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Friday, May 9, 2003


Tony Moore is perhaps best known for his art on the black-and-white Battle Pope, published by Studio Funk-O-Tron and written by Robert Kirkman. Moore this month will be making his full-color debut, penciling and inking the Masters of the Universe Icons of Evil One-Shot: Beast Man.

The one-shot reveals the back story of how Beast Man became the savage predator he is today. Following is an interview with Moore, where he talks about working on the one-shot, how he feels about re-teaming with Kirkman and more.

QUESTION: How did you first start working with Robert Kirkman? What was the collaboration process like?

MOORE: Well, I had just finished my first year of college, and Kirkman was working on what he was planning to be his own maiden voyage, when he had the idea for Battle Pope. Shortly after, I came over and he pitched me the idea and asked if I wanted in on it. I was totally amped, and the rest, they say, is history.

Working with him has always been great. We occasionally bounce ideas off each other and we can really talk certain scenes over to get a better feel for them, and I think it's that bullpen approach that really creates a synergy in our work. Also, the fact that he's been my best friend for a long time doesn't hurt.

QUESTION: Are there any artists out there that have inspired you or have been a strong influence on your work?

MOORE: Oh man… everything I see rubs off on me a little I guess. I think my art's a giant melting pot of everything I've ever picked up. Forgive me if I get a little long-winded here. I pretty much learned to read because of my uncle's MAD magazine collection, long before I got into comic books, so guys like Jack Davis and the "usual gang of idiots" really stuck with me. Then when I hit middle school, I was hooked on Mark Texiera, Simon Bisley, and of course Frank Miller and Jim Lee. I think every comic artist my age was addicted to those two guys when we were that age. Over the course of my academic studies, I really came to enjoy Jerome Witkin, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Hopper, the Pre-Raphaelites, Mucha, and Michelangelo. But back to comics, these days, my eyes tend to get stuck on Mike Mignola, Geoff Darrow, Doug Mahnke, Jason Alexander, and a host of others. I think most everybody's been taking notes from Sienkiewicz for a couple decades now. Jeez, I could go on all friggin' day.

I had the luxury of working in the same studio space as Cory Walker for several months, which gave me an inferiority complex, but also was wonderful, seeing someone else's techniques and all. I learned more than a thing or two from that kid. All the Studio Funk-O-Tron artists continually amaze me. I've been blessed to have been associated with so many guys whose work I really respect.

QUESTION: Having worked on such an independent books like Battle Pope in the past, what made you want to work with MVCreations on something in the comic's mainstream?

MOORE: You're kidding, right? This is HE-MAN! If I could travel back in time and tell my 5-year-old self that I would one day draw a book about the Masters of the Universe, my tiny little heart would explode, negating my existence. Indy clout is one thing, I guess, but I was all about Beastman, and having a color book and being able to pay my bills once in a while all made for a pretty sweet deal. I'd worked with Val before, also, so when he asked, I was more than willing to climb aboard.

QUESTION: Which Masters of the Universe characters were your childhood favorites? Any one character in particular?

MOORE: Well, I've always liked the bad guys. Heroes are fun, but they don't mean anything to me unless they've got something really cool to fight. Skeletor himself was always a fave. I even had the Skeletor dress-up thing when I was little… I wish I could find the picture my mom took of me wearing a glow-in-the-dark Skeletor mask and holding my plastic Havoc Staff. Aside from that, I always thought Beastman and Trapjaw rocked the house, just because they looked so cool.

QUESTION: Comparing the work you did on Battle Pope to Beast Man, how is this series different from your previous work?

MOORE: Well, I totally love Val's colors on Emiliano's stuff, so I tried to keep my linework more open, to give him room to really show off his stuff, as well. I'm prone to excessive cross-hatching, so it was kind of a challenge to change it up like this, but from what I've seen so far, I think it worked out really well.

QUESTION: When you were working on Beast Man, what elements did you incorporate to make the character tick? How is this earlier rendition of Beast Man different from the current version we see today in the current MOTU comic book?

MOORE: Well, I'll be the first to admit that my rendition is off-model when placed next to the toy and pretty much every other version out there, but I tried to focus more on his simian aspects. He's got great features to work with, so I could really play up the expressiveness of his face. To me, that's the fun part, and what brought him to life. He's a vicious brute, sure, but even the toughest guys have got feelings, and when you're the biggest fish in your pond, having your will broken and becoming someone else's minion doesn't rank high on you list of fun ideas, I'm sure. I tried to really have his expressions cover the full gamut of emotions in the story.

QUESTION: What's going on with Battle Pope? Will we be seeing him anytime soon, or will we see something new from you in the future?

MOORE: Well, Kirkman and I love the big lug, but we decided to try and catch some bigger fish before we picked Pope up again. Make no mistake, though, we both really miss working on it. It's a frequent topic of conversation between us. As for when new stuff will be coming out, several things are up in the air at this point, but rest assured, we WILL be back, someday, even if it happens to be a ways off.

In the meantime, Kirkman and I have a one-shot called Brit coming out from Image in July, and a yet-to-be-announced ongoing series coming out in October, also from Image. I wish I could talk more about that last one, but I guess I really can't, though I will say that I'm possibly more excited about it than I've been about anything for some time. Hopefully these will tide over those readers who miss Pope.

QUESTION: What would be your ultimate dream project you'd love to work on in the near future?

MOORE: That one's easy. Hands down, Ghost Rider. The potential for cool visuals is a given, but it's the horror elements of Faustian sacrifice that really make this character sing. Too often, he's just been treated as a pretty face, and that's a dirty shame. I could go on all day about why I'd love to try my hand at this guy, but I guess a kid can dream.

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