Local artist Mark Reihill returns to Belfast Comic Mart in February and we had a chat with him about comics and more!
BCM: You started out as a graphic designer/illustrator how did the role of artist on Off Girl come about?
Mark: The Off Girl partnership came to fruition via social media. I did a Hunger Games illustration for Starburst Magazine in the lead up to the release of Mockingjay Part 2. The official Hunger Games Twitter account retweeted it and Tina (writer) picked that up. She then emailed me asking if I’d be interested in a collaboration. Once I read the script I was hooked! It’s a great story, so unique – no bites from radioactive spiders or sons of Krypton in this origin story! The original concept was a six-part miniseries but Tina rewrote the script and now it’s a sixteen-part series. I’m currently working on Issue 4.
BCM: Looking at your Starburst covers you have a very unique style which you have carried forward to Off Girl, who would you say are your influences?
Mark: I like to think of my style resting between vectors and fine art. My work is digital and the software I use is vector-based so by it’s nature creates very precise, clean lines. But I like to disrupt that notion and make artwork that’s dynamic and chaotic – it might look messy at times, but everything is considered. Organised chaos.
Like most creatives, I draw inspiration from the world around me – comics, movies, music, people and art inspire me. I’m constantly absorbing and being influenced. I love painters like Jackson Pollock, Robert McGinnis and Sebastian Kruger – old school comic book artists like Jack Kirby, Gil Kane and John Romita along with modern trailblazers Tim Sale, Greg Capullo and Jock.
BCM: The first three issues of Off Girl are now available but creator Tina Fine has bigger plans for the series?
Mark: Off Girl is currently a sixteen-part series, but with the intention of moving to live-action. Tina’s goal was always to have Off Girl on-screen (big or small). The original script was actually a screenplay, rewritten for the comic series – each issue is an episode. The series is creating a lot of traction, we’ve had some talks with studios in the US, and have been approached for an Off Girl video game. I can’t say too much at this stage.
BCM: You recently went to NYCC to promote Off Girl and got to meet some of your favourite artists including J Scott Campbell, can you tell us a little about your NYCC experience?
Mark: NYCC was incredible. It was hard to fathom that first of all, I was attending New York Comic Con and secondly, I was there to promote a comic book I illustrated!! Off Girl was extremely well received – the response exceeded both our expectations.
The highlight was definitely meeting J Scott Campbell. He is the reason I draw. The reason I love comics. I’ve loved his work since I first saw it in Gen 13. I bumped into him the day before NYCC and we talked for ages. They say never meet your heroes, but mine was an absolute gentleman. Legend.
BCM: You teased an image of Ratline recently on Social Media, can you tell us a little more about that?
Mark: I’m working with another writer based in the States on a book called Ratine. Again, another fantastic story – WWII, espionage, violence – aIl fun stuff to illustrate! Ratline is a 90+ page graphic novel. I’m currently illustrating the first 20 pages (Issue #1). I’m unsure if Ratline will be released as a miniseries or a one-shot 90+ page graphic novel.
BCM: Are you working on any other comic related projects at present?
Mark: I’m working on issue #5 of the Dead Rabbit cocktail menu. The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, based in New York, it’s one of the most famous cocktail bars in the world and voted World’s Best Bar. Their cocktail menus have won countless awards and have completed revolutionised the drinks industry.
Their current ‘Mixed Drinks Menu’ takes the form of a comic book. A six-part series, each issue unveiled every six months. The story follows the reincarnated John Morrissey (founder / leader of the Dead Rabbit gang) as he runs amok through ’70s New York – violence, gangs, car chases, women, drugs. This series has it all!!
Off Girl, Ratline and The Dead Rabbit are keeping be busy at the minute. All equally different and interesting projects to be involved with.
BCM: What comics are you reading at the minute?
Mark: Currently loving some of DC’s offerings – Batman: White Knight, Dark Nights: Metal and Doomsday Clock. Sean Murphy and Greg Capullo are two of my favourite artists so I’m in my element!
I’m also rereading Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race, Batman Hush, and Kingdom Come.