Original short interviews with notable, rising or overlooked
figures from comics or the larger entertainment field by Bill Baker.
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BAKER'S DOZEN for 02/25/2004
Monte Moore on his Bloodlines
While his name isn't necessarily familiar among comic aficionados [at least not yet] most folks with even a passing familiarity with the four color scene -- as well as those with even a glancing knowledge of the gaming, fantasy and "cheesecake" art scenes -- have, in all likelihood, seen a number of his renderings or paintings gracing the cover or ad of some product or other. Also, if you've wandered the aisles of San Diego, Pittsburgh, Dragon*Con or any number of other comics and fantasy shows held regularly, you've probably stopped and admired his paintings, prints and art books. That's because, quite simply, Monte Moore's work catches your eye, draws you in, and makes you want to see more.
And if the previews of his newest project, a graphic novella that's being published by Moonstone this April, is any indicator, there's going to be a lot of people wanting to see still more of his work.
Bill Baker: What's the basic idea behind Bloodlines, who are some of the primary characters, and what can you tell us about their world?
Monte Moore: Bloodlines takes place in a city that would be a cross between Gotham City, and say the cities from Blade Runner, and Cool World. Tall Curving structures that overshadow the seedy crummy denizens that generally dwell within. The basic premise is that this city has been overrun by a new strain of disease, spread through drug usage, which is spreading quickly, and almost always lethal. The city is on the brink of self-destruction, and the story centers around a vampiric assassin who is looking for the killer of her half-sister. There is a web of connection to the main 'heavy', and the Vampyrne, but I don't wasn't to give to much away. Needless to say, the bad guys have good intentions but horrific methods, and the good guys don't really wear white if you know what I mean.
BB: There's a lot of vampire tales out there at present. So, aside from the setting, what sets Bloodlines apart from those other books?
MM: Well, in this fully painted tale, Vampirism is only a very minor aspect really, and only concerns just a few characters. Plus, in this far future version of vampires, called Vampyrne, they have evolved quite a bit, and no longer run around drinking people's blood. They can however "connect" with their victims and actually suck the soul from the host. But really, they're not bad people ...
BB: From past conversations, I know that you've been nursing this particular story along for some time. Why did it take so long for Bloodlines to become what it is today, and what kinds of changes has it gone through over the intervening years?
MM: Originally written by friend and fellow artist Steve Oatney, the idea was to create a 20 or so page story for Heavy Metal back in 1994. The project took a long time to get fully done, since I was only painting on it in the evenings, and had never done a sequential art story before, start to finish. It wasn't completed until 1997, and even when it was done, Heavy Metal decided to pass on it's publication. Then it collected dust for nearly 7 years, until I showed it to Moonstone Publishing (Kolchak, The Phantom, Moonstone Monsters, etc.), and they decided to publish it as a one shot story. I knew I didn't want it to be published "as is", so I revisited every single panel in the story, and repainted, and touched up a lot of aspects of the art. It's a lot stronger now, and it feels really good to finally get it published after all the hundreds of hours of work in it.
BB: While it might come as a surprise to some who aren't familiar with your work, you've been quite active as an illustrator -- inside and outside of comics -- for quite a while. What are some of the other projects of note that you've worked on in the past ... and what new things do you have coming up?
MM: In comics, I'm really only known for a few fully painted, or pencil drawn covers per year. Mainly I'm known as a fantasy art illustrator, doing a lot of projects for gaming companies such as novel covers, gaming books, trading cards, and video game box art. Also, I have my fifth fantasy art and pin-up book coming out this year, as well as a new line of resin sculptures based on my work. As two time winner for Best Black and White Art at the 1998 and 2001 World Fantasy Art Shows, I've been lucky enough to work on a lot of great projects for fantastic clients such as Star Trek, Playboy and Microsoft.
BB: What's the underlying theme, the thread connecting all of your different endeavors, whether from the past, in the present or still to come?
MM: That's a tough one, I do a lot of things, although most surround fantasy, pin-up, sci-fi or comics in some way. I would have to say that 'diversity', and hopefully an improving quality level would be hallmarks of my work. I like when fans say something doesn't look like "mine", that means not all my work looks exactly the same. I think Bloodlines will surprise a lot of people, since it doesn't look just like anything else I have ever done.
BB: What do you get from making art, personally and professionally?
MM: The joy of creation is still the biggest thrill, seeing something your hands created. If I couldn't see to draw or paint, I think I would be a musician, that way I could still create something I could enjoy. Professionally, I enjoy exceeding my client's expectations, regardless of what the project's budget is.
BB: What do you want fans of your art to get from your work?
MM: I guess I hope it simply brings them joy, or inspiration maybe.
BB: How about the folks who grab Bloodlines?
MM: I hope Bloodlines exposes my artwork to fans who aren't familiar with my work, and for fans who have been collecting for years, something that's really different from my other products for them to add to their collection.
BB: Anything else you'd like to add?
MM: For folks that are interested, the best place to see Moore art, and to see all the weirdness that I am up to, is my website at www.mavarts.com. There they can see up-to-date news like how I am a sponsor for the Return of the King Oscar's night party, new artwork and sculptures, convention schedule, and funny pictures of me on motorcycles.
Bloodlines was offered in the February edition of Diamond Comics' Previews catalogue, on page 290 in the Moonstone section. To learn more about this or any of the many other projects that Monte Moore's got going, check out his lovely home on the web at www.mavarts.com. For updates on this and other Moonstone books, head on over to their website, www.moonstonebooks.com. Finally, if you'd like to check out the first or second volume of Monte Moore's Maidens, or any of the other beautiful art books published by SQP, jump into www.sqpinc.com.
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