Thursday, March 27, 2008

Heroes Sales On in May

It's no secret I am a Heroes fan.  The writers' strike really pissed me off as it cut short Season 2 of my favourite telly programme and sent me into a panic when it looked as if there might not be a Season 3.

So it was with much relief when the producers announced that Season 3 was back on and slated to air this summer after a resolution was decided upon with the writers.

I was patiently waiting for news and updates when I came across an interview with Tim Sales on Pop Candy by Whitney Matheson.  That's the brilliant artist who created the comic strip for the series featured as Isaac Mendez's art pieces.  I was already in love with the man's work and after reading the interview, I admire the bloke even more.  Talented, modest, great taste and down-to-earth.  And he's kinda cute too.  It's enough to make you sick.  With envy.  Sigh.

So, for the benefit of fellow Heroes addicts, I will just include some excerpts from the interview pertaining to the show.  There is a lot of to the interview and it is only the first in a two-part (I think) series but it was well worth the read, if you are into comics like I am.

A Q&A with Tim Sale, part one

One of my favorite aspects of last week's trip to San Francisco was getting to know Tim Sale, renowned comic-book artist (Batman: The Long Halloween,  SoloCatwoman: When in Rome) and the man behind the paintings on NBC's Heroes.

"Everything is different because of Heroes," he told me. "And if they'd had a better finale the first season and a stronger beginning of the second season, God knows what it would be like!" he joked.


The "Me" here is Whitney Matheson, the lucky girl who did the interview.

Me: Are you working on the third season right now?

Not yet. I'm told that I have a job, and I've been told how it's gonna take place. These guys are really uptight about saying too much. The writers are back, but production doesn't start until May 1.

 I have been told what they're thinking of doing, and it sounds like a really cool idea.

Now tell me about the process you go through to make the paintings, since we're sitting next to a stack of them.

It's funny, I first got involved with the show through Jeph (Loeb, the co-executive producer). Jeph called me a couple years ago and said, "There's a guy I've known longer than I've known you -- so it's longer than 20 years -- who has a hit show on NBC called Crossing Jordan.  And Tim (Kring, the creator) has written this script. And it kind of has comic-book overtones -- nobody's wearing tights or anything, but there are powers involved. And what he wants to do is to have someone do illustrations for the script in order to make it more exciting for the suits."

So I spoke to Kring and learned that he's never read a comic book. ... And eventually, the script sold. So Kring calls me and says, "Can you come up to the studio?" I'm up in his office at Universal, and the director, producer, Kring, a couple of the writers, the set designer are all there. And they said, "Can you paint?" And I said, "No, I'm color blind." Then I said, "Let's go to my website, I'll show you what we do in comics to try to overcome that."

What I do is take a piece of comic-book paper and do some artwork on it in black, white and gray using wash and charcoal and ink and scan that at a high resolution. I send that file to Dave Stewart, who's my fantastic colorist in comics, and he takes that file and, on the computer, colors it. He then sends that file back to the prop department on Heroes, and they go to Kinko's or something and have it printed really big on canvas and they tack it up and it looks like a painting.

I was pretty nervous about what it was gonna look like, (but) it is really impressive. Plus, on the show it's only onscreen for a second. So the size helps increase the impact of the impression of the artwork.


Then there were some questions from the readers of Pop Candy.  Among them was this:

Is there any way to get ahold of prints from your Heroes work? -- Geist0

No. I don't understand why the marketing department at NBC hasn't done something like that. There is no "Art of Heroes" book, but they're planning one -- I've just done a cover. I'll be helping design that. Wildstorm is gonna be putting it out. I don't know when it's on schedule.

There are also an awful lot of other artists doing other things ... but I think it's primarily gonna be the paintings from the show, my process and that sort of thing. There is also a book that came out from Wildstorm last year with two different covers -- an Alex Ross cover and a Jim Lee cover -- that had some of my artwork in it, but it was basically the online comic. That's sort of it, and I don't understand why there isn't more, especially prints.

I cannot wait for both the second part of this excellent article and also to Season 3.