Originally published 07/04 in Wizard #35
By Greg McElhatton, Wizard freelance writer
Prophet's Rob Liefeld and Stephen Platt tell all about their upcoming plans for
Extreme Studios's superstar supersoldier.
If you've been hearing people in comic book stores talking about Prophets lately, it could be that they've found religion - or one of the hottest books from Image Comics. Jonathan Taylor Prophet, the star of Prophet, was introduced in 1992 in the pages of Rob Liefeld's Youngblood #2. Now Liefeld is making the character the centerpiece of an epic saga with the help of new co-plotter and artist Stephen Platt, beginning with Prophet's fifth issue.
Platt, a Toronto, Ontario, native, is a relative newcomer to the comics industry. He debuted in fall 1993 in Galaxinovels's Agent Three-Zero #1 but acquired widespread fame for his work on Marvel's Moon Knight #55-#57 and #60 (and the covers to #58 and #59), which are now red hot among current back issues.
"I first got into comics around the age of 12," Platt says. "I was a really big fan of The New Teen Titans and Uncanny X-Men. I thought what [artists] George Pérez and Paul Smith were doing on the books was incredible. I also read some issues of Heavy Metal, which probably explains a lot about how I turned out.
"By the time Paul Smith left the X-Men, I had gone to high school and gotten interested in the fine arts, art history, and stuff like that. The thing is, I was still always drawing Wolverine and Batman; I just wasn't reading their books anymore. I'd look at the occasional issue just for the art, but I wouldn't read it.
"Then, while I was in my third year of college, I finally decided to try to break into comics," says Platt, who attended the Ontario College of Art. "I still wasn't really reading them, but I was interested in the medium again. I had been working on a design career, working on storyboarding, advertising, and graphic design. Every time a friend saw my art, they'd say, 'Wow, you should draw comic books!' I finally decided to give it a shot - if nothing else, it would shut them all up.
"I took a trip down to New York City and went around looking for appointments at major companies to show my work. I couldn't see anyone there, so I had to leave photocopies with receptionists. I was on my last day in New York and Rob Liefeld was going to be doing a signing at Jim Hanley's Universe [a popular chain of comic book stores] at 2 o'clock."
He had time to kill before going to the signing, so Platt went to cash his traveler's checks. At the bank, which was near Marvel's offices, he saw a man wearing a Marvel Comics jacket. "I figured it had to be someone who worked there, so I walked over and was very polite and found out that he worked at Marvel. He looked at my art and he said he was really impressed. So he took me over to Marvel and introduced me to all of the various editors.
"A week later, [editor] Terry Kavanagh was on the phone asking me if I'd draw a story for Marvel Comics Presents." The story, starring Moon Knight, went unfinished due to Platt's overwhelming academic load at college.
Ironically, Marvel editor Sarra Mossoff saw Platt's unfinished MCP story and asked Platt to take over the monthly Moon Knight title. When the school year ended, Platt jumped at the chance to draw his first full-length comic, and he quickly became comicdom's newest rising star.
Platt laughs. "The funny thing was, I never met Rob! I looked at my watch at one point and it was already 3 o'clock, and I said, 'Oh no! I have to go meet Rob Liefeld!' Everyone there was like, 'Nooooo, you don't need to see him.' As it turns out, Rob's said since then that if I had made it there and shown him my stuff, he would have hired me on the spot.
"I ended up working on the last half-dozen issues of Moon Knight and was then slated to work on Cable. Then I got the job offer from Rob to work on Prophet," Platt says. "After contemplating it, I called up [editor] Bob Harras and told him that I wasn't going to work on Cable after all. It was a really hard decision to make: I've always wanted to do a mutant book with Marvel, and here I was declining it! I'm not anti-Marvel or anything; I just had to decide which I thought would be the better career choice for me, and Prophet appeared to be the obvious choice."
How does Platt feel about going from being a big gun at Marvel to one of many big guns at Image? "I chose to go to Image because it is a creator-owned publisher," he says. "As a creator, it is much more beneficial for me to be there; I own everything I create. At Marvel, I would not. I don't believe I've made a mistake. I consider it somewhat of an honor to be working at Image."
Like Platt, Prophet was originally slated for a Marvel book. "Prophet was going to be a character in X-Force who was sent from the future to kill Cable," reveals Liefeld, the character's creator. "He was going to show up around #6 or #7 in my original plans, and the cover to Youngblood #2 originally had X-Force members looking on instead of Youngblood members. I soon decided that I was going to work on stuff that was creator-owned, so I pulled the character of Prophet and saved him for later."
Does Liefeld regret having left Marvel to co-found Image? "I'll admit that at times I think to myself that I really miss working on the character of Cable or the things I was going to do with him. But it's just like having an old girlfriend go and get married to someone else; there's nothing you can do about it. I just find myself working on Prophet instead. My original plans for Cable had an epic-like quality to them, and that's what I've got on Prophet - an epic. It's very different and very refreshing to work on just one character after so many team books.
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