Digital Renaissance Man
Today, we feature a powerhouse creator, who's work you've seen in DC and Valiant comics. He's an artist whose ever popular dance card includes Disney, Warner Bros. and HBO. We speak of course, of the talented and gracious, Howard Simpson.
Simpson's love of comics goes back to his childhood in Newark, New Jersey. At the age of five, he found some discarded comic books in the basement and he knew even then that he wanted to be an artist.
Simpson broke into the business at DC Comics in the early 90's, working as a fill-in artist. From there he built a name for himself at Valiant working on such popular titles as Harbinger, Turok, and Psi-Lords.
"I started just before the Unity Saga," says Simpson. "The atmosphere was much like I imagined how Stan Lee described the Marvel Bullpen. All the creative people were working in one spot, It was a very friendly, fun atmosphere."
As an artist, Simpson has fully embraced the digital renaissance. "Currently about 90% of what I draw is a result of using digital tools," he says. "I use a Wacom tablet and stylus and a variety of software. I’m not a purist, so I mix-and-match and use whatever I need to get the job done. So that software includes Art Rage, Clip Studio Paint, Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop and others.
This flexibility with technology also extends to his art style. Simpson says that he never developed a singular style, preferring to let the needs of the story dictate the form.
When asked for advice, Simpson states, "My advice is to learn the basics; anatomy, composition, perspective, color theory, and to not try to learn short cuts right away."
Batman Meets Godzilla
"I was introduced to Batman by my mother, who also introduced me to Star Trek and Xena: Princess Warrior," says Simpson.
Simpson joined the Batzilla Team towards the end of production on Batman Meets Godzilla issue one. "We had an artist drop out of the project due to the Australian brush fires," says writer Eric Elliott. "Howard jumped in to fill the gap."
Simpson turned in an iconic splash page that introduced Godzilla in that issue. "The fan feedback was so positive to Simpson's Godzilla," says Elliott. "And his Batman and Robin too. I basically begged him to do any four pages he wanted in the next book."
For issue two, Howard took on an even larger role. "He's really the unsung hero of issue two," says Elliott. "He took the four hardest pages in the book. He did all the lettering. Plus he did five pages of colors for the other artists."
When asked about Batman Meets Godzilla, Simpson says, "This project was a lot of fun to work on I enjoyed putting Batman and Robin in the same world as Godzilla. I used the chance to experiment with some storytelling techniques and to experiment with coloring. I wanted it to look more natural and less computer-generated."
Howard Simpson is the creator/owner of Abba Studios. You can follow him on Instagram. Check out his work on Batman Meets Godzilla Issue Two, available now for free.
Project Batzilla is a group of fans dedicated to resurrecting the lost Batman Meets Godzilla movie.