Josh Holley is an artist, writer, teacher, and musician based in Rincon, GA who works full-time in ministry at The Chapel Effingham. He’s the creator of Word Weirdos – trading cards for kids that help them memorize Bible verses. Aside from his ministry comic pursuits, Josh has also done illustration work for Lucky Comics and Empire Comics Lab. Josh stopped by First Comics News to talk about G-Men United.
Geo Aria: When did you first discover comics?
Josh Holley: I knew about Super Heroes and comic characters from clothing, toys, and cartoons, for as long as I can remember. I somehow didn’t realize they were from comic books until seeing them at a convenience store when we went out of town when I was around 6 or 7 and wanted to get one, but it wasn’t meant to be that particular day. I eventually got my own after visiting some family and inheriting some from either an uncle or cousin’s stash at my grandparents. From then on, I was absolutely hooked!
Geo: What attracted you to them?
Josh: I think the more appropriate question would be, “What DIDN’T attracts me to them?” For the longest time, I only knew of superhero adventures from like ‘Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends’ or ‘Super Friends’. Suddenly discovering there were WAY cooler adventures and art in the comics just blew my mind! It really was magical to get time to just sit and escape into comics growing up.
Geo: When did you start drawing superheroes?
Josh: I started drawing my own superheroes around ll or 12 when I started to make my own comics. What’s funny, is that I don’t really recall drawing comic superheroes that people would recognize because I knew absolutely that I couldn’t draw them well. I tried drawing a Spidey once and a classmate was just comparing it to McFarlane or whoever, so I just stuck to funny animals, super cartoon-y characters, and then my own characters if I tried drawing more ‘realistic’ comic style.
Josh: I didn’t really study formally, but after years of abandoning comics and cartooning, I couldn’t shake the desire to get back to it. Fast forward almost two decades and I finally started picking up random ‘how to draw comics’ type books and going through phases of trying to learn better techniques.
Geo: What was your first published work?
Josh: Technically, I think that would be our local paper growing up doing a picture for the weekly Georgia Southern Eagles rally pages. Later, I was part of a teen-run newspaper section doing horrible comic strips. In the 2010s I did a few pages in a comic jam for something called Heroes Alliance. Personally, I consider my first published comic as an adult to be a short story in Cemetery Plots #3 from Empire Comics Lab.
Josh: I kept following different independent publishers online like Lucky Comics and Empire Comics Lab and drew random Fanart pieces for them, which led to the Cemetery Plots story for ECL, then Beetle Girl and the Unbeatable Brick stories for Lucky Comics.
My collaboration with Dan Johnson led to starting the short-lived Golden Kid Comics and doing a Mighty Monstars story for InDELLible as well.
Geo: How did you get involved with G-Man Comics?
Josh: Rik reached about me doing a letterhead for G-Man comics and later helping develop the design for Ariel 51. He had seen my art for Golden Kid Comics and appreciated that style. Eventually, it led to him developing the ‘Into the Halflands’ story just so we could have some fun with G-Man Comics characters in that style. I was brought on board to do that and somehow landed the short stories of Energist & Irene as well as Outrage and all have been an incredibly challenging but rewarding experience!
Geo: What do you like most about the G-Men?
Josh: I am a huge MLJ characters fan, and I knew of Rik from the awesome companion book from TwoMorrows. Seeing the Agent come to life and the G-Man Comics universe forming was just cool! Honestly, the quite apparent shared love for the spirit or energy of comics and the fun, collaborative ‘toybox’ for creators that this universe allowed was just an exciting and inspiring vision to me.
Shorter answer -I love the characters and the books have been killer so far.
Geo: How much freedom do you have creatively with the comics?
Josh: I believe I was given a lot of creative freedom, but appropriate guidance was there to keep things grounded!
Josh: Really cool. I have NO complaints, just humility and thanks. First off, the scripts were a LOT of fun, and I love their writing, characters, and the universe they are crafting here! It has been incredible getting to collaborate with these guys! On top of being great collaborators/directors, they have also been great friends: I was hit with some pretty big obstacles after taking these comics on, and the grace, patience, and encouragement from this team has been an incredible blessing!
Geo: What else are you working on?
Josh: I’m currently finishing up the ‘Word Weirdos Comic Devotional & Trading Card set’ as well as a few other family-ministry related projects that you can find more info on at www.holleyhouseproductions.com. I’m also working on Bridge #5 for Kingdom Comics and some upcoming Kardos chapters with Dennis Miller for YEET Presents! I’m still amazed at these opportunities!