Dan: I have all those and I think they made a great team. But on his own also, I think Wally Wood had a great style.
Dan: Some of his figure work was a little stiff for me as a penciler. But I think just his use of black and white is probably in the top of all comic book creators throughout history really.
Alex: Have you ever gone over pencil pages of all the pages from all the artists and tried to ink them yourself?
Dan: No, I really haven’t. When I was a kid, they had that Marvel try out book, I don’t know if you remember that. I did ink a couple of John Romita pages. Other than that, no. I’d always just pencil or make my own stuff pretty much until Jan came to me and we talked about Williamson and Frazetta and the possibility of me inking her on the Star Wars stuff.
Alex: I know that you can illustrate pencil ink, but you can also cartoon. You’ve done some nice Archie type cartooning before. Who are some of your influences there?
Dan: As far as cartooning goes, I adapted to that because I was never really inspired by the cartoon art. I was always more realistic like Gill Kane, Alex Raymond, that type of thing. But I do have a degree in fine art and I have been able to adapt my style to whatever is needed. In addition to doing the Archie thing you mentioned, more recently I did the Avatar, the last air bender book, which took a little bit of a learning curve for me to learn to style.
Dan: But it’s all a matter of style and once you study something, you can understand the style. It’s just that personally, I tended to go for more of the realistic, physical, the anatomy type artist.
Alex: I know that you and I have spoken about Marie Severin before. She would just cartoon whatever style she was working on. Is that jarring to try to do that?
Dan: It takes somewhat of recalibration but I think that you can work outside of your own personal style or what you think you really love. It’s just a matter of getting somewhere where you understand that. I think with her in particular, I like her inking most of all also for that.
Bill: I’d like to close out by talking to you about something that I know is … someone that was a real hero to you and you’ve used quite a few of his characters and drawn Steve Ditko’s style. I was curious if you’d had any stories of Steve. If you ever met him?
Dan: It’s funny you should mention Steve Ditko because he is part of the Atlas Society, which is Ayn-Rand appreciation society. It was founded by her and it keeps her books going and I just did a book for them. It’s called Anthem. It basically adapts and runs 1937 science fiction book. I wanted to mention too, we were talking about Alex Raymond before. This book was written at ’37 and that was the peak of his period, so I really tried to key into that with the illustrations and the whole mood that I gave to the book.
Dan: It’s like almost continuing a perpetual tribute to Alex Raymond. I didn’t mean to neglect Steve Ditko. He’s a hard guy, I don’t know if you know that. He’s a recluse or was, until he died last week or whatever it was. I can say I do have a small connection to Ditko in that. On my second ink war world back in 2015, I won my second ink well for the Star Wars stuff, and he also won the hall of fame award, so that’s a small connection to him.
Bill: Thank you very much Dan.