COMIC BOOK ARTIST KHARY RANDOLPH INTERVIEW
Get to Know the Man Who Drew The Adventures of Spawn
Friday, October 24, 2008
To fans of The Adventures of Spawn, Parts 1 & 2, Khary Randolph needs no introduction. The tremendously talented artist's approach was the perfect fit for the streamlined style of this unique comic book. With Issue 2's November release right around the corner, we thought this would be the perfect time to have Khary weigh in on the creative process.
Can you give us a quick background story on who you are, and what your current projects might be?
Yeah, I can do that. The short story is, born in Boston, left in '96 to go to art school, and currently living in NYC. Been working as a professional artist since '99. I've done a lot of projects in and out of comics over the years, but I'm currently working as lead character designer for both the Chaotic card game and Chaotic TV show, being put out by 4Kids Productions. I also had a hand in the eighth season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, also by 4Kids.
Oh, and I was also one of the character designers for the Wolverine & The X-Men cartoon, which will be coming out in 2009.
The Adventures of Spawn has been a successful online project for Spawn.com, and the conclusion is now being printed into another 48-page comic. Can you tell us your thoughts when you where originally starting this project?
That's easy. My first thought was "YES! HOLY COW, I'M DRAWING SPAWN!" My second thought was "WAIT. HOLY COW, I'M DRAWING SPAWN." That's edited for the children's sake, of course.
How exactly did you and Todd McFarlane Productions meet up on the project? Did you reach out to them, or did they approach you?
I believe I was approached by a Mr. Tyler Jeffers, my wonderful editor on the project. I guess he thought my style would be a good fit for the project. I had no choice but to agree.
How would you compare this to other projects you have been involved in artistically?
Well, I've always had two loves - cartoons and comic books. My first love is the medium of comics, and I've had some success there, but a lot of times I think the fact that my art tends to be very exaggerated and cartoony has maybe limited the jobs that I've been approached for. Which is probably why I've found myself such a good fit with animation the past few years. What appealed to me about this project was the fact that I could go cartoony but also still aim for a darkness that's not necessarily associated with kiddie books. It's meant to appeal to a younger base than the regular Spawn titles, so it's toned down some, but it still has an edge to it. I love that. It's got a dark humor. And I can't say that I've had any other projects that allowed me to explore both aspects of my art like that, and that's why it appealed to me.
And now, after all of that - is your opinion the same overall? If you had a time machine, would you do it all over again?
Yeah, I'd say my opinion hasn't changed much. The only thing I would change is my drawing itself. I always see things that I could have done better here and there. It's an unfortunate curse that I'm sure many artists deal with.
Now that we are done with memory lane, let's talk about The Adventures of Spawn #2. This is the conclusion to the story originally published a few years ago, right?
Was it relatively the same experience, in regard to how you worked on the first issue?
Not entirely. The first issue, I was fed the script in increments of three pages at a time, so I was constantly kept on my toes as to what was going to happen next. The second issue I was fed mostly as a complete script, so it was a little easier to pace and to understand the beats of the story a little better. It feels more cohesive to me and has more of a flow.
The online release of this story was different from the original release. With the first part of the story, Spawn.com was releasing a few pages a week. This second story released differently, in that it was half of the story first, then the second half. Any thoughts on which timeline worked better for you?
Ha. Easily the second one, because the deadlines were a lot more lax. Getting three pages done a week sounds easy in theory, but factoring in other jobs, schedules, and life makes it more complicated than it probably should be. I was constantly sweating over those deadlines, so having the new schedule was much more relaxing for me.
Which part was more interesting for you artistically?
Each presented its own challenges and rewards. I was just learning how to draw the characters in issue #1, and I definitely believe that by the time I got to #2, I had a firmer grasp of the characters and what I was doing with them, and thus, the art was probably stronger. #1's story jumped around from scene to scene a lot more though, so the situations were a lot more varied. One scene they were in a space station, the next in a zoo - these crazy scenarios were a lot of fun for me.
On top of working on this second part, you also contributed to one of the character bio comics, Omega Squad. From the look of the pages - it appears that you had some fun with that story. Did you, or is that our imagination?
Naw, I definitely did. I'm a big sci-fi buff, so drawing robots is a lot of fun for me. Plus, that Omega Spawn is just so darn easy to draw in comparison to some of the other characters. You know who I'm talking about, Tiffany.
And at what point of working on the second part were you also working on the bio comic? Did that timing help, or hinder you?
To be 100 percent honest with you, I couldn't even tell you. At this point it's all a blur of pages, pencils, eraser shavings and me ducking Tyler's emails.
Thanks again Khary, for taking the time to do this. One last question - anything new in the works that you can tell us about related to Todd McFarlane Productions or Spawn?
Well, I can say that we are definitely in talks to do more work in the future, so you guys haven't heard the last from me. I'll be around for as long as these guys will have me.
Read our 2006 interview with Khary Randolph here.