Artists on the Verge: Kaare Andrews

Welcome to CBR's second installment of "Artists on the Verge," a five piece series running this week.

Yesterday we brought you an interview with "Cybernarry 2.0" artist Eric Canete. Today we take a look at another artist churning out compelling and dynamic covers for Marvel Comics, Kaare Andrews.

Andrews talks to CBR News about how he creates the right atmosphere for his covers, which comic titles he would never work on, and how one television cartoon series changed his life forever.

Come back tomorrow for our interview with an artist who's worked with Kevin Smith, published three different creator-owned titles and is slated to work with Brian Bendis on an upcoming project.

[Spider-Man #37]Artist Kaare Andrews knows how difficult in can be to break into the industry as an artist. "It took two years of intense focus just to get my first black and white work," Andres told CBR News. "It took almost another two years for me to break into the big two."

Andrews has paid his dues, and because of this, he doesn't take his current success lightly. "Meeting a bunch of young artists attempting to break in lately has reminded me how incredibly tough it is to become a comic book artist," said Andrews. "I'm really proud that I've made it to this level. But it's just the beginning," admits Andrews.

Kaare Andrews attended art school at the Alberta College of Art and Design for 2 years. "Just like John Byrne, Cary Nord and Joni Mitchell. None of us finished our 4 year degrees," says Andrews.

His first work in the realm of comics included everything from Gen: 13, Logan and Grimm, Gambit, to books like Intrigue, Wonderlanders, Inmates, Kirin: Battlegirl, and Writers Bloc. Now, after years of struggling and perseverance, Kaare is beginning to taste the sweetness of a hard-won victory. He's working as a cover artist for Marvel Comics on one of the biggest titles in the industry. And he's loving every minute of it.

"This damned business is so addictive," said Andrews. "Mostly I'm focusing on Marvel right now. In particular, Spider-Man. I'm doing the 'Amazing Spider-Man' covers, writing and painting an issue of 'Tangled Web,' and a couple more projects that'll be announced later."

He's also been contracted to provide artwork for the new Spider-Man game from Playstation. "I've created 12 screen shots for 'Parker's Portfolio.' Every time you beat a level at a different skill level you release one of my screen shots," said Andews. "I'm happy to say that the other creators involved are Mark Bagley and John Romita Sr!"

As difficult as it's been for Andrews, there have also been very exciting times as well. However, sometimes the excitement can get a little out of hand. During a photo shoot for a reference to the famous "Kiss Cover" of Peter Parker issue 29, things took a strange turn.

[The Kiss]"I had my friend and his ex-girlfriend pose for me," recalls Andrews. "They hadn't seen each other in a while and there was a lot of tension. I set up my lights and started to pose them. I don't know if it was the lights, the camera or the physical contact but they exploded into a raging fury of hormones. I tried as best I could to take my photos at these two figures madly pawing and grappling one another, their lips and teeth wrestling for each others tongues. I felt like I was directing my first nature film - during mating season. After a while they settled down and I was able to pose them in exactly the position I needed for my painting. I took the rest of my shots and said good-bye while the two of them manhandled each other to the bedroom. It was pretty crazy but it provided exactly the kind of feeling I was looking for. They started dating again that afternoon. I think they were broken up again by the next morning."

But working on Spider-Man isn't all that Kaare hopes to work on in the future. "I'm just beginning my work on Spider-Man and having the time of my life. The only (title) I haven't really done yet (but hope to) is the X-Men but I'm in no hurry to get to it," said Andrews.

However, there are some books that Andrews would actually turn down cold, if asked.

"Here's one title you will never see me work on; Superman. What a boring character. Ugh. I've only really enjoyed one Superman story as a kid. It was the story where Lex Luthor kills him. Other than that it was all crazy stuff about him battling teenagers with six fingers, or going camping with Batman and Wonder Woman. Stuff like that drove me nuts."

When asked what his favorite comic was growing up, Andrews doesn't even stop to think about it.

"I've got two words for you- 'YO JOE!' 'G.I. Joe' was the super-sonic-comic-supreme when I was a kid," exclaims Andrews. "How many of us did it bring to the comic world? It's legendary. Imagine an animated commercial advertising comic books. Unheard of. 'G.I. Joe' was the perfect blend of cartoons, toys and comics. This is what we need to bring the kids back to comics. Where is their 'G.I. Joe?' It's not out there right now."

While there may not be a "G.I. Joe" for the new millennium yet, Andrews feels pretty good about where the industry is headed right now. "I think Marvel has the right idea. Make quality comics, do the movies and animation and be patient. Look at the history of comics. I can't think of many other industries with such consistent and dramatic highs and lows."

Kaare Andrews certainly knows a little something about patience, as he has literally worked his way to the top of his craft. He's learned how difficult, and how rewarding, this kind of job can be.

Kaare is often asked what advice he has for young artists who hope to follow in his footsteps. The answer, he says, is simple. "Ask questions. Adapt. Work hard," said Andrews. "When the opportunity comes it will be scary. Grab on with both hands and scream."

And the best thing about working in comics for Andrews? "Everything," he says. "Every damned thing is great about working in comics."

Learn about the evolution of a Hulk cover in an interview conducted with Andrews in July.

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