First Comics News: While illustrating Cletus Kasady AKA Carnage how do you achieve his insane killer personality in your art?
Mike Perkins: That’s a tough question which may reveal too much about my own inner soul! Have you ever seen an artist draw a particular face…and when they’re drawing it they make that face? Coming into my studio at that time must be absolutely terrifying!
1st: Carnage has a body that moves and changes shape how does this affect your drawing him?
Mike: I’ve hardly even pencilled a lot of the Carnage scenes – just a very rough outline so that I know where the figures are ending up on the page – and just gone straight ahead with slapping the ink on the page…. trying to keep it as fluid as possible. Think of a more liquid version of Massimo Belardinelli’s work!
1st: What kind of foes do you get to draw Carnage fighting?
Mike: That was one of the hooks that pushed me to take on the reins of the book. Utilizing the same structure as Tomb of Dracula – Carnage was going to be pursued by a group of “heroes” whose focus was to take him down and , as well as a few new characters, we would be using Spider-Man family players. Established heroes such as Eddie Brock (nowToxin) and John Jameson (back to being Man Wolf – he’s been a particular favourite of mine to illustrate). It also gave us the chance to introduce a couple of hybrid symbiotes – characters who get infected by Carnage – who have become a joy to illustrate. Characters such as Jubilile and the ever-wonderful Raze.
1st: How do you achieve such dynamic poses when drawing Captain America and others?
Mike: There’s a whole history of dynamic figure work in comics and I’m guessing that part of that subsumes itself into your own style – at least I would hope so. Superhero comics thrive on dynamism so it’s incredibly important to concentrate and, at times, struggle, to portray that part of it.
1st: Your illustrations of Randall Flagg, the Walking Man really bring out his evil aspect do you think Stephen King would enjoy them?
Mike: I know that he did. He would send me emails telling me that he was like a kid in a candy shop every time a new issue was released.
1st: How has Deathlok changed in the new series relaunch from previous versions?
Mike: Henry Hayes is a completely new character and has a home life of his own…at the beginning of the run he doesn’t even KNOW that he’s Deathlok. He’s a drone weapon operated by a shadowy corporation. It’s at the root of his character to find out how and why someone is doing this to him…and retain his humanity as he’s doing this.
1st: Do you have any favorite characters from Marvel to draw?
Mike: Wolverine is always a pleasure to draw – there’s just so much texture and depth of character you can imbue in him when you’re illustrating him. I’d love to tackle Daredevil and Iron Fist…especially in a more gritty take on the characters. I love Black Widow – the physicality and nobility of Natalia is enticing to draw.
1st: You and Mike Carey released “Rowen’s Ruin” can you tell us about it?
Mike: It’s a haunted house/ghost story. Murder mystery. What if the holiday home of your dreams turned out to be a nightmare?!! This is a story I’ve had in my mind for a few years and wanted to get it down on paper myself – but I found it difficult to flip between a writing head and a drawing head. So I asked Mike Carey, whom I relish collaborating with, to come aboard and help me out and he pushed the script into amazing unexpected places. It’s a labour of love.
1st: Are you a fan of any of the Marvel TV series or movies, do you like seeing characters you worked on as real life?
Mike: I DO like them – although I think they’re a different entity. I would say that Winter Soldier and Guardians of The Galaxy have been my favourite so far. Winter Soldier – because it was a thriller which just happened to have a superhero in it and Guardians because if ploughed its own track.
1st: Which character that you have worked on are you most like?
Mike: In character? Well – Joey Chapman (Union Jack) has the same kind of working class, English background as myself so there’s a certain part of me that can associate and connect with that. I would like to say Stu from The Stand…but I’m probably more like Larry.
1st: What is the best advice you have for new artists?
Mike: Just draw. Draw and draw and draw. There’s a lot of outlets for your artwork out there on the internet – get your work seen.
1st: Do you think digital comics will ever totally replace printed ones?
Mike: No – I don’t…but they are an important part of the industry. I’ll tend to check out a comic online and, if I like it after the first 2 or 3 issues I’ll either subscribe to it or wait for the trade. There’s just something so visceral about holding the printed page.
1st: If you could have one super power what would it be and how would you use it?
Mike: I’d like to duplicate myself. In my mind it would be so I could both work AND spend more time with my family…but in reality I would probably end up doing double the amount of work. Time travel would be interesting – going back and seeing the lottery numbers – but I’d STILL work!
1st: How do you feel about all the fans of your work?
Mike: I’m a fan myself – there are numerous creators whose work I follow – so I have true appreciation for the fans. I may not be here if not for them!