Hayden Sherman has always been making comics.
"I've made comics when small, made comics when not as small, and now makes comics while tall," the New England artist tells Newsarama.
This month his creator-owned Vault Comics series Wasted Space with writer Michael Moreci expanded from a limited series to an ongoing, and while that is happening he's also moonlighting on a new series for AfterShock called Mary Shelley, Monster Hunter.
Sherman has been working in comic books for four years, breaking in as a college sophmore drawing Marvel Comics' Avengers Origin custom comic for Adobe. Since then he has worked on everything from Marvel's Civil War II: Kingpin to BOOM! Studios' Labyrinth, and completed two creator-owned series: The Few and Cold War.
Sherman spoke with Newsarama about Wasted Space transitioning to an ongoing, his introduction to comic books, and what wants for his future in the industry.
Newsarama: Hayden, what's on your drawing board today?
Hayden Sherman: Today I just wrapped up the third issue of an as-yet unannounced Image book. So technically there’s nothing on the board for a minute, which is much welcome.
Nrama: In talking with your Wasted Space co-creator Mike Moreci, I described you as a breakout artist looking for a breakout book. I've followed your work since 2016 - in doing several limited series and spot work, have you figured out what you feel you're best at?
Sherman: I don’t know if I’ve figured out what I’m best at, and I don’t have much intention of figuring that out, but I definitely know what I like. I like stories that interest me.
At this point I’ve done sci-fi, period, superhero, secret agent, space opera, and dystopia, and I hope to jump around in more and more genre spaces. I dunno which one I’m “best” at, I’m just looking to be challenged and have fun with a story I can get behind.
Nrama: I see you pulled commonly into science fiction and fantasy - have you thought about exploring areas outside of that? I'm not talking superheroes, but maybe something historic, period, modern, or more whimsical?
Sherman: Very much! In fact right now I’m also drawing a book called Mary Shelley, Monster Hunter for AfterShock that takes place in the early 1800s. I enjoy getting a chance to stretch my legs somewhere else and learn about/draw different things.
I’d really really love to do something for a much younger audience especially. I’m very proud of the books I’ve been involved in, but I can’t exactly hand them to my littlest siblings just yet. Either I’ll have to make some more approachable books, or they’ll have to get older, we’ll get there one way or another.
Nrama: Let's back up - I know you're from Boston, but not much else. What's your story as far as art and comics are concerned?
Sherman: As far as art and comics are concerned, they’ve both always been there with me.
Growing up I filled sketchbooks on the regular, and read comics just as often. I’d be reading Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Star Wars etc., and then filling up sketchbooks with my own drawings of whichever characters, occasionally copying from the comics, occasionally creating my own stuff. From there I just didn’t stop.
Made comics in middle school, went to an art magnet school (NESA shoutout!) for high school, and then studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. At the tail end of my sophomore year there I got my first little gig with Marvel, and from there I just kept going all the more.
So: made comics when small, made comics when not as small, and now makes comics while tall. Always been making comics.
Nrama: What would you say were your inspirations for art coming into comics?
Sherman: Coming into comics I was (and still am) very struck by the works of artists such as Yoji Shinkawa, Mike McMahon, Ashley Wood, Paul Pope, Sergio Toppi, Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, Hideo Kojima, and the list goes on.
Comics are such an incredible narrative medium, and the things I hope to achieve in the stories I tell are the same things that I love about each of the people I listed, and many more. The ability to focus on the feeling and mood of the art and how that impacts the characters and reader as compared to just showing things as they are.
Nrama: And now, what current artists are energizing you?
Sherman: Ah man, for that maybe you should check who I’m following on Twitter. [Laughs]
There’s an incredible amount of artists right now, all out there making incredible work. I can’t think of a single artist that could zap my energy.
Nrama: We're here on the occasion of Wasted Space's second arc beginning last week. I believe this is your first ongoing work on an ongoing series. How does it feel to have this kind of open but secured commitment, work-wise? In dating terms, this is like being asked to go steady.
Sherman: Short answer: it rocks.
Admittedly, accepting to go into the ongoing status meant I had to really push my schedule around in order to fit all the things I’m working on. But I’d build time with my own two hands to get to keep drawing these characters for just a few more issues. The whole experience of making this book is a joy. I get to read a killer script, draw the killer script, design a bunch of weird fun sci-fi, work with the most exceptional team you could ask for, and then turn the issue in and do it all again. Going steady is an easy choice.
Nrama: What are your goals with Wasted Space, now heading into the second arc?
Sherman: My goals now are the same as they’ve been from the beginning. Have fun, show the reader weird creatures and worlds, and make a book that zooms along at a good adventure-style pace.
Nrama: What are the goals for yourself now that you're on what I believe is your fourth year full-time in comic books?
Sherman: Shoot, yeah it has been about that long. Well, right now I’m drawing three books that are all due out this year, I’m developing three more book pitches, writing a book that I’ll be illustrating for a certain company in 2020, and gearing up for a couple other books I’ve got set for 2020.
So, my goal for myself is to work efficiently and rest appropriately. It’s easy to want to fill up all my time with making things, but it’s just as important and more so that I make sure I’m treating myself like a human being.