Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Steven Cumming: "Cute that Kicks Butt"

Steven Cumming's resume includes artwork on such varied titles as Knights of the Dinner Table, Green Lantern, Deadshot, The Darkness, Star TrekFlash, Pantheon High, and Skullkickers. But I'm biased. I think his specialty is cute that kicks butt. Trust me. If your protagonist needs to be adorable with a dangerous side, Steven's your artist.

I first met him through a mutual friend named after a shelled oval that basically comes out of a chicken's butt. I really did. But I liked him anyway. (And Egg too.) But I fell in love with his art. Trust me again.

Now it's your turn to get to know him, because, well, I'm magnanimous like that. 

Steve and Devin's newest book.
Tell us a bit about your latest work.

I just finished up a second graphic novel adaptation of the hit YA series Uglies, written by Scott Westerfeld. The adaptation was scripted out by Devin Grayson and is being published through their imprint Del-Rey Spectra. It was a fun, if long, project and I think both books together weighted in at 335 pages including covers and maps. The story was about a very dystopian future where everyone undergoes radical plastic surgery upon reaching the age of 16 to eliminate any differences that might cause unrest. We follow as our main character a young girl named Shay who is a side character in the original novels. This gives the readers the chance to see her side of the story while we broaden the world a bit. 

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

Personally I tend to look at ideas of what comes after the perfect (or utopian) future. I also love history and working ideas around the events and figures of our country. And of course sci-fi has a spot in my heart.

What would be your dream project?

Zombie slayers can be cute too.
Anything with a publisher here in Japan. The amount of freedom the creators get here is incredible. It is something I really want to be able to do myself one day.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

I would love the chance to redo Pantheon High. Pantheon High was an original creator owned graphic novel series I did with my buddy Paul Benjamin for Tokyopop. There were some limitations placed on us by Tokyopop at the time that I would love to go back and remove. There also some parts that we weren't able to include into the story due to the book structure and lengths that I would enjoy getting to add back in to see how the story would change and evolve. Also, I don't suck as much as an artist as I did back then, so it would really nice to draw it up all awesome and whatnot.

What inspires you to write?

Life. The things and people I see. Too much free time is bound to start me thinking about stories.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Cover to Skullkickers #7
The Japanese Manga artist Morita Masanori was a huge influence on me with his work Rookies. Also, from an art angle Norman Rockwell was a giant in my eyes.

Where would you rank creating on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

Right in the middle. It requires a little of both to come out right.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

My current project is a reworking of the old video game classic Dragon Spirits for the Bandai online initiative Shift Look. The writing on this is being handled by Jim Zub, the clever writer on Skullkickers and the Pathfinder miniseries.

For more information about Steven and his work, please visit him online at http://stekichikun.deviantart.com/