Andy Kuhn interview (March 2008)

 height=(WoW MAR 08)

In his career in comics, Andy Kuhn has drawn such varied books as DC's Blue Beetle and Marvel's Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Adventures. He also has a blog at http://kuhnart.blogspot.com/. This month he returns to Image's Firebreather with writer Phil Hester. Westfield's Roger Ash spoke with Andy about Firebreather.

To link to this interview, use this link (right click and copy)

Westfield: For those who have never read Firebreather before, what can you tell us about the book?

Andy Kuhn: Firebreather is the story of a young 15-year-old kid named Duncan Rosenblatt who is half human and half dragon. His parents have shared custody. Two weeks out of the month, his mom's trying to keep him in school and make sure he gets his grades. The other two weeks out of the month, his dad's teaching him to be the king of the monsters. So it's a high concept coming of age story - with big monsters.

Westfield: Do people need to have read the earlier series to understand what's going on?

Kuhn: I don't think so. I think we make it pretty clear from the beginning of the book what's happening. We'd be more than happy if someone wants to go back and read the earlier issues, but I don't think it's a prerequisite. We definitely try to make it clear for new readers.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the new series?

 height=Kuhn: I'm trying to think of what I can tell you without giving too much away. I will say this: for people who have been reading it, after the first story arc, which is the first four issues, things are going to be turned upside-down. By the end of the second story arc, it's going to be even crazier. We have a lot of really cool ideas coming up. I don't usually give interviews, so I'm trying to think of how I can couch it in such a way to make it interesting for people but not give away the farm. The first story arc is really about Duncan and his father's relationship and there's a sense of urgency in a lot of things that happen. There's a big pay off at the end of the story, not at the end of the first issue, but the end of the first storyline, that changes a lot of things. Maybe you should have interviewed Phil. He's much better at this than me. [laughter]

Westfield: Who are some of the supporting cast in the book?

Kuhn: He has a friend named Kenny, who's kind of an outsider. He's got a girlfriend named Jenna. Well, she's kinda his girlfriend. They're kind of working towards being boyfriend and girlfriend. There's his mom. There's a guy named Agent Barnes who is the guy who works for the U.N. who basically shuttles him back and forth between his mom and his dad. There's definitely going to be some more interesting storylines coming up with that. By the second story arc, there's going to be a bunch of cool monsters coming into it. He gets more into his dad's world.

Westfield: Are you enjoying drawing big monsters?

 height=Kuhn: Aw, dude! I live for it! [laughter] I've had a bunch of gigs, little one-shot type gigs, over the last couple years. They've mostly been to pay the bills. Not that I phoned them in or anything, but it's really awesome to be on a book where I'm really invested in the work and I'm really having a great time drawing it. When Phil told me the idea for the series, I thought it was a great idea to begin with, but it was a chance for me to get to draw a bunch of cool looking monsters. I can't say no to that.

Westfield: What's your working relationship with Phil like? Do you have any story input?

Kuhn: Oh yeah. It's Phil's initial idea and Phil's definitely the writer of the book, but I will throw in little ideas here and there. If he's thinks it's a good idea, he'll go with it. I can't tell you what it is, but I actually gave him a cool idea for the second issue yesterday and he was like, "Well, score one for you, sir." I have input on the stories, but Phil is driving the bus.

Westfield: Are you working on any other projects that you'd like to mention?

Kuhn: I am currently the breakdown artist for Robert Kirkman's Brit which is also from Image comics. I'm working on issue number 7 of that right now, which is being drawn by a guy named Bellegarde. That is about it. I did a little six-pager in a book Image put out called The Next Issue Project. It has a ton of really good people in it like Bill Sienkiewicz and Howard Chaykin. I'm really proud to be included in this list of people. Erik Larsen has a story in there. It's taking the old comics that are now public domain, the first one is Fantastic Comics, which ran 23 issues, and we're doing issue #24. Everybody does a short story of a character that had a run in Fantastic Comics. Some people were very true to that. I had a character called Yank Wilson Superspy Q-4. I basically turned him into Nick Fury Superspy Q-4. I love those old Nicky Fury comics from the 60s. So that was my version of him. It's a very cool comic.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Kuhn: If you're on the fence, please pick Firebreather up. It's going to be a great ripping adventure yarn and it's got a lot of heart to it. Phil, for me, is one of the great undiscovered writers in comics right now. I think everything he writes is really good.