Liam Sharp was and is one of the most sought after comic artists in the business. After bursting on the scene by drawing the bestselling Marvel UK title of all time, Death Head II, he was back in America illustrating top line comics like Superman, Batman and Spiderman as well as special projects for people like Stan Winston. For anyone unfamiliar with his amazing work, his galleries can be found on deviantART. I recently got lost for an entire day perusing a single file of his Conan illustrations.
As incredible as his artistic prowess is,there is so much more.
- Death's Head 2 was the biggest ever UK produced comic to be sold in the US 500,000 Copies.
- Gears of War the biggest print run of any comic in the year that it was published and also designed the character “Jace” and the “Barrick” in the game itself.
- The second issue of Liam's Hulk run is the biggest selling issue of the Hulk of all time.
- A gifted and skilled artist at a very young age, Liam was the first first recipient of the Gifted Child Society scholarship which was the first of its kind.
- Accepted to Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford but decided to pursue a career in comics as an apprentice to Don Lawrence who his still now the only comic book artist to be knighted.
- Liam worked on the designs for the robot and cityscapes of Lost In Space while also designing a good portion of the gorgonites from Small Soldiers. He also worked on the design for Batman Beyond the animated show.
- Liam also worked on the ill fated Superman Lives film with Tim Burton directing and Nicolas Cage as The Man of Steel. Liam crafted concept designs for the robot costume and other aspects.
- Co-created the popular villian “PJ Maybe” in the Judge Dredd comic books.
- Liam co-created Spawn: The Dark Ages for Todd McFarlane.
- Spiderman-Clone Saga Artist.
- George Lucas was browsing deviantART and found Liam's page and his incredible artwork. He then commisioned a piece of art for new Star Wars Art: Visions and also acquired the original which now hangs at his Skywalker Ranch.
- Liam is co-founder and CCO of MadeFire Studios.
Several Liam Sharp illustrated motion comics are now available for viewing, including, Captain Stone, Mono and Metawhal Alpha. This new field of storytelling, a forerunner of things to come in our future, is delivering some truly great experiences in the Motion Books category.
As Sharp has written,
Comics are all about the imagination. It is a place where new myths are birthed, and the universe is without limits. How funny, then, that so many people who share this medium have so little vision when it comes to digital storytelling.
Liam’s latest Motion Book effort is a collaboration with his wife Christina McCormack, Captain Stone is Missing, about a fallen from grace superhero. This true artist has expressed a genuine joy in being able to add motion and sound to his creation, rather than complaining about a dilution of the purity of the artform. Art, like life, is a constant evolution and a remarkable few like Liam Sharp live their artistic lives in constant celebration of rebirth after rebirth.
Liam’s foray into the purely textual form, his novel, God Killers, was published in 2008, second editioned in 2009, and is still garnering critical acclaim as it is being discovered by the wider community of (non-comics-reading) sci-fi readership. Liam is buiding an episodic version for the Motion Books category on deviantART. Liam is a storyteller as well and loves writing as much as art. A storyteller no matter the tools in his hands.
Metawhal Alpha is yet another example of the very finest in new next level illustrated storytelling, the Motion Book.
Only veteran comics storyteller Liam Sharp would be able to pull off this horror tale that resonates equally of both Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, doing honor to the legacies of both.
The story is about a restaurant owner who one morning finds an immense dead something somehow occupying the fourth floor of his warehouse. As the tale progresses, the hideous gelatinous corpse disappears and reappears at intervals, and then begins evidencing signs of being eaten piece by piece by some other unknown creature. The protagonist’s unhappy neglected wife finds the truth on the web. The corpse is a dead Cthulhu-like god from the 17th dimension that has been chased down by a dimension-skipping shark-like monster called a “Metawhal.” The neglected wife's efforts to warn our hero about the danger he’s in are dismissed like everything else she contributes. In a feminist twist at the end, Kevin, having ignored his wife's pleas, is eaten by the returning Metawhal. The political jolt of the abused being witness to her oppressor’s megalomania-based demise is the sort of thing rarely encountered outside a Liam Sharp story. His tales may be filled with fantastical horror and gore but also with remarkable intellect and thoughtfulness.
How are artistic disputes settled with your co-creator of Captain Stone? A lot of spouses wouldn’t dare undertake such an imminently passion-infused project as story creation, fearing harm to their relationship. Are you guys miracles of ego-less cooperation or just naively walking into a bear trap?
Ha ha! It’s funny—we’ve been collaborating in so many ways for so long it never seemed like an issue! I met Christina at Marvel UK, where she worked in production. Chris has helped me in more ways than I can say, from reading all my text stories back to me—the whole of God Killers—to brain-storming concepts and working out basic plot points. She’s researched, edited and generally supported a ton of my solo projects, as well as generally organizing me – which I need! Working on Captain Stone is Missing… was actually a joy! We kept our roles very distinct. We plotted it together, created the concepts, then Chris did the research and I did the heads-down writing. We would then review it together, after which I went away a drew it!
What are your thoughts on the increasing ability of artists and even fans to collaborate on projects due to technological advances? Do you appreciate instant feedback and suggestions?
Everything is faster now, which means it’s easier to keep up your creative energy. The fact that writers, artists and editors can all be so connected instantly just makes for a more energetic exchange of ideas and certainly a more collaborative experience. The Madefire Motion Book Tool is perfect for that.
Of all the new arts technologies, what has been your single most utilized tool?
Photoshop. Hands down. But the madefire tool takes it all to a new level, one that allows you total control over your material, and an ability to keep editing even after publication – so you can tweak things that aren’t quite right, or even add a whole new chapter if you wish. It’s incredibly exciting!
What does a story have to have to make you want to illustrate it? And what are you sick to death of drawing over and over?
Intelligent, literate writing! And please—no more testosterone-fuelled mindless muscle-fests! I’ve realized a lot of people don’t see the irony. I’m very much NOT the person much of my art might suggest I am, so I’m always keen to show there’s thought and depth in my stories. Don’t get me wrong—a good slugfest can be fun, but give it a good reason to be there.
Make it matter.
“Loopy Dave draws just beautifully. He could create 100% photographic art if he chose, but he's better than that and instead brings charm, humour and cartoonish excess to his fantastically polished work. It's impossible to resist.” — Liam Sharp
“Jim Lee is not only a consummate professional, a living legend, and the creator of the biggest selling comic of all time, he's also an incredible artist. His early 90’s X-Men work is among my favourite comic art of all time—detailed, powerful, stylistic and charming all at once.”— Liam Sharp
“Ralph Niese creates retro wonder, somehow mixing Robert Crumb with Jack Kirby. I find his burgeoning, free-form creativity extremely appealing, and I love revisiting his deviantART page to see his latest brand of genius/madness in image form.”— Liam Sharp
“Clive Barker was a huge influence on my own writing—it's there very clearly in the Vile-Space chapter of my novel Godkillers. Wonderful, literate, visionary and groundbreaking. He made horror beautiful as his characters turned pain into rapture.”— Liam Sharp
“Dave Kendall is a dear friend and an exceptionally talented artist. Dave can always take a concept one step further, no matter how extreme, making him one of the most imaginative creators I've ever met.”— Liam Sharp
What questions do you have for Liam Sharp about the business of telling stories?