I was first introduced to Greg Land‘s pencil work back in 2001 with the break-out title Sojourn from CrossGen Comics. The ultra-realistic artwork drew in readers to the fantasy world of Quin. There, our heroine Arwyn goes in search of parts of a lost arrow that would bring down the evil sigil-bearing ruler, Morgath. Land’s pencil drew Ron Marz’s writing to life and made Sojourn CrossGen’s highest-grossing title for most of it’s short life. Sojourn, however, was not his first gig.
His start was with DC Comic’s StormQuest back in 1994, and he drew for DC on titles such as Birds of Prey, Nightwing, and Supergirl up until 2001, then moved over when CrossGen Comics came on the scene. Sadly, CrossGen would dissolve around 2004, where Disney acquired rights their titles for $1-million. From there, Greg would go on to Marvel Comics, penciling for major titles like Uncanny X-Men, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong. That Hashtag Show caught up with Greg while quarantining at home in Florida and asked a few questions about his work in comics. Check it out!
THS: When did you know you were going to make a career of being an artist?
Ever since I was very young, like 5 yrs old, I was always drawing and I knew that’s what I loved. I think I’ve always been working toward a career in art my whole life, whether I realized it or not. I wasn’t sure how at first and I did a variety of art like paintings, pin-striping on show cars and drag cars, painting motorcycle helmets and my first professional art job was in screen printing, designing T-shirts. After several years in the screen print industry I knew it was time to finally break into comics if I was ever going to do it.
THS: What would you consider to be your “big break” in becoming an bona-fide comic book artist?
Greg Land: My big break came when I went to Chicago Comic Con for the first time and getting several portfolio reviews from different editors. It just so happened that the last editor I talked to as the show was closing was the guy who called me and gave me a chance.
THS: Did any other comic artists inspire you or influence your early work?
Greg Land: I always say my three favorites artists growing up are Jack Kirby, John Buscema and Gil Kane. They were all very powerful artists yet had very different styles, but I liked them all.
THS: What is your approach to starting a page, from blank to finished?
Greg Land: I do a quick read thru the script, possibly put down a few thumbnails as I read. If there’s a panel that seems more important/interesting I’ll try and emphasize that and compose the rest of the panels around that.
THS: We assume since you draw comics that you also read them. What are your current favorite reads?
Greg Land: Anymore I really only follow certain artists. I will pick up books randomly based on the artwork.
THS: You’ve been with three major publishers. How were the transitions from DC to CrossGen to Marvel? Business as usual, or do you have to make major changes as an artist?
Greg Land: Well, I went from DC to CrossGen and that segued me to working for Marvel. I don’t remember any big changes really, I just worked on my art, tried to get better. Working with a variety of editors can be different, but it’s all pretty similar for the most part.
THS: When you work on drawing a comic, how much of the story do you get in advance? Do you get the entire arc, or is it piece-by piece to keep the story from getting out in advance?
Greg Land: Generally I get the whole script at once, but occasionally it comes in segments.
THS: Will we ever see Sojourn comics again?
Greg Land: Well, Disney has the rights to Sojourn. Disney owns Marvel, and I work for Marvel… so, maybe? It would be nice if they do bring it back. We’ve been asked about that at several conventions over the past few years so I think there is a market for that.
THS: What projects are you currently working on?
Greg Land: I recently finished up round two of Symbiote Spider Man: Alien Reality. I think four out of the five issues made it out before the Corona virus shut everything down, but #5 is done and will be released when they start back up. I am currently working on my new project for Marvel, but unfortunately can’t tell you what it is yet!
THS: What new things are you doing in the comics world during these extraordinary Corona virus times?
Greg Land: I’ve recently joined social media! We started a Facebook page, Greg W Land, and Greg W Land Comic Illustrator. I am not very tech savvy and have been basically off the grid, but my wife said it was time! We try to post pics of convention drawings I’ve done as well as any pics of upcoming monthly books and variant covers that I can post. Fans also can send us their pics of drawings/pages I’ve done and we will post them, things like that.
THS: Is there any advice you would give to an aspiring artist wanting to get into the industry?
Greg Land: I would just say you have to constantly be working on your craft, be able to tell the story via just the art and become as professional as you can by listening to your employer, meeting deadlines and treating it as a real job.
THS: Thank you for answering our questions, we appreciate your time!
Greg Land: Thanks, Lyle, for the interview and we all hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and hope to see many of you at future comic cons when this is over!
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What do you say, Hashtaggers? What’s the first Comic Con you’re going to when we can have them again? What comic titles are you patiently awaiting when printing starts back up? Let us know in the comments below, and check out Greg Land’s new Facebook pages for more art and info!