The GeeksverseChristian “Raven” Colbert Interview

Christian “Raven” Colbert Interview
Published on Monday, June 6, 2011 by

RavenHammer Comics centers around two creators: Brian Williams and Christian Colbert. Brian recently answered a few questions about the universe he was writing. The other half of the duo the digital artist Christian Colbert answers a few questions about his role in the Raven Hammer universe. Even by email interview I was able to feel the brotherly love between these two creators. While they may disagree upon exactly who said what when and how, they both credit each other for making RavenHammer Comics a success.

Williams recently described Colbert:

Christian and I have become great friends over the years…a relationship that I would characterize as brotherly. Since Day 1, he has been able to read my scripts, which are sometimes unorthodox and demanding, and pull from it the exact visual I was looking for. It’s really amazing. He understands Lucius Hammer completely.

Lucius Hammer may be the first and foremost character but he is also one among many. Lucius Hammer is one of many characters leaping from the mind of Brian Williams. Many of which have been drawn up by Colbert. In turn, Colbert’s dream story Raven Hollow will be scripted by Williams. They truly are the twin halves of RavenHammer Comics .

Pun intended, what drew you to comics? Why did you want to participate in this collaborative art form?
Christian Colbert: I first started reading comics when I was about 8 years old. It wasn’t a crazy addiction or anything, just randomly picking up books at the drugstore. A G.I. Joe here, a Transformers there. They didn’t really impact me until I was in 5th grade, and I picked up an issue of classic X-men. I think it was number 34. It had Colossus on the cover, on top of a pile of dead x-men. For some reason, I can trace wanting to make comics back to that particular issue.

So, between the two comic-cartoon giants on your young reading list, G.I. Joe and Transformers, which was your favorite?
Colbert:As far as transformers and g.i. Joe goes, it was pretty much a tie. I was a kid in the 80’s, so I pretty much gobbled up any comic book that was based on the cartoons I watched.

In the blurb at the back of Lucius Hammer you mentioned that you read everything from Batman to X-Men growing up. What was your favorite comic as a kid?
Colbert: My favorite books as a kid were Detective Comics, (specifically the Norm Breyfogle issues) and X-men. But in all honestly I picked up everything I could get my hands on and soaked it all in. The Punisher, Wolverine, Batman. Marvel Comics Presents was one I always looked forward to as well. The Eastman and Laird TMNT were at the top of my list too.

Colbert sent over a few pieces from his Portfolio

As an older reader of comics, what would you say is your current favorite comic besides Lucius Hammer?
Colbert: I really Can’t put Lucius Hammer as one of my favorite characters. I’d have to have one massive ego if I thought one of our creations could Hold a candle to such Iconic characters like Batman or Superman.

My favorite of all time would probably have to be X-men as a whole.

Did you read Static Shock and the Milestone comic universe from DC when it hit in the 90s? What were your thoughts about those characters?
Colbert:My only experience with Static Shock was a few of the cartoon episodes from the early 00’s. I haven’t read any of the milestone stuff. I’ll have to pick it up at some point.

DC recently put out an accessible Static Shock one shot. I was a cartoon fan back in the day, but didn’t pick up the comics either. Looking back it was something I probably missed out on.

In the blurb in Lucius Hammer you mentioned that you found starting a new hero daunting. What hurdles did you face in designing the look of these new heroes?
Colbert: It’s not necessarily the look that’s daunting, it’s creating new superheroes. Competing with heroes that have been around for 75 years is what’s daunting.

How did you and Brian get together and start creating comics?
Colbert: I was scouring the want ads, and to be honest the only reason I responded to his ad was that it was a paying gig. After we talked a little, his project was going to be kind of a conflict of interest with another gig I was working on. We kept in contact, always shooting ideas back and forth. Things didn’t really click until I sent him the rough plot I had written for Raven’s Hollow. Now here we are, years later starting our own company. We squabble like an old married couple, but he’s become like a brother to me.

