Jedi News Interviews: Marc Laming

Marc Laming is a UK based comic book artist, who has worked on a wide range of comics and publications since the 90’s. During that time, he has worked for Fleetway Publications, IDW, Boom!, DC, Vertigo, Dynamtie, Image and Marvel. He has worked on comic series, such as Fantastic Four, Hulk, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, The Sandman, All new Invaders, Star Wars: Beckett, Daredevil, Batwoman and James Bond 007.

His most recent Star Wars related work has been on Marvel Comics Target Vader series and Star Wars: Age of Republic, drawing the Grand Moff Tarkin and Boba Fett issues.

We recently caught up with Marc to talk about his career to date.

Hi there Marc and welcome to Jedi News; how are you? 

Very good thank you.

Well, we may as well start at the beginning of your comic book history. Can you remember what was the first comic you can remember reading or owning? 

Possibly Playhour or Robin and I have a memory of being brought a stack of Yogi Bear and British Marvel comics when I was in hospital. Countdown was the first comic I got regularly and that fed my love of Dr Who & Gerry Anderson TV shows.

During your childhood, did you have a specific comic book hero?

Ka-Zar, Spider-Man and Lord Peter Flint code name: Warlord.

Was there a particular artist or writer that has influenced your own style?

There have been several! Howard Chaykin, Al Williamson, Alex Toth, Barry WindsorSmith, JH Williams, Chris Sprouse, Jori Lafebre, Alex Alice, Jeff Jones, Dave Gibbons, Chris Samnee, Jean Giraud, Adam Hughes, Terry Dodson Mathieu Lauffray, Frank Bellamy …I could do this all day and still miss out important influences.

Wow, that is a list of standout names. What was it that made you choose comics as your career or was it a by-product of other work that evolved?

I can’t remember a time when I haven’t loved comics & illustration. I think I was 8 or 9 when I decided that being a comic book artist was going to be my career.

What was your first big break into drawing comics?

My first published work was soon after I graduated art school in 1990, but my real break came in 2000 when I started working at Vertigo under the patronage of Shelly Bond and Karen Berger.  I got to work for a few years with one of my heroes Howard Chaykin on his series American Century a left leaning look at the history of America in the 1950s – it was so much fun!

Without revealing your age, I do believe that like myself, you would have been able to see Star Wars during its original release. What are your memories of seeing Star Wars for the first time?

I did indeed see it during its original release.

Living outside London we had to wait forever for it to go national and I can remember having to queue for hours on a cold Saturday in January with a large group of friends to see it. We had all read the comic book adaptation by then and bought the poster magazines etc, but the film still blew us all away. I spent a lot of pocket money seeing it again after that.

In recent years you have worked on many Star Wars projects for Marvel. Which character has been your favourite to work on so far?

To draw it would be a toss-up between Chewbacca, Rey and Boba Fett – I could draw them all day!

And if you could choose any Star Wars character to work on in the future, who would that be?

Any of the above! 

No pressure here for this one, but which has been your favourite franchise to work with?

I have worked on loads – Star Trek, Robotech, Splinter Cell, Marvel’s Super Heroes, James Bond and Robert E Howard’s characters – but it’s always a big thrill to work on Star Wars.

Is there someone in the business currently that you would like to work with that you haven’t previously?

Loads! Michael Moreci, Benjamin Percy, Grant Morrison, Rick Remender, Mark Millar and I would love to work with Greg Pak, Gabriel Hardman & Corrina Becko and James Robinson again.

I am an avid follower of you on social media and love the way you embrace it, especially Twitter. Sharing layouts, examples of pencil and inking progress gives us fans a great insight into your work. What type of feedback do you get?

It all seems to be very positive! I started sharing the process stuff as a way of marking my own daily progress and that started to get good feedback, so I continued. I now see it as a very useful way to promote and keep in the public eye the projects I’m working on.

We know you have embraced new technology for the creation of your artwork. How has this technology changed the way you work?

It makes any editorial changes less heart-breaking! It’s also allowed me to streamline my process. I don’t really do tight pencils anymore and go straight to inks from my layouts these days.

Has the change and investment in technology made you more productive or improved the quality of the artwork you produce?   

I’m not sure that it makes me more productive, but I can skip steps and I no longer have to factor in scanning and clean up into the job. 

Ok, now we’re going to change it up a bit with a few non-comics related questions. What makes Marc Laming tick away from the drawing board?

I love spending time with my fiancée and her family, seeing friends and doing the usual geeky things like reading books and comics, collecting records and when there is the time tabletop gaming.

It’s Saturday evening, you want to watch a movie but can’t find anything that you want to watch. Which movie would you pull out of the collection of your personal tried and tested favourites?

As much as I love sci fi I will often put on old British movies I have watched hundreds of times like Helldrivers, Night of The Demon, Robbery, The League of Gentlemen or Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of The Rings and the Harry Potter movies.

We know that you are a very busy man, but do you undertake commissions?

Normally I only do pre-show convention commissions to cover the cost of attending the shows. Folks think we get paid to be guests, but we have to cover everything from tables to hotels and flights.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share any details of with us?

Nothing I can tell you about at the moment. I am working on a creator owned book with Nate Cosby in down time, it’s so different from everything I’ve done before – I’m really excited about.

You ran a question past your Twitter followers recently about the production of a book featuring your layouts. Do you think we may see this on bookshelves in the future?

Not bookshelves because of copyright issues but possibly as a limited private printing that I may kickstart.

Will you be making any appearances at any events or conventions this year?

Just New York Comic-Con this year.

It’s been a pleasure speaking to you. Thank you from Team Jedi News for taking the time out from your busy schedule to talk to us. Keep up the excellent work!

Thanks!

The team here at Jedi News would like to extend their thanks to Marc for taking the time to talk to us and share his thoughts and career experiences with us.

You can follow Marc via his social media streams on Twitter and Instagram, or you can head over to his website for updates on pre-show commissions.

Steve Galloway
Steve was 5 years old when he saw Star Wars for the first time during its first UK cinema release. He considers himself a first generation Star Wars fan and in his own words is a ‘Child of 77’.