Five Minutes with Legendary Comic Book Artist, Kevin MaGuire
On Saturday, November 19th at the New Jersey Comic Expo in Edison, I was lucky enough to get a few minutes with illustrator Keven MaGuire.
For those of you who are not familiar with MaGuire’s work, back in 1987 he worked on the relaunch of The Justice League with writers Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis. MaGuire’s two year run on The Justice League was the beginning of many projects that he’d have with the two. Other collaborations included Marvel’s Defenders: Indefensible, The Metal Men, the 2009 revival of Doom Patrol, and his continuing work with Formerly Known as the Justice League, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League.
MaGuire, originally from Kearny, NJ, first credited his work in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition with his entry of “Hammer and Anvil”, “The Masters of Evil”, “Machinesmith” and “Maddison Jefferies (of Alpha Flight)” as well as his work in DC’s Who’s Who.
In 2010, MaGuire created, wrote, and illustrated Tanga. The character of Tanga was originally dubbed My Space Girl and modeled the form after fashion model, Carla Brown. MaGuire describes the character as a wanderer with powers similar to that of the Silver Surfer with the comedic personality of Sarah Silverman. The character was featured in two titles (six issues each) in, My Greatest Adventure and Weird Worlds.
Kevin MaGuire’s work has been primarily on the lighter, more humorous side of many stories. This is a rare gift as a comedic script within comics requires a good rhythm, pace, and timing, his illustrations, specifically how he crafts facial expressions, using the eyes of a character to connect with the read (daring to break the fourth wall at times) make for hilarious reading.
Personally, I have always found his collaborations with Giffen and DeMatteis to be the cure-all for seasonal depression as well as a miracle remedy for the go-bloots that you can only get from a bloo-shoo bird. This stuff is funny.
When I caught up with him, I found his table set up with many of his other works which were variants on the theme he’d set up with the relaunch of Justice League #1 back in 87. Fair warning, the edits I’ve made were within my questions due to my uncontrollable gushing over the man’s work. (It reads much better without me using terms like “Mister, uh, MaGuire… um, well, er”.)
What project did you like working on the most?
Probably Tanga, just because I created the character. I wrote it and drew it. That’s more satisfying to me than telling somebody else’s story. So, for me, that was the most satisfying. And nobody has seen it.
Is there a favorite writer that you like working with?
Favorite writer? Well, it’s tough because I like the individual work, but you’re really not working with anybody. I mean you’re just given a script and then you draw. It’s not like you’re sitting in a room and collaborating and discussing these things. I like them all. I can’t really think of anybody… Well, I can think of one writer that I wouldn’t want to work with again. I won’t name names, but I will say the person isn’t warm.
I know you like to do some of the lighter stories out there, can you tell me which one you really liked working on?
What do you mean? In terms of what?
The lighter scripts you’ve had to do, for example, The Defenders that you put out with Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis and The Justice League as well as Formerly Known as The Justice League and I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League. Would you say that you enjoyed partnering with these guys?
With Keith? Oh yeah. Well, you know, it’s like I said, we’re not in a room hashing things back and forth. I get a script and then I draw it, but Keith is a character, he’s fun.
What superhero do you like to illustrate?
I know this sounds like a cheap answer, but I have to go with Tanga again because it is my character.
I’ll certainly do some research on Tanga then.
I just wish they’d done a trade on that. My one thing I got disappointed with DC was with the one they never did a trade compilation of that [sic]. I wrote it (Tanga) as I thought assuming it was a trade paperback. So I wrote it as a one hundred and twenty page story. It just happened to be broken up into twelve ten page sagas intended to be read in one sitting. But as they never really did a trade, I don’t think people ever really “got it”. I would set up a line of dialogue in the first chapter and then sixteen months later it pays off in the last chapter. People don’t really lock onto that because in sixteen months as opposed to twenty minutes before when you read that section.
Some of Kevin MaGuire’s latest work has been with the limited series Howard the Duck Volume 2: Good Night, and Good Duck – which will be available on trade paperback on November 29th at Amazon.com