The last two years I have been able to watch Rob Guillory grow into a AWESOME artist. I have also been able to work with him at a convention and spend time with him at several other cons. He is one of those humble and down to earth guys that you come to admire and respect almost the very second he gives you that patented piece sign in your first photo with him. His style is unique and it is something you marvel at as you turn the pages of a Chew comic fresh off the stands. I recently got a chance to sit down with him and just chit chat.
So tell us where you are from.
Lafayette, Louisiana, where there wasn’t much of a comic scene when I grew up for me to follow. Its starting to blossom up now with guys like Kody Chamberlain and myself.
Did you have any mentors growing up?
Creatively, I didn’t have much of a Mentor. But I had a couple of uncles that were comic geeks before there were comic geeks. They had a gigantic comic collection. I just totally fell in love with that collection at a very young age.
What did you first read?
I read a lot of Green Lantern. Old school X-men by Claremont and Byrne. Death of Phoenix. They had a lot of toy orientated comics. Master of the Universe comics stuck out the most.
Do you remember when you first started drawing?
I was creative at a very young age. I was cleaning out my closet at my parents house and found an old box of Master of Universe story books. I used to draw inside the front covers. I drew some Superman sketches at age 4 or 5 inside these books. Superman always ended up fighting some crazy monsters.
From Bubba the Redneck Werewolf to Image Comics how was the transition?
I actually pitched stuff earlier to Image in 2002 when I first started pursuing comics in the Jim Valentino era. Yeah I was rejected everytime. So I had actually given up on Image being a home from me. It wasn’t the Image back then that they are now so I didn’t take it that hard. So when Layman came to me about Chew I just said “yeah okay.” Here I’m now and Image is like the shit now. It’s really weird.
How do you feel about your fans coming up so giggly and wanting pictures?
Its cool! For the most part our fans are really cool. We have surprisingly normal fans. We don’t have a lot of weirdoes. I don’t know why that is, they are mostly more mature readers. We have a bit of an alternative crowd as well. Most don’t like super heroes. It’s real cool to see each one of them come to greet us at the shows.
How has Facebook and Twitter and other viral avenues work out for you?
I debated quitting Facebook and Twitter last year. I’m glad I didn’t. Its good to keep up with your fans. The fans respect that we are loyal to them and that we are dedicated to entertaining them on every issue. I think they also appreciated the fact that we aren’t taking side projects, we are just doing this for their enjoyment. Touching base with them let’s them know we are just regularly cool people. It simply just helps.
We are going to do something. Layman and I have decided that we are going to stick together. The relationship is so low maintenance, he does his thing and I do mine. We work well together and we like each other. I think we will continue to do creator owned and some animation stuff too. He’s starting to branch out to do animation and has done some scripts and I have some connections in that industry as well. So cartoons and other stuff including more comics in the future as a team.
Tell the Bleeding Cool fans about your two Eisners experience.
Well the first year was lot of jitters. We were being filmed for the Morgan Spurlock documentary. Which we are not in. We were dropped because we weren’t dramatic enough. We didn’t cry when we won the awards. When they interviewed us we weren’t, when they asked, “How does it feel?” we replied with “Yeah, it was cool” we weren’t hugging each other and crying on each other’s shoulders. But it was really freaky the second year, we didn’t think we would win. We lost two other awards that night. Best artist put me against Skottie Young who deserved to win. Layman was going against Joe Hill for Locke And Key who again deserved to win. We had an inclination that we might win when Walt and Louise Simonson were the presenters. He chuckled when he was reading the list and and we figured we were the only funny ones, so we felt we were going to win it. So it was like Holy Shit, we won this thing!
What do you tell someone who is looking at the Chew for the first time?
I don’t know. I think initially I was better at selling it and now I think I’m lazy. Now we have a very successful product to offer. Mostly its a Dark Detective Comedy. Its also has some Humor involving Action and Sci Fi. It’s really everything cool put into one place. There isn’t another book like it, period. Its like got to a point where word of mouth is so major that we don’t have to sell it anymore because the fans do it for us. Fans comes to the booth saying everybody is talking about this book. They just have to pick up the first volume and usually they are hooked.
Any Showtime Jitters?
We had one script, and now we’re doing another script. Our writer is an awesome up and coming guy. He buys every issue when it comes out and his sense of humor is totally in line with ours. Everyone involved with it is passionate about it, so we’re not worried about rushing it. We just want it to be right.
Chew’s coming to Denver in April for Comicfest.
What advice do you have for a new Artist?
Keep working hard. Don’t be weird. That’s all you need to know, really. (laughs)
I really look forward to hanging with Rob again. If you get a chance stop by and say HI to him and John. It’s quite a treat in a world were there are very few cool guys behind the table that will just hang with you and really talk about anything. They wont give you that glossy stare when you say “can you write CHEW ON THIS on my book?” You can also Join Rob on his Facebook . You might want to bring a Master of the Universe story book with you as well!
Six Shooter Jesse James is at C2E2. Why not stop him and say hi.