Sunday, January 19, 2014


There's a lot of stuff that gets left on the cutting room floor when you do an interview. A lot of it is for good reason, though. Most of the time it's because it just doesn't fit with the narrative.

Ryan Ottley, Utah native and artist of the comic book Invincible, and I sat outside Nobrow Coffee one evening this past summer and talked about a lot of things. The crux of the article was Salt Lake Comic Con, but we barely got into that. I was more interested in everything else he was up to - mainly since he was only going to be at SLCC for the first day.

We talked about how he got into the business, why he doesn't jump ship for Marvel or DC and about that art burning party that he had with Derek Hunter that set comic book message boards on fire.

Very little of that made it in to the actual article, but he still gave some great quotes. Figured it was high time you got to see them.

You can check out the original article that I wrote for SLUG's August issue first, then come back here for the stuff that didn't make the cut.

You can keep up with him at his own site, the art blog he does with his friend James Harren called The Bog, and of course you should be reading the fantastic Invincible published by Image Comics.

Enjoy the stuff that didn't make it!

On Becoming a Full-Time Comic Artist:

I didn’t do any school or anything. I used to work at a warehouse and I’d always had that dream of being a comic book artist since I was 14. I was working at the warehouse and I got fired from that, and I thought ‘sweet, I’ll just live off these unemployment checks and try to get in to my dream job.’

That’s what I did and it worked, I think. It took about a year and a half of just doing short stories for - they had an anthology back then. I was doing it for free. I would just find a writer that I liked and I would say ‘send me this and if I like it, I’ll draw it and if I don’t... sorry.’ I’m not going to draw something for free that I don’t like.

On Working for The Big Two:

Mostly at conventions people will come up and give me cards. I’ve had offers to do stories at Marvel and I’ve turned them down. Marvel was the most recent thing and I said, 'I’ll do this as long as I get to do my own covers. And they said no to that.’

I think that’s really weird. They’re really picky about that. I think if I’m going to draw the interior, I’m going to draw the cover, too. That’s just the way I roll. I don’t mind some covers here and there by other artists. Every once in a while Invincible will have guest artists, but most of the time it’s me doing the covers.

When I go into a comic shop, sure I see these beautiful Marvel covers everywhere, then you open up to the inside, and I’m not saying the inside is terrible, but it’s different. It’s like different actors and I hate that.

Sometimes it feels like the interiors are more for the story and the cover is more for the art and I don’t like that. All of it needs to be about the art and the story.

My favorite artist isn’t just the kind of artist that’s a great storyteller. It’s gotta be a good story, but it’s also got to have that really good artistic thing that's good enough to be a cover. You can do interesting things all over the place instead of just telling stories.

There’s a bunch of artists that are mainly just there to tell the story. They’re not flashy, they’re not over the top.

On Burning Old Art:

I don’t do that anymore. That was really Derek and I having a burn party. I burned 10 pages. 10 terrible pages that I just wanted to get off the planet. It’s funny, I guess I shouldn’t have shared it. It’s fine to do it, just don’t share it. I got called the worst names and people told me I should have given it to charity. Why would I give shitty art to charity? That’s kind of a dick move right there. ‘You won’t make any money off this, but here you go.’

If I wanted charity to make money, I’d send them the good things I’ve done. Which I have! Do I need to go out and shout 'here are the good things I’ve done and here are the burned things I’ve done?'

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