Mark Waid on LA Ink - And No, He Doesn't

Mark Waid on LA Ink

Mark Waid appeared Thursday nght on LA Ink, the reality show about a Los Angeles tattoo shop - but don't expect him to see him getting a tattoo himself.

The episode focused on one of the artists for the tattoo shop who is also a comics fan. The artist, named Hannah, ends up coming into Boom! Studios and talking to Waid about whether she has the right stuff to make it in comics. As editor-in-chief for Boom, Waid advises her about the possibility of working in comics.

Newsarama contacted Waid to find out more about the appearance.

Newsarama: You're on LA Ink? How did this happen, Mark?

Mark Waid: What happened was, I had known some friends of friends of people who are producing on the show. One of their ink artists, a girl named Hannah, had decided she wanted to dabble in comics. She's always been a comics fan, and she was talking about wanting to get some lessons or get some instruction and feedback on her sequential work as opposed to her spot illustration stuff.

So they brought her into the Boom offices, and I talked to her about comics. But also, I looked at her portfolio and gave her a review of her work. And I've got to say, much to my surprise, she was actually really good. There was a real expressiveness to what she did. She still needs to learn a few things about panel-to-panel stuff because she's so used to working in frozen images and in one image at a time. But frankly, her stuff was really, really good.

NRAMA: So Hannah came to Boom! But did you get to go to LA Ink?

MW: Yeah, they brought me into the tattoo shop to then go over the stuff and meet the people and go over the progress she's made.

NRAMA: This is a good opportunity to tell people via television about comic books. Did you two talk a lot about comics?

MW: Yeah! Hannah, much to my surprise, was a big fan of the stuff and had been for awhile. I mean, I was talking to her and talking about Image Comics in the early '90s and Frank Miller's stuff in the '80s and Alex Ross' material. Clearly she's been reading comics for a long time. She's a big fan of the Hernandez brothers; big fan of Love and Rockets. So we had a lot of common ground to talk about.

It's cool that, even outside the setting of the show, had we bumped into each other at the comics shop, we could have had a 15-minute conversation anyway.

NRAMA: But Mark, when you sent out the email that you were going to be on LA Ink, we all assumed you were getting a tattoo!

MW: I know! Most people assumed I was going to get a tattoo of Dan DiDio on one arm and Joe Quesada on the other, so I could look at them every day.

NRAMA: Do you have any tattoos?

MW: Me?? No! [laughs] The likelihood of me standing in the LA Ink tattoo shop on a Thursday afternoon is only marginally less likely than me standing in the middle of Victoria's Secret on a Thursday afternoon. It's just not for me.

NRAMA: [laughs] But Mark, I have to ask.... if you had gotten a tattoo at LA Ink, what would it be?

MW: Aaaah! [laughs]

NRAMA: Oh, come on! You've thought about it. You had to! You were in a tattoo shop! You know you did!

MW: My hand to God, I have never in my life given it more than a split second of thought. I really -- I admire them on people. I think they look good on the right people. But me? I change my shirt three times a day! I can't imagine having something on me that is going to last forever, especially since I know the moment I finally break down and get a Superman tattoo somewhere, I'll be fired from DC Comics forever the next day. The irony will haunt me forever.

NRAMA: You could get a little of both big companies. Not DiDio and Quesada, mind you. But Superman on one shoulder and Spider-Man on the other.

MW: Ehhh... it's just not me. There are a lot of cool people who have tattoos. I mean, that would put me in the same club as Shaq and Jon Bon Jovi, but...

What do you think my tattoo should be?

NRAMA: Oh wow.... for you, a Superman symbol. Definitely.

MW: I would say Superman too.

NRAMA: And now you know Hannah, so she could do it for you. But do you think she might be drawing comics for you guys one day?

MW: Frankly, if she came in the door tomorrow with some more story samples, I'm sure I could find a script for her. So, we will see.

NRAMA: She just has to stop thinking in static images?

MW: Yeah, but she's got a talent that's related to her experience too. I mean the commonality is that, as with comic book illustrations, as with individual panels, her job is to look at a person, listen to their story, listen to what it is they want, and then capture in one moment, in one frozen image, almost a story about that person. It's not just a picture, but something that actually communicates something inside that person. I knew that going in. I mean, I may not have any tats, but I've certainly dated enough girls who do.

NRAMA: Ahhh... you just made yourself cool again with that sentence.

MW: [laughs] Yeah. But you know, that's what comic books are too. It's trying to find that one frozen moment that tells a story.

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