If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
Jacen Burrows has carved his name into the horror world
through artwork as deranged as it is brilliant. Still a rising star, he’s come
a long way in his short career and though his comic styling is as distinctive
as Mike Mignola and Ben Templesmith, even these masters don't hold a candle
when it comes to the sheer, no-holds barred brutality that sweep the pages of
Burrows’ work. His eye for detail and large, splash pages of blood and
depravity is similar to old school ultraviolent sleaze, where the harder you
look, the harder you have to try to pull away.
Not one to shy away from controversy, Burrows has been a
trusted partner of the likes of Garth Ennis and Alan Moore, and continues to
expand his art from not only include horror, but sci-fi, and fantasy as well. Currently,
Jacen Burrows can be spied working on the fan-favorite CROSSED, filling in all
the gory details and giving us a birds-eye view of the zombie apocalypse. We
were lucky enough to pull him away for a few minutes to pick his brain.
FANGORIA: You are known for some amazing horror and
supernatural artwork. Was it your intent to do horror comics?
JACEN BURROWS: Horror has always been my favorite genre. I used
to fill sketchpads with pictures of werewolves and sea creatures, going back to
when I was five years old. I think the influence of horror can be seen in all
of my projects, whatever genre they may be. I feel incredibly lucky that we
have been able to find such an enthusiastic fan base for horror that I get to
spend my days drawing monsters. I'm living the dream!
FANG: You’ve already worked with some of the comic industry’s
biggest names. Are there any authors you’re still seeking to collaborate with?
BURROWS: I've been very lucky in that regard. It was pretty
early in my career when I got to start working with high caliber writers. It
has always been important to me to try to give them the best I am capable of at
the time. I'm always aware I'm working with writers whose body of work was part
of the inspiration that made me a comic artist in the first place, but we all
share a passion for telling stories in this medium and I know they enjoy seeing
what I come up with. I've done the most work with Garth Ennis and I think I
generally understand what he is looking for best. We certainly plan to do more
stuff together in the future. There are a lot of great writers out there these
days but lately I've gotten the most enjoyment from the works of Jason Aaron,
Joe Hill and Scott Snyder.
FANG: You have a great eye for truly bizarre visions, most notably
in your NEONOMICON pages. How strict are your guidelines when bringing pages to
life, and how much is yourself and creative freedom?
BURROWS: Some writers are more explicit than others, but
there is always a little room for creativity. Generally, the imagery for the
story pages is pretty well described, but I get a lot of space to run wild with
the covers. We do a lot of collector variants and convention covers, so I get
to explore some visual ideas that wouldn't normally make a main cover. That's
usually where I have the most fun like the "Visions of Hell" covers
for CHRONICLES OF WORMWOOD or the classic American works of art turned Crossed
for CROSSED: FAMILY VALUES.
FANG: Your work is incredibly detailed, especially the big
splash pages. Pertaining to the gore, do you ever find yourself holding back?
BURROWS: Splash pages are usually the biggest moments in the
issue so I try to make sure they are detailed enough to warrant closer
inspection. And it is fun for me to come up with ways to fill the space. I've
always liked the “Where's Waldo” feel of highly detailed work. For gore, I try
to be as realistic as I can. The only way I would pull it back is if I didn't
feel it was realistic. But within that realistic damage, I do try to draw every
little giblet and bone shard so it has impact. I want the effects of violence
to be a damn near tangible thing so readers really feel the writer's intent.
FANG: It's well known that you have done art for several
video and table-top games, ranging from crime to fantasy. How does that compare
to working on comics?
BURROWS: The work I did in video games was really more of
the advertising art variety than concept art, which I would love to try one
day. I really liked the process, getting to see behind the scenes a bit, and
the money was great, but job security is pretty much nonexistent in video games.
I had some problems with payment working in the RPG market back in the late
1990s, but I always enjoyed getting to draw in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. I
did a little work for WHITEWOLF a few years back and enjoyed getting to do
something outside of my usual genres again but, ultimately, it is the
storytelling of comics that always makes it my first love.
FANG: Would you like the chance to draw and write your own
BURROWS: I have stories I like to develop in my spare time
that might see the light of day one day. I don't see myself as a writer, so I
would probably choose to collaborate with someone more talented in that skill
set, but I have some great conceptual ideas. For the foreseeable future,
though, I have plenty of great stuff on my plate that I could never turn down.
It just never hurts to have an idea ready when the time comes and I have some
visual ideas that I'm dying to show one day.
FANG: What were some of your influences? Is there any music
you work to?
BURROWS: I like to have music playing when I'm working on
layouts and rough sketches. I try to build a playlist of stuff that fits the
tone of the book. For NEONOMICON, I used a lot of Post Rock and Dark Ambient. I
really like stuff like Lustmord and Inade for that stage. When I'm doing the
detailing and finishes, I watch movies, TV shows and listen to a lot of
audiobooks. In comics, my biggest influences have been Katsuhiro Otomo who did AKIRA;
Enrico Marini, a European artist known for THE SCORPION, GYPSY; Bernie
Wrightson, TimVigil and Frank Quitely. I think you can see elements of all of
their styles in my work. Lately, I've been on a big Alex Toth kick and I'm
excited to try out some new ideas.
FANG: What are you working on now?
BURROWS: I just finished a four-part arc for CROSSED
BADLANDS, issues 10-13, about a traveling circus and carnival during the
initial days of the CROSSED apocalypse. Right now, I am not at liberty to talk
about the new project. The company likes to make those announcements, but I can
say it is horror again and it is one of the longer stories I've worked on. It
has the potential to be the most mind blowing thing I've done yet.
FANG: Lets have a fun fact!
BURROWS: I bought a really fancy, genuine, Japanese katana
this summer and for the life of me I can't come up with any reasonable excuses
why other than "Zombie Apocalypse".
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment