Interview: Kurt Belcher
Kurt Belcher was the first comic book artist I ever worked with. I can't even remember how we meet at this point. I was 16 or 17 and I hired him to illustrate a story called "The Great Day" and I was super annoying about it. Not as in I didn't pay him, but I would be like send progress photos of everything you do haha. He gave me the first high of seeing one of my creations exist. I ended up hiring him for more shorts for my first collection of comics called The Trail Run along side another lifelong collaborator Scott Twells (The Adventures of Punk and Rock). I gave him some not amazingly written scripts and he made me look good. I'm glad to have become friends with him and check out all of the work he has done. The dudes storytelling is unmatched.
How did you get into comics as a reader?
My older brother was a big comic reader before me, mostly Marvel. So when he read them, he'd hand them down to me. He got pissed at me, because I liked to cut out the characters and use them as paper dolls. :)
What made you want to start drawing them?
Being able to draw and loving comics from a young age, I knew that was all I wanted to do.
I know you've been "around the block" a few times as far as making indie comics, but for someone who may not know you what are some comics you have worked on/are known for?
The books I'm probably best-known for, if I'm known at all - which is probably a serious stretch - are the war GN I wrote and drew at Caliber, WINTER WAR, the fantasy adventure I drew for writer Tom Pinchuk and Arcana Comics, UNIMAGINABLE, and the horror GN I drew for writer David C. Hayes and Source Point Press, ROTTENTAIL, which is about to get a theatrical film adaptation!
A comic you illustrated has been made into a movie can you tell us a little about that?
Damn, I just pimped it without reading the next question first. :D ROTTENTAIL is written by David C. Hayes, about fertility researcher Peter Cotton who is bitten by one of his test subjects and transforms into a human/mutant hybrid monster called - you guessed it! - Rottentail! David and Source Point Press have a lot of contacts in the indie film industry, and got in touch with director Brian Skiba about turning the book into a movie. The rest - including the casting of the legendary Corin Nemec as Peter/Rottentail - is history, as they say. Really can't wait for it to come out and see peoples' reaction!
What projects are you currently working on?
In April, the violent superhero epic I wrote with Belgian artist Rob Croonenborghs, THE WORLD FRONT, will have a digital release from Action Lab Entertainment. Really excited for people to see that. I think it's loads of good, bloody fun. I wrote two stories (with artists Etienne Derepentigny and Randy Haldeman) and drew two more (with writers Joe Corallo and Kyle J. Kaczmarczyk) for ALWAYS PUNCH NAZIS from Pilot Studios, which will Kickstart and be released later in the year. I wrote "The Cats of Venallore", a short story with artist Rahil Mohsin for THE DARK REACHES Vol. 2, which releases later in 2019. I'm currently drawing DIAL P FOR PEANUTS, a comic strip murder mystery, also with writer David C. Hayes. I'm also working on books and short stories with writers CW Cooke, Jeff McClelland, Silas Dixon, Jay Huwer, and Kevin Johnson.
Besides penciling comics you also write them which do you enjoy more? Do you think doing both has made you a better creator?
I think I enjoy writing more at this point. I love drawing comics, but writing presents a totally different set of challenges. Creating stuff from scratch out of your head is different from interpreting those things after someone else has thunk them up. I'm doubtless better for tackling both sides of the comics creating coin.
If you had to compare yourself to another artist who would it be? - Probably Keith Giffen or Scott Kolins. At least, that's the style where my personal interests lie. Not saying I'm anywhere near as good as them, but their thick, blocky styles are super-interesting to me.
What comics are you currently reading?
Currently, I'm reading THE WRONG EARTH from Ahoy Comics, one of the most original superhero takes I've seen in years. THE GREEN LANTERN by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp has been brilliant so far. THE LONE RANGER by Mark Russell and Bob Q is a great modern take on the character, with classic action and modern sensibilities. Of course, Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's final LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN series is a must-read and feels like it'll go out with a bang. BITTER ROOT is a great fusion of Harlem Renaissance and the supernatural. Daniel Warren Johnson's MURDER FALCON is a heavy metal monster-bashing thrill ride. Really, there are too many to list: WEST COAST AVENGERS, the new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, THE IMMORTAL HULK, WASTED SPACE... So I'll just leave it at those. :)
What are some of your all time favorite comics?
My top 5 favorite runs of all time: Robinson and Harris/various artists did fantastic work on STARMAN, creating a fully-rounded, believable reluctant hero trying to live up to his family's super-legacy Grant Morrison and Richard Case's mid-'80s DOOM PATROL blew my mind, rewriting everything I thought comics could be. There's still nothing quite like it. Ted McKeever's supernatural city noir METROPOL from the early '90s was the next to fundamentally change how I looked at comics. A weird, meandering story, with scratchy, blocky art... I can never get enough McKeever. Rick Veitch's ARMY@LOVE is still one of the best, most biting and cutting-edge war satires I've ever read, combining war zones with corporate promotion. DESTROYER DUCK, by Steve Gerber and Jack Kirby, is funny, action-packed, and bizarre. I strive to someday create something a tenth as great as that. Most of those are solid bedrock, but ask me again tomorrow, and a few might change.
To see more of Kurt's work check out his deviant art account: https://www.deviantart.com/kurtbelcher1/gallery/