Interview with Monte Michael Moore
The next entry in our series of Comic Book Artist and Writer interviews is a huge one for me. When I learned all of the work that Monte Michael Moore has done, I admitted to him that I was having a majorly difficult time not going total fanboy on him! Mr. Moore is an absolute delight to speak with and I’m very excited to share our chat here in the ToyBox.
Hickman: “Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I was very excited to talk with you when I was given this assignment. I thought we could take this in kind of an open, free-flowing discussion, with just a few questions here and there, if that’s ok with you?”
Moore: “Thank you as well, I’ve been looking forward to it since you contacted me. I’m fine with that format.”
Hickman: “ So, when did you get started in the industry?”
Moore: “I began about 30 years ago, with my first self-published work, “Lords”, coming out in 1993. I air-brushed all the colors by hand. Even though the book wasn’t a significant financial success it was definitely a learning experience for me. I went to my first San Diego Comic Con with 3000 copies and sold maybe 1000 of them. The plus to this was that it gave me a good first hand look into the industry and helped me identify areas that I needed to focus on to increase my chances of success. I’ve done several pieces of art, which I’ve auctioned and decided to focus on doing work for others at that point… to help get my name out there in the industry and really hone my craft. I’ve done several freelance jobs, including the first cover for “Helena” from Lightning Comix, I’ve done some “Vampirella” covers for Harris, and I worked on “Chastity in Purgatory” for Chaos Comics. I’ve also done a lot of pin-up work, but as with any endeavor, I really didn’t want to be pigeonholed into one specific style of work, or genre for that matter. To that end, I expanded the work that I took on and between 1998 and 2008 I did a lot of work in the gaming industry; Magic the Gathering, DC Versus Collectible card game, and my most unexpected project, which was very exciting for me was when I was approached to work on the Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition release materials. I was very excited when I received the assignment as I was given the opportunity to draw so many iconic monsters and characters. I had a lot of fun working on that particular job. I also draw covers for Brian Pulido on an annual basis.”
Hickman: “Oh wow, that must have been an incredible time for you. Working on some very well known comic books and for the time especially, two of the biggest fantasy games out there. How do you top that?”
Moore: “Honestly, to start.. I began writing screenplays in 2008 and 2009 then in 2010 I started using Kickstarter for projects. I published my first book of my artwork in 1998 through SQP Publishing, which is always a good thing to have when looking for work. The book is called Maidens and there are two volumes to it.I had established artists saying to me…’How do you hae a published book of art?!? I don’t even have one.’ Always a good feeling to be able to leave a copy of your book when a publisher asks for your portfolio *chuckles*. I have also done some previous work with Star Wars. I designed the Artoo Detoo Camping Chair and am currently working for Thomas Kincaide Studios on a fine art series of season one of ‘The Mandalorian’. My bio and the first 4-6 images are available online. Eventually, I’d like to retail on my own website, but will need to get permission from Lucasfilm first.``
At this point, I think my jaw fell out of my head when he shared that he’d done a lot of Star Wars work in the past.
HIckman: “Ok, I’m not going to lie… I was impressed before, but now I’m totally struggling not to be a huge fanboy. Obviously, I’m a huge Star Wars fan and I do remember seeing those R2-D2 chairs before. I think I need to get online and grab one of those Mando prints!!! Tell me a little more about the screenwriting and how that led you back to comic books.”
Moore: “I wrote a number of scripts that have been optioned to Indie style producers. I also wrote “End of the Road, aka 1,2,3 Scream” which starred Michael Dorn, Robert Picardo, and Zack Ward. That film won "Best Thriller" and "Honorable Mention" - TrindieFest in 2012. After that though, sometime around 2015-16 I shifted the screenwriting/scripting to writing comic books. Admittedly, I struggled at first, not doing my own art. I had to get used to being the writer/creator and working with other artists. My current team is international and we’ve got roughly 10 comics/graphic novels in various stages of development. The books range from 48 - 96 pgs per project. Using Kickstarter, I found, has allowed me to re-invest the money in other artists, thus keeping funding within the community. I have also found that if I fund and create the books up-front, I can use the kickstarter campaigns to recoup the investment and use them for upcoming projects.”
Hickman: “So, tell me about some of your big projects. What do we have to look forward to .”
Moore: “The first campaign for my book Loco Hero #1 is complete and we’re actually working on issue #2 at the moment.”
Hickman: “That’s great, would you like to share a synopsis about the book?”
Moore: “Before I do, I have to share that when the initial book was released we did a number of covers, one variant specifically which won cover of the year at the 2020 Indie awards, and raised funds that went to Operation Second Chance. The proceeds were used to benefit this program which helps veterans and their families by building relationships that help to identify and provide support for those veterans' immediate needs.”
*Editors Note: I visited the Operationsecondchance.org website and was very impressed with the work these people do for the men and women who have and continue to bravely serve our great nation. Please take a moment to look them up yourselves and see how you can help a Veteran in need today.
Hickman: “Monte, I have to stop you for just a moment and thank you. Two of my boys have served and are both dealing with medical issues from their time. The fact that you support this organization and our men and women in uniform means a great deal to me, personally. Thank you so much.”
Moore: “My family has a long history of service to this country and this is a cause that is also near to my heart.”
Hickman: “Thank you again and your great family for serving our nation. Please, tell me about Loco Hero.”
*Editor’s Note: Mr. Moore shared an absolutely amazing synopsis of the book and I intended to write about it here. However, he completely took me by surprise and offered to send me a signed copy of the first issue to read and review in this forum. I will be drafting a review on the book once I’ve completed reading it. Needless to say, this is an unconventional superhero tale with a pretty amazing twist. Watch for my review of “Loco Hero #1” coming very soon.
Hickman: “You really have an astounding repertoire of work. I know you mentioned earlier that you don’t ever want, as an artist, to be pigeonholed into just doing one thing that you’re very good at. What else do you find most enjoyable working on?”
Moore: “I like to consider myself a journeyman illustrator in that I have worked on a bit of everything. Pin ups, vehicles for example, motorcycle paintings, cars, airplanes. When an area gets saturated, I’ll branch out into something new. I have a tremendous enjoyment of the west and have several western themed pieces that I’ve done and am currently working on. In fact, I’m currently in Montana at a western Art Show. I grew up on a cattle ranch and the history and heritage of my family generated my love of western art. I’ve done a series of western prints that I’ve been able to sell at shows for a tidy sum.”
Hickman: “I’ve seen some of your work on Facebook, thank you for adding me, incidentally. I’m very impressed!”
Moore: “Thank you.”
Hickman: “I know that everybody has someone who inspires them, who would you say was yours?”
Moore: “There are a number that really helped me develop into the artist that I am today. I would say two of my favorites would be Hajime Sorayama and Luis Royo. The best piece of advice I ever received, though, was from my Italian Renaissance Portraiture Instructor, Frank Cavino. He said…’You don’t have to be a master, but to be well rounded, you should experience art as a whole. ”
I had an absolutely fantastic time, speaking with Mr. Moore. He is a delightful raconteur and to listen to him, the passion he displays for his craft comes through strongly and is very inspiring. I am grateful that he took time out of his busy day, to sit with me for a while and I’m very excited to receive my copy of Loco Hero #1 to enjoy and review for your pleasure. I definitely recommend checking out his work over at his website: https://www.mavarts.com.
Monte, thank you for visiting the ToyBox. I look forward to talking with you again!
Dear readers, thank you as always for checking out the toybox and, until next time… Geek Out!