Tito W. James: How are you enjoying FanExpo Boston?
Jonboy Meyers: I love it, man. Coming to the East Coast is always nice.
TWJ: Your artwork is quite unique. It’s reminiscent of a very specific time in comics.
JM: Are you saying my work is dated? Is it too 90’s!?
TWJ: No! I think 90’s style art is due for a comeback. It could be like what Cuphead did and take a retro style that works and bring it to the present day.
JM: I think the way things run with publishers now, there’s no time to actually do this level of detail. Like I need five weeks for pencil and digital ink. There’s no way around that for me because I put a lot of work into what I’m doing. Usually they want it in four weeks or less. I think that’s the trade-off.
TWJ: Would you like to see more of this type of hyper-detailed and exaggerated style of comic art?
JM: I think it’s ok for any style to be out there. I think art is art and comics are comics. There should be a wide range of diversity in comics. You can see a lot of detail in comics, but it’s only by a very few guys. They’re on a very set schedule and they usually have a couple issues in the can before they start soliciting. That’s not the case for everyone because publishers usually don’t plan that far ahead.
TWJ: Perhaps this type of art would be better suited for graphic novels. That way the artist can really have the time to put in the detail.
JM: I think the art needs to suit the narrative. So whatever the narrative is about, the art should match. I think saying that comics need to be one set style is crazy to me. Comics can be anything you want them to be. There isn’t a “one style fits all,” sort of thing.
You don’t have to draw a certain way to fit on a certain book. You know, Superman can be anything and he can have any look. To say that Superman has to have one look and one brand is too limiting. Because not everybody likes that. Maybe they like something more pared-down. I mean we grew up on the Superfriends. The Alex Toth animated stuff was super pared-down and people loved that.
TWJ: I personally liked Superman: Infinite City because it had a more animated look than any other Superman comic.
JM: Yeah, there’s room for everything.
TWJ: Are there any artists who you look toward for creativity?
JM: Since I moved into video games, a lot of the artists I follow are concept art guys and animation dudes. They have such a great sense of style and design to their work that it’s always fun to see what you can take and incorporate into your own work.
TWJ: It’s interesting that you say that. I’ve noticed how most comics appear to be pulling from live action film and TV. So pulling from animation and video games is a different take. I think that cartoony exaggeration is what made comic art feel fresh in the 90’s and it could do so today because cartoons and games have evolved since then.
JM: For me manga changed everything. My work is very anime/manga influenced. I love Studio Trigger! Stuff like that I always try to incorporate into my own work.
TWJ: I can see that. That one Harley Quinn belt buckle is reminiscent of Yoko Littner.
JM: Yeah, it’s just stuff that I like. And I think that ties back into how art can be anything.
TWJ: What’s something you’ve seen that’s blown your mind recently?
JM: Oh God, I don’t know… Fortnite.
TWJ: That counts as an answer!
JM: Actually, some of the CG stuff that’s come out from Pixar, I’ve been pretty impressed with. I just saw Coco. When it first came out the name sounded so dumb to me that I forgot about it. I was very ignorant. But when I watched it, I thought, “Wow these guys got it right on so many levels.” That really blew my mind. And Incredibles 2 of course. I think the things happening at Pixar right now are pretty exciting. There’s always a really high quality bar when it comes to story and art that they’re going to deliver.
But I also love games! Video games are always at the forefront of my brain whenever it comes to creating something new. Because people expect something more, they don’t want everything to look the same. You don’t want to be the next imitation. You want to be the next big thing.
I’d like to thank Jonboy Meyers for taking the time for this interview.