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John Byrne Interview
The Le (11/17/2009)
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John Byrne Interview HeroClix WorldJohn Byrne is a Legend of Comics who shaped the industry over many decades. He created Kitty "Shadowcat" Pryde, changed "Invisible Girl" to "Invisible Woman", and helped bring us the classic "Dark Phoenix" and "Days of Future Past" X-men storylines. I got a chance to sit down and talk to him about some HeroClix and other stuff. This interview took place in August of 2009.

The Le: When you were a child, what did you want to grow up to be and why?


John: A paleontologist. I loved dinosaurs!

The Le: How did you get into the art field and specifically the comic book field?

John: I have drawn for as long as I can remember. It seemed from very early on that I would end up in the arts one way or another. Comics were just a happy accident.

The Le: Do you feel that you've had a bigger impact in the comic book industry as a WRITER or ARTIST?

John: I like to think that, at least as far as my own work is concerned, the two amount to the same thing.

The Le: Which do you enjoy being more, a Writer or Artist?

John: Two different sets of muscles. Kind of like asking "Which do you prefer, steak or ice cream."

The Le: What are you doing now?

John Byrne HeroClix World Angel CoverJohn: Continuing with a lot (I hope a lot!) more STAR TREK material for IDW. Probably some more ANGEL, too. And the commissions keep coming in.

The Le: Which MARVEL character or team do you like the most?

John: Character, Captain America. Team, the Fantastic Four

The Le: ...how about DC?

John: Character, Batman. Team, the Doom Patrol

The Le: ...and from the Independent labels?

John: Character, Concrete. "Team", the Elves in ELFQUEST

The Le: What comic book project are you most proud of? (someone once told me it was Marvel Team-Up #70 with Spider-man and Thor)

John: I really liked the inks on that issue, but the art and story are so-so. My personal favorite of all my work is probably BATMAN & CAPTAIN AMERICA, tho I'd like to completely re-ink it every five years or so!

The Le: Your OMAC miniseries and the Fall of the Mutants stories will always have a place in my heart. Are there any comic books or storylines that have a place in your heart?

John: Too many to name.

The Le: I recall OMAC (and one issue of She-Hulk) having a technique called DUO TONE? Can you explain it to our readers?

John: It's a treated stock. A line or dot pattern is printed into the paper in non-repro blue. When this is painted over with a special chemical the blue turns red/brown, which reproduces as black. There are two different patterns ("Duo­") which produce two different shades of gray.

The Le: Have you used DUO TONE in any other books?

John: NAMOR, one page in BATMAN & CAPTAIN AMERICA, as Superman job I inked over Curt Swan. Maybe others I am forgetting.

The Le: Why aren't you using Duo Tone anymore?

John: No longer needed, with the vastly improved color pallette available.



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Your Comments:
All interviews are done via Email.

Posted by: The Le on 2/16/2010 10:27:59 PM
Awesome interview. How was the inteview made? by phone? in person? by mail?

Posted by: CarlosMucha on 2/16/2010 9:47:36 PM
Reading this interview reminds me of the time I got to chat with Mr. Byrne at DragonCon many years ago. He is very short when talking about things he feels he got screwed-over with, but if you find something he is interested in, he is a very gracious conversationalist. I know I enjoyed talking with him at length that day, and enjoyed his crtique of my artwork where he was very informative and helpful, and again very gracious with his time towards me. I find it rather ignorant of HeroPlay magazine to "boldly state" that he had an axe to grind with women. I have always thought he came across as a great supporter of stronger portrayals of women in comics as evidenced in most of his work.

Posted by: machineman on 1/7/2010 1:18:01 AM
All interviews are done via email. Most people don't have time to sit and chat for an hour, but email works extremely well for them.

Posted by: The Le on 12/9/2009 9:08:38 AM
Nice interview. He seems like he would be difficult to interview. Was this all live, or was it send a question, get an answer, repeat?

Posted by: wintremute on 12/9/2009 3:19:50 AM
Excellent interview, The Le! (He did seem a might reserved with some answers, though. Held back a bit.)

OMAC! I have and loved his mini-series, it was the first exposure I'd had to the character, and made me seek out the original Kirby stuff. Byrne always seemed to have a deep appreciation of Jack Kirby's creations.

Obscure Byrne-created character I'd like to see: Torch of Liberty (Dark Horse Comics).

I thought Byrne did create the Roger Bochs version of Box? (Not the one we got in M&M)

Posted by: glen_smith on 11/4/2009 4:59:21 PM