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    Q&A with G.I. Joe: America's Elite Artist - Mike Bear

    Starting with G.I. Joe: America's Elite #21, artist Mike Bear joins the art team. His work was previously seen in the "Juliet" back up story from G.I. Joe Special Missions: Tokyo.

    For more information on art by Mike Bear and G.I. Joe: America's Elite comics, check out the following:

    Q: How old are you? Where are you located?

    I am 22 years old. Currently, I'm living in my hometown of Stanwood, WA. It's about an hour north of Seattle.

    Q: What made you want to become a comic book artist?

    I've always loved drawing, but comic books influenced me more than any other art form. I blame Joe Maduriera, because his work was the first comic art that I noticed when a boy. It didn't take long before I knew that I wanted to be a comic book artist for my career.

    Q: Did you have any formal art training?

    Yes, I attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and recieved my BFA in sequential art. Probably saved me about 10 years of self teaching, but set me back a dime or two.

    Q: Who are your artistic influences?

    This list is long. Currently, James Jean, Mike Allred, Paul Pope, Adam Hughes, Frank Cho, most of Spielberg's movies, Peter Jackson's recent films, James Cameron's movies, J.C. Leyendecker, Tommy Lee Edwards, Bryan Hitch.... and it goes on and on...

    Q: What are your strengths as an artist?

    Tough question. I could go on and on about what I want to improve on. But I would say that as far as storytelling I like to use the "camera" as a character to help convey the feeling of the story. And I think that it's a good thing that I like to be influenced by all sorts of art and do my best to incorporate it into comics. I also think it's good for a comic artist to partake in other forms of art. I like to paint, sculpt, and occasionally play the piano when I have a spare moment...

    Q: How did you get hired by Devil's Due?

    At the end of my four years at SCAD I had an interview with Mike O'Sullivan, the editor at DDP. He liked my portfolio and offered me the opportunity to draw a 9 page story insert for the Special Missions: Tokyo book. I was thrilled. A few months after I did that he offered me the opportunity to draw four issues of America's Elite. And currently, I'll be pencilling AE for the forseeable future. It's been a very rewarding and very challenging experience. You learn a lot about yourself when you have to go and pencil a page a day by yourself in a quiet room.

    Q: Were you already familiar with the GI Joe universe, and if so do you have any particular favorites in terms of characters and their varying styles from over the years?

    I was familiar with GI Joe as far as the cartoon went, but basically just the base members of the team. I enjoy drawing Duke, Scarlett, and Snake-Eyes the most. I really hope Snake-Eyes goes back to his ninja ways, because I would love to draw some martial arts action. And I definitely enjoy the classic costumes, they are really campy, but kinda fun in a retro sort of way.

    Q: Any previously published work prior to G.I. Joe: Special Missions: Tokyo?

    Not really. I did a 30 page graphic novel about the bombing of Pearl Harbor during the summer after my 3rd year of college, but I doubt anyone will ever see it. Plus it really doesn't look like my work currently.

    Q: If not written into the script, will you try to insert other Joes, like lesser-used or more obscure ones into the background?

    If there was a crowd scene where the opportunity arose, I might, but I'd be worried there would be some sort of continuity error and I'd be made to redraw them or erase them completely. I haven't had the chance so far.

    Q: Who is your favorite G.I. Joe or Cobra character?

    I like drawing Cobra Commander, his character seems solid in my mind, so I feel like I know his mannerisms. And I like Snake-Eyes, because he's a badass. He doesn't talk, that's about as bad ass as it gets.

    Q: Are you a 22 page a month artist? What issue are you currently working on?

    I'm doing 22 pages a month, and some occasional covers. I sometimes wish I spent more time on the details but I guess I'd rather just get the pages done on time. I'm currently right-smack-dab in the middle of issue 23.

    Q: How long are you scheduled to remain on America's Elite?

    As far as I know, permanently. I'm thankful to have the opportunity to see where it takes me. I'm excited to see, when it's all said and done, my very first page to my very last and compare the two. Hopefully I'll be happy with what I see.

    Q: What is your comic book dream job?

    It would be to write and illustrate my own stories. If not write, then at least do the full art on a book. And I would love to illustrate covers as well. I would still want to do interiors though.

    Check out the first issue with the new creative team of Mark Powers and Mike Bear (with cover by Clement Sauve) in G.I. Joe America's Elite #21, in stores February 28, 2007! Check out the Five page preview at DevilsDue.net!


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