Artist Andrew Robinson has been in and out of comics for several years. He burst onto the scene as cover artist for the DC series Starman and later Hawkman in the late 1990s. It was also at that time that he released the first issue of a creator-owned book called Dusty Star that sadly has never seen a second issue.
After a several year break from comics, Robinson has returned. He took his first formulative steps back with a comic for the Magic The Gathering website, and in 2007 he did a special Halloween issue of Jack of Fables and 2008’s Superman/Batman #50. His most recent claim to fame has been doing covers for a variety of DC comics including Superman, Action Comics, Titans and Vigilante.
But as with any good comics talent, fans want more. So we contacted Andrew Robinson, and got the scoop on his cover work, Dusty Star and two new projects – a graphic novel and a band.
Newsarama: It’s good to finally talk to you, Andrew. Let’s talk comics!
Lately you've been doing a great number of covers for DC Comics. How'd this gig come about, and what are your thoughts on it?
Andrew Robinson: It's been a lot of fun. Especially drawing lots of characters for the first time. Teen Titans, Outsiders, Vigilante and lots of Batman villians. I just finished a short run of painted covers for Superman and Action Comics. Wish it would have lasted longer but I guess in the end I wasn't right for the job. And sadly none of my covers featured Superman. Right now I'm working on a new Titans cover for a trade. It's good to be busy.
NRAMA: If I got my facts right, the last published interior work of yours was the Superman/Batman #50 from 2008. Do you have any more comics work planned in the future?
AR: I'm just about to begin a painted graphic novel called The 5th Beatle
It's about the life of their manager, Brian Epstein. It's written by Vivek Tiwary who has also written the screenplay which as far as I know has been green lighted. I'm very excited about this project. It's a great story of success while dealing with inner struggles that I'm sure most people can relate to. Plus there's lots of great visuals for me to really stretch my legs and be myself.
NRAMA: That sounds really intriguing. Who’s publishing it?
AR: Though there are lots of offers, a publisher has not been decided upon. My agent and friend, Mark Irwin introduced me to the writer. I read the script and loved it. Then Vivek and I had a meeting here in LA where we discussed the project in more detail and realized that we had very, similar visions for how the graphic novel should look.
NRAMA: We’ll definitely be looking for more on that as the time comes. Looking into the past here….
I'm showing a bit of my fanboy side, but I hold Dusty Star #1 in high regard ever since it came out man years ago in a far-flung time called the late 90s. What happened with this project, and do you plan to do more of it?
AR: I'm currently working on the next chapter of twenty four new pages of backstory about what Dusty has been through to become who she is- a bad ass fresh out of friends. I'll be collecting it along with issue one into a hardback 46 pager in full color. No ads and no b.s. I'll be self publishing and printing the book under the brandstudiopress umbrella. Seven new pages are finished and lettered. As soon as I finish coloring these I'm gonna post them as a preview on my website www.nextexitcomics.com.
NRAMA: When do you estimate this new Dusty Star book will come out?
AR: I would like to finish it by the end of the year, but with my schedule it's hard to tell.
NRAMA: Poring over your website and blog, I see a new project of yours called Spacejunkies - I see you did some drawings, and also wrote some songs - songs a band named Spacejunkies has performed. Is this some kind of multimedia project like the Gorillaz? Tell us about it.
AR: About seven years ago I had this idea about a rock n roll band traveling through space. Then a few years ago the most amazing thing happened. I was introduced to a girl who's making the whole thing come to life. She was introduced to my work through a mutual friend. "I want to make music with this guy", is what I was told that she said.
Well after hanging at one of her shows, I was inspired to write our first song. It just hit me as I was riding home and looking out at the stars. Suki liked my lyrics and wrote the music for "Not very Far."
She sings and plays lead guitar and even wrote a little harmonica piece that I can perform. We've got about five songs in the can and working on new ones. The Spacejunkies (which right now consists of myself, Suki and her boyfriend, Dave) just performed last month in LA at a little punk club called Mr. T's Bowl. I don't mean to brag but it was pretty f'n cool.
I'm definitely inspired by the Gorillaz and Jaime Hewlett, but I feel like we're really coming into our own sound. I have to give Suki all the props for that.
As the music and my actual envolvement in a real band plays out I'm trying to decide if this is a better story than what I first had in mind. Even I don't know where this is headed.
NRAMA: Where can people go to hear the Spacejunkies?
AR: The song "not very far" is on my website, www.nextexitcomics.com and there is a video for the song "star rider" on youtube. Also check out http://www.myspace.com/thespacejunkiesband.
NRAMA: Another thing I pulled up while spelunking on your website is a self-published book you did called Andrew Robinson Goes to Zany Zonkerville. What’s that?
AR: It's a collection of artwork, srcibbles, sketches and concepts for all my creator owned properties. An art book that I can also use as a pitch. It includes Dusty Star and the Spacejunkies along with a lot more craziness.
NRAMA: I just placed an order on your website. [laughs]
Before we go, I wanted to check in on another interesting thing I saw on your website. Another side of your art most comic people haven't seen is your fine art - recently exhibited at the Nucleus gallery in California. Can you tell us about this side of your art career?
AR: It's all about me painting solely for myself. I've got about fifteen paintings right now. I've taken figure painting and mixed in ambiguous backgrounds layered with collage and magazine transfer. I've had quite a few shows but I haven't sold too many paintings. However I don't mind, there like my little babies- I don't want to see them go. I do have an art book for sale called Ten Paintings which contains every piece in my collection.