Mick Gray interview

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Mick Grayís new website www.mickgray.net is now up and running.

Mick Gray has been inking JH Williams IIIís artwork long before Promethea began. I did this interview with Mick in early July 2003

First not a specific question but could you just give a brief biographical sketch about how you became an inker and how you compare working on Promethea with inking duties on other comics. Is it harder to do Promethea or easier. How long have you and JHW been working together and apart from Promethea what is the work with him that your are proudest of having done?

I got into comics in about 1989 after having my own technical illustration business for about 10 years... I met Dan Vado of Slave Labor Graphics and he gave me my first job doing background inks on THE GRIFFIN... then he sold it to DC and they re-did the art and hired Mark McKenna to ink it ...he saw my name on the local book and hired me to help him out...this started a long relationship working with Mark co-inking many books , including PUNISHER, PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL, PUNISHER WAR ZONE, X-MEM UNLIMITED #3, SCARLET WITCH MINI SERIES, SPIDERMAN 2099, NICK FURY, SPIDERMAN: FRIENDS AND ENEMIES MINI SERIES, ...and ALOT more!! Mark is the guy who really got me into this industry and taught me everything I know...I owe him ALOT! At the same time I was assisting Chuck Austen( Strips, Hardball), Randy Emberlin( Amazing Spiderman) and Ian Akin(Darkhawk)...WOW! HOW DID I DO IT ALL! I then met J.H. at Wonder Con in Oakland, California in about 1993 or 1994 and we started working together in 1995. Working on PROMETHEA is much more challenging than any other job I have ever had... J.H. is always pushing me to the next level and it has been VERY rewarding...I AM NOT looking forward to its end... It is just SO inspiring to work on this book! I am VERY proud of all the books J.H. and I have done together but my other favs are our 10 issue run on CHASE and the JUSTICE RIDERS graphic novel.

Alan Moore is well known for the notoriously long and detailed scripts that he provides for his illustrators that still give leeway for their input into the finished product. Do you get to read much of Alan's scripts yourself or do you just concentrate on finishing the art that JH Williams provides for you?

I have a copy of the script for issue #1 and it is HUGH!! But my job is to work close with J.H. to try and capture the vision... I have only talked to Alan once over the phone( after we won the award!) but J.H. talks with him quite often... there is ALOT of communication between everybody who works on this book..this is why the quality is so high!

When Promethea finishes with Issue #32 you will have been working on it for about 5 years (1999-2004). Is this the longest you have worked on a single title?

Yes..this is the longest run we both have on a book.

What are some of your favorite images from Promethea so far.

the "mobius strip" page from issue #15( this is most definitively the most asked about page!) , the "four horseman of the apocalypse" from issue #5 and the WHOLE issue #12!

From an artists point of view what were some of the hardest images you have had to produce for Promethea. Which images do you think most closely approximated what you imagined they would turn out like?

The "four Horseman" page was ALOT of work...it just took ALOT of time! And issue #12 was pretty tough because of the deal with all the pages put end to end make one long piece of art! That took extra time in making sure all the pages butted up to each other just right...WOW! that was some issue!

Do you have a favorite character that you enjoy producing an image of more than any of the others?

I have a soft spot for the original costume of Sophie's...I miss it! Even thought it took longer to pencil AND ink.... it was just SO COOL!

Both Alan and JH Williams have said in interviews that while they were working on the Daath Issue "The Stars are But Thistles (#20) they were taken quite ill as if someone or something didnít want them to be doing it. Did you have a similar experience yourself when you worked on it and have you received any interesting feedback from readers about this particular issue?

Hmmm... I had a REALLY bad hemorrhoid during that issue... OUCH!!! JUST KIDDING!!! I have never heard about this from Alan or J.H. ...sorry!

Has working on Promethea spurred any interest in finding out more about Magick, The Kabbalah, Aleister Crowly, Austin Osman Spare, John Dee or any other figures of real people who have appeared in Promethea?

I am very interested in the Kabbalah and I have been on a spiritual journey of my own for many years. Working on this book has just made me more interested in these subjects.

The following photo shows you wearing a Promethea T-shirt. Are these still available? Where can people buy one from?

Mick Gray with his wife Holly at a Comics convention

I am not sure if it is still available ..but it was made by Graffiti Designs.
NOTE: Unfortunately it looks like they aren't available anymore

Issue #26 which just came out looks and feels almost like a Tom Strong comic rather than the usual Promethea one (if there is such a thing as a Usual Promethea Issue). Did you enjoy your change of style on this one. Are there any other comic such as Ghostworld which inspired this style?

I just LOVE all the different styles J.H. has used on PROMETHEA... it just makes it so much fun when you don't know what is coming next!

How many awards have you won for your work on Promethea. Was the Eisner a single statue that you had to share with JHW or did you each get a statue?

We have been nominated many times (including this year!) for different awards but the only one we have actually won is for "BEST SINGLE ISSUE" for Promethea # 10...in 2001... we each got a nice plaque for our walls!

Is there a question about your work on Promethea that no one has ever asked you but you wish they would so you could answer it?

If you could work on any book, with any team, and do it forever, what would it be? PROMETHEA!

...if you have any other questions or follow ups just let me know

Before and After Images from Promethea Issue #7 pgs. 6-7 showing artwork as given to Mick by JH Williams and what the artwork looks like once Mick has finished inking it.
Before


After

Thanks Mick Gray and I hope you have a great time at the San Diego Comic Con