Comic Book Biography: REX LINDSEY

rex-lindseyRex started is career working on War comics for DC, eventually he left action comics to produce laughs at Archie comics. Rex took some time away from his drawing board to talk about his career.

First Comics News: You went to the Joe Kubert School, what was that like?

Rex Lindsey: It was exciting, because I wasn’t used to meeting so many other people who were into comics books as much as I was. Meeting the pros and listening to their lectures was mind blowing. Our class of six guys in 1982 was the third to graduate from the school. The school was in an old mansion in Dover N.J. We lived in the carriage house on the property. It was a blast!

1st: Your first work was on Sgt. Rock, how did you land that job?

Rex: It was through the Kubert school. I would go over to Joe Kubert’s house and we would go over the scripts.

1st: Were you a fan of war comics?

Rex: Not specifically war comics, but comics in general, sure.

1st: In the 70s war was an unpopular subject, did that effect how you portrayed war in the comics?

Rex: I didn’t draw that many war tales, and any work at that stage in my career was welcome.

1st: When you were working on Sgt. Rock, you penciled and inked the pages yourself. Do you prefer to ink your own work?

Rex: I do like to ink my own stuff, mainly because I’m a control freak.

1st: Why did you leave DC?

Rex: I never worked officially at DC, except through Joe Kubert.

1st: In the 80s you did some work for Pacific Comics how did you get involved with Pacific?

Rex: Again it was through Joe Kubert. I wrote, penciled, and inked those adventure-sci fi stories.

1st: After Pacific, you started inking Archie’s Adventure line, with Blue Ribbon, Fly and the original Shield. How did start working at Archie?

Rex: I had a buddy who worked for Archie and he set up a meeting with the publishers. I showed them my portfolio and they dug it, so I walked out with pencils to ink. I did some penciling too.

1st: After both writing and illustrating your own stories at Pacific, what was the transition like, inking someone else’s stories?

Rex: Inking someone else’s work for me was a bit tough. I usually tightened up the pencils before inking. It was mostly Dick Ayes pencils, which I found too loose for me. But it was rewarding.

1st: After the Adventure line you joined the Riverdale gang. How did that come about?

Rex: Well, the adventure line went on hiatus, so I jumped on over to Archie and the gang.

1st: There is a house style at Archie, which was not exactly the same style you were working in before, how did you make that transition?

Rex: Like I said before, at the Joe Kubert school we were taught different art styles. I liked other types of comics besides action and musclemen, so I just converted to that genre.

1st: Had you been an Archie fan prior to joining Archie Comics?

Rex: Yeah, I liked Archie and the gang from an early age. I used to read my big sisters books.

1st: Your first regular assignment was the World of Archie, how did that come about?

Rex: The editors at Archie knew I could do adventure stuff and since The World of Archie was the gang involved in more outlandish escapades, I was given the assignment.

1st: When a series like World of Archie ends, do you just get another assignment right away, or is there a review process, where they try to discover how to make the next series more successful?

Rex: Archie’s titles don’t vary to far a field from each other. But, yes, artists get analyzed to see which works best for that certain title.

1st: Tony Isabella has been quoted as saying “…you’ll hear no complaints from me on the terrific art of penciler Rex W. Lindsay and inker Rich Koslowski, easily the most dynamic of Archie artists.” Do you get a lot of praise for your depiction of Archie?

Rex: Yes, but not my particular approach to Archie, but to the world of Riverdale in general.

1st: With a character like Archie, who is defined by a strong house style, how do you get your depiction of Archie to stand out?

Lindsey: I don’t. Like you said, there’s a house style, which is based mostly on the art of Dan De Carlo. I try to keep his version in mind. He’s one of my favorite artist overall.

1st: Your ability to alter your style is showcased in the Archie Americana series. You did a very good job of capturing the 40s and 50s Archie as well as showing the differences between them. Were you reproducing the style of specific artists or was this just a general feel for the decade?

Rex: Both. I researched the particular artist of the time, Bob Montana, and Harry Lucey were strong style masters of those decades. Yes, I designed the covers. The editors and I worked to make it resemble the decades, even if none of the events depicted on the covers happened in a story from that time.

1st: Talking about different styles, you drew Archie with a mullet in Archie 3000. Archie just does not seem to be the mullet type, how did this idea come about?

Rex: In Archie 3000 we needed a way to show changes in Archie, so changing his hair was a way to show a difference. Mullets in the future have a different connotation than they do now. In the future, they are NOT cool. Ha! Ha!

1st: How were you selected to draw the Overstreet Price Guide Cover? It must have been quite an honor. It is an interesting design, while the clothing, hairstyles and setting are from the 40s, the face appear to be contemporary.

Rex: The Overstreet guys were doing an article on comics of the 40s (the Golden Age), so the editors at Archie knew I could copy that style so I was asked to do it.

And yeah, it was an honor.

1st: Did you design the cover, or were you told what Overstreet wanted?

Rex: The design was mine, just based on the Golden Age style that Overstreet wanted to push for that issue.

1st: You have done a lot of work on Archie and Friends, is there more prestige working on an Archie titled comic?

Lindsey: Only in the sense that Archie is the main character of the line, but the other characters are pretty famous too.

1st: You have been working on Jughead for a long time, what do you enjoy most about Jughead?

Rex: Jughead’s character is most like myself. He is wackier and more off base than Archie or Reggie. His form of comedy is more fun to play with, his ulterior motives are beyond the average. He’s enigmatic.

1st: What would you change about Jughead, if you could?

Rex: Nothing, leave well enough alone.

1st: The Archies change with the times, and you have been with Archie Comics for a while. When you draw Archie and the gang, how is the 21st century Archie different from the 90s Archie?

Rex: Well, the Archie characters are timeless, except for the fashions they wear, and the new gadgets they play with. The ideas that teenagers and young people have are similar throughout the ages. They’re discovering the world and trying to see what they can get away with.

1st: The core demographic for Archie is between 6 and 12 years old. As an adult, how do you keep in touch with what that age group expect from Archie to keep him appearing contemporary, and not out dated?

Rex: I leave a lot of the story ideas to the writers, but as an artist I use teen magazines, my nephews and nieces, and observations from TV and the shopping malls as inspirations for what kids are into today.

1st: Aside from the monthly issues of Jughead, what else are you working on?

Rex: Besides Archie stuff, I do brochures for a student travel agency. I design and airbrush the brochure covers for all the different cities the agency goes to. Other than that I’m kept busy drawing the Riverdale gang. Thanks for asking!

1st: Thank you for taking the time to chat about your career and the Archies.

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