“Invincible” artist Ryan Ottley and “Super Dinosaur” artist Jason Howard stopped by the CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con 2012 to speak about their frequent collaboration with and writing quirks of creator Robert Kirkman, their choice to stick with creator-owned comics and the future of their beautifully absurd collaboration “Grizzly Shark and Sea Bear.”
On Robert Kirkman’s style and quirks: “Sometimes, he’ll write an action scene where there’s a lot going on, and I’ll sometimes ask Ryan about that,” said Howard. “How do I find a dynamic way to tell that? Actually, Ryan does a really good job at that in ‘Invincible’ — it looks really dynamic, but still incorporates stuff from the script.”
“He’ll ask for like 30 characters in one panel and I’ll be like, ‘It’s not really possible to make it look dynamic and cool drawing them all,’ so you have to figure it out,” said Ottley. “I’ll do a close-up of one figure and then all these silhouettes.”
Ottley on whether he gets tired of “Invincible”: “I really don’t. When I started the book, I was just a fill-in artist and I didn’t imagine myself staying on this for long. I was thinking I was going to go to Marvel, DC — that was always the plan. I started to realize I got a good thing here. Part ownership, he made me an owner with Cory [Walker] and himself. It’s a good gig and it’s obviously really good writing. It’s fun, I get to design all these new characters and I get paid well. It’s a good thing.”
Howard on the industry as a whole: “One of the things I’ve noticed is there’s a difference between looking at the industry from the outside and then once you’re in working and you talk to peers and things, you realize, ‘Oh, this guy’s drawing a book with a writer that he doesn’t really love the story he’s working on. He’s doing this four issue mini for whoever, these fill-in issues, and it wouldn’t be his first choice for a story.’ Maybe the writer and him don’t mesh … but it’s a gig and he needs the money and he wants to stay in good with the company to get future work that will hopefully be up his alley. Robert’s writing is really good, it meshes well with my sensibilities of comics. We’re working on a project we like with a writer we like.”
On the beautiful absurdity of “Grizzly Shark and Sea Bear”: “We were hanging out at HeroesCon, we were high on fatigue and we were talking about stupid ideas,” said Ottley.
“I think we were talking about scary things and camping, and I think a bear and, ‘Oh, what if it was a shark in the woods instead of a bear?'” said Howard. “It seemed like a really funny premise.”
“It was so stupid, we just had to do it,” said Ottley.
“I kind of regret that we haven’t … been able to fit in the time to do another one,” said Howard. “But we’ve been talking about it a lot lately. So, hopefully, we’ll have an announcement for that at some time. We have ideas for a follow-up to the ‘Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark’ crazy stupidity.”