With ChimaeraCon, San Antonio’s annual gaming convention, just a month away, Missions Unknown is running a series of interviews highlighting some of the event’s key players. This week we speak with Texas-based comic book artist Matt Frank, one of ChimaeraCon 2012′s guests.
Matt began working in the art industry while attending the University of Texas in Austin. He got his start working with Bluewater Productions, providing covers for the Ray Harryhausen Presents series, culminating with his first one-shot, Wrath of the Titans: Cyclops. His work will be featured again in the upcoming first issue of Godzilla: Legends, which he both illustrated and co-wrote.
ChimaeraCon 2012 takes place April 6-8 at the La Quinta San Antonio Convention Center.
Is this your first ChimaeraCon?
Yes it is! I’m quite excited.
Where in Texas do you reside?
I hail from Austin, although I call San Antonio my place of origin.
You seem to do more illustrations of dinosaurs, dragons and monsters than
people. Why is that?
Ah yes. That’s a big one. Honestly? Growing up, monsters were just more fun to draw than people. And I simply stuck with that. As a result, however, it’s taken a LONG time for my capabilities drawing people to catch up with the monsters. They’ve gotten closer recently, which is a good thing. Drawing people is one of the most important skills for an illustrator.
Tell me about Godzilla. It seems like you have a soft spot for the big green guy.
Indeed! Godzilla’s been with me all my life, practically. I’ve either followed him or he’s followed me. Some people like Star Wars, some people like Doctor Who. I likes me some Godzilla. It’s a mix of things – the franchise (and kaiju genre as a whole) satisfies that primal impulse for action, excitement and childhood elation. But Godzilla, he’s special. It started out of a genuine desire of the director and crew to make a film about a walking nuclear bomb – atomic horror given physical form. We’ve never been hit by a nuke, so we don’t know what it’s like. From there the franchise, like “Goji” himself, has evolved, had its ups and downs, and somewhere along the line, I popped in.
You got your start doing covers for Ray Harryhausen Presents. Did you grow having your mind blown by Ray’s stop-motion creations?
I definitely had a fondness for Harryhausen’s work as a kid. I liked it all – crazy, fantastical beasts just rocked my socks…still do, of course. I’d have to say my favorite of his films is ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., a guilty pleasure, if anything.
Who are some of the artists that have major influences on your life and work?
Bill Stout and Art Adams have had a profound effect on my core illustration habits. Joe Mad has definitely inspired my use of action and my design sense. And Bob Eggleton is just an all-around inspiration because he’s awesome.
Are you working on any new and exciting projects people should know about?
Godzilla is still hanging around, as I’m sure he’ll always be. I’m working on the covers for the new ongoing series, simply titled Godzilla, although I’m just now wrapping up work on the Transformers Collectors Club story, Flash Forward. I’m hoping to have a new mini-series under my belt by year’s end, and perhaps even a new, original product soon…ish.
What do you see as the next step in your growth as an artist?
I want…rather, I need to continue working on my human characters. It would also be nice to become more acquainted with traditional tools again.
And what’s this thing on your website about being obsessed with pineapple juice?
Shhh, don’t tell anybody, but it’s the secret elixir of eternal youth and unbridled romantic prowess. Actually, I just like the stuff. It’s all I drink when I find myself in Costa Rica on occasion. Also, “pineapple” is a fun word to say. Try saying it, especially while over-enunciating the “p’s.”