An Interview with artist Tom Morgan

 

How did you first become involved with 2099?

Tom: By sheer good luck! I was drawing Alpha Flight at the time and editor Joey Cavalieri happened to see some of my art and he asked me do the book. I seemed to be in a groove artistically with what he had in mind for the 2099 universe.

Do you recall anything 2099 you drew that was not published? Perhaps something with another 2099 character?

Tom: There were an awful lot of designs I did for the creation of the Punisher 2099 as well as the entire 2099 universe. Some were reproduced in an ash can book about creating the 2099 universe and characters, but most of what I drew was development artwork that helped to finally get to the look of the character that ended up in print. Some pretty wild designs in there, from black mask to lightning bolts and spikes.

What recollections do you have about working with writers Pat Mills & Tony Skinner?

Tom: The scripts were amazing! Very energetic and detailed. The things they came up with were so far removed from anything I had ever drawn it was like reading a really good sci-fi novel every issue. They were tremendously enthusiastic about the series and seemed to like what I was drawing, reacting with excited giggles and delight when they saw some wicked mangling punishment being doled out in the artwork. It's really nice when writers give an artist freedom to create and they gave me a lot of leeway to kinda go nuts.

What recollections do you have about working with editor Joey Cavalieiri?

Tom: One of the best! Joey was the absolute perfect choice to helm the 2099 universe. Creative, imaginative, willing to push the boundaries of what existed in comics and he had a vision for the entire 2009 world. Joey not only gave me such enormous freedom in creating, but he encouraged going beyond whatever safety net the Marvel Universe had already established, while still remaining true to that past material. That's a tall order for an editor, being a watchful parent to a brand new baby and encouraging free form lunacy while maintaining control and providing a steady guiding hand.

Did you work closely with your inker, Jimmy Palmiotti?

Tom: Joey gave me freedom to choose whoever I wanted to ink me on the book. I looked at a lot of inkers, some were really slick and polished, but that wasn't right for the book. I knew the future Punisher would be more tech oriented than Frank Castle and I could handle that in the drawing, but I needed to differentiate from Spider-Man 2099 or X-Men 2099 and give it a true Punisher feeling, so I knew some grit was needed. I had never worked with Jimmy before, although I had certainly seen his work. Jimmy had the right ink line for the book and the right approach to putting more grit in the finished art. Jimmy was super laid back and saw what I was doing and took it even farther than I planned, which was just great for the book. 

What do you recall about designing Punisher 2099? About designing some of the villains from your issues: Jigsaw, Fearmaster, Vendetta, Public Enemy?

Tom:  Joey started the ball rolling by supplying visual material for a feel of the 2099 world. Very Syd Mead, which I love. But a gritty, future world that has been banged around a bit. I was asked to design buildings, clothing, and vehicles for militia and citizenry alike. I tried to give the Punisher a feeling of high end tech capability mixed with an organic mistrust of that technology. So, although he has electronically designed and controlled prison cells in his basement, they are carved out of cement. Old world, new world. I thought that was keeping true to how the Punisher would think. I also thought that would be a nice bridge between the past and the future. I mentioned earlier the various designs I experimented with, but I wanted to keep emotion on the Punisher's face, so the mask went. In giving a particular look to any character design I create, I want them to be individuals, not just formulaic renderings in art, based on practiced ability to draw features a certain way. Each character should be unique in look and feel. For the Punisher/Jake Gallows, I hit on a snarling Sean Connery feeling. Charming when needed, absolutely deadly in execution and just kinda nuts in the extreme. Jigsaw had a few requirements from the writers and I pushed that as far as I could, visually going crazy. Fearmaster was a fun guy to create, because I was allowed to indulge my love of weird 1960s styled funk. The guy is so sadistic and smarmy you want to smack him, which is the kind of response we wanted. Great fun to draw. Vendetta was pure fantasy indulgence. Tight costume, fishnets, high heels and big guns. It sells, right? Public Enemy was a really unique character and I have to hand it to Pat and Tony for dreaming up the guy. My job was to create a sympathetic character who happened to grow up to be a warped killing machine. No fault of his he was born a certain way and judged for his appearance. A real tragedy. Good writing. .

Do you have a favorite issue, cover, or character?

Tom: The whole series was tremendous fun to do. Every issue was more extreme than the one prior to it. I really like the covers on issues 2 and 3 and the interior art to those issues as well. I'm actually very proud of the design on the Punisher's motorcycle. That was fun to draw.

Were there any challenges or difficulty unique to working on Punisher 2099 as opposed to other comics you worked on?

Tom: I've designed a lot of other characters for other books, but the 2099 world required so much more, as we were creating from scratch. I had to go both future and retro in my head while drawing the book. Grit and polish at the same time. It was definitely a balancing act. I think we pulled it off pretty well.

Why did you leave Punisher 2099?

Tom: Iron Man. I had been the regular fill in and annual guy on Iron Man and had been bugging editor Nel Yomtov to give me a shot at drawing the book regularly when it became available. The call came and....... well, where the heart goes, so must we follow.

 

 

 


 

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