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Master Post: Von Eeden Interview Extras

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Michel Fiffe interviews artist Trevor Von Eeden for the latest Comics Journal, and his LJ includes outtakes and a generous helping of art to show what makes Von Eeden such a noteworthy figure. There’s also lots of juicy comic book history:

MICHEL FIFFE: Your last and most extended run on any title was Black Canary from ’91-‘93, which was on one of the only female-led comics of its time. You were paired up with yet another relative newcomer, writer Sarah E. Byam. Considering your longer than usual stint on that title, what was the creative process for you and Sarah during her first big break?

VON EEDEN: “Same as in all of my work for DC Comics — little to no direct communication with the writer at all. I believe that Sarah Byam called me once or twice, and we spoke briefly over the phone, but my work at DC Comics was never collaborative in nature. I was interested exclusively in doing the work, not in ‘networking’. I picked up a script, went home, drew it, and then handed it in. That’s it. Thriller suffered when my creative fire, my enthusiasm, was doused after the ‘chair collapsing’ stunt that the DC editor had tried to pull on me. Although to this day, I still don’t remember who’d sat behind that desk, insisting over and over again that I ‘take a seat’. Maybe Alan Gold would remember, since he’d ended up literally ‘taking the fall’.


An excerpt of the TCJ interview is here.

  1. Here’s another example of not taking any responsibility for one’s personal failures. First of all, I never had any idea Trevor Von Eeden was African American, nor did I care. All I know was, when I looked at his layouts for “Thriller,” I had a difficult time following his layouts. I didn’t understand his unusual panel construction or even the reason for it’s existence. It certainly didn’t help the storytelling process. If anything, it made things more confusing. This is a case where the panel design becomes more important than the story. He seemed to be another artist who decided he didn’t need to follow any rules, and he that he was smarter than anyone else.

    Reading part of the interview, it sure appears that he has a chip on his shoulder. If he was doing great work, wouldn’t it be in DC’s best interest to promote him and his art? Maybe, in actuality, his stuff wasn’t very good, and because of his attitude nobody wanted to work with him.

    Of course, it’s always easier to play the “race card,” and to suggest that you are being discriminated against, and that someone else is in control of your successes and failures. If I saw some great art or design work here, I might consider that, but, honestly, I don’t see it. This sure seems like another case of sour grapes. Von Eeden seems to be wearing his bitterness on his sleeve. Blaming it on your skin color, is irritating, and whiny.

  2. Blackeye seems to suggest that racism never happened in the offices at DC. And I certainly wouldn’t hold up DC as an exception from any other corporate office.

    I’ve seen racism in a corporate setting as recently as 15 years ago. And there are a lot of companies that are not as conscious of their image as was the company for which I worked.

  3. I’ve gotta disagree with Blackeye’s assessment of Von Eeden’s “Thriller” layouts — they were exciting, dynamic, and worth every moment spent to interpret them. Yes, there were some moments that took a little extra time to figure out precisely what happened, but the gist was always clear, and his art made Thriller one of my favorite comics for the short time it was being published.

  4. I just read the Comics Journal with Von Eeden’s interview in it last night – as the over blurb states, it was very brutally honest. I also LOVED Thriller (the comic, not the MJ album). In the interview Von Eeden says he’d redo the ending of Thriller in a heartbeat if DC called him – I would love to see that happen. Hopefully his internet comic / graphic novel, The Original Johnson will also see the light of day in a print edition someday.

  5. I’m not sure in my post where I made any reference to racism not occurring. It’s interesting how people take what they want out of something, and twist it to fit their view. My actual complaint is using it as an excuse for everything that doesn’t turn out in your favor. Oh, and by the way, it’s YOUR OPINION that “Thriller is one of the most awesome comics of it’s time.” That doesn’t make it a fact! Ego alert!

  6. That page layout makes Maggots look like Nancy. Nice art though- haven’t seen too much of his stuff since I could never understand/tolerate DC Comics as a kid (not that I can now either).

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