Busby Berkley, Neil Gaiman, and Well-Written Stories: A Conversation with P. Craig Russell
The recent graphic interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book afforded me the chance to interview the legendary artist P. Craig Russell. I lept at the opportunity which lead to a discussion that touched on a variety of topics including Neil Gaiman, art, young adult fiction, Busby Berkley, and why Russell had no social life for three months.
ALL-NEW INVADERS #12
JAMES ROBINSON (W)
STEVE PUGH AND SPECIAL GUEST ARTISTS BARRY KITSON AND P. CRAIG RUSSELL (A)
Cover by MICHAEL KOMARCK
FEATURING ART BY LEGENDARY KILLRAVEN ARTIST P. CRAIG RUSSELL
• In 1917, what brought together UNION JACK, IRON FIST, and FREEDOM’S FIVE? Would you believe…invading MARTIANS?!
• Plus: THE WINTER SOLDIER sends the modern-day INVADERS to England to help SPITFIRE…but why?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
P. CRAIG RUSSELL: The last of #34 for a while. The final two pages. The silent page on the left is the one that writer Don McGregor looked at and said, in so many words, “This doesn’t need words.” A great compliment from a fellow professional and good friend.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL: 1975. Amazing Adventures #34. Writer Don McGregor was telling the story in flashback on this first page and wanted the lettering to reflect the change from the present, so they employed typeset instead of hand lettering. It set it apart and also, because of typeset’s smaller size, allowed him to write as much copy as he wanted.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL: 1975. Double page spread from Amazing Adventures #34. There are good things and bad things about working ‘Marvel’ style, that is, working from a synopsis instead of a finished script. On the one hand it forces the artist to think visually when fleshing out the story, making the events as clear as possible to the viewer through ‘silent movie’ action. Also, it gives the writer some visuals to bounce off of when writing the final script. On the minus side, the artist can never completely match facial expressions and body language to the subtleties of the final script because there isn’t one at that point. But it is a great training tool for the narrative artist.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL: 1975. Amazing Adventures #34. I’d just come back from the Bleeker Street Cinema where I’d seen my first Antonioni film, L’Avventura, and laid out these two pages. Everything had to be “widescreen.” I was jazzed.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL: 1975. Of the 10 issues of Killraven/War of the Worlds I worked on, I did finished inks on five of them. A Death in the Family from issue #34 of Amazing Adventures is the one that I’m happiest with. Don’s decision to write it ‘Prince Valiant’ style, i.e. no word balloons, just prose, works really well. Of course there was always editorial interference with Don’s work so the directive came down that at least three pages (2-4) had to have word balloons. It made no sense but it left the rest of the book free to try something different.