Headlines   2003 Review Index   September 12 2003
Suspended Animation &

Michael Vance

Mark Allen

Michael Vance Books

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Bo Hampton

     Bo is known in comics circles for having an ultra-realistic, refined art style. He often uses paints, even for some mainstream super hero work and is one of the relatively few artists whose craft could be aptly labeled as comic "fine art."  In the following interview, he talks about his entry into comics, his relationship with his brother, Scott, and his plans for future projects.

     Talk about how and when you broke into comics.

     I got in with a story for DC's Sinister House of Secrets around 1978.  The editor was Jack Harris who wrote Batman: Castle of the Bat which I painted some 20 years later.  I went to the School of Visual Arts and worked as an assistant to my teacher, Will Eisner, for a year prior to that. That prepared me in terms of storytelling, acting, pacing and character development more than any other source.  He's as great as his legend .

     Who are some of your artistic influences?

     Williamson, Torres, Frazetta, Eisner, Toth, Wrightson, Wildey for comics.  Burt Silverman for watercolor and general influence from Italian director Mario Bava and Disney animation.

     What was/is the high point of your comic career? Of your entire artistic career?

     So far, Legend of Sleepy Hollow for Tundra.

     Any low points you'd want to mention?

     Greylore for Sirius Comics was bad because of difficulty working with the editors and publisher.

     Your brother, Scott, is also a professional artist, with much comic work under his belt.  Do the two of you play off of each other, a lot? Get tips from one another?

     He just rips me off, generally.  But no, we help each other by doing our best work and the competition derives from that, I think.  [It's] a good thing.

     Is there a  friendly rivalry  in there?

     We are brothers so I think the rivalry is less friendly and more of a deadly earnest type thing. Once again, I am kidding.  Even with whatever rivalry exists in our personal or artistic lives we are there for each other 100%.  He is an incredibly talented artist and I learned a great deal from him, especially in terms of lighting and painting techniques.

     With so many comic properties making it to the big screen, lately, this next question is a must: Of all of the comic works you have done, which do you think would translate best to the big screen?

     I'm currently working on a Graphic Novel, writing ,painting and lettering, called "Shrike".  I'm designing it from a storyboard art perspective so that it can easily translate to film.  It is a Sci-fi/horror/comedy.

     Is there a particular genre in comics you prefer, or is your interest totally story-driven?

     I am partial to horror and sci-fi/fantasy.

     Are there any particular super hero characters that you have a "soft spot" for?  I know you've done some fantastic Batman work.

     I like most of the silver age characters from most of the companies during that time.  I loved the Thomas/Buscema/Palmer/Palmer [coloring] Avengers.

     Are you reading anything on a regular basis, comic-wise?

     No.

     What are your feelings or opinions about the future of the medium?

     I think the medium will continue in what I call the "Pinhead" vein until readers stop being pinheads, themselves, and are willing to read about characters whose heads are actually larger than their biceps... literally and figuratively.  But that's mainstream stuff... Graphic Novels for more discerning readers seem to flourish in the shade with much less water.

     Are you working on any comic projects right now?

     That would be my creator owned project, Shrike, mentioned earlier and Jack Harris and I have a proposal in at D.C. called Return to the Castle of the Bat.

     Interview by Mark Allen

 

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