Suydam's POV on the Convention Circuit

Lowdown - Interview

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Arthur Suydam is perhaps best known as the comic creator who re-popularised painted art in American comic publishing..
Regarded by many to be the one of fantasy’s finest artists and writers, Suydam has contributed art and text to Marvel Entertainment’s smash hit series Marvel Zombies, Deadpool, Avengers, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, Batman vs. Predator, Conan, Tarzan, Aliens and Death Dealer, Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, Red Sonja, Savage Tales, Raise the Dead for Dynamite Entertainment, Heavy Metal, House of Secrets, House of Mystery, Penthouse Comix, Epic Illustrated and National Lampoon, as well and some of comicdom’s most prestigious anthologies.
Some of Suydam’s own projects include Arthur Suydam: The Art of the Barbarian, Skin Deep, Mudwogs, Mudwogs II, Bedtime Stories for the Incarcerated, Libby in the Lost World, The Bottle, The End, The Day it Rained Forever and more. Multiple career retrospectives include, Visions: The Art of Arthur Suydam, The Fantastic Art of Arthur Suydam, Art of the Barbarian (volume one and two) and more.
Most recently Suydam’s cover work can be seen on on the Marvel Zombies 4th chapter 2009 one-shots series, Radical Comic’s Hercules team-up with comic legend Jim Steranko, Shrapnel, City of Dust (from writer Steve Niles), Aladdin, Harris Comics’s Vampirella: Second Coming 4-issue miniseries and an assortment of rock CD covers .

Comprehensive online galleries of some of the artist’s cover work can be previewed at http://suydam.boomvavavoom.com and at http://www.arthursuydam.com.

Broken Frontier decided to check this all-round artist to hear his thoughts on conventions, his recent cover work for Harris and his co-operation and publications with Radical Comics.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Hello Arthur! A pleasure to talk to you! We have seen you around many conventions the last couple of years and most recently you were present at the San Diego convention as well as in Europe for the London Comicon and the Belgian convention F.A.C.T.S. How did San Diego treat you this year?

ARTHUR SUYDAM: Exhausting, long, too expensive, too far away, too many drunks and fools, lots of land fill and focus given to non- comic related commercial subject matter and not enough on the genre. Some nice people in CA, lots of pretty girls, especially Simon’s girls (wink, wink), good food, plenty of sun, a nice running promenade behind the hotel along the bay, Cung Li lives there, lots of trolleys, plenty of live bands playing on the drag, pelicans, did I leave anything out? I generally lay low and bring projects with me to work on in the hotel and prefer to keep recreational socializing private and indoors.

BF: A lot of people have commented and see the invasion of popular entertainment in the SDCC as a sign that entertainment is taking over conventions. Personally I see it as a sign of the zeitgeist in which many levels of entertainment can, and are indeed, pushed to people via every which way they can be. What are your thoughts about that?

AS: The affair is heralded as a non - for profit cultural event for the public, not a commercial opt. for LA.  I ‘m fine with diversity, however management there are under pressure and have been pushing out the artists and writers to convert space previously reserved for the talent, converting it into retail space for vendors and LA. I agree with most, that they lowering the standard of the event. It's a disgrace and indicative of what has gone wrong in the U.S. and it’s ”free market” phony economy ideology being imposed on the backs of the real human beings of the world, the workers.

BF: Are there any funny, crazy memorable events (and yes...you may include pictures of you and costumed girls!) you care to mention, happening to you in San Diego?

AS: This year I was scheduled to play with Kiss.

BF: San Diego also was with the Radical club. You had a new printing of the TPB of The Adventures of Cholly and Flytrap as well as an amazing statue. How is the collaboration with Radical going for you?

AS: The statue will be in bronze and resin when its done and is coming along fine. We previewed the prototype at the show this year and there was an animated Cholly & Flytrap film trailer previewed at the Radical booth. Radical has some good titles and we are working on some of my creator-owned projects as well.

BF: I would love to hear more about the statue. Can you tell me what it was that prompted a statue to be created?

AS: Its the 30th anniversary celebration of the Cholly & Flytrap series and the sculpt and Center City Trade are scheduled for release in a few months. A figurine on Cholly and Flytrap is long overdue. The characters are somewhat unique and lend themselves to art-sculpt in metal and stone. Both are forthcoming this year.

 BF: You also came to Europe for the London Comicon. Was this your first time for a European show?

AS: Actually, I come fairly often. I like the EU and in some ways prefer it to the US, weather permitting.

BF: I have seen pictures of you and this gorgeous Jungle Girl cosplayer. That would have been one of your highlights, right? Or were there more?

AS: Both her and her husband were very nice people, Floridians I believe. The fans in the EU are great. Always a pleasure to meet and the highlight of any trip.

BF: Are there any funny, crazy memorable events (and yes...you may include pictures of you and costumed girls!!) you care to mention, happening to you in London?

AS: My lips are sealed.

BF: Your coverwork for Harris with the new Vampirella has been amazing for these issues. How do you approach such an iconic character for covers?

AS: That character is particularly difficult to render realistically. A clash of cultures and eras imposes conflicting elements. A lot of problem solving is status quo when working on a Vampirella painting.

BF: Does Vampirella strike you as one of the characters you love to portray or do you have some other favorites?

AS: I love the challenge of job. That one never disappoints. I think she makes for an imposing nude.

BF: Thank you Arthur. One last question; How did you like the F.A.C.T.S. convention in Belgium and where can they next see you at a convention?

AS:  The new Belgium FACTS show in its new larger location is a great venue. I love the town of Gent with all its students and accessible bikes in the street. Brilliant governing by the local judiciary. Government sponsored bikes and smart cars. Hopefully a future way of life for us all. The Belgium girls were surprisingly pretty, great big..... wrists. Especially good for tennis, HA! Got to love them tasty ham and cheese sandwiches, always an adventure to hang with the Brits (editor's note: Glenn Fabry, Simon Bisley and Andy Brown), Boom (editor's note: Richard Boom. FACTS's comic artist liaison) and Mark (editor's note: the driver) and the gang, well organized. I am invited to France and Spain next year and look forward to coming back to Gent and invite all the fans to stop by to say hello.

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