Haven’t heard of Grant Gould or Jessica Hickman? Well then you’re one of millions of Americans who aren’t avid followers of sketch cards. But by the end of convention season, aka summertime, you will be able to pick up some of their art through Viper Comics’ Oddly Normal stories. In their spare time, Gould is writing and drawing Wolves Odin which has not yet been picked up by a publisher and Hickman is finishing the pencils for Oddly Normal: Fignation.
Geoff Collins: What is Wolves of Odin about?
Grant Gould: It’s Vikings verses werewolves. That’s the big catch line. I’m taking Norse mythology and I’m kind of playing with it a little bit. I discovered that a lot of people think a lot of the werewolf mythology began with the berserkers, which were guys who would wear animal furs and go berserk and kill people. There is a lot of stuff online; preparing for this I Googled werewolves and read every random thing I could find on them. I’ve always had a thing for werewolves. There were a lot of connections between Norse (mythology) and werewolves. I’m Norwegian so I’ve always liked the Viking thing and I love werewolves so how could I pass that up. I think I’m the first person that’s doing a werewolves verses Vikings comic. It just sounds too cool to pass up. Once I thought of it and started telling people about it I had to do it before someone else.
GC: How do like doing your own writing and art as opposed to doing art for somebody else?
GG: I think I’m kind of a control freak. Not that the people I’ve done art for are bad writers or anything, but I think I like being able to match the page. If you’re writing and drawing it, you can kind of adjust the story. You can come up with something on the page and be like, “Oh that works better, visually.” Whereas the other way around the art has to serve the story. When you’re doing both they can serve each other. So the art can revolve around the story as much as the story around the art. If that makes sense.
GC: It makes sense to me.
GG: I know a lot of guys have no desire to write. They want some one to hand them the words and they just draw, which is totally cool. But I think I’m one of those people that just wants to take the ball and run with it. So if the book succeeds I can take all the credit, and if it bombs I can be the only one to blame.
GC: With writer Otis Frampton doing the ink and colors for your art in Fignation, you must not be a control freak like Grant. How has your experience been having someone control the final product?
Jess Hickman: It’s fun to see how someone else takes what I draw, and then ink it putting a little of their own style into it. So it’s really interesting to see my stuff when I send it, then see my stuff in a different way. I get to see different things about it.
GC: How did you get involved with Viper Comics?
GG: I got involved with Viper through Otis Frampton, who does Oddly Normal. He had me do some pinups for Oddly Normal. The book I’m working on, Wolves of Odin, I’m going to be hopefully pitching that to Viper. Hopefully it’ll be published. Through Otis we’ve discovered Viper.
GC: How has your experience been doing Fignation verses doing cards by yourself?
JH: I really like how it balances out, especially working with someone else’s characters they want it done a certain way and I’m fine with that. Then when you get to the sketch cards you get to go crazy and do your own little style. So it’s nice to work with someone else’s properties and have them be happy with how you’re doing it and then get to relax a little bit (doing cards) and do it your own way with your own style.
GC: How would you describe your style?
GG: I like switching my style a lot. The only reason being that it keeps it interesting for me. I’ll do really cartoony stuff most of the time. But the Lost print that I did I tried to see if I could make it more realistic and a little less cartoony. That stuff takes me longer, I have to go on the computer and play with it to make it more realistic. I think my natural style is more cartoony. (Wolves of Odin) is going to be more like my Star Wars cards, which a lot of people say looks like the Clone Wars cartoon. I don’t think that it’s as cartoony (as Clone Wars). That’s more my natural style.
GC: Do you also change your style, Jess?
JH: Definitely. Some people say they really like my realistic stuff and others say, “No, I like it when you go really cartoony.” And it’s a good way to not be bored. It’s nice to not do the same realistic stuff over and over again.
Wolves of Odin does not have a release date, while Oddly Normal: Fignation with Hickman’s pencils is set to release in August and Oddly Normal Tales with a six page story featuring Gould’s art is set for Halloween of this year.