "Let the Right One In," which in turn is based off of the book by the same name. The Swedish film is not only one of the best horror films I've seen, but one of the best films overall. It centers around two out-casted and lonely children, one of which happens to be a vampire. It’s so nuanced, well-crafted, and bittersweet. Its going to lend itself to a graphic novel very well, if I don't screw it up. This four-part story that I’m illustrating takes places before the events of the remade film, and its is going to do a terrific job of establishing how the actual "monster" of the story isn't nearly as terrifying as the some of the more "human" characters. It’s going to be pretty intense. That's going to keep me busy for the next eight months or so, and I won't have time to work on much else. While readers are waiting for that to hit the shelves (the first issue should be out before the film debuts in October), they can check out Serenity: Float Out, in stores now!
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Gavin: Going national, what's your take on the comic book industry as it stands right now?

Patric: I'm tentatively excited. From an artist's perspective, I think that there is a lot more opportunity for people to get their work published now than there ever was. Comic book companies seem more willing to take risks with compelling stories and different artists, thus providing more opportunities for newcomers. Publishers are not afraid to be too mature- they know that comics can be serious literature. At the same time I know there are no guarantees, especially in this economy. Jobs can fall through at the last minute, and there's still a very palpable atmosphere of unpredictability. Even senior staff and editor's are getting let go. But one thing I have noticed is that is more parity in the industry than in the past. Independent publishers are becoming more visible because as the audience for comics keeps widening and comics become more accessible through digital media. This also makes the audience more diverse. But that diversity is going to have many different tastes and expectations, so more variety is needed if comics are going to survive. Marvel and DC will always have a huge audience, but until the movie industry was able to believably put their titles on the big screen to reach a massive audience (in the late 90's) they were struggling. But I can also see the indie influence on some of their titles. The recent Marvel Noir series is sort of a stylistic answer to DC's Vertigo or Dark Horse's titles. I noticed that Marvel also puts out graphic novels based upon Stephen King books now, which would have been unheard of back in the days when I was just picking up Uncanny X-Men in the early nineties. I was also surprised to see that Dark Horse publishes their fair share of Japanese manga-style comics, too. Dark Horse in particular publishes a wide range of comics (from Emily Strange to Conan to Evil Dead), which is one reason why I like working with them so much. They're not afraid to put out something for everyone.
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Gavin: What would you say are some of the best series in print right now?

Patric: Scalped by Jason Aaron and R. M. Guera. It’s easily one of the most compelling and involving series I've ever read, and its one of few series I regularly follow. Every issue is more tightly wound than the last. Every single character is doomed in some way, but Jason Aaron is so good at making you think that they're one or two decisions away from redemption, or damnation. At SCAD I learned that characters are developed when they are put under pressure, and they are always under some kind of pressure in Scalped. Just when you think things can't possibly get any worse, they always do. To me, that takes a ton of creativity to keep it believable. That razor's edge is always sharp. It reminds me of my favorite television show “The Shield”, only on an Sioux reservation with more nudity and swearing. Guera's artwork always seems effortlessly expressive and sculptural, with a very descriptive use of black and shadow. I know I'm biased, but if I'm walking into the comic book store, I'm going right for the B.P.R.D. titles, too. Its basically HellBoy without HellBoy, and it has created this group of characters that are so well thought-out that they all could get their own series. Without HellBoy, they all have to bring the best of themselves out to get through each supernatural dilemma. I keep wanting to see who's going to step up next.
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Gavin: What are your thoughts on digital publishing and how some books are now going strictly to that format?

Patric: I think its totally necessary if the comic industry wants to still be relevant. Digital publishing widens the audience and its access to comics, simple as that. Thanks to digital publishing, it’s incredibly easy to get something out into the public. Its also a whole lot less messier than actually drawing the work by hand, even tough I still need to have the feel of bristol board underneath my hands as I scratch over it with my pen. From an artistic standpoint, I don't see anything wrong with creating a comic digitally as long as the artist can still tell a good story and isn't hiding the fact that they can't draw. I do think there will always be a need for actual printed books, as long as people have an interest in reading. A book is a tangible, immediate, and permanent piece of entertainment and literature that cannot be replaced.
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Gavin: Where do you see the state of comics over the next couple of years?

Patric: Hopefully publishers will keep taking risks and giving a more diverse group of writers and artists chances to communicate their ideas. I see comics getting more respect and viability as a literary art form (schools are using it more and more as a teaching tool in the classrooms). I'm not nearly as worried about the state of the comics as I am the film industry, which seems to have completely run out of ideas. I do hope that a standard is set so that more security and benefits are provided to artists and writers, and that all of them are they are treated more like full-time employees.
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Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Patric: Of course! Some friends and I do a sketchblog called Garage Ink, where me and four other artists (Andy Black, Evan Bryce Cranston, Rebekah Isaacs, and Mike Getty) come up with sketches based on random themes, like "What if the economy forced the Avengers to get part time jobs?" Also, I have a lot of friends from SCAD that have things hitting the shelves in the very near future. Oni Press is publishing the manga-flavored wrestling comic SuperPro K.O.! by my best buddy Jarrett Williams in July. Wildstorm is publishing an eight-issue series titled
DV8: Gods & Monsters by fellow SCAD alum and sketchblog artist Rebekah Isaacs, and written by Brian Wood. Finally, Mike Getty has been doing some incredibly smooth superhero stuff in Image Comics' Guardians of the Globe which is due out in August. Give 'em a spin! Oh, and don't forget to check out my website.

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