Fan-favorite artist Skottie Young is known for many things. He illustrated Marvel's acclaimed "Oz" adaptations with writer Eric Shanower; as both writer and artist he launched Marvel's "Rocket Raccoon" ongoing series with sales topping 300,000 copies. Of course, you may know him best from his Marvel baby variants considering they've adorned nearly every new #1 since the launch of Marvel NOW!
At Comic-Con International in San Diego, Young visited the world famous CBR Yacht and spoke to Jonah Weiland about a number of topics including "I Hate Fairyland," his upcoming Image Comics series that originally featured a much dirtier title, explaining how that title, which he and Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson originally thought would hurt sales, will live on in the book's variant covers. The veteran artist also discusses how his style has evolved over the last 15 years into the singular vision fans know today, as well as how the surprise success of the "Oz" books allowed him to get there.
On his new Image Comics series, "I Hate Fairyland," and its original, less all-ages appropriate title - "Fuck Fairyland":
Skottie Young: People might not know this, because the [Diamond Previews] catalog's not out yet, but you will have that cover if you want it [as a variant cover.] The main title will be called "I Hate Fairyland," but for retailers that want to shelve the 'early version' of the name, they can do that, too."
It's funny, Eric [Stephenson] and Robert [Kirkman] and I, we exchanged some e-mails for a little while 'cause I was like, "Guys, this is the title that I want, but I know on a business front it's probably a bad idea, dropping an F-bomb on the title." I said, "Should we star it out, should we blank half of it out?" Each of us had different ideas and ultimately Eric and I kind of thought we probably should just go with the safe bet. When we announced that at the Image Expo, a weird thing happened. A lot of retailers started coming up to us at the party that night at the Cartoon Art Museum and started saying like, "Do you think our store could get like a variant of the 'Fuck Fairyland'?" Eric and I kind of looked at each other like, "Why were we trying to figure out which one to go with when we could just go with both?"
In the second part of this wide-ranging interview, Young explains the serendipitous nature of the baby Marvel covers and how they allowed him to carve out a unique niche at Marvel and in comics. He also talks about adding writing to his repertoire over the past several years and whether he's more confident as writer or an artist. And then he answers the biggest question of all: How does Skottie Young the writer work alongside Skottie Young the artist?
On whether he's more confident in his role as a writer or as an artist:
I'm probably more confident in art, but not on a fear level, just on a -- the muscle memory is there. 15 years of drawing monthly comics. You just have to have muscle memory. It really is that place. Your arm and your mind, everything is just doing what it does. It's still a challenge, but it feels like the day is worked out and you know how that day's gonna go. With the writing, it's so -- I'm still very confident in it, but it's a new exciting thing that I have ideas, I type them up, and I'm done. [Laughs] And it goes off and it comes back to me even better than I had imagined it. It's this whole new kind of creative energy that I've -- again, 15 years drawing comics, things start to [turn], the machine's working on its own a little bit. So to kind of jump in this the last three years or so and kind of take hold of the writing side more, it's really what I needed to kind of kickstart the second leg of my career.