Sitting down at the computer one day, going through update submissions from the StashMyComics.com members, i come upon a note attached to one of them that reads “…i am the artst…”. That put a smile on my face after taking a second to sink in. That artist was Michael Shelfer. Immediately I’m hit with the though that i want to find out more about this artist and see if we could do a giveaway or some kind of promotion, which began a slew of emails back and forth learning more about Michael and working out the details for a giveaway. Read on for an interview with Michael and info about our giveaway.
How did you break into comics?
I had grown up reading comics and drawing for as long as I can remember so around 2000 I started to try and break in to the industry by drawing all of the time and sending in submissions. I did this for almost five years and was repeatedly turned down. I can’t even tell you how often I was turned down but each new submission got my art a little bit better to where it needed to be. Finally, I entered Tokyopop’s Rising Stars of Manga volume 5 competition and was voted the best for the People’s Choice Award. After that I got a gig drawing Tokyopop’s Star Trek the Manga volume 1 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Do you remember the first comic book you read and what did you think of it?
I think the first comic I ever read was probably Transformers #1 back in the ’80s. The once where Marvel started it off as a 4-issue mini-series. I liked comics from a very early age so I remember being very influenced from every one that I could get my hands on.
When did you first begin drawing? Was there anything in particular you enjoyed drawing?
I can’t remember when I started drawing but I’m pretty sure it was as soon as I could hold a pencil. Growing up I drew a lot of Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man, and Batman. Typical stuff. I’d look at an old Mark Bagley issue of Amazing Spidey and copy all of his poses.
When did you start thinking about becoming a comic book artist? Why comic books and not a different type of genre?
As stated before, I’d say I seriously started trying to get into comics around 2000. It’s an idea that I’d always entertained but had considered it a pipe dream because I knew I wasn’t good enough. When I first started trying, let me tell you, I was terrible. But the more I tried the better it got. I’m still not where I want to be as an artist. I never wanted to draw anything other than comics. I stink at painting and I’m not very good at life drawing; it doesn’t give me the satisfaction of being able to tell a story in sequential images.
Who was influential in you becoming a comic book artist?
Mike Mignola, Mark Bagley, Tite Kubo, Nightow, Shirow, Joe Mad, geez, the list could go on and on.
Are there any particular writers that you would like to collaborate with?
Any of them really. I’m not picky and I’ve already had the chance to work with a lot of very talented and creative writers.
If given the opportunity, what are some titles or characters you would like to work on?
I’ve never been very picky about that. I’ve always said that I’d draw “The Amazing Pile of Crap-Man” if it got me published. But seriously, I’d love to draw Spider-Man or Captain America one day. Robin would be fun too or maybe Batgirl.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
I’ve been doing some covers for Bluewater Productions, including a cover for Logan’s Run: Last Day #1 and Legend of Isis #11. I’m also working on a full-color graphic novel called Queen of Hearts written by Adam Gragg and its based on Alice in Wonderland. It’s a very sexy and different approach to the lore of Chessworld. I think readers will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. It’s got pretty ladies, flashy outfits, and an engaging storyline. High fantasy at it’s best.
Of the projects you have already completed, which has been the most fun to work on?
Well there was Star Trek for Tokyopop and then I did Dead Already for Seven Seas Entertainment (http://www.gomanga.com/), then I went back to Tokyopop and did Private School vol. 1 and Ghostbusters: Ghostbusted. They all had their good points as they have allowed me to work on a variety of different genres including sci-fi, comedy, horror, and action. Although unfinished, I’d have to say that Queen of Hearts had been the most fun. I’ve always had a soft spot for fantasy.
What have you been reading lately? Any particular title or story line peaking your interest week to week?
In comics I’ve been reading the Justice League of America. I mostly read a lot of novels. Currently, I’m reading Glory Road by Robert Heinlein and before that it was Rendezvous with Ramaby Arthur C. Clarke. I like the Shannara books by Terry Brooks too.
Past few years and looks like at least a few more to come, comics have been huge in Hollywood. Have you enjoyed any of the comic based releases? Are you looking toward any new releases?
I’ve liked most of the newer Marvel movies like Iron Man and Hulk. I love the new Batman movies. I’m looking forward to Thor but I’m very excited about Captain America as he’s one of my favorite characters. I’m also interested in seeing how the Green Lantern movie is going to turn out.
Out of all the characters and teams in the comic universe, which would you love to see on the big screen?
I’d really like to see the Flash made into a good movie and I’d love a solo Silver Surfer flick.
Anything else you would like to comment on, about yourself, about comics, or anything that might be on your mind?
I’d love for everyone to check out my art gallery at http://the-bluephoenix.deviantart.com/ and comment on it. I love hearing feedback. I also update it with my most recent work and I let fans know when a new project is about to hit stores. I also take commissions and I’m cheap to boot. Commission questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to thank Michael for his time and his generous contribution for our giveaway. Michael has provided us with a page of original comic book art from Ghostbusters: Ghostbusted, from his personal collection. The artwork is for page #100 and is signed by Michael at the top left. Giveaway details can be found on our events page, and members of StashMyComics.com can start entering the giveaway immediately.