Originally published 08/95 in Overstreet Fan #3
By Benn Ray, Overstreet Fan contributing writer

Overstreet Fan 3 Cover


FAN: It looks to me as there's a lot of Todd McFarlane's style and maybe some of Frank Frazetta's in your work. And if you don't mind my saying, I noticed a little Ploog in your style also. Were these influences?
Steven: Ploog, no. If there was any Ploog in there, it was definitely unconscious. I grew up with Frank. I didn't really consciously go after Frank Frazetta. Todd McFarlane was more a conscious effort simply because he was such a strong influence. I had been away from comics and he was sort of a shock when I returned because obviously comics had changed from when I was reading Teen Titans to when Todd McFarlane arrived. He was getting a lot of press and his work was so tremendously different, I felt that here's an industry that's obviously undergone a tremendous change because at that point I was concentrating on European comics.

Like what?
Like Mobius, a lot of things that were showing up in Heavy Metal. A lot of Japanese comics. I picked up Heavy Metal. I find a lot of that in my work. This casual rock and roll type of violence. It's in there. Those are things that I see, maybe other people don't see, but they're not exposed to those European comics as much. When Geof Darrow was working with Mobius as his assistant doing those huge layout scenes of crowded streets with a thousand people in them, I was enthralled by that. I found that really intriguing because it's always little activities going on, people doing things. The picture says a thousand words, literally. But that was a great time for comics for me, and that wasn't an American experience that was European.

With me, Moon Knight was where I first started hearing your name.
I'm not proud of those at all. I just don't like even looking at them. I was not expecting Moon Knight to be a pronouncement of anything, and people sort of took it and did that. The Moon Knight work was just a growing experience, it was just learning about comics, it was working with Marvel, it was learning how Marvel comics worked, and it was just a thrill to be there. I was glad to be doing comics. I've said it a thousand times, and I'll say it again, I would've done my first job for free. When you go from fan boy to professional, it's a magical experience. And you would do your first work for free. The money is a fringe benefit. I don't think money could ever replace the thrill of seeing your work in print for the first time in that particular medium.

You seemed to bail out of Marvel kind of fast. How was the Marvel experience for you?
The Marvel experience for me was great. They gave me a title that I was very fortunate enough to receive some kind of attention on, and they were very nice to me during any time that I was there. I had a great editor, I had a great assistant editor. I didn't have a problem at Marvel.

How old are you?
I just turned 25.

And how long would you say you've been in the business?
Less than two years.

Your name is only really associated with Prophet and Moon Knight primarily. You're a young guy who has been in the business for a couple of years, yet you're only known for 2 titles. Do you think it might hurt what people say about you?
I haven't heard any of that. I like to be a young guy.

Well, it beats being old.
Yeah, well it's not even that. It's just the idea that there's a freshness associated with the young guy. I think you have to look around at Image and say, "Oh my God, they're all young." How many guys are in WildStorm and Extreme alone whose age ends with teen? You're looking at the future of comics to a large degree and my bosses just turned 27. The next generation of comic book artists are starting to take form now. You're starting to see the new leaders or the new innovators or the new look towards comics. It's got more of an MTV rock and roll feel to it. Like Chris Bachalo's work at Generation X. He's one of the most brilliant comic book artists I have seen in comics for a long time.

Liefeld and Platt original cover sketches
Liefeld and Platt original cover sketches

How did you come to work on Prophet?
Rob [Liefeld] contacted me through a third party because he was just getting stone walled every time he tried to get to me. Marvel was not giving out the number to anybody. So Rob aggressively sought me out through people that could get to me. I was like "Oh my God, this is it! Image Comics!" Image at that time was becoming just this fierce army on the horizon, and it's like the Romans worrying about the barbarians, it's like this rebel force…

That's a great analogy. I like that.
So it didn't surprise some people. It surprised a lot of people, it didn't surprise everyone though. There was a time that when maybe John Byrne or Frank Miller and George Pérez and Neal Adams could have done this also. I wouldn't call it a rebellion, I'd call it a succession.

A succession?

Oh, that's cool.
A succession. I don't know, that kind of suggests the southern rebel.

Right, so you don't necessarily want that connotation associated with…
No, I don't want that connotation. You can not fault people for wanting to do better for themselves. That is the legacy of this country and that is the legacy of business in this country. People have built themselves on that entire ideal, and built their own empire and then had other people leave, and it'll happen, it always happens. So, I don't really think it's a rebellion. I just think it's people doing better for themselves.

© 1995 Gemstone Publishing, Inc.




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