Up & Coming: Drew Rausch - Sullengrey, Winchester & More

Up & Coming: Drew Rausch

Zombie Tales by Rausch

While some of us may be delighted by the biggest and the most popular in the world of comics, we all realize that for every popular book, writer or artist there has to be a beginning. While there are many ways to success with each story finding its own route, there is one attribute that can be found in each one: talent. Up & Coming is a regular feature at Newsarama.com that seeks out the next generation of comic creators and profiles them today.

Cartoonist Drew Rausch has been in comics for a few years now, but he's got his best work still ahead of him. He's currently working on a horror book for Slave Labor as well as his long running series Sullengrey at APE Entertainment.

For more, we talked with Rausch by email from his home in Maryland.

Newsarama: Hey Drew, it's good to talk to you. First of all, tell us -- What do you do for a living right now?

Drew Rausch: I'm a full time professional illustrator of sequential storytelling, which sounds way more respectable then "I sit at home and draw comics."

NRAMA: What comics work have you done in the past?

DR: I was very fortunate to get my start at Ape Entertainment with Sullengrey, which I co-created with Jocelyn Gajeway. I must have done something right, because I was then picked by Tokyopop to illustrate The Dark Goodbye (a Lovecraftian Noir story written by Vertigo's Haunted Tank scribe, Frank Marrafino) for two volumes. I worked with Dan Vado on Slave Labor Graphics' Haunted Mansion anthology, as well as some stories in Cthulhu Tales and Zombie Tales that were published by Boom Studios.

NRAMA: What do you have coming up on the comics front?

Harry Houdini from 'Winchester'

DR: I'm currently finishing up the next installment of Sullengrey for Ape with Jocelyn and Drew Berry, who also does amazing coloring for me on my Boom Studio work. We hope to have the next 4 issue mini series out starting in September. The feedback from the first mini was incredible, and I'm really excited to continue to build on that and start to really expand our following with the next one.

I'll also be re-visiting a haunted mansion with Dan Vado on Winchester, a story based on the Winchester Mystery House. This thing is going to be so rad! It's going to have Harry Houdini, Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and possibly one of the most mysterious women in American history.

Sarah Winchester

NRAMA: Which would be Saraha Winchester, of course. Do you have a dream project you'd like to work on? If so, what is it?

DR: I don't know if I have a "dream project" per se. I generally feel more comfortable with vast genres that I can have the freedom to create and play with characters and I've been told that my "style" might not be suited for mainstream comics. But given the opportunity, there are properties that I would like to try my take on. I'd love to work on a twisted Spiderman story, say in the vein of "Torment". One sandbox I would really jump at the chance to play in is Joss Whedon's Angel-verse. I'm such a fan of how things are set up in that world and the way it lends itself to many different styles of storytelling, it seems like a fun challenge.

NRAMA: Did you go to school for art? If so, tell us about it.

DR: I graduated from the Hussian School of Art in '99, with a major in illustration. It was an odd experience. The class that I was in was split between advertising design and illustration, with a very heavy push on design. The idea of a career in comic books wasn't exactly taken seriously and at the time I think it was a turning point for technology, so everyone was still trying to figure out how to integrate Photoshop with traditional media. I look back now and wished I had waited a couple of years.

Sullengrey: Sacrifice

One of things I did learn is to get away from the formula, mostly due to the fact that I think the formula is boring. The best advice I got was "Try something you wouldn't normally do. Do something you know isn't going to work. Experiment. See what happens." I think we all tend to get in these boxes, but I like to take the box apart and see what I can adapt to my way of thinking.

NRAMA: And finally…. what initially prompted you to get into art?

DR: To be perfectly honest with you, I can't say that there was a specific instance that I could point and say "This is what got me wanting to draw!". I mean, if you want I can say I was scribbling stick figures that looked like Superman, Batman, and Aquaman when I was 5 and thought it was fun. But now, there's a certain fulfillment when you can cause ripples in the pond with an idea and get people to respond to that, either emotionally or intellectually. Also, and this is in any art form, there's a great sense of discovery. I'll sit down with a bunch of little scribbles and invariably one of these makes it into a fully developed concept, and new ideas sprout from the rejected ones. I think you also learn a lot about how one perceives the world. Personally I found out that I have a very skewed way of seeing and I want to share that.

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