Hilary Barta Interview on Working with Alan Moore

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Hilary Barta interview opening spread – via Hilary Barta Twitter

There’s an extensive Hilary Barta in Comic Book Creator magazine #17, out this week. Barta covers lots of ground – from The Thing to SpongeBob SquarePants. I was particularly interested in his account of working with Alan Moore on Splash Brannigan, one of my favorite comics series. I like Splash so much that I went and annotated all of his stories here.

Here are a couple of excerpts from Hilary Barta’s interview:

“Splash Brannigan” was another high point…

Alan’s original idea for Splash was a sort of Flash Gordon crossed with Felix the Cat, who would wear a Rapidograph-type gun in a holster. He’d use it to draw a window on a wall to make his escape and such like. Besides doing the actual character design, my biggest contribution to his creation was suggesting that as living ink, Splash didn’t need a magical Rapidograph – or a costume!

Alan and I only spoke on the phone a couple of times early on, but anything I said to him, anything I’d put in a note, anything that came up in conversation, would often turn up later in a story. He’d get this “Oh, Hilary likes to do noir.” Because when the did the ABC Sketchbook, I drew, you know, Splash as a detective in an inky trench coat and fedora… Alan was just in tune with his pencillers. He’s a creative guy and he’d go “What would make this guy happy? What stories would get the best visuals out of this guy?” … the last one [Splash story] I did with Alan, which was an extra-long story, was this locked room mystery, film noir thing. It actually ran across a lot of detective, mystery and noir tropes and it was one of my favorite things we did together.”

(That last section describes Moore and Barta’s “The Big Seep” published in Tomorrow Stories Special #1 in 2006. And for folks who don’t draw or ink, a Rapidograph is type of ink pen, historically used for drafting and detailed drawing.)

Get yourself a copy to read the whole interview, and check out Barta’s website Surly Hack Attack.

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