Q&A With Comic Book Artist Michael Lark
This month, with Amazing Spider-Man No. 634, he starts a four-issue stint drawing Marvel Comics’ flagship title.
Q: Does your son like to brag that his dad works with superheroes?
A: You know, I don’t know how much he brags about it. I know he’s excited because he asked me to come to career day at his school. That’s the biggest sign of any pride I’ve seen from him. I think he just takes it for granted. I think he thinks every dad gets to draw Spider-Man for a living.
Q: This interview will be read by many people who haven’t read a comic book in years. What titles would you recommend to a novice?
A: I think anyone who isn’t a regular comics reader tends to think that comic books are all about superheroes, and they’re these juvenile stories of guys in brightly colored tights jumping around punching each other. But there’s just so much out there now. There are as many genres of comics as there are movies. Just go to a comic book store and find what you like. Go to Barnes & Noble and look at the graphic novels section. There’s so much there. If you’re a novice, there’s probably not a better time to get interested in comics.
Q: What’s harder to draw, those New York cityscapes in the background or all those tiny webs on Spider-Man’s costume?
A: I’ve gotten to the point where I try to avoid drawing those cityscapes as much as possible. I’ll draw a foreground building or two, but for a big cityscape, I’ll just manipulate a photo. It’s really just a pattern. It’s something that’s so much more accurately done with something mechanical than it is by hand. So, yeah, those webs are a pain, because they have to follow the contours of his body accurately. It’s tough to do.
Q: Tobey Maguire is apparently through with playing Spider-Man on the big screen. Do you have a suggestion for a replacement?
A: I hope they find a good, young, unknown actor. I’d like to see Spider-Man be a high school kid who’s like, “Gosh, I have a test tomorrow and a date with Mary Jane, and now the Green Goblin’s loose. What am I gonna do?” I’d much prefer that. That’s Spider-Man to me. To me, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a better Spider-Man movie than any of the Spider-Man movies were. That’s essentially what it was, a girl Spider-Man, but instead of fighting six villains, she was fighting vampires.
Q: You drew Daredevil for a long time. Were you able to sit through that Ben Affleck movie?
A: No, I didn’t hear anything good about it, so I stayed far away from it. There are really one or two comic book movies that I really like. I thought the new Batman movies were acceptable. They were pretty good. I don’t like seeing Batman wearing armor, but I like the tone of them. But I thought Iron Man was fantastic. I could watch Iron Man every couple of weeks.
Q: Your first Amazing Spider-Man arc, “The Grim Hunt,” is a sequel to “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” a seminal Spidey story from 1987. Do you remember reading those comics?
A: No, I never read them. They sent me PDFs of them when I started working on this, but I never even read them. I’m not a comics geek or nerd or whatever you want to call them. I never have been. I enjoy telling stories about superheroes, because I think they can be really strong metaphors. But I didn’t grow up reading Spider-Man and Batman and stuff. I grew up wanting to design spaceships for Star Wars.