Sunday, April 15, 2012

Progressively Aggressive Sit Down with Marvel's Reilly Brown - C2E2 2012

Make sure to check out Power Play, available on Comixology!

PA: We’re here at C2E2 2012 with Reilly Brown who’s a professional comic book artist currently spending the majority of his time working for Marvel. He’s worked on a number of books including Cable and Deadpool, Incredible Hercules, Prince of Power, Amazing Spider-Man and more. He has an art studio in Brooklyn and is a founding member of, which, as stated on his DeviantART page, is “an online collective of a bunch of kick-ass artists and potty-mouthed delinquents and a great place to share, critique and discuss artwork.”

RB: That’s all true!

PA: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, how are you doing today?

RB: I’m doing good.

PA: First off, what projects are you currently working on?

RB: My main project right now is Power Play, which is my creator-owned digital comic. It’s coming out through Comixology. I’ve been working on it for about a year, but it’s really similar to how Mark Waid and Stuart Immomen recently did their Nova story for Avengers vs. X-Men. They’ve mentioned me as one of the guys that they’ve been kind of inspiring their method of doing this, which is pretty cool.
PA: The main character is Gowanus Pete? (You can follow Gowanus Pete on Twitter HERE!)

RB: He’s not the main character, he’s one of the main characters. The main character is Mac Washington who’s the college slacker type of character who’s at that point in his life where he can do anything he wants, he can be anything he wants but he’s crippled by making the decisions. He can’t make that choice to decide what he wants to be. Then, he gets struck by lightening and gets his superpower to literally become anything that he wants. Any substance that he touches, he turns into that substance. Through one way or another he ends up joining the Power Play Games [that] is an extreme sports league for powered people in Manhattan. It’s a fun story; it’s a lot of comedy, a lot of New York-centric jokes and gags.

PA: You said you can check [Power Play] on Comixology?

RB: Yes.

PA: You’ve done a plethora of work for Marvel including the Marvel Holiday Special in 2005, Marvel Apes: The Amazing Spider-Monkey #1, Hercules: Fall of an Avenger, just tons of [work]. What’s your personal favorite book to work on?

RB: My two favorite things I’ve worked on were the Cable and Deadpool stuff and the Incredible Hercules story. Particularly the Thorcules story where [Hercules] dresses up as Thor to woo an Asgardian Elf Princess, giving Thor a bad name in the process. Thor catches wind of this, isn’t happy, dresses up like Hercules and then they fight it out as each other. It was just a fun, goofy story. Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak did an awesome job on that.

PA: All good art really requires inspiration, especially in comics. Where does your inspiration come from?

Capturing a Character's Personality
RB: All sorts of places, [it comes from] anything and everything, really. If I see something that looks cool, [I think]: “How could I figure out how to draw that?” One of the main things I like to draw is—I’m all about characters’ personalities. Getting the body language across, making the characters look individual. I think if you’re looking at one of my drawings, hopefully you—just from how the character is standing, how they’re dressed, what they’re doing—I want you to learn more about who they are as a character, as a person [and to] learn about what types of things they like just from the look of them. If I can do that I feel like I’ve really accomplished my goal.

PA: I definitely saw that in your print of Deadpool with the “holiday box”.  Definitely captured his persona there.

RB: Deadpool knows how to impress the ladies!

PA: Thousands of amateur and even professional writers and artists try getting into comic books every day but it’s really not easy. How were you discovered by Marvel?

RB: I was awesome!

RB: It was at a comic book convention. It was at the Philadelphia Comic Convention in 2005. I just went in the Marvel portfolio review line and showed off my stuff there to John Barber and Nick Lowe and they liked it. A week later they called me up for the Holiday Special.

PA: What were you doing before you started drawing professionally?

RB: Right out of college I was just waiting tables. I waited tables part time while I worked on comic stuff and got my portfolio together. That was always kind of the plan to save up my tip money to fund my art career. After a year or so I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and [realized] there’s really no art scene in Virginia. I have a lot of family up in New Jersey, right across the river from New York. I [had] saved up some money so I called up my uncle and said, “Hey uncle Todd, I’m moving to your third floor for six months and we’re going to make this art thing happen,” and he was like, “Okay, cool”. So for six months I was just getting my portfolio together, trying to send it out, and not having much luck until the Philly convention. I moved up there in January, [the convention] was in June so that was my last chance before I had to move back home, and I just worked from there. Ever since that I’ve been working pretty consistently.

PA: What kind of advice do you have for aspiring artists who would like to break into the industry?

RB: One of the main things is that it’s about persistence; it’s about getting out there; meeting people and showing them your stuff and it’s about sticking to it. If you just draw on the weekends, if you just draw now and then, you’re going to get passed by, by everybody. You’ve got to keep drawing and you’ve got to show people your artwork because no one is ever going to hire you if they haven’t seen your stuff.

PA: You can follow him on Twitter @reilly_brown, see what he has on DeviantART, and don’t forget to check out

Thank you again to Reilly for taking the time to sit down with us, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. For those of you who haven’t yet, check out the creator-owned Power Play website and those of you with mobile devices get them on Comixology!

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