QEW Publishing table at the Seattle Comicard Show, a young man industriously drawing immediately caught my eye. Braden Lamb sat there quietly, working on a page of his upcoming limited series Yo-Yo. What caught my attention wasn’t his age or his appearance so much as the intensity with which he was working. It was very apparent that Lamb came to the show with a focus.
As impressed as I was with Lamb and his QEW friends, I knew that I had to find out more. Luckily for me, the crew there was very amiable to me sending them an interview and replying to my queries. Herein is my first completed interview with the very talented Mr. Lamb.
Comics Fairplay: How did you get into the industry?
Braden Lamb: I've been drawing since I was three years old, and have wanted to do something with my life that involved drawing. Most of my work was in an abstract, cartoony style. It wasn't until college that I started to attempt more realism. My friends and I were involved in a superhero role-playing game, and through them I discovered the more sophisticated themes and methods of story telling in comics. Since then, I have attended a few conventions and met people with similar interests with whom I am collaborating or hope to collaborate on different projects.
CF: Tell me about your influences?
BL: In middle school I was part of an after-school, cartoon and comic art class taught by Jim Woodring. My work at that time was unremarkable, but his work has continued to inspire me. Apart from Mr. Woodring, I draw inspiration from various artists and styles, mostly involving interesting use of line. P. Craig Russell, Stuart Immonen, and Guy Davis are some of my current favorites.
CF: What audience are you hoping to reach with your work?
BL: I don't mind doing work aimed at more mature audiences, but I'd like most of my efforts to be accessible to absolutely anyone, while retaining beneath the surface enough meat to satisfy the more-hungry mind.
CF: What unique qualities do you possess that make you stand out from your
BL: I haven't been immersed in comics for the majority of my life, choosing instead to involve myself in film and animation, and I want to bring that perspective to the medium. I was an English major for a semester, having been hooked on the subject by my father, a book editor, so hopefully my skill in dealing with the language is apparent.
CF: What project are you currently working on?
BL: I'm in the middle of pencils for Yo-Yo, an action/mystery story about a girl who seeks justice with a gadget-laden yo-yo. Quenton Shaw is providing the script, Harry Thuran the inking, and Roberta Cupo the colors. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product, as this will be my first major published work. In my spare time I'm also doing the art for an old-school, brawler-style, 2-D video game based on Shadow Tracers, the flagship title for Rare Earth Comics.
CF: How many issues is your project and when do you foresee it being solicited?
Anything special you can mention right now?
BL: Yo-Yo is four issues long, and the first is scheduled to come out in 2007.
CF: What do you think about the industry today? Where do you see the industry
five years from now?
BL: I think the industry isn't taking full advantage of the fact that there is a whole generation of kids eager to read comics. Kids love Spider-man, for instance, but probably don't have any contact with him outside of the movies and the merchandise. There are a few good comics written for all ages that don't require much catching-up, but they're rarely available outside of
comic shops. An industry-wide ratings system that everyone can agree on will allow more stores to decide what kind of comics they want to carry. Kids deserve better entertainment than the card-collecting cartoons on TV. If we can get the kids to pick up comics on their own, we'll have a strong industry for years to come.
CF: Tell me something about yourself that has nothing to do with comic books but that people might find interesting or surprising?
BL: The modern Icelandic language has remained essentially unchanged since the days when the Vikings settled the island. I speak the language at roughly the same skill level at which a chicken plays chess.
CF: Where would you like to see yourself five years from now?
BL: I'd like to be writing and illustrating an ongoing comic, doing some art projects on the side, and probably doing some kind of education-related job to pay the bills in the meantime.
CF: Any closing comments?
BL: Have you seen The Magic Christian? You totally should. It's a movie about two rich guys (Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr) who use their fortune to play ironic pranks on the upper class. Raquel Welch plays the leather-clad slave driver on a ship. Sir Lawrence Harvey does a striptease to Hamlet's soliloquy. Yul Brynner does a drag act and seduces Roman Polanski. Something for everyone!
After reading Lamb’s responses, I am even more impressed with him. Knowing that a guy like this is the future of comics makes me optimistic for the coming years. Check out Lamb’s website here.
Stay tuned in later in the week when I bring you a Q&A with Yo-Yo inker Harry Thuran Jr.