John Cassaday: Tellurian With Technique
Interview with John Cassaday by Jonathan Ellis.
Cassaday may have spent a lot of time with a switcher by his side,
or on construction sites with tools in his hands, but one look at
his work will tell you that he was made for art. Made for comics.
John's work on titles like DESPERADOES, UNION JACK and PLANETARY brought
a variety of attention to his work. Being able to work in a medley
of styles, from a number of influences, along with his unique sense
of detail and affinity for rapid energy spectacles has brought him
under the eye of the entire medium, and beyond. John certainly is,
and to those still unfamiliar, deserves to be, 'one to look
with Warren on PLANETARY you have to be versed in several styles,
genres, and be able to draw just about everything. How often do you
have to go through stacks of research just to get an issue done?
depends on the issue. Sometimes I spend hours at the bookstore and
on-line and other times I don't have to budge from the drawing table
at all. PLANETARY works on such a varied scale, you never really
often do you use models/friends to get the look of a character?
the character is playing an important role I may model them after
someone, but I rarely use actual models. With PLANETARY #3
I painted the Hong Kong "ghost cop." He needed to have a very realistic
look to him, so I definitely used an actual model there. Generally
it depends on whether I see the character in my head first or in the
face of a friend.
did you break into the biz? What was your first published work?
television news in Texas for nearly five years, after that I moved
to New York and spent a Summer working construction during the day
and preparing a portfolio of art at night for the San Diego convention.
I had never been to it, but heard it was the place to get noticed
if you wanted to break into comics. That's where I met several editors
and thereafter started getting phone calls. I quit the construction
you ever feel like returning to film and television?
to school for film. It's an equal passion to comics. I plan on getting
more involved with it at some point.
how does a day in the life of 'John Cassaday' work out?
shifts from week to week. Sometimes I'm a vampire, occasionally I
find myself waking up at 6AM sharp. I work at home, so there's tremendous
freedom in my schedule. I try to work on weekdays and give myself
the weekends off, just to keep myself from losing my frame of reference
with the rest of the population. I work until midnight, generally
completing a pencilled and inked page or more, then I head out to
soak in some NYC nightlife. And sometimes in my day, I just "SCREW
IT" and go to Central Park and think about everything or nothing,
depending on the music in my headphones. New York offers a nice alternative
when the walls begin to close in.
people see the industry as being in a slump right now, have you been
keeping up with any such issues concerning the current state of the
help but hear things, but I try to stay away from too much of the
business end of things. It tends to take the fun out of it. Comics
aren't going anywhere, they're simply evolving.
can we expect from the PLANETARY/BATMAN: NIGHT ON EARTH crossover?
How do these 'forces collide'?
I can't go into much detail for you. I will tell you it's a crossover,
which let's us, along with PLANETARY, analyze the BATMAN
and at the same time, provides an exciting adventure worthy of both
happening in your Spartan one-shot with John Lucas? How did that come
about, particularly in lew of your busy schedule?
wasn't busy enough, actually. Lucas and I wanted to do something big,
fun and silly, so this project was created to let us have some fun
and give me something to tinker with in my spare time. It's written
by Joe Casey, pencilled by Lucas and Inked by me. I believe it's scheduled
for a February release.
Rudyard Kipling. Comics-Frank Miller.
old school artist? Writer?
Miller, Jack Kirby, John Byrne. Favorite artist, period, is N.C. Wyeth.
America, my favorite character.
under appreciated creator currently in the biz?
Ron Garney. He's been given some big titles, but he doesn't seem to
get the attention he deserves. Captain America hasn't been the same
say I've had any bad experiences. Let's keep it that way, eh?
body of work?
to those trying to make it in the Biz today?
hard on your portfolios, remember that influences are fine, but don't
draw too much from them. Be your own artist. Draw from life when you
has been your favourite book to work on?
To be exact, maybe #5.
comic titles are you reading now?
STRONG, SENTRY, HELLBOY(when it appears), anything by Miller,
Moore or Ellis.
do you think your recent coverage in Entertainment Weekly and Rolling
Stone has affected the series? Has it affected you personally in any
ways? Your work?
has maybe only increased some of our sales. And I think there are
a few more Hollywood doors knocking now.
your dream project?
from something I can't talk about yet, Captain America, World War
2. With a somewhat serious tone.
journalism, in any form, how important is it?
a good question. To be honest, while I think it's fun, I don't believe
it's always necessary. I mean, wouldn't it be nice to find out what
happens in the next issue of your favorite book by actually READING
IT IN YOUR FAVORITE BOOK? When was the last time you were surprised
by events occurring in the actual comic? Also, half of the news I
see just doesn't register with me as "news." So what if there's a
new fill-in inker on next month's X-book? Does anyone really care?
Things of interest do happen, just not EVERY day. Most of it just
comes off as shameless self-promotion. But like I said, it IS fun.
code, we want to get rid of it, you in?
me in. It's worthless. It's not the 1950's.
just been given a chance to rework the industry, starting with the
major publishers and distribution companies, what do you do, what
DO you do?
them all to the beaches of Thailand, where they can attempt a tan,
see the ocean for the shark bait trap it really is and maybe meet
a girl who has never cried out the lyrics to "Oh Mickey" while roller
skating across an ice rink in utter confusion. Meanwhile, I dance
feverishly in the bowels of Battery Park to tribal war chants of the
cult of Foghorn Leghorn, leader of the "Chicken Hawk Revolution."
I don't know.
Right now, in the industry we need more... Girls.
and less... Questions.
we go, tell us something no one else knows. Something you've never
Plug time! This is where you plug as many things as you want, comics,
websites, movies, Charities, prints, John Cassaday drum sticks, novels,
anything old, new, current and upcoming, hats, BIG hats, art, and
whatever else. Anything that could somehow lead to money in your pocket,
in your wallet, in your bank account and stuffed in your freakin socks-
just a whole lotta $#!+load of cash.
What can I tell you? On top of Planetary, the Batman crossover and
the Spartan one-shot, I'm also doing a series of six covers for BATMAN:
LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT, three covers for TRANSMETROPOLITAN
#43-45, GEN ACTIVE #4 and JEZEBELLE #1. Come visit at
That's all I can say right now.
and, who is the fourth man?
either one of the Darrin's from TVs Bewitched, I'll tell ya THAT!
John. For those interested in purchasing some of John's pages, check
Jonathan Ellis is Interviews Editor for PopImage.
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