What do you see as the most important aspect of Lucius Hammer’s look?
Colbert: I’d have to say making him actually look like a black guy. Some artists I think are a little afraid to make a nose a little bigger or lips a little fuller. Different ethnicities have different features, and it’s to an artists benefit to use that.

When you approached Iron Tiger where did you draw your references?
Colbert: Iron tigers inspiration came from a few different areas. His body type is definitely Based on Bruce Lee. Thin, wiry, but still toned and strong. For his costume I based it off of a traditional Buddhist Monk’s robe. His mask is somewhat Kato-esque.

When Mike Baron created the Badger one of the aspects that he wanted to make real was the fighting. He did not like unrealistic fight scenes in books. How importance is realism in the action of Iron Tiger and the other RavenHammer books? What do you use as a reference when creating action scenes?
Colbert: Basing things off of real action is always a good idea. Even though my characters have very exaggerated looks, I try to make the way they moved believable. For a kung fu battle, I would watch real kung fu flicks. If a character was a boxer, I would look at old Tyson fights. We have a football action sequence in Raven’s Hollow, and I plan to base the action off of real plays.

Brian has mentioned in his blog that he has thought about writing Black Panther and other Marvel titles. What other books would you like to work on?
Colbert:I have a few books that tie in my “fanboy dream job” Category. Of course Spider-Man and Batman are up there.

I would love to draw a Punisher story. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles too. Teen Titans. Really I’s be in heaven drawing any incarnation of the characters I grew up with.

Interior Lucius Hammer #2

Interior Sneak Peek Lucious Hammer #2

If you were to try to sell yourself as an artist to one of the larger comic companies, how would you sell yourself? What do you see as your strengths as an artist?
Colbert:I think one of my strengths is my fundamentals. Making a story readable. Taking a page of a script that’s filled with talking heads, and making it visually interesting. It also doesn’t hurt that I can do everything you see on the page. With Lucius Hammer #2, I will have produced everything you see on the page (minus the actual script, of course.) Pencils, inks, and colors. I letter and design the book as well, but I do that under my pseudonym “Guttermouth.” I write too, and have a project I’m writing and the spare few minutes I get during the day.

Where do you expect to be in five years comicwise?
Colbert: I’d like to be able to draw and write comics and be able to pay all of my bills. Pretty simple. I don’t need to be rich. I just don’t want to have to work at a design job just because I can. I want to be more creative than the full time design jobs I have had in the past. I mean I can design graphics for a ski vest or a vehicle wraps with the best of them, but that stuff is just a means to an end for me.

I’d like to have a couple projects finished that I have written and illustrated myself. Something I can call my own from start to finish.

Besides the Ravenhammer comics, what other comics have you created?
Colbert:I really don’t have much published work, other than some logos and a few fill in pages on Sinbad: Rogue of Mars. The other werewolf project [mentioned in Williams’ interview] really never got past the design stage. Most of the time I had to focus on work that was paying, and that was usually a 9-5 gig.

Brian Williams is the most vocal creator in this pairing. He is very upfront about Lucius Hammer and the universe being about black superheroes. You don’t always describe the project that way.Instead you highlight that this is a superhero project.
Colbert: We had multiple discussion on the topic of promoting the book as a “black superhero.” Brian wanted to promote it as such, and I wanted to promote it as just a superhero book. I feel like as soon as you put “black” in front of it, two things happen. 1- you pigeonhole yourself into a very niche market, which, lets be real, historically doesn’t have the best track record for staying power. Not because of lack of good characters… Which brings me to 2- you alienate a good part of a potential fanbase. A lot of people simply will pass a good book by just because they feel like it wasn’t written for them.

Good story writing and good digital art create a comic for everybody, no matter what you call it. But don’t take Christian Colbert’s word for it, head over to RavenHammer Comics and check it out for yourself.

Lucuis Hammer #2 Back Cover Ad for Harlem Shadow

For the Boys

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