(from Michael Fiffe's Blog, 28 November 2011)
...I recently got the chance to collaborate with one of my childhood comics heroes, Mike Allred, creator of Madman. I did a pencil drawing, Mike inked it and his wife Laura colored it! As if that wasn’t cool enough, the piece was slated to go into the Madman 20th Anniversary Monster (in stores mid-December).
The pin up was to depict a large cast of creator owned characters, all in celebration of the medium’s independent spirit. The idea originally sprung from Allred and Dean Haspiel (who vouched for me and my
masochistic streak love of drawing crowd scenes). The piece would have an accompanying essay written by Adam McGovern,
so all four of us began thinking up a master list of potential
characters to feature. It started at 20 or so, then easily over 40. I
held off on drawing anything until a definitive list was hammered out.
I had started with the basic information: a big ass party. It wasn’t to be a group action shot, but a bunch of folks hanging out instead. I made sure to draw the room in proportion to the space needed for the growing list of characters (70 at that point). I wanted to channel Yves Chaland in a way, but my main source of inspiration was Joost Swarte...
The ultimate list of characters still had to be finalized. Between the four of us, a lot of characters were added, cut, suggested, added again, and dug up until that master list was actually completed. It ended up being a head count of over a hundred. All I had to do was make them coexist on a single page. I wanted to convey every character’s personality at least in the smallest way. I had to reduce each one to a single, tiny movement. A bunch of little stories going on at once. I penciled as cleanly as possible and sent it off to Mike and Laura to complete it.
I still couldn’t believe Mike Allred was gonna ink this...
...Imagine my surprise when this came in. I was floored when I saw it. Leave it to Mike to take my cluttered mess and make it sing. He even added a few heads here and there. Given the sheer amount of creator owned characters, this single snapshot feels like we barely touched the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other great characters that weren’t squeezed in that I’m compelled to draw the other half of the room. Hmmm...