Bringing Shakespeare To Life To Kill Him
overdue, here's our conversation with Andy Belanger, the artist
on one of my favorite books this year, Kill Shakespeare,
published by IDW and written by Anthony Del Col and Conor
Belanger, busy at his drawing board.
three creators align to create a book that's part literary
mystery, part wild fantasy and for those of us who care
to see it, dramaturgical exercise. We're a small group,
but we must be appeased. Kill Shakespeare does that.
WonderCon, I sat down with all of them to talk about the
first issue that was about to hit. I was gratified to see
that their popularity has only grown since then, as they
were pretty busy at Comic-Con but still took a moment to
the fourth issue hitting stores on Wednesday, featuring
Juliet and Othello, it's time to shed some light on Andy
Belanger, the artist that brings all this to life on the
What was your background before landing Kill Shakespeare?
Andy Belanger: I've been a professional
comic book illustrator for about four years. I'm at a studio
in Toronto called the RAID Studio, the Royal Academy of
Illustration and Design, with five other artists. When I
joined the studio, it was Cameron Stewart, Karl Kerschl,
Ramon Perez , Scott Hepburn, we have Bill Dawson in there
now and myself. We've been there for years. We had Eric
Belanger,taking a rare break during a convention
It's a big group of Toronto artists all
working together. Every week we have a Superman Day club,
where we get together, it's sort of a big tight-knit group.
And these guys sort of helped me along. I started doing
self-published stuff, going to shows. I'd rent classic cars
and sell my comics out of the back, out of the trunks. And
these guys were, ooh, who's the cool guy with the classic
cars selling comics? So I started throwing parties and having
them over. Pretty soon I was invited into the studio. With
these guys, I've just been working my rear off to get better
and better and better over the years.
My first big break was with Wildstorm doing
Friday the 13th. I did stuff for Moonstone, I've
done covers for Devil's Due, I was doing Chucky Halloween
covers, I did a story for Boom… so it's been a lot of one-shot
Then last year, I'm really good friends
with the guys that run Zuda Comics. I was out for a drink
with them one night, and I said "hey, we're all drunk and
I've got an idea for a story called Bottle of Awesome."
And they said, "Hey! That sounds amazing!" So based on that
title I sold them on that project and that's an ongoing
series I'm doing right now on Zuda.
So I started doing that as well. That was
my first series, but it was a web series. I do that in a
very cartoony style. It was meant to be my Simpsons
or my Family Guy. I really wanted to prove my chops;
I can do mainstream. Based on the stuff I've done, I didn't
really think anyone would give me the time of day and say,
let's do a Batman or something like that.
and Falstaff walk into a bar...
Kill Shakespeare was going to be
that project. I wanted a serious twelve issues, really big,
really long - in print. For years, I've been trying to get
that (type of) series. When I started on Friday the 13th,
the guy at New Line said, oh, Andy does my favorite comic.
And then New Line folds. Then it was like, sorry, New Line
folded, there's nothing we can do.
I've been chasing trying to get a regular
imprint series as well as the series I do online. I also
do Raising Hell for Transmission X, which is all
those names I mentioned earlier; we all do webcomics. My
background for the last two years has been heavy, heavy
I've just been trying to get into some
print stuff. These guys (Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery),
right from the bat were awesome to work with. Every time
I turn around -- like we did a panel and it was at 2 o'clock
in the afternoon on a Friday. Everyone's in school; everyone's
working. So I was like, guys, guys, no one's going to come
to this panel. I've done panels on a Sunday and nobody shows
up! They said, oh, no, there will be sixty people there.
I was like, what? And they said, no, we've got classrooms
of people. I was just blown away.
I get to the panel and it may be the best
panel I'd ever done. It was like professors of Shakespeare,
and there were Shakespearean actors , there's other comic
book creators… every step of the way these guys are amazing,
and I've had an absolute blast working on this book.
makes her debut...
working really, really hard on making this book look the
way I want it to look. I really wanted it to have a very
European flavor. I like characters in costume, but a little
more slimmed down and backgrounds, backgrounds, backgrounds.
the world of Shakespeare to be very lush, lots of cool castles
that you want to travel in, lots of forests that you want
to get wrapped up in, that magic element.
absolutely works. Be sure to pick up Kill Shakespeare #4
this week, and if you haven't already, go back and catch
up on this smart series that captures everything fun about
Shakespeare's plays without making you use Cliff's Notes.
case you missed them:
with Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery
of Kill Shakespeare #2