Art courtesy of Tyler Kirkham, DC Comics
After young Kal-El was put in a space ship and narrowly escaped his home planet Krypton's destruction, the infant landed on Earth, or more specifically, Smallville, Kansas. He was adopted by Jon and Martha Kent, who named him Clark. Learning morals on the family farm, he grew into America's first superhero, Superman.
Clark made his first appearance in DC Comics' series Action Comics more than 70 years ago. Today, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's creation is still one of DC's hottest characters and still appears in Action Comics every month.
Clearfield native, Tyler Kirkham does artwork for the series.
Some of his best-known work was on DC's Green Lantern Corps, during the Brightest Day story line. When DC recently rebooted its superhero comics, he handled the art for Green Lantern: New Guardians. A 2000 graduate from Clearfield High, he made his comic book debut on a series called The Gift and spent seven years working with artists and writers at Top Cow Productions and Marvel Comics, before moving on to DC.
Recently, Kirkham debuted his creator-owned six-issue series Screwed (published by Zenescope), about Anne, a girl who was screwed together like Frankenstein and lashes out at normal people she sees as monsters. Meanwhile, she's being tracked by the monster Suture, a shady secret agent and FBI Agent Erin Scott, who wants to help her get her real life back.
Our full story on Kirkham will go in our January 2014 issue, but in anticipation for the first-ever Salt Lake Comic Con, we're putting some of the answers to the questions we asked right here.
Photo courtesy of Tyler Kirkham
How did you get interested in comics?
My brother was really big into Spider-man when we were kids, and I wanted to be different, so I got into Wolverine. My brother ended up getting out of it, and he gave me his whole collection, and I just kind of stayed into it. And back then, this was the early '90s, all of the Image Comics (publishers of Spawn and The Walking Dead) started to come out. I was blown away by how good they started looking. That's when I really got into it and wanted to do it.
Who were some of the creators at Image you liked most?
The biggest ones were Marc Silvestri (Cyberforce), Jim Lee (WildC.A.T.s) and Todd McFarlane (Spawn). The guys who put on Image were just my icons at the time, and I still follow most of them, because most of them are still doing stuff. Of course, there were other guys I liked, like Mark Texeira (Ghost Rider), who was a Marvel artist at the time.
Shortly after high school, you worked for Image imprint Top Cow. What was that like?
Top Cow was one of the only places that really had a pit, like a bullpen . . . I would go in the day to try to impress the editors and be like "Hey, I'm coming here in the day to work," but then I'd come back at night when all the artists came—Marc Silvestri and all the other guys—they all worked throughout the night. So I'd go home for a couple hours, eat dinner with my wife and then come back at night. I did the same thing every day for the longest time. If it wasn't for 7-11 coffee in the middle of the night . . .
We're loving Screwed, but is it really only going to be six issues?
I hope to do another volume, I really do. We've already got it planned out, honestly. It all just depends on if there's demand for it. Of course, we're going to release a trade paperback with all the first six issues, and I think if that does well, we'll know if we can put out another volume and it will do good. I really want to, because what we have planned for the second volume would just be so cool. If it doesn't happen, it would be a shame.
What are your plans for Salt Lake Comic Con?
I'll be at Salt Lake Comic Con all three days. I'll be selling copies of Screwed, and I'll be selling my kids book Nargg's New Family. I also got a lot of prints that I sell, and I'll be doing sketches and commissions and selling original art.
I'm trying to plan a cool after party one of the nights at a club or bar downtown—the Official Tyler Kirkham After Party or something. When I go to conventions, I try to go to the ones other people throw, and it's fun. I thought, "Hey, I'm going to try to do that here, because I've never done that before anywhere else." I'm still contacting clubs and bars right now.
What are your favorite parts of the job?
Just being able to make my own schedule, not having to put on business clothes to go to work. It's also rewarding to see your books come out on the shelves. That's an amazing part of it, man. And just traveling around and talking to people who actually bought your work is really cool, and then just being able to be creative.
Read our full story on Tyler Kirkham in the January 2014 issue. See more of his work at his website, tylerkirkham.com. Click here for his Facebook and here for his Twitter. Meet him in person at Salt Lake Comic Con, Sept. 5–7, at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Click here for passes or more info.