What can I say about the artist, Mike Werner? The first word that comes to mind is detailed. As a comic book artist he can create the most fascinating panels with a myriad of wondrous characters. His imagination is immense and it shows on the page. For full disclosure, I’ve worked with Mike for many years on Force Galaxia. I caught up to him on a recent Sunday afternoon and had the following conversation.
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Michael Werner. I was born in Newport Beach in California but grew up overseas.
When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
When I was in Egypt and 10 years old I found comic books for the first time and was hooked.
Do you remember the first comic that you read?
It was a spider man comic, can’t remember which issue but it made an impression.
So you knew you wanted to be an artist at a young age, how did you go about becoming one? Schooling?
I started by copying my favorite artists, by doing that constantly I learned certain penciling skills. The real change came when I went to college and started life drawing and finding out about composition and storytelling.
Speaking of, who are your major influences as an artist?
Wow, that’s a huge question. I t starts with comic artists. My favorite comic artists from back in the day were Bill Sienkiewicz, John Byrne, John Romita Jr., John Buscema, Walt Simonson. I was always a fan of conceptual art as well from the likes of Ralph McQuarrie, Syd Mead and Moebius.
What was your first Comic Book work?
When I was high school I started up a comic book called “Yut Man” about a ninja who had one thousand secret techniques, he would share one every episode. One of them was called “Thousand Winds Technique” where he would fart and a tornado would come out of his ass and destroy his enemies, I call this my first work because I charged a dollar for each book. My first real professional work was on a awesome comic called Force Galaxia.
Yes, when we met, I hired you to be the colorist for Omegan Chronicles in Force Galaxia, but quickly led to you becoming the main artist on Supergreen14. Tell me a little bit about how it was to work on that first book?
It was awesome. When you get your first script as a comic artist you get jazzed, I wanted to rock it and show everyone my stuff. The script turned out to be funny and exciting and gave me the opportunity to draw lots of different aliens, people and crazy city-scapes, pretty much a huge open canvas for me to go crazy.
You also created and drew the amazingly detailed, Omegan Chronicles poster. How do you work on such a tedious project and would you do something similar in the future?
Yeah that was a passion project. It took forever to draw but it was really satisfying when I finished it. That poster has brought me a lot of work and started my getting my name out there. I will certainly do more of those super detailed posters in the future, they are a quick sell and it makes me happy to think that people have them up on their walls. I recommend putting one up in the bathroom where you can see it from the pot, there are so many characters to look at and contemplate their stories, put down the magazine!
Exactly! After you completed issue two of Force Galaxia, you became a bit more in demand. Your current project is MCity Defender. How is that going?
I just finished issue 2 and am very proud of it. I work with two great writers Omar Bilal and Todd Threats (great last name). It is about an enhanced cop who just lost his wife in on a future Earth and there is a secret society/bad guy who is manipulating events. I don’t even know what’s going to happen, I just get the scripts and am excited as the audience to find out what’s going to happen.
Sounds like things are going well. I know that you’ve recently also become a screenwriter. What’s this about?
I have always enjoyed film and thought I could come up with something exciting that people haven’t seen before. I started a script a few years ago and just finished it, I met with some people over at Disney and they are interested. Wish me luck! I have just started a new screenplay about my passion project “Makeshift Bob” It’s about a young alcoholic genius who is lonely and alienated from society so he builds himself his own best friend. It’s a dark comedy.
I’m glad to hear that Makeshift Bob is coming to fruition, I always liked that concept. Now that you’ve worked in the indie comics world, do you have any advice for new creators/artists?
Yeah, here’s my advice, if you are an artist DRAW DRAW DRAW. Take a sketchbook and draw from life every chance you get. I live in Berkeley right now and when I take the train into the city I draw the passengers every chance I get. Draw your living room, draw your girlfriend, draw a potato. If you are a writer WRITE WRITE WRITE! and so on. If you dont have the passion to do this 12 hours a day get another career. If you love what you do you never “work” a day in your life. Think about it.
Sound advice Mike. Where can your fans contact you and/or see your work?
Great, well thanks for time man. I look forward to working with you in the future.
Thank you Andre. Long live Supergreen!
Andre Owens has been hiding in Los Angeles for over 15 years, a former Director of Photography, he now writes and publishes the cosmic comic, Force Galaxia. He is currently writing and plans to produce a webseries, The Psychedelic Detective. In his free time he enjoys long form television, sushi and a celebration of all things 420. His name’s not Supergreen!