DEREK FRIDOLFS: YEAR TWO
It was almost exactly a year ago now that I first interviewed Derek Fridolfs in this very space. In a two-part interview (read part one and part two, if you're so inclined), Derek discusses how he got his "big break" into comics, and some of the ins and outs of inking comics as a profession.
Well, what a year it's been for him. He's worked for Dark Horse and WildStorm and Gorilla, and has more on the way. (He was particularly taken with inking Mike Wieringo on TELLOS and said that he'd love to work with him again on a certain caped hero sometime…)
I caught up to him a couple of weeks ago to see what's going on.
Augie De Blieck Jr.: It's been a year since last we talked about the comics biz. You were just a beginner then, getting your first assignment or two and getting your foot in the mainstream door. So tell us, what have you done the past year? What can we add to your bibliography?
Derek Fridolfs: I still feel like a beginner. I probably will feel that way for a good 4 or 5 years until I've got so much work that I can't take the time to conduct a normal life. I actually look forward to that luxury of not stepping foot out into the sun, because the art table beckons me!
Let's see if I can put the stuff in order from the beginning: WOLVERINE #147 came first, followed by GEN ACTIVE #1, pitched in on a few pages for ANGEL #7 (uncredited due to omitting my name), and later a few pages on ANGEL #11 and #13, there's the JET mini-series of four issues (just wrapped up), and in the middle of that as well, worked on some pages for AUTHORITY #18 and TELLOS #9. Also inked one of the covers to GEN ACTIVE #4. And just recently helped out a friend ink a cover to the second issue of his own self-published title, KNIGHT EDGE.
ADB: Has it been any easier to find new work with all of this stuff behind you? Or is it still a struggle to get your stuff out there and looked at?
DF: The industry is still very much a roller coaster ride, probably not just for me but for everyone out there (still...more so for us relatively fresh and unknown talents). Working on a 4-issue miniseries all to myself was a nice accomplishment. Putting out four consecutive issues on a monthly basis without help, unlike a lot of titles out there that tend to need more than one inker to sometimes pitch in-- I really relished it. But at the same time, it was hard work (especially if anyone has seen the detail that Dustin puts into his pencils). All the while, I would be getting calls here and there to pitch in on other things while still trying to maintain the quality on JET.
So I guess the analogy is...when it rains, it pours. And at this point during the Christmas season...there's been a drought. There are projects currently in the pitch/contracts-being-worked-out/stories-being-written stage...things on the horizon...but nothing ready to go right now. To go back to the analogy...that leaves me thirsty. Very thirsty. I'm chompin' at the bit. When I had work, people were calling to give me more. And when you don't have work...you find the phone staring back at you, accusing you, spitting at you, mocking you. It's quite a life. Again, it's not to say that I haven't tried calling around and contacting the people I know. But I'm still a relative newcomer, and I don't really know all that many people to begin with.
(Consider it plug time: Here's a guy who's inked on a wide range of books for just about every major publisher now...heck, WOLVERINE on one end, AUTHORITY on the other. And here I am folks. Email me...you might be surprised.)
But to come back full circle, I've done most of my work through WildStorm...and I've been nothing but very happy with how they've treated me. And I look forward to the future projects coming up through them.
ADB: Are you inking full time now, or do you still have your day job?
DF: For a while I was juggling a full time graveyard shift, as well as inking on the other hours I wasn't asleep. And once I got into inking a regular monthly scheduled mini-series, it got to be too much...one or the other was gonna give. (And considering I need sleep, it made it an easy decision). So I'm inking fulltime, and working on whatever artistic fulfillments and creative pitching that I can do on the side.
ADB: What's on the deck that you can mention for 2001 so far? The JET GENACTIVE story seems to be a given, right? [Note: The 4-issue JET mini-series just wrapped up a couple of weeks ago and gets a hearty approval from me. It's a fun light college superhero romp with an attitude.]
DF: There hasn't been a whole lot said about what's going to happen officially, but I did notice that it was posted online that there's another Jet story appearing in an upcoming issue of GEN ACTIVE. And while I don't want to say too much about it, I will say that early plans are for her to team up with a familiar face in the WildStorm universe.
Other than that, there are a multitude of mini-series projects still in the preliminary stages, so it's pretty much a wait-and-see attitude as to what Dustin will land on next...and I'll follow along like the puppy dog I am. I know what I'd like to work on with him, which kinda coincides with what some of the editorial would like to see him do, but we'll wait to see what the future holds.
ADB: So what's next?
DF: I'm currently pitching in helping ink 6 pages for an upcoming STAR TREK one-shot (released in February) called "Enter the Wolves". You can actually see a nice full-page ad for it in the PREVIEWS for books released in February. Looks to be fun -- a nice drama with the Cardassians vying to join the federation with Spock's approval and his father Sarek's disapproval (with Bones somewhere in there as well). I'm inking over Carlos Mota on it, and this guy has a great ability to draw good likenesses... which is probably a good thing for artists that draw licensed material. ;)
After that wraps up (I finish early next week as I'll be visiting WS to drop off the pages...the book is under deadline pressures), seems the GEN ACTIVE script has been rewritten and pretty much fixed to meet continuity with the character appearing in the crossover...and Dustin and I should get to that pretty soon. It's a 16-page story, a bit longer than most of the stories in GEN ACTIVE, that deals with Jet going after the man responsible for her father Backlash's injuries.... Should be good.
My thanks to Derek for submitting to the annual round of questions, and best wishes for his career in the new year. Please join us again next January to see where Derek goes next, and cross your fingers that it doesn't turn into a "VH1's Behind The Music" special… ;-)
Coming up next Friday: A look at a manga title or two. The usual industry commentary and comics reviews are coming up on Tuesday. Have a great weekend!