Mike Henderson Interview - Toronto Comic Con 2018

by Hussein Wasiti on March 20, 2018

CTG: What did comics mean to you when you were growing up, and what made you transition from loving them into wanting to make them?


Henderson: They were almost like STAR WARS in that they were an escape from just everyday life. I was into comics real early, maybe at six or seven I got my hands on a Superman comic and I got everything I could get my hands on after that. I didn't really think about doing it as a profession until Dan Jurgens and John Romita Jr did Thor. When that first issue came out I was maybe 18, thinking about going into the army or the marines or something and when that issue came out that was it after that. I went to the Kubert School two years later and I was off to the races.


CTG: Did you graduate from the Kubert School?


Henderson: I did two out of the three years. I ran out of money.


CTG: Would you say it's a good path for an aspiring artist to take?


Henderson: Yeah, for sure.


CTG: What differentiates it from learning by yourself?


Henderson: Some of it is learning how to be a professional. It's not just the skills, the skills come with practise, obviously getting critiques from professionals helps. You learn some technical skills, things have changed a lot since I was there, so I can't really say what it's like now. I know they've updated everything and everything's digital, they have state-of-the-art equipment. To me it was about learning how to get pages done on time, to make them decent enough or passable. I would definitely recommend it.


CTG: How exactly did NAILBITER come to be, and what exactly was the process that you and Joshua Williamson went through to get it going?


Henderson: Josh had the idea before we got together on it. We had done MASKS AND MOBSTERS at Shadowline through Jim Valentino. He had been percolating NAILBITER with someone else at the time but that sort of fell through. We worked so well together on MASKS AND MOBSTERS and he asked if we could give this one a shot. I did a handful of pages, maybe six or seven pages, sent them over to Eric Stephenson at Image and he was on board right away.


CTG: DEADPOOL VS. OLD MAN LOGAN recently concluded and you worked with Declan Shalvey, an artist-turned-writer. How was it like working with someone who hadn't written much before?


Henderson: Really intuitive, actually. He and I have similar storytelling styles and similar art styles. I had done some fill-in pages on a Venom book that he had been working on several years ago because our styles were so similar. We met at San Diego several years ago and he just pitched the idea to me just before I wrapped up NAILBITER. So as soon as I was done with that I was onboard. He had started writing about a month before I started and it was super smooth. He knew exactly what kind of stuff I liked to draw, and he was asking me what would be fun for me to do, which is always a treat from a writer. It doesn't always happen. He's definitely an artist's writer if that term makes any sense.


CTG: No, that makes complete sense. The opening page of the first issue just screamed, "I'm gonna let the artist have fun."


Henderson: He knew I liked to do visual gags. I have a lot of fun injecting humour into serious comics because comics should be fun. Like, NAILBITER's a really dark subject so I thought it needed to have as many jokes as possible. That makes a good action or horror story, it's got to have some good jokes in it.


CTG: So whose idea was it to have Logan open his claws into Deadpool's fist?


Henderson: That was all Declan. I just had to make it look good.


CTG: You're gonna be working on DAREDEVIL with Charles Soule…


Henderson: Yeah, I'm about halfway through the arc already.


CTG: As you know, Daredevil has had a pantheon of incredible artists like Frank Miller, Chris Samnee, and Ron Garney. How does it feel to follow in their footsteps?


Henderson: It's daunting. Following Ron Garney is some big shoes to fill. I admittedly was not a big reader of Daredevil apart from Frank Miller's run, that was really the only run of the character I read. So that kind of informed my art on the book.


CTG: What are you gonna bring to the book that's purely Mike Henderson?


Henderson: Ooh. I definitely inserted some visual gags that weren't really in the scripts. I'm not gonna spoil them or give them away. I tried to find some humorous spots. There's not a lot of funny in Matt Murdock so I pick and choose my moments. I find some humour in Foggy, I find him a really interesting character to balance out how dark Matt is most of the time.


CTG: Marvel will be relaunching everything in the summer, and I assume the same can be said for Daredevil, so are you staying on the book?


Henderson: I don't know yet. I've got a few things out there that I'm not sure which way I'm gonna jump when I'm done with this one. I've been drawing flat-out for almost two years with an issue a month so I'm gonna take a little break and then pick and choose. Marvel hasn't told me exactly what the plans are but I may also work on something with Josh again, maybe at Image, maybe at DC, I have no idea.


CTG: Is there any Marvel or DC character that you'd love to tackle?


Henderson: Top of my list is Adam Warlock! No joke. I love Adam Warlock.


CTG: I think Mike Allred's got that character right now so…


Henderson: Yeah, I was so jealous! If I can't do it, I'm glad he is.


CTG: To get back to Daredevil for a second, how is it like working with Charles Soule? He has a very interesting connection to the character since he used to be a lawyer so I assume you haven't worked with someone who's had such a tie to the character before?


Henderson: This isn't usually the case but those issues were written before I was even onboard so there wasn't a ton of back and forth between us. But he's been great and really supportive/ But as you said, being a lawyer definitely informs his version of the character. Super fun scripts, I'm having a blast with it.