Growing up on the streets of Harlem, who would have thought that young Jamal Igle would turn into the artistic genius that we know and love today? From drawling comics to working high executive work, Jamal has done it all and each time asked, “What’s next?” Not as well known as his associates, he has a unique style of his own that sets him apart from the rest.
BEFORE THEY WERE STARS: JAMAL IGLE
Tom Toner: Thanks for doing this Jamal. Got anything you want to say before we begin?
Jamal Igle: I would like to apologize in advance for any of the comments I make in this interview, Including the ACLU, MENSA, Warsies, Trekkies, Ethan Van Sciver, wrestling fans, Malcolm Forbes, Professor Steven Hawking and Anyone who ever dressed up like Harry Potter for the movie. I'd like to especially apologize to Miss Norma Fishbein of Louisville... I didn't know your daughter was a virgin, I just thought she was shy.
TT: How did it feel to do The New Warriors?
JI: A little overwhelming and frustrating at the same time. It was my first monthly and I sort of jumped into it with both feet and hit the ground running. The book was already months behind schedule and I literally started drawing issue seven as soon as I got the script. It was fun to work with Jay but we were really neutered by the fact that the book was being cancelled. This was on top of the fact that some Marvel crossover with a similar concept nixed the storyline we wanted to do.
Personally it was difficult because I was living in Los Angeles at the time with no contact with anyone from Marvel. I didn't even meet Bobbie Chase, my editor until San Diego the following year. As an artist you like feedback and I always felt like they were holding back.
TT: How did the Iron Fist/Wolverine come about?
JI: It was already being planned before I even got on New Warriors. Jay Faeber and Brian Smith had come up with the Idea of Junzo Muto, the new Iron Fist, as an idea for a villain based miniseries. They then pitched the idea as an Iron fist miniseries, But Marvel's marketing” Geniuses" said that an Iron Fist Mini wouldn't sell. It was decided that we could use Wolverine and then Jay had the arduous task of rewriting his pitch to not only include Wolverine but Captain America, Psylocke, Luke Cage, Sunfire, The Hand, The Yakiba, Kingpin, Iron Man, The city of Tokyo, and 5 Mystic Dragons.
TT: And you got put onto the book.
JI: It just happened that New Warriors was wrapping up as this was getting started so I just jumped over and did it. It's probably one of the more complicated projects I've tackled. It’s actually sworn me off of team books for a long time.
TT: What did it feel like to get a citation from the Massachusetts chamber of commerce?
JI: It was an honor and a surprise. It was awarded to the members of a touring art exhibit called The Next Step that was put together by Nightwing Inker Rob Stull. I actually didn't know about until I went to Boston to see the exhibit and they gave it to me.
TT: What can you tell us about Unstoppable Productions?
JI: Unfortunately, Unstoppable doesn't exist anymore but we used to be a production house. We did comics for Scholastic, Dreamsith Studios and used it as a publishing house for our Role Playing game Stuperpowers as well as the Sci-Fi miniseries Tranquility.
TT: As well as your work on Airwave Comics and Creations/Jaded Studios or Machineworks Art & Design?
JI: Airwave and Jaded are actually parts of the same company. I'm a freelance creative director, which means I consult on their books in an editorial capacity. I'm also developing a project with them. Machine Works A&D is the company that I do my non- comics work, such as storyboards and illustration for magazines and books.
TT: I hear Flashpoint is the first book you ever worked on. How did it feel to finally get a comic book to do?
JI: That name brings back baaaaaad memories. It was my first job in the industry and I was making an obscene amount of money. I had no experience and it was taking me a week to do a page. After the book and the entire company got cancelled all of that work I did just, disappeared. I don't know what happened to it. But there's apart of me that am glad it did because that work was horrible.
TT: On that subject why, Why comics?
JI: Because drawing comics is consistently a challenge for me. There's a rush I get from seeing my work in print, I never get over it. So I think the mix of creative problem solving, the jazz of having stuff in print just loving the idea of drawing superheroes makes it for me.
TT: According to the Official Jamal Igle fan club website, http://jamaligle.freeservers.com/, they call you "An artistic prodigy". What do you think about this? Do you consider yourself that?
JI: I'm actually pretty stupid.
TT: Excuse me?
JI: Dim as a low watt bulb, anyone who knows me will tell you that. I think it may have been true when I was a kid. I was torn by all the things that I was doing as far as performing vs. drawing. Drawing won out.
TT: If you never got into comic books, what WOULD you be doing now?
JI: I'd probably be on the E! True Hollywood Story talking about how I got screwed by the BUSINESS, my manager and by the ACLU, MENSA, Warsies, Trekkies, Ethan Van Sciver, wrestling fans, Malcolm Forbes, Professor Steven Hawking and Anyone who ever dressed up like Harry Potter for the movie.
TT: Anything you working on you want to spoil us with?
JI: I can't give details but Jay Faeber and I will have a new monthly for a major company coming out next year.
TT: Thanks for doing this Jamal. Got any final words?
JI: I'd like to thank the academy for this honor and I hope I passed the audition.