At Wizard World Louisville last weekend, I had a chance to talk with “Accelerators” artist Gavin Smith. Gavin is a 28 year old native of Indianapolis, Indiana and a 2011 graduate of the Joe Kubert Art School.
Drew Bradley: Were comics a big part of your childhood? Were there any titles in particular that really stood out to you?
Gavin Smith: Oh, yeah yeah yeah. They’re how I taught myself to draw. “Batman vs. Predator” and Grant Morrison’s “JLA” were two of my favorites.
Did you do any professional comic work prior to “Accelerators”?
GS: Not before. I put out “Human City” from art school, and it got me jobs. I was actually cold called by AT&T to make an in-house motion comic that will never be seen by the public. There’s a book I can’t name where I did the backgrounds for another artist who was running behind. I am doing the comic prequel to the movie “All Superheroes Must Die”. I’ve also done some movie posters, like All Superheroes Must Die.
How did you get connected to Blue Juice and “Accelerators”?
GS: Through a buddy of mine. I was in a rock and roll band, and I still hang out with a friend from another band. When I was in school I’d hang out with him to get a break from comics. He was in TV production, and met the publishers of Blue Juice that way. Blue Juice is also in TV production – it’s actually funded by Comic Book Men. He told them about my work, we talked, and decided to work together after a two hour phone call in July 2012. It’s been steady ever since. We all met in person about a year later.
Did you have much input into the “Accelerators” story, or was it mostly laid out for you?
GS: Sometimes I do. Before every issue, Ronnie [Porto] and I have a long talk. Some of my input’s made it in, which is nice. Spatz [a main character] getting a buddy was my idea. All the character designs are mine, the mustaches are all mine. I actually based Spatz’s look off of myself. If you notice, his hair gets longer every issue because mine was getting longer and I didn’t think about it. I guess we haven’t been clear on how long a time period it’s over… I pushed for the two page splash in issue five.
GS:That’s a Ronnie thing. Maybe because it looks like a donut? He never really told me.
What do you use to draw? Are you a traditional pencil and paper guy?
GS: I do all pencils by hand, then scan it in and print it out at full size to ink. I mix digital in every once in a while for zipatone patterns or to make some corrections. I also like to work with white out, getting some effects with that by smearing it with my thumbnail or whatever.
Do you work closely with Tim Yates on colors?
GS: Sometimes. We all know what we’re doing now, so there are fewer notes. I have a better feel for what he’ll do, so I trust him now. Well, I got him the job, so I always trusted him. But now there are only minor corrections at this point.
Why don’t you do the covers for the series?
GS: I am with issue six! The guys had a good relationship with Walt [Flanagan], so they had him do them. I inked one and five. He’s too busy now, and I’m happy. I’ve wanted to do them since the beginning.
What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to stick with Blue Juice?
GS: We’re doing at least ten issue of “Accelerators.” It was planned to be five, I was originally only guaranteed two, with only one guaranteed to be published. [Editor] Tom [Mumme] said, yeah, five. Ronnie talked him into six. Now we’re going to ten, with the idea of it as an ongoing. We’re doing a short hiatus after number six, with the trade coming out in June or July. It may have an ten pages in it as a side story. We were initially planning to publish bi-monthly. Now that Blue Juice has a couple other books [Anne Bonnie and a forthcoming children’s book], they want to make them all quarterly, but staggered so there’s a new book every month.Continued below
Blue Juice has been very good to me, so I’ll definitely be related to them in some way for the rest of my career. I’ll finish Human City after this.