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Waiting For Tommy XXVIII
By Richard Johnston
 
RICHARD: You mentioned a number of projects just then. UDON work for a number of publishers. How do you work with differing managerial styles? Is there a working relationship you're happier with than others? And do you ever encounter conflicts of interest, working for competing companies?

ERIK: Let's do this one by one.

Marvel is where we started. We all owe Joe Quesada everything we had, because he is the one giving us the chance to prove ourselves in the Burger King X-Men: Evolution comic, that the 15 of us did 64 pages of art within 28 days with lots of revisions. That prepares us to who we are nowadays. With Marvel, it always feels that we are working with some family members. We know them well, and they know us well. Not necessarily that we agree on everything, but we can always make up the difference and move on because we love each other. The relationship with Marvel is more personal. However, things can get messy when the discussion gets too personal.

Wildstorm/DC is more of a big corporation with more rules and regulations to follow. A lot more steps in editorial approvals and got to say that it is the most professional system that I have dealt with. Strict deadlines, no BS information exchanges. Much like military standard. It might sound tough, but I think artists do sometime need these push to get things done.

TRANSFORMERS #1 GENERATION ONE (VOL.2) EXCLUSIVE ALTERNATE COVER - SIGNED VERSION

Top Cow and Harris give us the most freedom in terms of creative aspect and even scheduling. We can do more of what we wanna do than what we need to do and the end products are always very satisfactory when we look back at them. However, with freedom we have to execute maximum discipline on our end, or else, things could start falling apart. So far, our relationships have been good that we respected each other a lot and things do get done in quality and on time.

So no company is perfect. And I really do not have any preference on who is better. Obviously, they all work or else they would not be still in business. If you ask me to choose one, I would go for more of the DC approach. Dealing with 25 plus artists everyday, I do realize that a strict and standard system would work much better and lead to less trouble in the long run. Well, it doesn't necessarily mean the artists would like it though. I am totally talking in the point of view of a managerial position.

I personally do not think there is much conflict of interests working with different companies. We are all working with them on a freelance basis, and even under the UDON umbrella, it is actually different teams working on different projects. As long as everyone is producing good quality work and hand in stuff on time, we are all good. Once in a while, I do get calls from editors asking for a particular team, and if schedule allows, we do try working with everyone! It is a good experience for the artists as well as a perfect way to build up our portfolio.

RICHARD: Your studio, UDON, has shared history with Dreamwave... hell, it looks like almost everyone who works at UDON used to work at Dreamwave. Friendly rivalry? Or is it sometimes more?

ERIK: First off, UDON is not a studio. UDON is formed by a group of artists coming together to produce art. If anything, UDON is a brand name. People just started tagging the word "Studio" along. I tried correcting them, but no one ever pays attention. So I rest my case and just let it be. But in reality, it is just UDON. Legally, it is UDON Entertainment Corp.

And UDON has NO relationship with Dreamwave whatsoever. Right, the original founders of UDON do all come from Dreamwave. Heck, we all helped build part of Dreamwave. Even Pat Lee acknowledges in a Wizard interview before that this whole Anime art is an idea that comes from me!

But for different reasons, we left the place we help build and moved on to different things. Funny enough, unlike what some guys think, UDON is not formed to rival DW. We all split and went our separate ways and almost after a year, we came back together by chance and started talking about comic stuff. The big catalyst comes when Joe Q asked us to do the Burger King deal. That is when we seriously thought about getting our feet back into comics.

And the way we are setting this up, we have no intention in rivalling DW either. We are set up to work as a freelance group for hire producing artwork, instead of putting out our own titles. We will even work for DW if they want to hire us!

RICHARD: Do you think that's likely?

ERIK: It's really not up to us. We offer our service to everyone. Our terms are pretty standard - we need to be credited and we need to be paid when the work is done. That's pretty much it and everyone has no problem in working with us from Marvel to DC/Wildstorm to TopCow/Image to Harris.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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