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DARICK ROBERTSON
Darick W. Robertson is an American artist best known for his work as a comic book illustrator. Highly prolific, Robertson has illustrated hundreds of comics in his twenty plus years in the industry. His body of work ranges from science fiction characters of his own creation to headlining on renowned classic characters from Marvel and DC Comics. Robertson is best known as the co-creator and illustrator of the biting satires Transmetropolitan and The Boys.

Darick currently lives in Napa, California with his wife and two children. When he's not drawing comics, which is almost all the time, he creates custom action figures, writes music, sings and plays guitar. The official Darick Robertson webpage with a complete bibliography, sketches, forum and latest news is updated weekly.

Early Life

Darick was introduced to comics at an early age. He would read the Gold Key Comics he found at the local barbershop and before long his father began to drive to Palo Alto where young Darick could buy weekly comics such as Flash and Spider-Man. By 5th grade the young artist was already stapling together homemade comics to show to his friends. Darick Robertson cites Paul Smith, George Perez, José Luis García-López, Neal Adams, Joe Kubert and Bernie Wrightson as early formative influences on his craft, and states it was Brian Bolland's work on Camelot 3000 that defined for him what a comic artist could aspire to. Robertson also cites Frank Miller as a hero and hopes to eventually emulate Miller's success as both an artist and a writer.

First Comic Book Work

Space Beaver

Darick created his first comic book at the age of 17 while still in school and also working as a bill collector. Many small press black and white books featuring anthropomorphic heroes were seeing sudden critical and commercial success in the wake of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Darick had "always loved this idea of stuffed animals fighting [so] they bleed and stuff comes out of them when they die." As a result he created Space Beaver, "a cute little beaver...running around shooting people."

Darick showed his new work, drawn on typing paper in ball-point pen, to Michio Okamura, an inker working as a security guard in the same building as the collection agency. Okamura inked Reggie Byers's Shuriken for Victory Comics, and introduced Dairck to the use of Bristol Board, ink pens, and zip-a-tone.Okamura sent Darick's pages to Victory Comics, who agreed to publish Space Beaver, but not to compensate Robertson. Darick then took the finished pages to Tibor Sardy, owner of Peninsula Comics in San Mateo California. After seeing Robertson's work, the comic store owner agreed to pay Darick and publish Space Beaver under the name Ten-Buck Comics. Darick would now spend every day after work and school drawing the book, which would run for 11 issues. Fan sites for Darick's creation, such as the Paul Czarnowski's Space Beaver Website, emerged. Years after the series ended people still ask Darick to confirm he was the creator of Space Beaver. Perhaps most notable for the young artist, Robertson's father carried a worn copy of Space Beaver #1 folded into his coat pocket to show his friends what his son had created.

In 2000 Larry Young acquired publication rights to Space Beaver and AiT/Planet Lar released two trades collecting the entire run. While currently out of print, used copies can still be easily found.

* Space Beaver, Vol. 1 Issues 1-6 AIT/Planetlar Space Beaver

* Space Beaver, Vol. 2 Issues 7-11 AIT/Planetlar Space Beaver Vol. Two

DC and Marvel Comics

DC Comics

After Darick launched his career with Space Beaver, he began to regularly attend comic conventions seeking advice and professional connections. As a result, by age 21, Darick landed his first work for a major publisher illustrating Justice League Quarterly #4 at DC Comics. Robertson would then illustrate a run of Justice League Europe working alongside writer JM DeMattis and artist/writer Keith Giffen. Over time Darick would develop his craft finishing Giffen's panel breakdowns while working, coincidentally, on the seminal JLE story entitled Breakdowns. Darick Robertson worked on JLE issues 26, and 30-35. Later in his career Darick and would return to the Justice League to work with Mark Waid on Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare.

* Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare

Marvel

After breaking in at DC, Darick's first work at Marvel was Wolverine (volume 1) issue 54. Darick would then have his first extended monthly run working with Fabian Nicieza on Marvel's New Warriors after Mark Bagley departed the book. Always a fan favorite book, Robertson recalls the run with pride. Darick worked on New Warriors for two years, from issue 26 until issue 50, including writing for New Warriors annual #3 and #4. While at Marvel, Darick would also have a chance to work on his first iconic character - Spider-Man. Darick illustrated Deadpool #50 & 51, which featured the first appearance of Kid Deadpool (aka Poolboy). Darick illustrated "Spider-man: the Power of Terror," "Spider Man: the Final adventure"and a Spider-Man story written by legend Stan Lee and inked by legend George Perez. Perez who would inform the young artist how much he liked his work, and this story is found collected in Best of Marvel 1995. Robertson would also add additional writing credits working on Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special #1 and Spider-Man Team-Up #5.

