Josh Green recently got the chance to catch up with Marcus To, artist on Aspen Comics’ hit series, Soulfire, and DC’s Red Robin. Check it out as To gives us a look into the two series.
Josh Green: You have spent most of your career drawing at Aspen Comics. Tell me about how it’s been working with the Aspen crew.
Marcus To: The guys at Aspen are some of the best people around, it’s a small business so everyone is pretty close and just being around them is like hanging around with friends. I really think that when the company started with just Mike, Frank and Peter, they made sure that whether you’re a new artist coming into Aspen or a fan you always felt welcome.
JG: How long have you been working on Soulfire Vol. 2 with your writer, J.T. Krul? Do you have a lot of issues in the can?
MT: Well I started doing art for the book about I’d say September of 2006 and pages a few months after that starting with issue 0. And from there, J.T. and I finished 5 issues before we were put on hold because of the situation with Mike.
JG: When drawing Soulfire Vol. 2, how do you maintain the energy that Michael Turner was able to put into his pages?
MT: I think that it’s mostly with his designs that the book maintains the energy of Volume 1. Mike had a certain way of creating his worlds and just the amount of detail and thought he put into each character still shines through whoever is drawing them.
JG: Which cast member of Soulfire Vol. 2 have you been enjoying drawing the most?
MT: At the moment I’m having a lot fun drawing Benoist, I think his arms and size and the things he can do are pretty fun to draw. It has changed from before where I was really having fun drawing Mal and Sonia with all the troubles that arise for them in the first 5 issues.
JG: What should fans look forward to in Soulfire Vol. 2?
MT: The fans should look forward to a lot of surprises and turbulent waters for the characters in Soulfire. You may think that it’s all fun and games after Vol. 1 but there’s way more for Mal and Grace to do with the resurgence of magic in the world.
JG: So how did you get the job as the upcoming new artist of Red Robin?
MT: With Soulfire being put on hold for the past year I needed work and I went through my contacts to see if there was any projects available. I have known Mike Marts, who is the group editor for the Bat books, for some time and I just emailed him asking if there was something that I could work on. Luckily he let me work on a 10 page short story for another book and liked it enough to ask me to pencil Red Robin.
JG: How does it feel to be drawing such an important chapter in the life of Tim Drake? Also, were you a fan of Tim’s before you got this assignment?
MT: I love being able to draw Tim Drake as Red Robin, the way Chris Yost has been writing him is fantastic. All the hard times that Tim has gone through in the past few years has really tested his meddle and he will come out of it a changed person. Being a fan of Robin since I was a kid, it’s really exciting to be the artist to draw Tim come into his own like when Dick became Nightwing.
JG: Do you foresee any major problems with deadlines on your two ongoing monthlies?
MT: The only problem I can foresee is my own lack of socializing outside of my apartment but other than that, I’m really looking forward to the challenge and with such a head start on both books I do get a little bit of leeway so I’ll still have enough time to put out a quality book.
JG: Are there any major differences working with two such great writers like J.T. Krul and Chris Yost?
MT: I’ve had such a great experience working with both writers and both are really easy to talk to whenever I have ideas about the story or just want to inject my own bit of storytelling into the book. I don’t really see any differences ‘cause both seem to love a lot of action in their books and I’ve been really lucky to be paired up with those guys. The only difference between the two is that I haven’t had the chance to meet Chris in person yet.