Kyle Fukumoto writes for Bleeding Cool
William Stout is well known for his work on films, comic books, and also murals that he has produced for museums. Stout’s book, The New Dinosaurs, is an excellent, well written book about dinosaurs that features Stout’s art. He has written a book for young readers, New Dinosaur Discoveries A-Z, and also has a book on his murals; William Stout: Prehistoric Life Murals. I had the chance to speak with Mr. Stout at the Long Beach Comic Con on 4 November at the Raw Studios booth, “The reason why I’m at the Raw Studios booth is because I’ve been working for Raw Studios. Thomas Jane, Tim Bradstreet, and Bruce Jones came up with a great idea which was reviving Bruce (Jones’) comic book Alien Worlds.” This was a sci-fi anthology comic book that was published in the eighties by Pacific Comics, Eclipse Comics, and a one-shot by Blackthorne Publishing.
Mr. Stout continued to explain about the new title, “Bruce (Jones) is writing all of the stories, he’s the editor, and signed on to do the art for the series are myself, Bernie Wrightson, Tim Bradstreet, (and) Jim Daley (III) here (sitting at the other side of the table). It’s going to be a spectacular comic book and I think it will knock your socks off. Bruce wrote a story especially for me involving dinosaurs of course and I’m going to do the cover for it as well. I’m really excited about it.“ Mr. Stout later added, “One of the big reasons Raw Studios exists is Thomas Jane is the lead comic book guy as is Tim Bradstreet. So, the company was formed to produce comic book entities for future licensing agreements and properties.”
William Stout was posed a question about the current state of the comics industry, “Comics like the music industry, like the film industry, everything is upside down right now, no one knows how it’s going to fall out. Personally I think we are in the golden age of comics with the rise of independents. A lot of the power has been taken away from the Big Two, Marvel and DC, and now you can do a comic on any subject you desire and you can do it in any style. If you want to do the comic in wood block prints or as impressionist paintings or as water colors you can do that and it’s extraordinary. It freed people up to explore all of these different avenues of thought and examine the human condition in ways I didn’t think that would be possible with comics. It started with the underground, it started with Zap (Comix, an underground comix that began in the sixties and also featured the art of S. Clay Wilson and Robert Williams) and Robert Crumb. Robert (Crumb) should get credit for that and also Harvey Pekar who was really important. Here’s a guy who made absolutely compelling stories (in American Splendor, self-published by Pekar and later by Dark Horse Comics and Vertigo Comics) about what it was to be like a file clerk. Who knew that there was that potential for the comics medium.”
Stout reflected on the sales of the comics industry, “So I’m really excited about what is being done in comics today. The downside is the sales today are so small compared to what they used to be. I was shocked when I had seen some of the numbers for some of the DC and Marvel Comics. They publishing them in numbers now that 20 years ago that would have gotten the books cancelled. They are selling that poorly. They are selling at the rate of basically underground comix. Underground comix sell sometimes even more than the rate of regular DC Comics and Marvel stuff.”
Stout’s ability to work in different aspects of the industry as writer, penciller, inker, and cover artist, offers him an informed and unique perspective on comic books. He has drawn the cover to the first Alien Worlds #3, also the cover to King Kong #3, an adaptation of the film by Donald Simpson for Monster Comics, and the cover for Alien Pig Farm 3000#1 from Image Comics. He contributed a pin-up for Hellboy Weird Tales #3 published by Dark Horse Comics. Stout did the artwork for a story in Ray Bradbury Comics #3 based on dinosaurs. He wrote and penciled a story, “Go Fish,” in The Night Terrors #1 published by Chanting Monks Press. Finally, Stout wrote and penciled “Shoes!”, a story in the trade paperback, 9-11: Artists Respond. The interview will continue in the next part that will cover Stout’s work in film, theme parks, and other work.