Going Inside The Artists’ Studios
Tripwire’s Joel Meadows has a new book coming out about comic artists and their studios, a follow-up of sorts to Studio Space, which was published by Image back in 2008. Tripwire’s contributing writer Scott Braden spoke to him recently about Masters Of Comics out this June…
Joel Meadows is Tripwire – and vice versa. But this magazine’s editor-in-chief is also so much more. For over three decades, Meadows has contributed work to such heavyweights as Time, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, Financial Times, The Guardian, Guinness World Records, and The Observer. He has also written extensively about comics, film, TV, and popular culture for publications like Playboy, Esquire, Variety, Empire, and others. In addition, his photography has appeared in places like Playboy Japan, SFX, Full Bleed, and Amateur Photographer, among other outlets. He is also the author of Studio Space, a book on comic artists and their workspaces that came out from Image Comics back in 2008. That book brings us to his much-anticipated follow-up, Masters of Comics, which will be published by Insight Editions in June 2019.
Not one to stand still, the past is prologue for Meadows, and, the future belongs to Masters of Comics.
TRIPWIRE: What’s the secret origin of Masters of Comics – your forthcoming studio book of comic book illustrators and sequential storytellers?
JOEL MEADOWS: Basically, Masters of Comics is a follow-up to Studio Space (which is still available from Amazon.com), the book that came out from Image Comics back in 2008 which looked at comic artists and their studios. It has taken 11 years to bring out another one.
TW: How did you select the illustrators profiled in the book?
JM: Some of the artists are my friends, like Walter Simonson, [while] others I have known a number of years,. like Mike Kaluta, Laurence Campbell, and Sean Phillips. We wanted to offer a range of artists, and my editor, Mark Irwin, was helpful in getting some of the artists on board – like Milo Manara, Travis Charest and Dave Johnson.
TW: How did you convince these creative types to let you – a dodgy London writer –into their respective sanctum sanctorum?
JM: It must be my natural charm . Seriously, thanks to my time as editor-in-chief on Tripwire magazine and tripwiremagazine.co.uk – and the fact that I have done this before – they know that I am serious about this subject and would treat them with respect.
TW: Is there an overall theme to the art styles showcased in the book?
JM: What is nice about Masters of Comics is that we have a great range of artists in here and they are simply connected by their talent as artists.
TW: Of the army of artists you interviewed, which ones did you find the most interesting – whether through their personality or their craft?
JM: That is a tough question, but I may have to pick Bill Sienkiewicz, just because his working practices seem to most closely reflect his wonderfully chaotic life. Each studio offered something different and it showed that artists can create magnificent work even in a very enclosed space. [Also,] Frank Quitely’s current studio is pretty small, but his work is always exceptional.
TW: What did you enjoy most about writing the book?
JM: It was a lot of work and, unlike the first one, (which was a joint effort with two other writers), I was the only person conducting the interviews. But, the fact that I have been able to include many of my favourite artists like Mike Kaluta, P. Craig Russell, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Walter Simonson is something I am very proud of. If the book offers even a small glimpse into the working practices of these artists for their fans, then I will have done my job again.
Masters Of Comics is published by Insight Editions on 2 June although early copies will be available at the Portsmouth Comic Con on the tripwire table 4 to 5 May.
Tickets for Portsmouth can be bought here