Here's Part 2 of the interview I conducted with author/illustrator extraordinaire Mark Schultz regarding his career, influences, and future projects. Once again, thanks to both Mark and Palaeoblog creator, Dr. Michael Ryan for making this possible.
Mark, thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions. We discussed your early career in Part 1 (at this link) and moved on to past/current projects, so let's continue there.
Q: Are there any projects that you’d change if you could or do you consider past experiences as learning and move on?
Schultz: I look at everything I’ve done as a learning experience. There are some projects I’ve done that I’m not particularly proud of, but I learned, and I think improved, from all of them.
Q: Because we can’t be working all the time, what do you do to unwind when you’re not creating heroes and monsters?
Schultz: Hike—for exercise as well as to refocus my mind and eyes. Read. Watch movies—preferably B&W classics that are generally ignored today.
Howard Hawks' 1951 sci-fi masterpiece. A fave of both Mark and myself. © Turner Home Entertainment.
Q: Is there something you do to refresh your creative spirit and get back into drawing or writing mode again?
Schultz: Hike. Travel. Visit the ocean.
Q: You recently took a trip to Spain where some of your work was exhibited. How was your trip and did you find European’s reactions to your work to be different from North Americans?
Schultz: Generally speaking, Europeans don’t seem to draw as definitive a line between the fine arts and the commercial arts as we do in North America. They are much more open to the notion that comics can be a legitimate form of expression. The Spanish people, at least, seemed to me to be much more knowledgeable about art in general—they consider an appreciation of the arts to be part of their every day existence.
Let’s move on to future projects.
Q: Do you plan on returning to Xenozoic Tales? Are there any plans for another animated series or feature film? How about a DVD box set of the animated series?
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. © 1993 Mark Schultz and Nelvana Limited. Images from here.
Schultz: There is nothing I want more then to get back to producing new issues of Xenozoic Tales. It is just a matter of finding a way of financing the process of getting it started again. My glacial slowness makes things difficult. I'm hoping to build a savings reservoir that could give me the time to devote to getting the series up and running again. Specifically, I have a four issue arc in mind that would complete the storyline I left hanging, but would also stand on its own, and would be collected as a trade paperback. At this time there are no current plans for XT projects in other media.
Q: In addition to Xenozoic Tales, what property that you’ve been involved with in the past, would you like to return to and in what capacity?
Cover art for SubHuman Issue #1 © Mark Schultz.
Schultz: I’d love to see SubHuman up and running. We really didn’t get a chance to get our sea legs under us with the initial Dark Horse mini-series. Both Michael and I have lots of stories Krill Stromer Family stories we’d like to tell, and hopefully someday we’ll have the chance. Beyond that, I have tons of other projects percolating away that are just waiting for the right opportunity to come to a boil.
Q: Who would you most like to work with that you haven’t yet had a chance to and who would you like to work with again?
Schultz: I’m pretty happy working mostly by myself, or with my already established cohorts.
Mark Schultz's studio. Note the otherworldly visitors! Photos courtesy of Dr. Michael Ryan.
Q: What properties would you like to work on that you haven’t yet?
Schultz: I’d love a chance to illustrate Edgar Rice Burroughs, and more Robert E. Howard. Right now, a couple of years after I stopped writing Superman, I’m finally getting a chance to illustrate a Superman cover! I’m psyched!
Action Comics #836. Artwork by Mark Schultz. © DC Comics.
Q: What are you working on now and what projects have you got in the pipeline?
Schultz: I continue to write the Sunday comic strip Prince Valiant, which is beautifully illustrated by Gary Gianni. I’m working on Vol. 2 of my Various Drawings art book series, doing lots of commissions in connection with generating work for that, and picking up comic cover and illustration work here and there. It all continues to go well, I will be generating a series of books for Flesk Publications, the publisher of Various Drawings.
Mark Schultz: Various Drawings Volumes 1 and 2. © Mark Schultz and Flesk Publications.
Q: Since Xenozoic Tales features dinosaurs, I can’t forget to ask if you have a favorite one?
Schultz: Of course, Tyrannosaurus rex is an icon that would probably be my all-time number one, but the coelacanth, with its great survivor’s story, is a sentimental favorite. I love drawing both of them.
Thanks again Mark for your time and letting all of us take a peak inside your creative mind. Please keep us up to date on your new projects and we wish you the best of luck with all of them!
Schultz: My pleasure. And thanks to all the readers for the support!
Stay tuned for a possible update from Mark on even more recent projects and topics we might have forgot in our first 2 parts!
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund art for sky*dog comics. © Mark Schultz and the CBLDF.