Tito W. James: What are you working on right now?
Andy Belanger: I just finished a book with a new company that are based in LA called TKO. I did a book called Pound For Pound with a writer named Natalie Chaidez who is a showrunner and writer for Queen of the South on Netflix and she wrote for The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show. So that’s what’s coming out in October. That’s my big book that I’ve been working on for a year.
I also did a bunch of short stories for Heavy Metal this year with Dan Fogler for Megadeth in the Death By Design book. And the music issue of Heavy Metal magazine with Cullen Bunn as writer for a short story.
TWJ: Talk to me a little bit more about Heavy Metal because I can totally see that your artwork would fit in to that entire Multiverse.
AB: Well, I was in Texas two years ago and I was hanging out with Donny Cates and he had a short story coming up with Duncan Trussell the comedian in Heavy Metal and I was in Austin for a show and Donnie asked if I wanted to draw it for him. So we started there and I did that one and then Heavy Metal contacted me and they that one went over really well.
Then a little bit later I worked with Grant Morrison on a big 20 page story in the magazine.
TWJ: Gotcha. What was that like? Just because, Grant’s stories are notoriously trippy.
AB: I have to say, Grant’s script for that Heavy Metal issue was the coolest script I’ve read. You can tell that he’s like an uber talent like right from page one. I wish I had double the amount of time to draw it, so that I could really give it my all, but it was like a fast turnaround. But I think it’s okay.
TWJ: Do you remember your first experience with Heavy Metal?
AB: I loved stories in Heavy Metal Magazine from the time I was 13 until I was in my 30s. It was the only kind of comic I collected religiously, no matter what. I remember going to like my local comic store and it was always kept behind the counter because it had an adult content. So when I was 13, I just wanted to see it and I ended up like seeing one in a store somewhere in a magazine rack and my dad got it for me.
European artists spend a week on each page, so the level of artwork in Heavy Metal was just so high when they were reprinting all that European Moebius-era work. I was just blown away and obsessed with the quality of those comics in a sense.
TWJ: I can see how it definitely made a staple in your work. What demon did you have to sacrifice to get like that amount of detail?
BA: Multiple demons. I definitely sold my soul to the comic gods.
TWJ: Yeah, the New Gods and the Elder Gods.
TWJ: What are your thoughts on the more heavily detailed and illustrated comics because they’re a little more rare in the west.
BA: Yeah, I mean in that I think that’s because of the time constraints put on artists by publishers in the west. They wanted books out so fast, you have to kind of do three or four times the amount of work that a European artist. But I mean the heavily detailed stuff is what I like and what I read and why I got into this so I prefer to stay with with that kind of work. That’s just what I like.
TWJ: Aside from Heavy Metal, do you have any recommendations for complete graphic novels with that amount of detail?
BA: I mean you can go and get all those those Heavy Metal books, you know, they’re now reprinted in English and Canada and USA now, so it’s all in translation. But I would I would recommend getting anything Moebius ever did. In my opinion Moebius is the greatest comic creator ever!
The top three would be Moebius, Jack Kirby and Katsuhiro Otomo. They’re kind of like my Holy Trinity. Right before I start drawing I look at a few books by them and then I start my day.
I’d like to thank Andy Belanger for this lengthy interview.
Disclaimer: The Executive Editor at Comicon.com, Hannah Means-Shannon, is also an editor at Heavy Metal, however, was not involved in the solicitation or execution of this interview.