Like most kids growing up, I loved MARVEL and DC comics. The superhero’s saving the day and putting bad guys in their places – the perfect role-models for the youth of America. However I also drew up loving the artwork and stories produced by Avatar Press. My father loved their works back in the day, collected everything he could get his hands on, and he passed that passion down to me.
Today at C2E2, I actually got a chance to talk with one of my favorite artists from Avatar Press – Mike Wolfer, the artist behind the sexy Lady Death. Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to talk with him before the event floor got too busy with fans. Wolfer has been drawing and creating comics since 1987, as he put it – “before you were even probably born.” The conversation flowed so freely that I shocked out of my fangirl stupor when I realized our conversation basically stretched over half an hour in length, and I only thought of recording about the last five minutes of it (although it was a pretty awesome five minutes).
The origins of Avatar Press… as told by Mike Wolfer
Elizabeth Tsygan: So it was a small collaboration by one person saying ‘I want you, you, and you to come draw for me’ basically?
Mike Wolfer: It was one guy that said ‘Welcome to my company’ and he did that with several guys [artists] and that’s how Avatar formed. By doing that, he took the weight of the business off of our shoulders because we were doing everything at the time – not just producing the book but also getting it printed, shipping it, everything. So he was like ‘how about you guys just work, I’ll take care of the publishing and everything else.’
ET: Stay away from the number crunching, you just do what you do best. It’s really great, no one really talks about how Avatar had started. It’s so big, so fast that no one really questions it or looks the information up about its origins.
MW: The other cool thing about Avatar too is that the company policy from the very beginning was “Do what makes you happy. We’re not gonna tell you, well we’re looking for this kind of book or that kind of theme. So whatever you want to do, you just do it.” And that’s why Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Alan Moore, and Frank Miller had stuff published by Avatar, because they say we can do anything we want. Does that mean anything we want? Yes, okay, and that’s why we have all the best writer’s in the industry.
ET: And that’s also why it’s so great. You can find anything in Avatar. You want gore and mayhem, go right to “Night of the Living Dead,” you want hot, sexy women you got it too. It fits into every genre and every person can be happy.
MW: “Streets of Glory” that Garth Ennis did – straight up Western. We’ve got steam punk, we’ve got pirates, we’ve got barbarians, we’ve got Lady Death. I mean, we’ve got everything.
ET: Well I wish you guys all the best, and I look forward to seeing you in New York this October.