Tim Sale is one of the best, if not the best, comic book artists in America today. His work blends the cartoonish with the nostalgic in a manner that revitalizes and refreshes all of the characters that he depicts. He is best known for Superman for All Seasons, Daredevil: Yellow and his work on the television show Heroes.
Tim, who grew up in the same neighborhood I did decades before me, was generous enough to answer a few questions for me. Here goes:
Seattle is in the upper left corner of the US, often forgotten by the rest of the country. How did you manage to go from there to the forefront of the comic book industry?
A little thing called talent, my friend! That and a whole ton of luck and good friends in the industry and being nice and being reliable, yeah, that too. It's never just one thing. I was also fortunate to begin in the age of FedEx, which changed the industry in ways similar to what the internet has done -- you don't have to be geographically close to where a book is published anymore.
Of all the projects you've been involved in, which is your favorite?
Not a fair question, but the first thing that comes to mind is a story, not a project. It's called, "Sam's Story" and it appeared in Superman Batman #26 as a back-up. It is about Jeph Loeb writing about the tragic death of his teen-age boy, Sam, and it will make any human weep, without a doubt.
Who were your primary artistic influences?
Alex Toth, John Buscema, Jack Kirby, Ruben Pellejero, Jack Davis, Norman Rockwell.
How did you get involved with the Heroes TV show?
Through Jeph Loeb. Jeph had a long-standing relationship with ethe series creator, Tim Kring, and when Tim wa slooking for an artist, Jeph suggested me.
Your career has allowed you to illustrate the most famous icons in comic books. Is there any project that you wish you could have done or would you like to do?
I am feeling very satisfied with my icon career. I am interested in working more with Jeph, and on working on my creator-owned project, The Killing Floor.
What do you think it is an important element in creating a great comic book?
The biggest thing is the ability of the writer and artist to play off of each other strengths, and to stay away from the weaknesses, or the aspects that one or the other does not enjoy. I believe that more and more all the time.
Has the upsurge in attention towards comic books in recent years affected your career? If so, how so?
Not that I know of. Maybe, but it is unclear.
What are you currently working on?
Captain America: White, and my own project, The Killing Floor.
Where do you see your career five or ten years from now?
Working on The Killing Floor, and also whatever other smaller projects that seem like fun, if I am fortunate enough to be offered work.
Click here to visit Tim Sale's website.