Justin Tucker, Wed, 01 May 2013 05:00:00 GMT
Back in 1995, the sci-fi film Tank Girl starring Lori Petty opened to almost no fanfare. It was ravaged by critics and flopped at the box office. Since its release, the film has gained cult following and has exposed the British comic book it’s based upon to new audiences.
The comic first appeared in 1988 and was created by writer Alan Martin and artist Jamie Hewlett. Hewlett would eventually leave his drawing duties on the Tank Girl comics and start the the band Gorillaz with Blur frontman Damon Albarn.
Since his departure, many other artists have drawn Tank Girl over the years. In the most recent incarnation of the iconic character, St. Louis native Jim Mahfood served as the artist. Mahfood, who also does work under the Food One moniker, broke into the industry at a young age, having drawn for both Marvel and DC as well as art for corporate clients.
This Friday and Saturday, Mahfood will appear at the Tiivoli’s screening of Tank Girl as part of the theater’s Reel Late midnight movie series. Recently, I was able to corresponded with the accomplished artist about his work on the eve of his return to St. Louis.
insideSTL: Tell us about your experience growing up in the St. Louis area and how it has shaped your work?
Jim Mahfood: I discovered comics at an early age and used to go to Bob’s Comics in Kirkwood and the Kolping House conventions. It was all fun. Then I met artist Lorenzo Lizana and started working with him and Art Line Studios when I was fifteen. So, there was a community here that I was able to become a part of. I was always thankful for that.
You went from attending the Kansas City Art Institute, one of the leading art schools in the nation, to drawing your own books to doing work for Marvel in just a few short years. Tell us about breaking into the comic book industry.
Yeah, I got lucky and scored a gig with Marvel Comics the second semester of my senior year of college. I had been self-publishing my own work up until that point and it eventually paid off. The Marvel gig was this book called the Generation X Underground Special. While I was working on it I met Kevin Smith and the Oni Press guys and got the job drawing Kevin’s first Clerks comic book. That was all in 1997. I’ve been making a living off my art since then.
Describe working with Smith.
Kevin is an awesome guys a real pleasure to work with. He and his whole View Askew Crew were always great to me and the scripts he wrote were a blast to draw.
How did you get involved with illustrating Tank Girl? What do you feel you have done to leave your own mark on the character?
I became friends with Tank Girl co-creator/writer Alan Martin on Facebook and he immediately asked me to draw the new Tank Girl book. It was the easiest job I ever scored. I left my own mark on the book with my art style, the Visual Funk style, I like to call it. I had fun and did my own thing, added my own background gags and jokes and Alan was totally cool with it.
You’ve done artwork for X-Men, Spider-man and Batman among others. Are there any other characters you would love to draw?
Batman and Spidey will always be my favorite. But I would love to take a crack at some Jack Kirby stuff like the New Gods or OMAC.
Are there any comic book characters you feel are deserving of a big-screen adaptation?
Yes. My character, Carl The Cat That Makes Peanut Butter Sandwiches.
When visiting St. Louis, is there a local comic book shop you like to haunt?
Yes. Star Clipper, the Fantasy Shop, and Comic Headquarters.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
People can check out all my work and stuff at www.jimmahfood.com and there are link on that site to my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Fun!
Jim Mahfood will appear in person May 3rd and 4th at midnight at the Tivoli. Tickets are $8.
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