CALGARY – The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo touted some impressive names this year, including comic book artists Ken Lashley and David Nakayama.
Lashley has worked on several characters including Spiderman and X-Men; Nakayama helped launch the Marvel Adventures Hulk and Spiderman sagas as well as a comic version of Big Hero 6.
Do you have a favourite project that you’ve worked on?
LASHLEY: I grew up as a Marvel guy. My favourite books growing up were Uncanny X-Men, was my favourite thing. John Byrne. You know, issues 128 to 143 are my favourite things. So getting a chance to draw Uncanny X-Men was, you know, a dream come true. And even now, working on Spiderverse, it’s so bizarre!
NAKAYAMA: I’m a Marvel fan going way, way, way, back. So basically anything in the Marvel stable is really exciting to me. If I get a Venom or an X-Men or a Spiderman–really literally anything is quite exciting to me. Sometimes it’s a first that you know that I’ve been reading for years that I’ve never drawn before and that’s a lot of fun.
WATCH: Full interview with Ken Lashley
How did you get your first or most recent job?
LASHLEY: (Most recently worked on Spiderverse) I went to see Spiderverse and I had posted on my social media that I liked the movie and Marvel reached and said, “Hey, do you want to draw Spiderman?” And that’s how it works!
NAKAYAMA: (First job was working on a Star Wars comic) Coming out of school, I did a very brief, six-page Star Wars back up story sort of thing in an issue of Star Wars tales which was an anthology back. [It] dropped in my lap. I was at school at the time and Dark Horse Comics sent me an email and I was like, “Is this for real? Are they actual letting me do real work?” And so, I killed my self trying to do this thing in between class assignments. It was really hard to fit it in but all my dreams were on the line, right, so I made it happen. I don’t know if it holds up but it was pretty good for the time.
What do you like about coming to expos like this one?
NAKAYAMA: Well, you know, you’re an artist and you’re sitting alone at your table drawing this stuff pretty much all day and there’s not a lot of social outlet in that. So, when you go to a show and all of a sudden there’s all these people that are familiar with your stuff and tell you so and they’re really excited to get their book signed or get an original piece of art–it’s really amazing! What a great feeling to have someone justify and validate what you’ve done all this time.
WATCH: Full interview with David Nakayama
WARNING: Some of the language in this video may not be suitable for younger audiences.
How did you get to where you are now?
LASHLEY: Always be positive–even in the negative there is a positive. I remember when I first started in this business I thought being famous was important but it’s so irrelevant. Being the best artist you can be is the only thing you can control so I would just work on my stuff. And then when I became more popular it was like, I didn’t care about that stuff anymore. I didn’t care about saying the right things, being at the right parties. All of that stuff is innocuous and silly. Just be really really talented at what you do.
-with files from Tom Ross and Devon McKendrick