Home FAQ 1.3: Who are his influences?
5/4/01, 2:14 p.m.
Howard Storm was the chairperson of the Art Dept. at my college when I was there. I was also in some classes that he taught in.
He was a super nice guy and very informative. I can still remember how his office smelled.
Last night he was the main guest on Art Bell's radio show Coast to Coast.
He spoke about when he died and what happened in the afterlife before he was sent back.
He's been on Oprah before and I saw his story on Unsolved Mysteries, but the full two hour interview on Art was great to listen to. Very inspiring and I sort of had a couple epiphanies listening to it.
It was very cool to hear someone I knew on the show. Howard Storm's office had these amazing huge paintings of his afterlife experience, and I think he did quite a lot of them.
His son (my age or a tiny bit older) was in a couple of my art classes two.
His afterlife experience, and my own after the death of my mother were
a big influence in my Kabuki story.
2/1/01, 4:42 a.m.
I do listen to music while doing artwork. Usually when I'm with other people working around me. When I look at a page I did years ago, I can remember the music I was listening to at the time.
When I did Circle of Blood, I was listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails throughout most of the issues. Also Beck, Mozart, Wagner, Front 242, Rollins, Sting, the Doors, NWA, Elvis. I remember that in issue 5 of COB I was
listening to Ben Harper, Velvet underground, Johny Cash, Led Zepelin, NIN, The Crow soundtrack, NBK soundtrack, Hendrix, Dylan, Bjork and Ani Defranco.
In Skin Deep #3 I was listening to the Chemical Brothers, DJ Shadow, NIN, Marylin Manson, Ani Defranco...
Lately on Daredevil, I've been listening to The Fugees, The Beatles, DMX, Wyclef, Cibo Mato, Radiohead, the new NIN, Tori, Mos Def...
11/27/01, 1:40 a.m.
[Kabuki: Fear the Reaper was the] first Kabuki story I drew. I guess I had just turned 20. Still young enough that I still needed to get that sort of thing out of my system before I could move on.
I pretty much wrote about this sort of thing in the intro to Kabuki
Classics #1, which presents that Kabuki: Fear the Reaper story. Certain creators, like Frank Miller, were a big inspiration to me when I was first deciding to do work in comics.
Sometimes you think you are doing homages to them, but really you just need to do about 100 pages of work to get the more superficial aspects of your early influences out of your system.
10/12/01, 3:43 a.m.
Just got the Kabuki 1/2 issue this last week finally and
I had a couple of questions: 1. Your relationship with Mike Parobeck. Mike's
work had always been one of the most under rated pieces in the last decade.
His style could change on a whim with his mood. They all were masterful.
His Batman Adventures Annual where he "homaged" Kirby was briliant. How
much of an effect did he have on you? Any other stories you can tell us
about him? The industry lost a great artist with him.
He had a great affect on me mostly because of his encouragement to me as
a young artist. I was writing letters to him when I was in high school.
Probably starting when I was 16. He was very encouraging to me and answered
a lot of my questions and offered me his opinions, suggestions, and constructive
criticisms. Hopefully, I'm able to pass on a little of that kind of thing
when I'm speaking at conventions and on this message board.
2. You mentioned Miller, Parobeck, and Mignola as big comic
influences, but yet your personal artistic style is drastically different
from their styles (which is a great thing). Is there specifict things you
pick up from each? All those artists, and more, teach me something new
Mostly storytelling choices are what I learned from each the the people
that you mentioned. Each of them have a very unique way of storytelling.
They each have certain subtleties that I think most people miss. And I
was fascinated with the story telling that is in the subtext of their work.
They understand how to imbue power between the panels, not just in the
February 19, 1997: Below is a letter David Mack mailed to various comic book magazines. The unedited version of the letter was printed in Kabuki: Skin Deep #2.
"Mike Parobeck dies." That statement on the cover of CBG [Comic Buyer's Guide] #1185 made my heard sink. I couldn't believe it. I had just returned from the San Diego Comic Con and a subsequent signging tour of the West Coast. In fact, at the San Diego Con,I met Gerard Jones, who worked with Mike Parobeck as the writer on El Diablo. We were having a conversation about Mike. Little did we know, he had already passed away earlier that week.
For years, Mike and I had kept up a mail correspondence that started in 1990 when I was 17-years old, in my Senior year at high school. A college instructor came to my school promoting the Cincinnati art school with samples of the alumni's accomplishments. He showed me a copy of DC's El Diable penciled by Mike Parobeck. I had just decided that I wanted to do comics as a career and was working on my own comic, and I wanted to know more about the business. I managed to get Mike's address from the art school, and I wrote to him sending him just three pages of my comic book to judge from this if he would mind looking at the whole book in order to give any suggestions or criticisms.
Mike wrote back with a very expressive and constructive letter telling me to send him everything. From then on, he told me what artists and books to study, and he critiqued everything I sent him, asking for more and telling me of the areas in which he saw improvement adn the ones I still needed to polish. When I got my first paying comic work, I put a dedication in that issue to Mike for his artistic guidance and encouraging support. He was very touched by the dedication. I would update him on every new artistic project and he continued to critque them, often sending me sketches of how he would have composed the page.
I have a drawer full of his letters, original sketches, and suggestive layouts that he had sent me over the years. The last couple of years, we sort of fell out of correspondence. Though I sent something to his Chicago address, it was returned because he had moved. I noticed Mike had been doing the Batman Adventures and I hoped he had noticed Kabuki, which I had been writing and drawing for the past couple of years, especially since the book was based on work I designed in one of the first stories I sent him when I was seventeen.
This brings me back to the conversation which I was having with Gerard Jones. I had heard Mike moved from Chicago to Key West and I was wondering if Gerard had heard from him. I wanted to send him my latest works, hoping he would get a sense of pride or satisfaction that the kid he had encouraged and advised over the years had made good in his career. In fact, I always think of Mike Parobeck whenever someone asks me to look at their portfolio. I always try to be as constructive and honest as Mike was to me. I bought the CBG and my girlfriend read the article to me as I drove home from the comic shop. When I got home, I pulled out all of Mike's letters, copies, sketches, and signed books and spread them out all over the floor. I read every one of them again like I had done dozens of times before.
Although I never met him, Mike Parobeck deeply touched and affected my life. I will truly miss him.
09/20/04, 4:07 p.m.
You mentioned some good ones.
My current favorite is the soundtrack to Amelie.
I've listend to it almost constantly this year when I am working.
It's a great soundtrack to write, draw and paint to.