As we were making the rounds on Saturday, I saw one of my personal favorite artists, Mike Hawthorne, and took the opportunity to speak with him. Most recently, Mike worked on The Un-Men for Vertigo, but has also worked with Greg Rucka on Queen and Country, Matt Wagner on Grendel, and did some fill-ins on The Exterminators. Hit the jump to see just what he had to say about his future plans and working in the industry.
We’re here at Baltimore Comic Con with Mike Hawthorne, penciler on Vertigo’s Un-Men and… well I guess my first question is, what’s next for Mike Hawthorne?
Well, I’ll be writing and drawing a book. It hasn’t been announced, so I can’t say a whole lot about it, unfortunately. But it’s pretty exciting stuff. It’s a little bit more personal than the other one was. I’m in the middle of writing it now, and hopefully Vertigo will announce something in the next couple of months and I’ll be able to say more about it then.
Okay, so it is going to be for Vertigo, you’re not publishing yourself?
It is from Vertigo, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that… It’s cool. It is from Vertigo, which is fantastic.
You move from projects like Queen and Country to Umbra to Un-Men, and you seem to gravitate towards some of the stuff that’s very not mainstream. Did you ever have any desire to do anything more mainstream, or do you enjoy doing this off-beat kind of stuff?
I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been working on comics for about ten years now, and haven’t done a serial comic yet. A lot of my heroes are guys like Alex Toth, in everything from adventure comics to war comics… But with that said, I am sort of starting to float around with the idea of maybe doing something a little more mainstream… I think eventually I will come around, but I’d like to do it on my terms, also.
With your style, I noticed that you generally pencil and ink your own stuff. Do you find it easier to be in total control of how your artwork looks or would you like to work with an inker?
I would prefer to do everything myself. If I could, I would also probably color it, but obviously in a monthly book you can’t do that. My schedule’s tight enough and I’m pretty fast, so I can actually do a monthly book and pencil and ink it, so provided that I don’t fall behind, I would rather ink it myself. Now, with that said, I have worked with some inkers that have been fantastic. One of them is not so much an inker anymore, Rick Remender. He’s a fantastic writer and we all knew it back when he was wasting his time inking my stuff. I would work with an inker if it was either to benefit the schedule of the book, or if it was just somebody that I was really into and I thought he would bring something that I wouldn’t bring to the page.
With the last couple of projects that you’ve worked on, it’s been a while since you did anything on your own. How do you get chosen for these projects? Do these guys come seeking you out, or are you recommended by the companies?
It kinda depends. Well, I started out self publishing, and I was writing and drawing a comic called Hysteria, which is how I actually ended up getting my first gig, which was by Matt Wagner, it was Grendel: Red White and Black. Since then it’s been pretty much people kind of seeking me out. You know, I do get recommended by stuff sometimes, Tony Moore asked for me to do fill-ins for The Exterminators, and you know, Tony asks and you just kind of say yeah, cause it’s Tony. For the most part, I still have to look for jobs, I still send my stuff to people, but I’m not very good at it, I don’t go to many conventions. For the most part, jobs kind of find me, I’ve been real fortunate so far.
One last question for you. It’s been said that every comic is somebody’s first. One thing I like to ask creators is which of their books they would want to be somebody’s first.
Wow. That’s a tough question, especially because all my books are so drastically different. Probably, at the end of the day, it’s probably Hysteria. It’s the most unadulterated version of what I sort of do. And if not Hysteria, than probably The Un-Men. This thing is really true to my heart, I loved the book while it lasted, so yeah, that’s probably a close second.
Thanks to Mike Hawthorne, and we look forward to your next project.
All right, right on. Thanks, man.
You can find Un-Men, Queen and Country and most of Mike’s other comic work at just about every comic shop. You can also visit Mike’s website at mikehawthorne.blogspot.com for more art, prints, and updates on upcoming projects.