Earlier today I was in the midst of a Twitter conversation that brought up our earliest comic book influences.
Every artist, and writer, has their influences. Not all of us will agree as to who the greatest or the worst, the most dynamic, narrative, or the worst is. But we all know who influences us.
For me, it goes nearly to the very beginning of reading comics. I had already read through a digest reprint of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #100 (written by Len Wein, another important influence to me), which introduced me to the world of the DC Universe that wasn't the SUPER FRIENDS of Saturday Morning Cartoons.
Here was not only the Justice League of America, but also another team that called themselves the Justice Society of America. As a little kid, all I knew was that these were alternate takes on what I thought were well-established characters.
Over the next few months I would beginning to pick up other comic books. One comic was THE NEW TEEN TITANS by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. The second was an issue of ALL STAR SQUADRON written by Roy Thomas and among many artists was Jerry Ordway.
These two books would truly build my view of the DC Universe. The Teen Titans very 'science fiction' based modern stories with highly detailed artwork, while All Star Squadron showed heroes in the midst of World War II and had heroes with magic based powers.
For a while I believe that Earth 1 took place in the modern day, and Earth 2 in the 1940s, so that even when they did a cross over story they were coming from two different points in time. I soon learned that wasn't true.
Anyway, back to my influences.
For writing, I couldn't have picked any better writers to follow than Marv Wolfman and Roy Thomas. Yes, I'll hear people mention who they believe are better with more complexity to their writing, but for me these two men were the foundational influence to me that everything grew from.
Where Wolfman knew who to emotionally grab me in one story and then tell great actions sequences in the next, Thomas knew how to handle dozens of characters sometimes at once. Thomas also knows everything about what I was learning to call the 'Golden Age' of comics, and spent time in every issue telling something about it all.
Because of Roy Thomas and the All-Star Squadron, I quickly became infatuated by Golden Age, and I saw out reprint books of the original stories (there was no way I could afford the originals, but I found the stories I wanted).
As with most young comic readers I soon began to create my own characters. But I didn't want to create them in my modern world. I didn't fit in a New York that I saw through George Perez's detailed art. I created my characters influenced by Jerry Ordway that I felt had a more 'realistic' style. His faces were and are great.
(Imagine my thrill later when Ordway was hired to ink Perez's work on CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTH. The two were so perfect together.)
(SIDE NOTE: I would also discover in the back issue bings the John Byrne issues of FANTASIC FOUR, and I bought as many as I could afford over several years of collecting. The greats of these were those where Byrne's art was inked over by Jerry Ordway.)
So I'm creating my own characters, refining them, turning them into something more than just sketches on a page. I gave them names, and origins, not just the basic how they got power origins, but why and who the characters are with out powers.)
I was looking towards Roy Thomas and his interpretation of the Golden Age, that I began to emulate.
Three characters that I developed the furthest were The Torchlight, Speedstar, and a heroine I called FLYING GLORY.
I have written stories about all these characters, and as you all know, I took FLYING GLORY the furthest.
I've told the story already as how publishers were interested in a FLYING GLORY comic, one really liked the story that I told, but eventually it became clear that I couldn't sells a Golden Age story when I was pitching it.
So with the help of Shannon Muir I updated the Flying Glory character, made her the granddaughter of the original and gave her a group of friends that supported her. THE HOUNDS OF GLORY.
Our webcomic FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary of being online. Everything that I put into a script I owe to Marv Wolfman and Roy Thomas, and each panel of my art is so greatly influenced by Jerry Orway and George Perez (though I'll never be able to draw hi details and crowd scenes).
Thank you Mr. Ordway, Mr. Perez, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Wolfman for you have made me the comic book professional that I am today.
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity