This week I'm going to try to give you as much of that special preview art that I promised last week. While doing so, I'm going to praise someone with whom I've worked with on a semi-regular basis for almost five years now.
I met Cory on the Internet. At the time, I think I saw him posting on the old, now defunct, wizardworld.com message boards from back when that site was run by Rus Wooton and Buddy Scalera.
Up and comer advice #1: See kids, that's how you meet artists online. You go to a message board and you email them. It helps of course if you've already self-published something. A good artist who posts stuff online is probably hounded by every schlub with Internet access and a word program about doing a comic. You'll stand heads and shoulders above the rest if you can actually get them published.
Anyway, I emailed Cory about doing a few pages of "Battle Pope" and since I seemed like someone with half a brain when it came to making comics, he accepted. Cory was even desperate enough to let me ink his pages, which I should probably admit, ruined his first published work. But hey-- I didn't have the money to hire some fancy pants inker, and Cory hadn't yet started inking his own work (I'm sure my inks inspired him to give it a shot).
While working on "Science Dog" pages, Cory decided to do a "SuperPatriot" pin-up for fun. Since I was speaking with Erik Larsen sporadically at that point I showed him the pin-up and he agreed to publish it in an upcoming issue of "Savage Dragon." (It was issue 93 if you fine folks want to seek it out). When the issue came back from the printer, Cory's pin-up caught the eye of Jim Valentino (then publisher of Image comics) and Eric Stephenson (then marketing director and now executive director - don't let Larsen fool you, Stephenson runs the show). They loved the pin-up and asked Larsen who the artist was and what he was doing. Larsen replied; "Oh, that's Cory Walker-- he's putting together a submission for a book called 'Science Dog' with some kid named Robert Kirkman." I'm sure Larsen didn't actually remember our names at the time, so I'll admit I'm embellishing a little. The official Image Comics response to that was "'Science Dog?' That sounds stupid-- have them do a 'SuperPatriot' mini-series instead."
And thus my first shot at Image Comics was born.
Up and Comer Advice #2: To make it in comics you have to not suck. But if you don't suck you're really only half way there. It helps to get to know everyone you can. You never know who will be able to offer you that gig that's going to make your career, so get out there and mingle... but most of all, don't suck. It doesn't matter how many people you know if you suck.
Back to Cory Walker.
So Cory and I did four issues of "SuperPatriot" and then we moved on to create "Invincible," which is still running to this day, albeit without Cory actually providing the art (I'll be talking about Ryan Ottley in a later column). Cory was unable to meet the demands of a hectic monthly schedule at the time "Invincible" started, and so for the good of the book he graciously stepped aside. You see, he was a young guy, ten or fifteen years younger than me, and he knew being constantly late was no good for his long-term career. So he sat back, got his ducks in a row, and I think this year you guys are going to see a lot from mister Cory Walker.
Also, although Cory doesn't contribute pages to "Invincible" every month (however, he did 13 pages of issue 25 which should be in stores now, but will actually be in stores soon, like in a week or so) he is still very much a part of the process. He's the one who suggested, or rather requested, the change to Invincible's boots in issue 24 and he helped Ryan and I design the deformed Angstrom Levy from the same issue. He also recently redesigned Atom Eve's costume, which will be appearing in the book very soon.
Cory's been a good friend over the years and I giggle like a little gleeful girl every time I get an email from him that contains an attachment. I hope you guys have enjoyed seeing some of his art that I've had the joy to look at over the last few months. Cory Walker-- just another reason you should all go out and BUY MY BOOKS.