As someone working in comics, I’m fortunate to see a lot of comics come across my desk. Seeing so many flip by, you can see creators as they progress and mature, but you also see new artists breaking onto the scene. Sometimes an artist’s style will mature into something irreckognizable from their earliest work, while others will pop up out of nowhere looking ready for the big leagues. With the announcement last month of the Image series Skullkickers, comics was introduced to a new artist named Edwin Huang. Writer Jim Zubkavich found Edwin at a convention while working at the UDON comics booth, and worked with Huang to turn a little story in an anthology into its own series at Image.
Although it’s Huang’s first professional work, he did a considerable amount of comics while studying under Klaus Janson and Phil Jimenez. For more, we talked with Huang about his influences, inspiration and imagination for the future.Newsarama: Can you tell us about your art background?
Edwin Huang: Comics were an integral part of my childhood, but I never fathomed actually drawing comics until I was forced to find a career suitable for me. Soon, I moved to New York to study cartooning. I took a few classes taught by Klaus Janson and Phil Jimenez.; I owe a lot to them. I didn't really have a focus until I took their classes. Both are remarkable artists with invaluable lessons and tips. I recently graduated and now I'm working on the up-coming Skullkickers title.
Nrama: You said you “never fathomed actually drawing comics until I was forced to find a career suitable for me”. What led you to making that choice to do comics and not – animation, art or design or something?
Huang: I grew up reading Uncanny X-Men and playing Marvel vs Capcom. I was a lousy kid with no real desire to do anything but goof off and spend hours at my local comic shop. I never really broke away from my addiction to anything superhero related. Instead, my book collection grew and my taste broadened. Soon enough, I realized that this might be a possible profession that I should take seriously.
Comics have such a unique language and it really embodied what I envisioned myself doing at the time. If it weren't for comics and art school, I would've studied marine biology. [laughs]Nrama: What comics are you reading now?
Huang: I recently finished reading David Mazzucchelli's Asterios Polyp and Nathan Schreiber's Power Out. Those are probably on the top of my list right now along with Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and anything written by Brian Bendis.
Nrama: Is Skullkickers your first comic, or have you done some in the past – either professional, or for school, or even just for fun?
Huang: I've done plenty when I was still in school, but Skullkickers will be my first published book.
Nrama How'd you connect with Jim Zubkavich to do Skullkickers?
Huang: I met Jim two years ago at the San Diego Comic-Con and got his business card (along with some signed Street Fighter goods). I never gathered the nerves to contact him back until I built a portfolio that I was decently confident with. So, a year later I shot Jim a blind email and he was kind enough to email me back. We exchanged emails for a bit until we got serious about reviving his Skullkickers idea. The title took off from there.
Nrama: What made Skullkickers a project you wanted to do?
Huang: I jumped on the idea when it was given to me. From the beginning, I've been having a blast drawing the title. The two main characters are especially fun to draw. In every page, they're either causing havoc or running away from it. Fun stuff.Nrama: For this interview I wanted to run some of your non-Skullkickers art, and you sent some interesting pieces. Can you tell me about them?
Huang: The Monkey King story were sample pages I did for my portfolio. At the time, I was experimenting with breaking out of panel borders. And to be honest, I think I overdid it. These pages were a lot of fun though. I used a lot of black with no intention of coloring it.
The Sun Wukong As Perseus piece was done over the summer to experiment and get a feel for digital coloring. The process of coloring it was highly influenced by Hyung-tae Kim's art style.
Nrama: What are you doing after Skullkickers?
Huang: I'm not exactly sure. I'm constantly freelancing and getting illustrations in here and there, but I would like to land another long term comic book gig.
Nrama: Do you have a dream project you want to do someday, either by yourself or with other creators?
Huang: The fan-boy side of me wants to work on an Avengers title and a Street Fighter title, but some day I would like to work on something on my own. Not exactly sure what yet, but it'll come to me.Know any Up-and-Coming creators you'd like profiled? Let us know!