Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
When you meet Ben Hansen, the first thing that comes to mind is talent. He is personable, funny, and sweet but his art takes center stage, and he seems to like it that way. There is always a drawing instrument in his hand, and he is constantly working, even as we have a wonderful conversation about the industry today. His work is as much a part of him as his arm is- an extension of himself.
Hansen just finished work on his six issue mini-series titled Dark Powers. It will be solicited this year through Angel Gate Press. I can hardly wait to see the finished product.
Without further ado, here is my question and answer session with Ben Hansen.
Comics Fairplay: How did you get into the industry
Ben Hansen: I went to a con and got lucky.
CF: Tell me about your influences?
BH: My influences range from Jim lee, Bernie Wrightson, story board artist Collin Grant, to Humberto Ramos, director Tim Burton, and the list just keeps going. But the one who’s influenced me the most is Drew Hayes, the creator of Poison Elves. He took me under his wing and showed me that there’s a lot more out then the Jim lee’s and McFarlane’s. Then Jason Metcalf has been giving me pointers and tips which has helped out more then he’ll know.
CF: What audience are you hoping to reach with your work?
BH: Hopefully anyone and everyone from the age of 13 and up. The book after all is called Dark Powers.
CF: What unique qualities do you possess that make you stand out from your peers?
BH: I don’t know if I have any qualities that make me stand out from my peers.
We all have the same love for the field and that’s why we’re here: to draw comics.
If any thing I would have to say it’s my love for the field. I mean were else can you work on a car turning into a giant robot one day and the next your working on green haired lunatic who plays with a guy dressed as a bat. It’s just a great field to work in.
CF: What project are you currently working on?
BH: I’m currently working on a book called Dark Powers.
The book is written by Quenton Shaw, penciled by me, inked by Jeff Duba and colored by Dan Kroon. Lettering and special FX are by Eric bell. It should by hitting the stores in 2007.
CF: How many issues is your project and when do you foresee it being solicited? Anything special you can mention right now?
BH: Dark Powers is a six issue mini-series and will be solicited by Angle Gate Press under their new label Dark Angel, along with Blood and Silver and Night of the Living Bed.
CF: What do you think about the industry today? Where do you see the industry five years from now?
BH: I have mixed feelings about the industry today. I think the smaller presses are going to be the next big thing. People show up for the big names, but the fans hang out and talk with the smaller names, at least at the smaller cons. As for the future, well I really can’t say.
CF: Tell me something about yourself that has nothing to do with comic books but that people might find interesting or surprising?
BH: For the past couple of years I’ve been doing a survey with every Ben I meet.
I ask them three simple questions.
1. Do you know what your name means?
Must of them say no. So I tell them that it means two things. The 1st meaning, right hand of god, and the 2nd, gifted in the right hand.
Which brings me to the second question.
2. Are you artistic in any way?
So far they’ve all said yes. Which strengthens my theory of the name.
It’s all in the name, sort of like a birthright. So if you name your kid Ben, You might want to start saving for art lessons of some fashion.
And for the third question
3. Are you right handed?
With this one I’m batting a 1,000
So you know any Bens out there ask them these three questions. You might be surprised.
CF: Where would you like to see yourself five years from now?
BH: I don’t really know where I see myself in five years. The only thing I can hope for is that I’m still doing what I love to do- drawing comics. Oh, and I don’t have a day job.
CF: Any closing comments?
BH: I’d like to thank every one for their help and support. So a big thanks goes out to my peeps at Shari’s restaurant, the crew at Cosmic Comics, Quenton, Debbie, Chad, Jason M., Jason R., Jeff D., Eric R. Dan, Eric B, Steve Miner, Drew, my future wife Jolene, the Busby’s, the crew at Copies Now, Ken and Heather H, my mom Tanna Rogers, Jim and Heidi at Comics Fairplay and last but not least the fans. If I forgot anyone I’m sorry.
Go check out Ben's amazingly diverse gallery at http://1314.deviantart.com. If you like what you see, there is information there on how to purchase prints of his work.
Great interview, Heidi! It's great to find out more about the other hard-working, but lesser-known artists in the field today.
Great-looking work, Ben!
Mark, thank you for the kind words! Ben is a great guy, and I am looking forward to seeing him have a long career in comics in the future. I have enjoyed meeting and having q&a's with artists who are making their way in the industry, and will hopefully be very successful in it.
Great interview, Heidi.
And very nice art, Ben. I can definately see the Lee influence, but with your own style mixed in. Best of luck with your new series!
Lisa, thank you for the kudos! I am hoping to watch Ben rise to the top. He deserves it.
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