Australian artist Ben Templesmith, featured in August’s “Artists On The Verge” here at CBR, has been announced as the fill-in artist for Todd McFarlane Press’ (TMP) “Hellspawn” title.
Earlier this month it was rumored that TMP had planned to cancel the title when long-time artist Ashley Wood revealed he would be severing his long-standing relationship with the publisher to pursue other work, including a creator-owned endeavor called “Popbot.” However, it seems that TMP has decided to continue the book with Templesmith at the drawing board.
“For you comic fans who have been wondering about the fate and future of Hellspawn, I can now give you the official news,” managing editor Brad Gould told fans Friday on the Spawn.com message boards. “We could no longer wait for Ash to finish the pages that he owed us for issue #10, and we understand that with a lot on his plate, there was no predicting when we’d get the pages we needed. We have let a fabulous artist finish issue ten and illustrate issue eleven. His name is Ben Templesmith, and I think you’re going to be pleased. I’m really excited to be working with Ben. He’s a really versatile artist, and I don’t think Hellspawn will suffer in the least. If you’d like to see more of his stuff, you can check out a variety of his work at http://www.templesmith.com and I think you’ll be as enthusiastic as I am.”
In an exclusive interview with CBR News, Templesmith talked about how he landed the job.
“A friend knew a friend who just thought they’d put some work of mine under a certain head guy’s nose,” said Templesmith. “I got asked to do a couple sample pages and hey, presto!”
“I’m worried I could be typecast as an Ashwood hack,” said Templesmith. “Understandably so, really. Which is why I’m so keen to move onto #11 and try some weird (original) type thing. I just want to avoid all of those comparisons where I can I guess. I can do work similar to Ash, especially considering I follow directly on from him in #10, but I’ll be trying some different things myself for #11. (“Hellspawn” writer) Steve Niles tells me there’s some weird-ass shit going on in #11. Still, there are worse people to start out looking similar too.”
In addition to providing interior artwork for TMP’s “Hellspawn,” Templesmith’s work can also be seen at Unbound Comics in the comic book adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
“[Hamlet’s] a little different I think, especially considering it was the first full thing I’ve ever done,” said Templesmith. “I was pretty big on Dave McKeans ‘Cages’ when I was doing it and it sort of stuck.”
Even though he has other projects on the table at the moment, Templesmith said he also hopes that his run on the book will continue. “I get to do the final 5 pages of issue #10 and if the gods are nice to me, all of #11, and I just finished coloring Codeflesh #8 for Casey and Adlard, (and it’s) ready to send off.”
Still, nothing could be more exciting for Templesmith right now than to be named the full-time artist for such a high profile book as “Hellspawn”. “I know little, except that whatever happens next, is Todd’s call. I’ve never been more enthusiastic about something in my whole, short, life,” said Templesmith.