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October 15, 2011 / milesandhisfavorites

The Occasional Interview: Amy Mebberson

Time for an interview!  I might make this a regular feature, if I can get ahold of more people to interview.  If you like Boom! Kids, you might have seen Amy Mebberson’s work from Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, or the many covers and pages of totally awesomeMuppet art she’s done.  Or you might remember her from my Comic Con narrative.  Either way, she’s a great artist.  I decided to email her some questions, and here they are.

  1. I heard that you would like do more work on Archaia’s Fraggle Rock series.  What character would you like most to draw, and why?
  2. Here’s a question that has divided Muppet fans for decades (there were several wars started over it)-do you prefer The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth?
  3. Now that Roger Langridge has hung up his MSCB coat, any chance that you’ll be returning for another guest stint?
  4. When you were illustrating Muppet Sherlock Holmes, what did you have the most fun drawing?
  5. A secret source (okay, it was Toughpigs) told me that you had a hand in the creation of the Hippen Grovees for Muppet Peter Pan.  Where did you get the idea to make the Electric Mayhem a hippie tribe?
  6. I hear you’re a “rabid Pixar fan”.  Any personal favorites?
  7. How did you get your start as a Boom! Kids illustrator?
  8. What artists (besides James Silvani) do you look up to?
And here are the replies:
1. Of all the Fraggles, I think I like Red the best. I like how she’s a plucky little go-getter who sometimes goes a bit too fast for her friends to keep up, and i’m like that sometimes 🙂
Plus, I got to meet Karen Prell in Seattle last year and she was lovely so it’d be very cool to draw her Fraggle.
2. haha! for me, DEFINITELY Labyrinth. It was one of THE two movies I loved the most growing up (the other was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). I was 13 when Labyrinth came out and I certainly identified with Sarah, the girl who’d rather live in a fantasy world than realize she’s growing up and decide what’s really worth fighting for. The songs were wonderful and hey, Jareth was a very 80’s handsome prince.
3. I would LOVE to draw more Muppet Show comics, but right now, nothing has been decided on when the comic will start up again. But if it does, I will certainly be front of the time waving my hand going ‘ooh! MEMEMEME! Pick me!’
4. I think in Sherlock Holmes, I loved drawing the costumes. I love the history of fashion and for Holmes I got to draw the Muppets in handsome suits, dapper hats and Piggy in her fabulous gowns. I also discovered that putting facial hair on a muppet immediately makes them 200% funnier. I think Kermit should keep the mustache.
5. Well, with the Peter Pan story, the role of the Red Indians on Neverland is a bit of a touchy subject today, so we couldn’t really put Muppet natives in there because that risks being offensive. So I figured the band would be a perfect substitute. Instead of an Indian village, it’s a Woodstock-type camp of music-loving hippies. The hippies used a lot of native and tribal influences in their culture and the name Hippen Groovee is just a silly name pun.
6. Ask any Pixar fan which is their favorite and 99% of the time, they’ll say they can’t decide.
If I had to pick a top FIVE, it’d be Toy Story 3, Up!, Ratatouille, Monsters Inc. And Cars.
7. I started at Boom! when an editor I knew from Tokyopop told me boom had a license for new Pixar and Muppet comics. The editor working on the comics was ANOTHER one I knew from Tokyopop so I emailed him and insisted I try out for them. I had to draw some model sheets and a page of comic panels to show Disney I could draw the characters well and I got approved for Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo. Muppets came a little later after I was asked to draw some limited edition covers for The Muppet Show. That was kind of my ‘audition’ for the Muppet stuff and from there I started on Muppet Peter Pan.
8. Hahahahaha! James is my partner-in-crime in comics, so we cheerlead each other’s work a lot. But I have many many artists past and present whose work I absolutely worship. Chris Sanders(Lilo and Stitch), Mary Blair, Charles Schulz, Chuck Jones, Michael Frith, Arthur Rackham, all kinds.
(I don’t know if you’ve seen my Influence Map, which shows a lot of the kinds of art that inspire me.
So, there you have it!  My entire email interview with one of my favorite comic book artists, Amy Mebberson!  Find her at this blog.  Amy also draws Doctor Who/Muppet suff and Disney pinup art.  Yes, even Edna Mode.  It’s really hard to draw a pinup Edna Mode, but she does it anyway.
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