Monday, 17 November 2014

Interview - artist Tom Derenick

Tom Derenick has worked for DC Comics and other major companies as an comic artist for a really long time.

Recently he illustrated the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Issue #19; the final issue on the ongoing series. See what he had to say about it in our interview!

Can you tell us about how you became an artist and are now working for DC Comics?

Well, I've been in the business for about 20 odd years now. Started with a small independent company called Cry For Dawn and then was quickly picked up by Malibu Graphics working on their first superhero title, "The Protectors" After the industry crashed in the 90's I started picking up work through Marvel on the X-men line of books and followed a couple of writer friends over to DC Comics. Been with them in various forms for the better part of a decade other than a brief time where I also worked for BOOM Studios. So I've been around.

What titles have you worked on or enjoyed the most? :)

I loved working on the Mutant books, Superman, JLA, Hypernaturals. But more often than not it depended on the writer. R.A. Jones, Dan Abnett, Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza were some of my favs but there's a lot of writers I enjoyed working with quite a bit. If the writer can make you care about the characters you're working on you're a lucky artist no matter which characters they are. And I consider myself extremely lucky.

Tom Derenick's B&W art from "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" #12.

Did you grow up with He-Man or have any history with the toys/cartoon?

Not so much the toys. I was in my late teens when they hit and I would watch the Filmation show when it was on. I remember enjoying it quite a bit. I wasn't deep rooted in it though. I just thought it was a cool and fun thing to watch.

You did the art for upcoming Issue #19 of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. How did that happen? The early solicits had a different artist attached to the book?

I'm not sure really, scheduling conflicts maybe. That happens sometimes and I'm a fast artist that Mattel already approved in the past so I got the call.

The issue is a one-shot flashback story. What did you like about it?

Well drawing Prince Adam and Teela as kids was kind of enjoyable. It's fun to draw parts of the history we don't see as often.

This will be the last issue under the title 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe' for the ongoing comic. How does it make you feel to end-cap the run?

That's kind of par for the course where I'm concerned. I've drawn so many different final issues over the years my friends started joking that I get books cancelled, lol. 

Not true of course, I've drawn many books that were around for years but there are a number of final issues in my portfolio. It's never truly the end in comics, books always seem to come back in one form or another.

You are no stranger to coming in to finish a storyline, actually. Previously your work on He-Man was for issues #11 and #12 that ended the "What Lies Within" story arc. The previous artist went to other projects and you I hear came to finish the project. Did you apply for the task back then?

Not so much apply for it. I'd been working on other books through that particular editor's office and I think there was a deadline crunch so he asked me if I'd be interested, which I was.

The couple issues had lot going for them, He-Man's father already killed, Moss Man getting his arm chopped off, Teela finding out her destiny, becoming the new Sorceress and He-Man getting a new armor too. What was the experience like for you?

It was a blast actually, I was working at a fast pace but Dan Abnett gave me a lot of big fun stuff to draw in those issues. I've always been attract to the big over the top battle stuff. I think it's sort of my wheelhouse. It comes to me easier that the quiet talky scenes although they have their plus side as well.

Were there any favourite splash-pages or panels you enjoyed drawing for issues #11 or #12?

Well the Two big Sorceress shots, Original and the Teela version I also remember having a lot of fun with King Hssss.

Although shading his scales was a bit of a bear. Still I was very happy with how he turned out especially since I kind of designed him for that based on earlier looks.

No question here, just wanted to say that Your render of the Filmation cartoon-inspired Sorceress was really awesome.

Thank you very much. My big worry was the headdress. I put a bunch of research into getting her right.

Did you like returning to illustrate He-Man with issue #19?

Very much so. I got to design a new version of the Attak Trak.

Will we see more of your art gracing the pages of the upcoming "He-Man: The Eternity War"?

Can never really tell, I'm a little bogged down in the New 52 DC universe titles at the moment but things can change in a heartbeat and I wouldn't mind getting back to He-Man.

Who is your favorite character?

I'm a Teela guy.

What other projects you have currently that readers could check out and what stuff may we expect from you in the future?

I'm doing some top secret DC stuff at the moment but I'm also involved with Red Hood and the Outlaws and The New Suicide Squad in different capacities. I also might be returning to Injustice or Infinite Crisis once my schedule opens up a little.

Thank you again Tom! :)
Take Care!

Thanks Jukka. You too.

Interview by Jukka Issakainen - November 17th, 2014

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