To get to the top, you have to work your way up. Ethan Van Sciver has done just that in his way voyage to get to the top. After a long trip in the indies, Ethan hit the scene of DC Comics and then Marvel Comics. But he didn’t get just any title at Marvel, no he got one of their flagship titles, New X-Men; the very title from the 60s. To come from the indies to work on the X-Men, that must mean you HAVE to be the best.
BEFORE THEY WERE STARS: ETHAN VAN SCIVER
Tom Toner: Anything you want to say before we begin Ethan?
Ethan Van Sciver: Just that I've been waiting for this chance to be heard. It's not easy knowing what I know, and having no outlet to express it. It's been a terrible, terrible burden. And I can only hope that our love survives the trauma of the revelations that follow.
TT: Out of nowhere I find out you were penning an issue of Wolverine. Thoughts on how that happened?
EVS: Out of NOWHERE? I snuck up on you, and for that, I'm sorry. It wasn't fair.
TT: Heh. I mean I didn’t really think you’d be doing Wolverine. Just news of that really came out of nowhere…ok that didn’t seem to change what I just asked did it.
EVS: The now mythical and perhaps imaginary Jean Grey Icons miniseries was in the process of being arranged. It was tossed between a few different writers, and nothing came of it. In the meantime, I had to do SOMETHING. So I did an issue of Wolverine. Just to kill time.
TT: Would that work as a reason for Weapon X: Wildchild?
EVS: Weapon X: Wildchild was the first time-filler project I took after New X-Men, even though it was released after Wolverine. I took it because it didn't seem like something I would normally do.
TT: And talking about WX: WC, I noticed that the writer you worked with is Matt Nixon, the same guy from that issue of Wolverine. Any thing you wanna share there?
EVS: Matt Nixon wrote both Weapon X: Wildchild and Wolverine #179. He was a new writer with Mike Marts (the editor) and they were giving him lots of work. So they had two scripts from him that needed drawing.
TT: Ethan, why do comics?
EVS: This question, following the mention of my issue of Wolverine. I don't know how to take that, Tom. Should I be hurt? Vengeful? Should I overturn the table and march out of the restaurant?
TT: As long as your pay your end, go for it. Heh, but seriously what I meant by that is why of all things do comics? Its not everyday someone says ‘I’m gonna do comics as a job’ ya know.
EVS: I'll swallow it and be graceful.
Sometimes I don't know why I do comics, because it sure as hell isn't for the money. I'm too slow in producing pages and books for it to ever be a career that could make me rich. It pays the bill, often barely, and causes me no end of stress. But I think I do it because I can't stop. I'm not finished yet. There are things that I want to draw, and stories that I want to help tell. I love the fact that I'm entertaining people around the world from my apartment. And I love collaborating with brilliant people.
TT: If not comics, then what would you be doing right now?
EVS: I have thoughts about becoming an archaeologist and performing devious and unnatural acts on the desecrated mummies of kings and pharaohs from millennia past. Either that or a juggler.
TT: You can juggle?
EVS: No, but I can’t necessarily archeaologize either. You learn these skills as they become relevant, Tom.
TT: Tis true. But anyway, back to the question.
EVS: Probably I'd work in another field of art, like animation, though.
TT: Animation you say? What out there right now would you be interested in working on?
EVS: Absolutely nothing, I despise animated films. I would work on them for the money, period.
TT: Just for the money? I hear they don’t pay much, not to mention that you don’t get to do it in your own style.
EVS: Which is why I currently don't work on them, and work in comics, which is more creatively fulfilling. I seem to choose the opportunity to be creative before the opportunity to make lots of money every time. I'm a sap.
TT: How did you get signed on to do New X-Men?
EVS: I asked for something to do at Marvel at a time when it was being discussed about who should do fill-ins for Frank Quitely. I looked like a good idea at the time. Little did they know. But it was great luck for me, and I did as much as I could with it!
TT: I’m not all that familiar with DC so you'll have to excuse my ignorance on this topic, but what from DC (besides Impulse because I know you did Impulse) have you worked on?
EVS: Mostly Impulse. I also did a Justice League one off, and Flash: Iron Heights, which was a nice graphic novel with Geoff Johns.
TT: How did you land work at DC? How at Marvel?
EVS: Working on my own independent book for 3 or 4 years really helped. I had more than a dozen comics that I wrote, penciled and inked in publication, and walking into DC comics with that in your hands is a good thing. DC gave me a short story about Impulse, then a fill in on Impulse, and then the whole book. It's true that you have to start at the bottom, which is often the indies. From there, you can find your way to some smaller books at DC or Marvel, and then work your way to better and better projects. It's a process and it takes time and effort.
TT: Do you have any role models in the biz?
EVS: No, not especially. I like Brian Bolland a lot, but I've never met him. And I would really know what to ask him if I did. I respect Bernie Wrightson a lot, and have met and spoken with him several times.
TT: Ever meet Bernie before?
EVS: I sat at a table and had drinks with him once too. He's a living legend.
TT: If not comics, what would you be doing right now?
TT: Sleeping? Oh how I’d be envious of you.
TT: Anything you working on right now you want/allowed to spoil us with?
EVS: I'm working on a new series of graphic novels at DC, and perhaps Flash: Iron Heights 2 in the very near future, with Geoff Johns.
TT: Well Ethan, thanks for doing this. Any final words you want to say before we part ways?
EVS: No, I’d better stay quiet. Thank you.
TT: Be sure to keep an eye out for the further work of Ethan Van Sciver. Do yourself a favor and go out and find a book he’s done.