Malibu and Acclaim

Darick's career continued as a key creator on Malibu Comics's Ultraverse comic line. It was also his first foray into creating new characters for an existing business. At Malibu Robertson co-created and designed the character Nightman, and both wrote and created the character Ripfire. This brought about some frustration, however, as Malibu promised Robertson the rights in Nightman only to renege and sell the character to Marvel. Nightman eventually produced toys and a TV show, and Darick later described the experience as "a sore spot." However, while still at Malibu, Robertson met future DC and Wildstorm editor Hank Kanalz as well as a then obscure British comic writer, Warren Ellis.

While working on a short run of Malibu's Ultraforce, Kanalz paired Darick with the emerging British comic writer. Robertson enjoyed working with Ellis and contacted the writer explaining,"I had the greatest time working on the [scripts]; they were funny and violent but, interesting... you ever want to work on a monthly project together, I'm all over it." Ellis agreed. When the Malibu Comics work ended, New Warriors writer and then Acclaim Comics Editor Fabian Nicieza approached Darick about re-teaming with Ellis on a Solar, Man of the Atom special. The special became a science fiction heavy work including a two page spread of a secret Vatican library. After the special was complete, Darick received a phone call from Ellis asking up on that offer to work together on a monthly book.

Transmetropolitan

The book was for DC's new Science Fiction imprint Helix. The title was Transmetropolitan. Darick's immediate response to Ellis' pitch was to tell the British writer "that sounds great, I told you I want to work with you anytime you could." The future collaborators began to brainstorm on finer points of the new work, including arriving at the new name for the books lead. Helix editor Stuart Moore had worried the original name of Caleb Newcastle was "too British", so the collaborators settled on Spider Jerusalem.

Darick now faced a difficult choice in turning down the opportunity to draw Spider-Man monthly. A close friend pointed out to Robertson that choosing Transmetropolitan would mean he has a book that was always his, while choosing Spider-Man could make Robertson just another Spider-Man artist. Recalling his experiences with Malibu, Darick chose the project where he would own the work. Ironically, despite Ellis's enthusiasm for Robertson's work, and the hard choice he made turning down Spider-Man, Darick had difficulty overcoming an initial editorial perception that he was a superhero artist. Yet after a number of concept sketches and taking a firm stand, Darick was confirmed as the book's artist. Darick described the Transmetropolitan process as "a real collaboration [...] unlike anything I've ever worked on before because there are things that I ask for that were never a part of the script." Notable contributions from Robertson include the idea of television buy bombs and the notorious Sex Puppets. Darick even modeled Spider's ex-wife on his own wife, operating under the request that if she was drawn into the book, she didn't want the character to be anything like herself. Robertson is also behind the creation of Transmetropolitan's iconic gecko eating two headed cat. Darick drew the cat into an alley panel after considering what strays might exist in the future. After seeing the sketch co-creator Ellis declared "let's make it [Spider's] pet."

Writing for WIRED Magazine, Cory Doctorow called Transmetropolitan "the graphic novel of the decade." Notable fans of Transmetropolitan include legendary actor Patrick Stewart, Oscar nominated performer Robin Williams, and critically acclaimed writer and director Darren Aronofsky. Robertson called working on Transmetropolitan a rewarding experience, citing the critical acclaim, continued popularity of the characters and unique fandom. Robertson expresses fond memories of Ellis's scripts but he has no desire to return to Transmetropolitan. When the book ended he found no longer operating under the book's constant tight deadlines was a great relief.
After DC shut the Helix label down, Transmetropolitan moved to Vertigo where it ran for 60 issues.
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 0: Tales of Human Waste
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 2: Lust for Life
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 3: Year of the Bastard
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 4: The New Scum
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 5: Lonely City
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 6: Gouge Away
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 7: Spiders Thrash
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 8: Dirge
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 9: The Cure
* Transmetropolitan Vol. 10: One More Time

Marvel Redux

In 2002, after Transmetropolitan ended, Robertson found his schedule opening up again for new projects. Former Transmetropolitan editor Axel Alonso approached Darick with the opportunity for an exclusive deal at Marvel comics. Darick was instrumental in Marvel's launch of the Marvel MAX mature imprint. Alongside writer Garth Ennis, who Robertson had met through Warren Ellis, Darick worked on Fury. Fury was a hard-edged modern take on the seminal Marvel comics spy character Nick Fury which Rolling Stone hailed as "cool comic of the year". Robertson and Ennis developed a solid working partnership and would re-team again on a number of projects including a follow-up miniseries depicting Nick Fury during World War 2 entitled Fury: Peacemaker. Darick also illustrated Spider-Man: Sweet Charity with veteran television writer Ron Zimmerman. Darick referred to the book as "his best Spider-Man work to date."

