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In 2011, CBR executive producer Jonah Weiland spoke with Good Charlotte guitarist and comic book artist Billy Martin about his upcoming IDW series “Vitriol the Impaler” and his experience balancing the life or a music star and a comic book artist. Check out the interview highlights below.
On his experience as a comic book creator: Honestly, I’ve never drawn a comic book. It’s been a dream of mine forever and IDW was nice enough to give me the opportunity. I sat down to do it and realized it was a lot more work than I thought, but it’s okay. I love it. It takes me a lot longer to draw the issues. I’ve almost finished the third issue. We’re going to do six issues altogether and IDW said, “It’s better to have a monthly book. Let’s get the majority of the books done and we’ll put it out.” I’m just plugging away. … It’s a slow process and it makes me realize how amazing those guys are that can get multiple monthly books out at a time.
On reading comics as a kid: The first thing I loved was “The Punisher.” That was really big for me — like, early ’90s, I was probably ten or eleven. When Image first came out, I got “Spawn” and as soon as I saw Todd McFarlane’s artwork, I was obsessed. I loved “Shadowhawk” and “Youngblood” and “WildC.A.T.S.” and all the Image things. I was really into that. I’ve always been into Batman, Spider-Man, but the whole Image stuff was really big for me.
On personally running his own web store: The older you get, there’s no need for me to feel important. I’ve got lots of other friends who are artists and most of those guys, they do everything themselves. They run their own web store, they answer their own emails, they do their own shipping — there’s no other choice. I thought, you know what? I’d really love to see myself as an old man still getting to draw comics. I want to do what everybody else does. I have my own webstore, I run my own stuff. I’ll have friends help me once in a while, but for the most part, somebody buys something, I pack it, I go to the store and I ship it. It just feels right.
Comparing the thrill of drawing comics to live performance: It’s really different. I was drawing the other day in the dressing room and one of the other guys in the band was — I wasn’t drawing my comic, I was just randomly sketching. He said, “Are you practicing or something?” and I was like, “Yeah.” He asked, “Is that fun?” Yeah! … I could do it all day long. It’s one of those things where I’m drawing but my mind is probably somewhere else. The hand is still moving, but it’s sort of — without getting too artsy — it’s pretty therapeutic, just letting things grind through your memory while you’re there drawing. It’s good. It’s way different than getting on stage with a bunch of people, but I have these days where I realize I’m so lucky to draw and to play music because I love both.