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AICN COMICS: So you missed SDCC 2013 Part 4—“Jeffery Brown Spotlight”, “Joe Kubert Tribute”, “Russ Heath Spotlight”, and “Jerry Ordway Spotlight”!

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. While I was doing scores and scores of interviews, AICN COMICS’ pal and all around great guy Jamie Coville took in 20 panels and brought his handy dandy recording device along to bring it all back to you. So even if you missed out on these panels, you can sit back and enjoy these audio files at your leisure without having to wait in line or sit in a room full of smellies…

Jeffery Brown Spotlight (49:18, 45.1mb)

This was moderated by Leigh Walton. Jeff talked about getting into comics, his autobiographical books and how they started. He said people in his life don't appear to be too bothered by their depiction because he makes himself look very unflattering. He talked about the style of art he chooses for which project. He talked about Bighead and how it came about. Leigh gave the reason for the small sized Jeffery Brown books and why they are all different sizes. They then talked about his Star Wars books, Darth Vader and Son, Star Wars: Vader's Little Princess and they revealed a new Star Wars: Jedi Academy book and showed a video trailer for it. His next autobiographical book is about his wife's pregnancy and his relationship with his father. His father is a minister but he is no longer practicing religion. They talked about his use of colour on the books. They gave a handout showing a sample of his upcoming work to those the audience that asked questions. Jeff revealed he wants to do a book about the business side of comic art. He is also a teacher and those types of questions get asked a lot by his students.

Joe Kubert Tribute (48:58, 44.8mb)

Moderated by Mark Evanier. On the panel was Sergio Aragonés, Paul Levitz, Marv Wolfman, Tom Yeates, Jon B. Cooke and Russ Heath. The panelists signed 3 books about Joe Kubert by Bill Schelley which would be auctioned off for Hero Initiative. The panelists talked about Joe and what they liked about him. Sergio was always amazed on how fast Kubert drew and he was drawing realistically. Paul said his funeral drew such a large crowd they had to borrow police from 2 nearby towns, considering the burial was done by Jewish traditions (where it's done fairly quickly) it was an amazing crowd of people that showed up. Many more would have showed up if there was more notice. Marv talked about Joe teaching him about how to pace a story by taking one of his stories and ignoring his art direction and drawing it his way. He said Joe went over the art and explained what he was doing and why and that was an enormous eye opener for Marv and it taught him a lot about writing. Marv also told a story about art that needed to be inked right away to make deadline and the only pen in the area was a lettering pen, which has a very fat nub and is not something you draw or ink with. Joe made that pen sing and did a great job of inking despite the tool not being fit for the job. Marv also talked about when he was an assistant editor under Kubert he would often have to completely re-write Bob Kanigher stories for Joe. Tom Yeates said he met Joe before he started the school and connected with him right away, Joe then called him up when he was starting his school. While Tom was there he started getting work and tried to draw like Joe in terms of surface detail, but found it wasn't working and he learned from Joe about the under the surface detail that makes his drawings work. Jon talked about Joe using the school to give back to creators as Joe had started when he was 11 and learned from multiple artists while sweeping floors at a comic sweatshop. Russ mentioned Joe gave hard backslaps and told some funny stories about Joe. He also said that inking Joe was very hard. Sergio told a funny story about how Joe said he was going to take his 5 kids, wife and mobile home and go on vacation. Sergio told him he should go to Mexico and drew him a map of Mexico and everywhere they should go and how they would get there. A few months later Joe told Sergio that he had actually used his map to go into Mexico and thanked him for it being so accurate. Sergio was stunned that he would go into Mexico with his family just based on his drawn map. Mark Evanier told an early San Diego con story about Joe doing a fund raising sketch for the con and a friend of his was too late to bid on it and lost it (price $300), Mark talked to Joe and he quickly did another sketch that was even better than the first one and the winner of the previous sketch wanted the new one instead. Marv and Paul said Joe was also a very good businessman too, something that was pretty rare back in those days.

Russ Heath Spotlight (55:38, 50.9mb)

This was moderated by Mark Waid. Russ talked about where he grew up and his early influences. He mentioned his father was a cowboy among his many other jobs, but as a result he watched a lot of western related serials. His father would tell him that if the actor was wearing a flowery shirt or something that the character wasn't a real cowboy. Russ took from that that when writing/drawing fiction you need to be true to whatever you are depicting. He said he got started in comics when at 16 his father took him to Holyoke and he was given a script, but was told he couldn't draw it in pen. He had to buy a brush and after a few days he figured out how to use it. This stunned Mark as some artists take years to figure out how to use a brush. Russ talked about joining the air force. He mentioned he was in and out of high school as he did not have good marks. He said prior to drawing for a living he was a lifeguard and ran a scuba diving club. He did some advertising work, but then had a wife and kid and needed more money. The advertising paid $35 a week, he was looking for work during lunch hour and found Stan still working. Stan offered him $75 a week to draw for him, which he did. Russ liked doing westerns but didn't like doing Batman because of all the straight lines on the buildings. Said he knew Harvey Kurtzman from Marvel as he was doing the 1 page Hey Look! gags. They had lunch together a couple of times and that lead to Harvey giving him some work at EC comics. Russ talked about Kanigher and not in a positive way. He said he was also friends with Ross Andru and Gray Morrow. He talked about moving to California in the 70s and working in animation. He also worked on Annie Fanny for Playboy while in the Playboy mansion. He was going to quit Annie when Hugh called him up, doubled his salary and offered to pay him to move to Chicago, which he did. He also told a funny story about sabotaging Will Elder's paint pants. He talked about Archie Goodwin and said he was a very good editor and visual writer. He mentioned on an script Archie drew stick figure layouts of his story. Russ didn't look at them and drew his own stick figure layouts. When he was done he compared the two and found all but 1 of the layouts matched exactly and there was about 40 panels. Of newer artists he likes Adam Hughes. Russ also answered questions on National Lampoon, inking Micheal Golden and other artists in general. He also told about becoming fast friends with Dave Stevens when they worked together at Hanna-Barbera. He said they both caused chaos there.

Jerry Ordway Spotlight (52:36, 48.1mb)

DC Editor Mike Carlin moderated the panel and joked at the beginning it was the spotlight on Dan Jurgens panel (who was in the audience). Jerry talked about where he grew up, his doing finishes on other artists pencils, getting penciling work, also inking John Byrne's pencils, always needing to be working and says it throws you off your rhythm to take a few days break. He talked about periods where he got really swamped, one time he had to do Fantastic Four, Superman and Crisis of Infinite Earths #5 at once. He talked about working on the Superman relaunch with Byrne and Marv Wolfman. How he took an active role in plotting Superman, then took over writing it. Carlin said the 'weekly' Superman books were a real team effort where everybody pitched in, he mentioned Roger Stern was really strong and keeping continuity straight and clear for everybody across all the books. Ordway revealed that Byrne was originally going to do Shazam. He had done coloring for the books and used watercolor on the covers. He also explained his process for creating a comic.

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