* Fury
* Fury: Peacemaker

Born

Darick soon collaborated again with Garth Ennis, illustrating the notorious issues of Ennis's 2002 Marvel Knights Punisher series where the X-Man Wolverine was mutilated by midgets. The next major collaboration between Darick and Garth Ennis was Punisher: Born. Originally planned as Punisher: The War Where I Was Born, for the Ultimate line, the book instead became the new origin of Marvel's signature vigilante and the starting point for Ennis's hugely successful MAX Punisher series.
* Punisher Volume 3: Business as Usual
* MAX The Punisher: Born

X-Men

Wolverine

Next, in 2003, Darick was offered the opportunity to re-launch Wolverine alongside writer Greg Rucka. Darick, a fan of Wolverine since discovering the character at age 12, accepted the offer, citing a desire to work on the high profile X-Man for a long time. The new Wolverine series launched at number one in Diamond Comics May 2003 sales charts selling over 160,000 copies. Some controversy emerged during Darick and Greg Rucka's run in regards to a mandate to replace Wolverine's classic squat design, which Robertson sought to develop and refine, with a design based on the 20th Century Fox X-Men movie franchise look of Wolverine portrayed by Hugh Jackman. Robertson states the Marvel request made him unhappy, but it was a company-wide choice and did not require his work to mimic the appearance of the actor exactly. Darick Robertson worked on Wolverine (Volume 2) for 14 issues.

* Wolverine: The Brotherhood
* Wolverine: Return of the Native


Nightcrawler

Following his work on Wolverine, Darick Robertson moved directly to another high profile X-Men project. Robertson, a stated lifelong fan of X-Man character Nightcrawler was nominated by Marvel Editor Cebulski, Robertson's collaborator on X-Men Unlimited, as the artist for the fan-favorite character's first ongoing series. Robertson, who had once dressed as the teleporting X-Man for Halloween, said at the time, "I never imagined I'd be so lucky as to move onto a Nightcrawler series on the heels of Wolverine, so in some ways it's still a childhood dream manifesting."
Working with series writer and playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Robertson aimed to bring the classic swashbuckler aspects of the character back to the forefront as well as explore deeper spiritual aspects of the Catholic hero. In addition to pencils Robertson took the series as an opportunity to further develop his craft in inking his own work. Nightcrawler ran 12 issues.
* Marvel Astonishing X-Men: Nightcrawler Vol 1: The Devil Inside
* Marvel Astonishing X-Men: Nightcrawler Vol 2: The Winding Way

The Boys

While Robertson expressed disappointment in not being able to continue working on childhood favorites for Marvel, with the cancellation of Nightcrawler and his departure from Wolverine, Robertson took the opportunity to resign from his exclusivity at Marvel and reunite with Garth Ennis on a project proposed 4 years before. This project would be a super hero satire called The Boys. Ennis had the project in mind for a number of years, and The Boys would permit Darick extensive creative control with the opportunity to produce an original work where he could design the characters, create the covers, and continue inking his own material. The Boys, far from a simple story poking fun at superheroes would be an "allegory about absolute power corrupting absolutely." To promote The Boys launch, and acting alongside comic store Isotope, Robertson gave away 10 original sketches of the The Boys cast kicking the ass of the winner's choice of superhero.
In response to this project DC/Wildstorm offered Darick an exclusive contract which would also see him working on Batman and the re-launch of The Authority. However, after six issues under the DC/Wildstorm imprint the publisher elected to cancel the book despite critical acclaim and fan buzz. Robertson stated "it became obvious that DC was not the right home for The Boys," though he thanked Scott Dunbier and Ben Abernathy at Wildstorm for all their hard work." After DC released the rights for the book back to the creators, Darick was granted an exception to his exclusivity deal so he could continue working on projects for DC, Wildstorm and Vertigo while The Boys found a new publisher.

The Boys did not lack a home long as it was soon after picked up by Dynamite Entertainment in February of 2007. In 2008 The Boys was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series as well as a GLAAD Media Award, and is now under development through Kickstart Entertainment and Original Film for Columbia Pictures. Darick continues to both pencil and ink The Boys monthly.

* The Boys Vol. 1: The Name of the Game
* The Boys Vol. 2: Get Some
* The Boys Vol. 3: Good for the Soul

This article uses material from Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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