Bryan Hitch has been one of the most popular and influential artists in modern comics history, and in 2012 he decided to step away from the stodgy heroes of Marvel and DC in favor of creating his own. Partnering with talk show host turned comics writer Jonathan Ross, Hitch’s premiered his first creator-owned creation earlier this month with the Image miniseries America’s Got Powers. Taking the ever-popular talent show format and infusing it with a superhero twist, America’s Got Powers debuted earlier this month in a double-sized first issue that our reviewer Aaron Duran dubbed “compelling.”
And while Hitch is working furiously on the upcoming issues of the series with #2 primed for release on May 16, Newsarama did manage to pull him away from the drawing board for a quick chat about this superhero competition, his upcoming DC work, and his bold choice to break away from the Big Two and create his own future.
Newsarama: This has been a long time coming for you, Bryan. What’s it like to step out from work-for-hire and do true creator-owned work with Jonathan here with America’s Got Powers?
Bryan Hitch: It’s a joy. It HAS been a long time coming and something I've wanted to do since Mark and I were on Ultimates. He was able to jump off and do Wanted, etc way ahead of my having time to do likewise but, certainly for the last two or three years, it's been an absolute intention to concentrate on my own or co-creations.It also has had its difficulties. There's no company and editor in the same way. Image, Publisher Eric Stephenson, and Image partner Robert Kirkman and the terrific crew there have been beyond fantastic in helping us put this thing together but it was down to us to work things out, organize inkers, letterers and colorists etc and pull everything together as well as market and promote the project. It's been far more work than I'd anticipated; a job in itself really. Getting that first issue out and on time was both a profound personal achievement and lesson in humility! I suppose, like anybody else ignorant of what was involved, I didn't realize how tough the editorial side could be and it left me with a newfound respect for all my editors and the feeling that I must owe them a thousand apologies! Nrama: Speaking about the series’ story itself, you two both hail from England where many of America’s big reality contest shows got their starts, but why did you decide to set this series in America?
Hitch: Well, America is the home of super heroes really and it would've looked pretty durn daft calling it America’s Got Powers and setting it in France, wouldn't it? I'd love to do a big book set in London or even small town England but to my inner child, super hero comics are American through and through. I grew up on a cultural diet of American comics, TV and movies and its part of who I am. One of the characters I'm best known for is my work with Captain America. Not too shabby for a Brit.We did take it out of New York though, the more traditional U.S. super hero city. You always want a lovely setting though as that becomes a character in itself and here we chose San Francisco. It's a wonderful place to draw, full of such rich visual interest. The idea of the super hero fit quite well there too.
Nrama: From time to time I’ve seen you ink your own work, especially in covers. I was halfway hoping to see that in America’s Got Powers but noticed you deferred that to long-time collaborators Paul Neary and Andrew Currie.
Hitch: Yeah, I started to but with being co-creator and the editorial concerns, there just aren't enough hours in the day. When it comes down to it though, I'm more interested in telling stories than drawing pictures so I'd rather use the time to do more pages, more stories and more projects than ink my pencils. I'm not fast enough to do everything so having to choose, it's the inking that goes.Nrama: When this was announced you two planned on releasing two issues of America’s Got Powers in one month, but right before release you deferred to doing a double-sized first issue continuing what would have been #1 and #2. Why was that?
Hitch: Initially it was just to offer a huge kick of momentum and realizing that our first issue was getting so big it was best to split it into two. That's changed now though as we felt that was unfair, to ask readers to pay for it that way so we edited it a little and now instead of two issues in April it became a REALLY big one. It's 38 pages of story and still only $2.99. That seemed fair to us, a huge chunk of story and still cheap when others are charging $3.99 for twenty pages.
Nrama: Let’s talk about your creative collaborator here. Jonathan’s still a newcomer when it comes to comics creating, but he showed a lot of progress just in the few issues of Turf. Bryan, since you’ve worked with the top creators in comics, how’d you measure him to be someone you’d like to spend the next few months working on a project with?
Hitch: There's no measure; he's a tremendous creative partner and we're having a great time. I've been very fortunate these last fifteen years and had great creative or working relationships with writers and it's no exception. Jonathan brings a huge passion to the project and he works very hard indeed. We are having such a good time working with each other it's clearly going to last well beyond this project.Nrama: You’ve been one of the most in-demand artists in the past decade, and you’ve just stepped out of your exclusive agreement with Marvel to do this. I saw you popping up doing covers for DC too. What’s going on?
Hitch: Chris, I'm doing a load of covers for DC but it's not building to anything beyond that right now. Just having great fun playing in my childhood sandbox!
I have LOTS of plans and it's a mind-blowing list of writers too. Just like Mark is doing by his writing for the biggest artists in comics, I'm clubbing together with a wish list of the biggest and best writers. Yes, obviously Mark and I will collide for something massive soon and there's more with Jonathan. I'm writing some myself and then there are these four other guys. Your minds will blow.
Yes, there are certainly plans...Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!