Mike's piece in the Comic Fusion auction

Mike Collins photo by Simon James

OCT, 2010 – MIKE COLLINS has been involved in the making of comics for about a couple of decades. His artwork features DOCTOR WHO and HARRY POTTER to name just a few major characters. Mike was kind enough to donate a beautiful piece of art for the 2010 NJ Wonder Woman Day auction which benefits our local domestic violence awareness organization. Mike’s sketch gallery is up at DeviantArt and there you will see some dynamic shots of Batman, Spider-Man and Hulk. Mike answered some questions about his career in comics. You can follow Mike’s facebook and twitter though he admits to hardly ever tweeting.

How can you own that beautiful Wonder Woman by Mike Collins? Easy! Just email your bid to bids@comicfusion.com or stop in the store on October 24th where you can be part of Wonder Woman Day with guest artists, costumers and treats!

I had the opportunity to interview Mike across the pond by the great powers of the internet. Here are some thoughts about the inspiration and thought processes behind Mike’s work.

What can you tell us about the thoughts behind your WWD sketch?

I wanted to something playful but with dynamism in it– playing with the Magic Lasso is a great way to create interesting tangents in the art.

Since you have experience with illustrating the characters of Harry Potter for the RPG, when you are dealing with characters that are allowed to age, how do you handle the transition to adulthood while not letting too adult too soon?

Always a tricky thing– age is an elusive element in art, especially in comics. I really have no clue how old Robin is, for instance. When Dick Grayson became Nightwing he seemed to age about ten years over night! In Harry Potter, my daughters were in the same age range as the characters so I was able to refer (however unconsciously) to them and their friends. It’s a pity the card series I was involved with didn’t progess all the way through (or if it did, I wasn’t part of it) as that would’ve been a fascinating exercise, ageing the characters but keeping them young.

Have you ever had to handle a domestic violence storyline in comics? If so, how did you approach it?

I haven’t had to deal with such a situation, but if I did, I’d feel the need to research and discuss with friends who work in support agencies before committing to writing or drawing scenes.

Do you prefer scripts to be thoroughly detailed or do you prefer when the direction allows you as the artist more room for your interpretation?

Spidey by Mike Collins

These days pretty much everyone works full-script. That’s a pity, as I love Marvel Method, pacing out a story is one of the really tricks of the comics biz — too many writers think ‘movie’ when they write, which makes for long talky sections. I think some of the best comics have been a synthesis of a good writer/artist team where the artist has had input to story structure and scene setting– Claremont/Byrne on the X-Men; Wolfman/Perez on Teen Titans; Anyone/Alan Davis on anything; Roy Thomas/Neal Adams (X-Men again); Stan Lee/Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko on everything.

Even free webcomics are subject to peer-to-peer (piracy) sharing on torrent sites. Have you had to address any issues regarding your work being pirated? (deviantart, bit torrents, etc) How have you handled it?

No, but I know it’s out there– I found that thousands of folks have downloaded torrents of my recent DOCTOR WHO graphic novel, which is flattering but means I miss out on a pay-day. I just don’t feel that the digital reading experience is yet at a stage to match the physical feel of having a book. I-Pads and similar tablets may be getting closer but to me, I need the tangible thing in front of me.

If you werent in the comics business, what would you be doing?

I trained as a lawyer, my folks, wisely realizing that comics was in no way a ‘real’ job, persuaded me to try a proper career. What would I do if I wasn’t in comics? Anything but be a lawyer! Just hated the life. I’d probably teach, as I already do a bit of that with an initiative called Read A Million Words In Wales, aimed at encouraging reluctant learners (between 10-13 years old) using comics.

All proceeds from the auction will benefit SAFE in Hunterdon to raise awareness of domestic violence issues.