Wednesday, September 23, 2009

5 Quick Questions with Gene Ha

Gene Ha is an American comics artist best known for his work on books such as Top 10 and Top 10: The Forty-Niners, with Alan Moore and Zander Cannon, for America's Best Comics, the Batman graphic novel Fortunate Son, with Gerard Jones, and The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, among others. He has also drawn Global Frequency and has done covers for Wizard Magazine and Marvel Comics.

Gene has currently won three Esiner awards.

He agreed to answer 5 Quick Questions:

1) What would you say is your greatest achievement in comics?

Definitely my work with Alan Moore. That’d be the Top 10 series and its prequel, The Forty-Niners. Alan is one of the most brilliant writers working in any medium. His stories are hard hitting, but not predictable or crude. He knows how to surprise other pros while entertaining the kid in us. I love drawing a well written story.

2) Who was your favorite writer or artist that you worked with & why?

My favorite was DC Editor Archie Goodwin. Early on in my career, he offered me a short story with any writer we could nab. I asked him to write me a story. He put a lot of explanation in that script explaining why he told the story the way he did. I learned a lot from him. It came out in DC Showcase ’95 #11.

3) What character you have never worked .., would you like to do & why?

I don’t care what character I’m drawing. If I’m working with a great writer who cares about the character, I’ll care too. If its hack work there’s only so much even a great artist can do to save the story. So with that said, I’d love to do a comics version of Dashiell Hammett’s The Glass Key and it’s hero, Ned Beaumont. It’s a great hard boiled detective story. There was a bad 1935 movie version, a still mediocre 1942 movie, and the Coen Brothers’ Miller’s Crossing took concepts from it. I’d like to do the definitive visual interpretation of that novel.

4) Who are your influences?

Great painters like da Vinci, Sorolla, Monet and Velázquez. Great illustrators like Norman Rockwell and Mark English. Great comics creators from my childhood like Bill Sienkiewicz, Matt Wagner and Bill Watterson. Younger creators like Bryan Lee O’Malley and Frank Cho.

5) What hero or villain would you like to change if you could and why?

In my opinion, a character that dies should stay dead. Bringing them back is usually a mistake. It means that readers will never take your stories seriously in the future. Jean Gray and Barry Allen are the obvious examples. I wouldn’t have wanted it, but they’ve done a pretty good job bringing Barry back. The way they brought back Jean was an insult to the readers. She was never the Phoenix, she was in suspended animation in a healing pod under Jamaica Bay, NY all along. Hurray! They shouldn’t have done it.

Check Gene's website at

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