Reilly Brown is a stalwart veteran of the House of Ideas, drawing titles like Amazing Spiderman, New Warriors and Incredible Hercules. However, while Brown’s work on all of these titles is stellar, he made his name while drawing Deadpool. His work on the title was so prolific that he even got to write the mouthy assassin for a time.
Now Brown has created a Deadpool of his own– a Mrs. Deadpool, that is. Issue 2 debuts this weekend at San Diego Comic Con, where Reilly will have an artist alley table (EE-06). Go by, check his work out, and have a chat.
For those of you who can’t make it to SDCC here is an exclusive interview with the man himself.
Seth Ferranti: There’s a lot of hype surrounding the Mrs. Deadpool project. What do you have in store and when is it coming out?
Reilly Brown: Yeah, this series is really cool. I’m doing the covers, Salva Espin is drawing it, and Gerry Duggan is writing it. It’s more or less a spiritual sequel to the Dracula’s Gauntlet series that Gerry and I did last year. However, in the mish-mash universe of Battle World, Dracula won instead of Deadpool. It’s really exciting to see a character I created, Shiklah aka. Mrs Deadpool, take over the title. It’s the first time that’s happened, and that’s a lot of fun. I’m also really psyched that Marcus the centaur/werewolf/symbiote is a part of the cast. That was a character that I just drew into the Gauntlet storyline as a gag to surprise Gerry, so I’m glad to see his return! The first issue came out a few weeks ago, and issue 2 comes out on July 8th, I believe (the first day of SDCC).
Ferranti: You’ve had a long career. What has been your favorite character to draw?
Brown: Geez, you make me sound old! It hasn’t even been ten years yet… I certainly love drawing Deadpool. You can just do so much fun stuff with him that you can’t get away with when you’re working on other characters. Deadpool lets you get really self indulgent. I enjoy working on any character who has a lot of personality. I really loved the issues of Incredible Hercules that I drew. The Thorcules arc was one of my favorite story lines I’ve ever worked on. Spider-Man’s always fun as well. And of course, I love drawing Shiklah’s pet demon, Bug. He should join the Pet Avengers.
Ferranti: You are currently drawing Lobo for DC. What other projects are you working on?
Brown: Ooh, Lobo’s another good one. I’m actually finished with my commitment on Lobo, and I’m working on another project with Fabian Nicieza at one of the Big Two. The project has yet to be announced, but I think it’s safe to say that if you enjoyed the work we’ve done together in the past, you’ll like this as well. I’m also doing some covers for Archie’s Mega Man/Sonic the Hedgehog crossover, which is a whole lot of fun because I’m drawing a bunch of video game characters I never thought I’d have the chance to, like Street Fighter and Golden Axe.
Ferranti: You are a mainstay on the comic con circuit. What do you like about going to the shows?
Brown: I love meeting the fans and getting face to face feedback on the projects I’m working on. Conventions are a great place to hang out with comics creators who live in other parts of the country or even other parts of the world. And of course, there’s been a lot of talk recently about how hard it is to make a living as a comic artist, so I find conventions to be an essential way to boost my bottom line. It would be hard to get by without that added income.
Ferranti: You speak on a lot of panels. What is the most important thing you try to impart to people?
Brown: It depends on the panel. If it’s a panel for artists trying to break in, use a ruler and draw backgrounds. Those two simple things will put you way ahead of everyone else! If it’s a panel about more business-related stuff, do the research and know what you’re worth, and then find a way to get what you’re worth. Talented artists selling themselves short aren’t doing themselves any favors and actually make the industry harder for everyone else in it. And if it’s just a panel about how awesome comics are, be true to your characters, who they are, and what makes them who they are. The rest will follow naturally.
Ferranti: What inspired you to draw?
Brown: I’ve enjoyed drawing ever since I was a little kid. When I would read books with illustrations, while I loved the art, I would be frustrated that there were so many scenes that weren’t drawn. I wanted to see everything! Then, when I started getting into comics, I thought ah-ha! This is how it should be!
Ferranti: What other projects outside of comics are you working on?
Brown: I’ve taught at Andy Schmidt’s Comics Experience, and I’m currently critiquing artwork of up and coming artists on the message board over there. It’s a really great online community of very dedicated and talented people. I’m also doing some advertisement and branding work, and I’ve done some storyboard work in the past.
Ferranti: Writing, drawing, what else do you have in store?
Brown: I’m doing some digital stuff that’s similar to Power Play and Deadpool: The Gauntlet. It’s always fun to push the boundaries of what a comics can do in the digital realm, and it’s great to have the chance to bring that in to some of my advertising work. Spreading comics to places where they traditionally haven’t been seen before.
Ferranti: What people in the industry do you want to work with and why?
Brown: There are so many people I’d love to work with, but I guess if I could have my pick of people who I’m not currently working with, or haven’t worked with before, it would be fun to do a book with someone like Dan Slott, Rick Remender, or Kieron Gillen– people who are really great with character development and making all of their characters unique. That’s something that’s really important to me in a writer. I’d also love to work with colorists like Dean White or Matt Wilson, who aren’t just great with color theory, but add a lot of artistic brush strokes and textures. I love stuff like that, it really adds something to the line art.
Ferranti: What characters do you still want to draw?
Brown: So many of them! I’d love to do some work on X-Men, who were always my favorite growing up, and I think I’d be able to do some really fun stuff with the Fantastic Four. They’d really be in my wheelhouse. And of course Spider-Man is always a lot of fun. At DC I’ve always loved the Teen Titans, and I think it would be fun to work on them. Someone asked me to do a Beast Boy commission at a convention recently, and I thought “I could do more of this…” Also, I recently read a Harley Quinn/Power Girl team up, and thought that would be something that I could have a whole lot of fun with.
Ferranti: You have created a bunch of characters. Who or what is next?
Brown: You never know. Coming up with new characters is probably my favorite part of the job and something I intend to do more of. Both in the comics industry, with characters like Shiklah or the villains in Lobo, or outside of the comics industry, like the characters I made for Uncle Andy’s Beef Jerky. Seriously. I’d really love to get back to some of my creator owned series, like Power Play or Saint George, but with my schedule it’s hard to find the time to do it. It’ll happen eventually, though, I’m sure.
Ferranti: From VCU to being a top flight artist, what do you think of your career so far?
Brown: It’s been a fun ride, but I still feel like I’m just getting warmed up! So far I’ve worked at three of the top four comics publishers, created new characters for Marvel and DC, published creator-owned work, and done things to innovate the art form with my digital work.
I’d say I’m pretty well on course.
Ferranti: How have you enjoyed your run on Deadpool? Where do you see the series going?
Brown: Deadpool’s always a good time. He’s one of those characters that you can do anything with and anything you do with him can be fun. You can do an issue with him fighting to the death with Wolverine, or playing ping pong with Galactus, and either one would be the best twenty pages you’ve ever read! The series can go in literally any direction, and I’m sure it will. Well, I mean, he’s currently dead, so that’s an obstacle that someone’s going to have to overcome, but from the previews it looks like he’s going to be joining Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman on Uncanny Avengers. It’ll be fun watching those characters deal with him, because Deadpool’s always best when he’s got other characters to bounce off of. Now if only he and Cable would get back together…
Seth Ferranti writes for VICE, The Fix, Don Diva and other media outlets. He runs www.gorillaconvict.com, www.thegr1nd.com and has 8 true crime books out, one of which, The Supreme Team, is now being adapted into a graphic novel with Stache Publishing.