Getting The 411: Pat Quinn

The creative team for the new PHANTOM series by Moonstone Books has been very kind giving the scoop on the series to 411mania.

If you haven’t seen the earlier coverage we have given to the book. Check out our coverage of a preview copy of issue #1. Starman Matt’s Looking to the Stars as well as the review I wrote.

That wasn’t all though. I recently had the pleasure of conducting an interview with PHANTOM scribe, Ben Raab.

Well, the book will be on the shelves soon, and we have yet another exclusive! This time we’ve got an interview with Pat Quinn, the talented artist behind the PHANTOM’s relaunch.

There’s a ton of cool stuff, so sit back, relax, and enjoy!

411: For any fans that don’t recognize your name (for shame), can you give us a rundown of some of your comic work?

Pat Quinn: I’ll give you list of some stuff that’s easier to find (and less embarrassing), how’s that? I like the stuff I did with a talented group of guys called the Writers’ Bloc. They put out some annual anthologies that were pretty nice (still available at their website). I did some awful pages in GEN 13 #50, NECROTIC (which is still available at buddyscalera.com), the first 11 pages of GREEN LANTERN #150, CRYTOPIA with Ben Raab (which came out under the “Image Introduces…” banner.), a little 8 page story with John Layman in the NOBLE CAUSES: Extended Family anthology, and I did the Barry Allen pin-up in JLA-Z. I’ve also done a lot of production art for IDW like BIONICLE cards, etc.

411: So many fans hope to break into the industry one day. Can you tell us how you got your break in the comic business?

Pat Quinn: What are you talking about? I’m still working on breaking in! Seriously. I just spent tons of times working on samples and sending them around. Going to tons of conventions and all the stuff that everyone goes through. Some of my earliest work was for lots of “small-press” and “indy” publishers, and I just tried to build on those experiences. Going to conventions is a great help, because it allows you to put your name with your face for an editor and it’s also a great networking tool. I still try and do all these things when possible. Staying visible, and viable, is important to anyone whether they are breaking in or already in.

411: Were you a comic fan growing up? If so, what were some of your favorites comics?

Pat Quinn: Of course! As a really young kid Super-Friends were on TV, and Spider-Man was on the Electric Company, so those were some of my favorites. They also had the Mego figures too. Comic wise it was mostly BATMAN, but any super-hero book would do just fine.

411: Who are some of your artistic influences?

Pat Quinn: This is such a tough question for me…I think everything is an influence on me, whether it’s stuff I like or dislike. I guess I started really paying attention to the artists in the late seventies/early eighties. I had my favorite comics, like the Marvel Treasury addition of the Avengers, but it wasn’t until I was a little older that it occurred to me to see who drew it. So any artist that you would typically classify as a “classic” or “one of the greats” has been an influence on me. Buscema, Kane, Adams, Byrne, Perez, Simonson, Kirby, etc. You get the idea. Once I became more aware of the process of making comics I began to appreciate and become influenced by all the creative people who work on the comics – writers, inkers, colorists, letterers, editors, etc. Everyone has an important job to do to create that comic package. These days I get the most direct influence from the guys I hang out with and work with; Ben Raab, Shawn Crystal, Elio Guevara, John Lowe, Greg Kirkpatrick, and Chris Brunner.

411: I had a chance to read a preview of the new PHANTOM series, and it really looks fantastic. How did you become involved with the book?

Pat Quinn: Thanks a lot!! It was all Ben Raab. We had already worked on CRYTOPIA together and he was keeping an eye out for me since I was the stereotypical starving artist. He recommended me to Joe Gentile over at Moonstone. I did a few pin-upy try out shots for Joe and Hearst/King (the Phantom license holders) and I got approved.

411: Were you a fan of the Phantom before working on the book?

Pat Quinn: “Fan” might be too strong…I was certainly aware of the character and thought it was a cool looking strip in the paper, but I wasn’t an avid follower or anything.

411: Were you surprised by just how much of a worldwide phenomenon the Phantom is?

Pat Quinn: Completely surprised. I had no idea whatsoever. I’m still shocked. I’m looking forward to international hate mail.

411: The Phantom is a classic; does working on this type of character change your style at all?

Pat Quinn: Not really, it just makes me want to make sure to do a good job. It’s an interesting phenomenon, you want to be able to make your mark as an individual artist, but you also want to be an accepted part of the legacy of the character and not do anything too out of hand.

411: Is there a particular character that you would like a chance to work on?

Pat Quinn: All of them. Seriously, I’m a pretty big geek, so anything would be fun…Don’t get me wrong, I’d much prefer a top-tier character to a seventh-tier, but as long as there are masks and tights I’ll be happy.

411: Do you have a favorite comic book film?

Pat Quinn: Hmmm…I don’t know. I used to like the first and second Batman films, although I don’t think the first holds up that well anymore. I was really impressed with the Hulk when I saw it in the theater…still waiting for my DVD from Kraft. Again, I get a little geeked out and it’s tough for me to separate the critic from the fan when I watch super-hero flicks. I saw X-2 with two buddies of mine that aren’t into comics, and they groaned the entire time, while I was able to recognize some of the cheese, the geek in me simply didn’t care and thought it was cool.

411: Did you have a natural talent for art from an early age, or did your talent blossom later in life?

Pat Quinn: I’m still waiting for the talent to blossom. I think that there is a big difference between talent and skill. Talent can only take you so far, you need to build skills and be able to execute in order to make things happen. I’m still waiting on the skill part too.

411: Is there anything in particular you do before you sit down to work? Or a particular type of music, if any, that you listen to while working?

Pat Quinn: When I’m doing my thumbnails, which for me is the storytelling portion of the work, I don’t like to have any distractions. When I’m penciling or inking I’ll have some kind of background noise, usually something that I’ve seen or heard a million times so I’m not constantly distracted by it. I can just as easily work in silence too.

411: Roughly, how long does it take you to pencil a regular-length comic?

Pat Quinn: Much longer than it used to!! When I did the GL stuff that was 11 pages, with corrections, in 7 days. Now some of those days were 18-20 hour days, but that’s an example of how I used to work. Right now I have a full-time day job so the process is a little slower, and a little erratic so it’s tough to give you an estimate.

411: What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t working in comics?

Pat Quinn: Teaching art. I’m barely in comics as it is.

411: Obviously a great deal of the comic medium, at least in America, is centered on superhero books. Are these your favorites types of comics to draw; or is there another genre you’d most like to work in?

Pat Quinn: I do really love the super-heroes. I grew up with them, I know their history, I have the comics bagged, super-heroes are definitely my favorite. I’ll draw whatever genre you want as long as it’s a good story. NECROTIC was a horror/romance and CRYPTOPIA is murder-mystery/sci-fi and they both have solid stories. Honestly, I think working outside of the super-hero stuff has made my super-hero work stronger.

411: Thank you for taking the time out for this interview, Pat. I recently interviewed Ben Raab, the Phantom’s writer, who took a moment for a shameless plug; it’s only fair for you to get the opportunity as well. So plug away!

Pat Quinn: No problem, it was my pleasure. Thanks for taking the time to conduct the interview!!

Plugs…hmmm…Well I think I’ve given myself enough plugs throughout this thing, but I guess one more couldn’t hurt: Watch out for more CRYPTOPIA in the near future.
Watch for THE PHANTOM from Moonstone Books, in stores soon!