Panel Surfing loves talking comic art, especially with comic artists and we have a real good one today. The House of Ideas has counted numerous stars among its bullpen over the years but Marvel’s former Agent of Atlas and current Hulk artist Gabriel Hardman is one whose star is ascending. He chats with Panel Surfing about his craft.
Jason Versaggi/Panel Surfing: Talk a little about where you are from and where you grew up.
Gabriel Hardman: I primarily grew up in Sonoma County in Northern California then
Sarasota, Florida. In California we were able to visit San Francisco
often so I got some exposure to museums, art and culture at an early
age. In Florida I attended a visual arts high school. That was the
most important art education I’ve had.
JV: Were you always a comics fan? When did you get into drawing?
GH: I’ve always loved to draw. My mother is a fine artist so I’ve always
been encouraged to do it.
I started reading comics when I was 10. Found them on a rack in in a
convenience store after we moved to Florida.
JV: What were some of the characters and titles you read?
GH: Mostly DC books when I started reading comics. New Teen Titans, Flash,
Justice League of America. Then X-Men, Secret Wars, etc. I read as
many titles as I could get my hands on. I actually loved the
convoluted continuity. It was a challenge to figure out what was going
JV: Describe your art education.
GH: Beyond the Fine Arts high school, my only formal art education was one
semester at School of Visual Arts in New York when I was 17 (I
graduated from high school a little early). I ran out of scholarship
money and had to drop out.
JV: Who were some of your favorite creators?
GH: When I was younger I liked most of the same creators everyone else
did: John Byrne, George Perez, Mike Zeck. When I was a little older,
Mike Grell’s Green Arrow and Denys Cowan on The Question.
JV: Who are your biggest influences on your work?
GH: The biggest influences on my current work are Noel Sickles, Alex Toth,
Bruno Premiani, Alberto Breccia, Jorge Zaffino and many more.
JV: Tell me about some of your past professional work.
I drew a creator owned horror graphic novel called Heathentown
published by Image/ Shadowline last year. It was written by my wife
Corinna Bechko and it’s in it’s second printing. Pick it up if you get
For Marvel I drew many issues of Agents of Atlas before Hulk, my
JV: What are some of your tools of the trade. What are the methods you enjoy the most to create your art. Any mediums you want to explore?
GH: I work in a fairly old fashioned way. Mostly ink on paper. I like to
ink with a brush and make any corrections in photoshop. It’s not any
more complicated than that.
But I’m always interested in pushing myself stylistically.
JV: What projects are you working on now? Comics or entertainment related.
GH: Hulk is my main focus right now. Though I’m steadily working on a
couple creator owned projects that I plan to announce when they’re
JV: What is it like working on such a big title for Marvel? How are you enjoying the character?
GH: I don’t look at it differently than any other job. I draw what I think
the story demands. I didn’t second guess the style in any way and no
one has told me to draw it any differently so far.
JV: If you could take on art duties for one title what would it be?
GH: I’d love to draw Spider-Man. I’d like to write and draw a Green Arrow
story. The Question, The Doom Patrol and The Shadow are other
favorites. I’ve also had a great time drawing Batman sketches when
I’ve had the chance.
JV: Who is a character that always gives you trouble drawing? Who do you love to draw?
GH: It’s been a struggle to draw Iron Man at times. His current armor
doesn’t lend itself to my style very well but in the end I think I did
a good job with him. On the other hand I always love drawing Gorilla
Man in ATLAS.
JV: Jack Kirby was famous – among other things – for being so fast and prolific. Are you a fast artist? How long do you spend on one issue?
GH: I’m reasonably fast. Working on feature films where hundreds of
thousands of dollars are at stake every day is much more intense than
comics. So I gained a lot of speed over the years.
JV: You are Hulked out and you need to unwind with a movie. What’s the flick?
GH: I love movies and I’m always looking for something obscure or
interesting that I may have missed. I recently watched and enjoyed
Arch Oboler’s apocalyptic indie FIVE (1951). I Also recently saw
Anthony Perkins in PRETTY POISON (1968). Of course we also just
watched EMPIRE STRIKES BACK for the millionth time. I love that movie!
I’m really looking forward to to the Coen Brothers’ TRUE GRIT.