Welcome to Meet a Dork, a feature on Dorkaholics where we get to know a fellow dork somewhere in the world. Through Meet a Dork, we hope to not only establish new friendships with other fans but showcase the vastness of our community, the diversity of backgrounds, and the unique stories of each person. This week, we have comic book illustrator Darick Robertson, best known for co-creating The Boys and currently working on a new series Space Bastards.
NEIL BUI (NB): Thanks for joining us on Meet A Dork, Darick!
DARICK ROBERTSON (DR): Did you just call me a dork?
NB: Haha, are you suggesting you’re not a dork? You’ve designed literally thousands (if not more) of characters over the course of your life and career for both big and small publishers.
DR: Thousands? I think you’re giving me too much credit…
NB: You’ve once again produced an incredible visual work with one of your most recent ventures — Space Bastards Vol. 2.
DR: Thank you!
NB: How has your process of designing a character evolved since you first got started in high school (Space Beaver)?
DR: Often it just comes to me as I’m reading a script. In the case of Davey Proton, I did what I like to do when starting a new character and I based him on a friend. I did this with Andre Ricciardi for Spider Jerusalem, and inadvertently Simon Pegg for Wee Hughie. With Davey, I based him on my friend, author, and pro-wrestler in New Zealand, Karl Fleet (known as Curt Chaos in NZ).
With Manny, I worked from the description the writers had in mind, but in their original vision, he just had a gelled hair spike and was human. I made him an alien and added the horn because when you read about how much abuse and damage Manny endures throughout the series, it made more sense.
With Space Beaver, it all rolled out of the name, which just popped into my head one day, back when I was a teenager. From there I started to imagine these cute, lovable, fuzzy cartoon animals but with all this pathos, angst, and violence. Blood and guts spurting from them in battle. For some reason, that was just too much to draw…
Art by Darick Robertson, featured in Space Bastards #1
NB: Your work has been brought to life in the critically acclaimed (and beloved by fans) The Boys since 2019. While the series was already well-known amongst comic fans, I know quite a few people (who aren’t comic book readers) that are obsessed with the show but unaware of its past. What are your feelings about seeing your artwork in live-action form?
DR: It’s been a thrill, mostly because the cast is just so amazingly good and the people creating the show are just killin’ it, it’s so good. I’ve been amazed to see the response. They’ve done such a great job of maintaining what works about the comics and our characters, but have created their own original take at the same time. I love it.
NB: Do you watch the show like all the rest of us or do you feel being involved in the behind the scenes creative process as sufficient enough?
DR: I read the scripts for seasons 1 and 2 and visited the set, but in general, I experience the show in real-time when I can share and watch it with my friends and family. While I know what’s going to happen, it’s still amazing to see it all edited together, especially these scenes I was there for when filming.
NB: Do you foresee a series like Space Bastards translating well to TV as well (like The Boys)? Why or why not?
DR: Honestly, I think Space Bastards would work best in animation because the world is so over the top and bizarre, it would cost a fortune to produce in live-action. But if some crazy producer is willing, I wouldn’t want to stop them…
Cover of Space Bastards #3: Artwork by Darick Robertson, Colors by Diego Rodriguez. Cover of Space Bastards #4: Artwork by Darick Robertson, Colors by Pete Pantazis.
NB: Some casual fans may only know you primarily for grounded, gritty superheroes (The Boys) but you make the leap to science fiction effortlessly. Were you a fan of sci-Fi growing up? What creative avenues does the sci-Fi genre unlock from an artistic perspective?
DR: I’m a massive Star Wars geek and have been since 1977. I like most things fantasy and sci-fi, but I think calling “Space Bastards” sci-fi is a stretch. There’s far more Fiction than science going on. Sorta like calling “Duck Dodgers” sci-fi…. our comic is just high octane space fantasy craziness. We’re not out to solve any of nature’s mysteries.
NB: I’ve always admired your ability to bring a face (human or otherworldly) to life in your artwork and Space Bastards really showcases that once again.
DR: Thank you!
NB: While working on artwork for a project, do you tend to develop a favorite character during the process of it all?
DR: Sometimes. Often it’s like choosing my favorite kid, they’re all fun to draw in some ways. Usually, I develop a hatred for certain characters and start to loathe them as if they were real people I can’t stand that I have to spend time with.
NB: If so, what was your favorite to design with Space Bastards?
DR: In the end, it was Zordakk, hands down. The more I drew him, the more his character came into focus. He’s so unassuming until he cuts loose, and then he’s so wild and badass, that drawing him in those contrasts was really fun. You only see him briefly on the first page of issue 1 but he’s featured in issue 3 and throughout the series, he’s a fun and prominent character.
NB: I personally loved how you were able to contrast the two characters of Manny and David S. Proton in the first volume.
DR: I’m glad that came through. I really wanted the reader to feel like they were walking around in Davey’s shoes and feel the threat of the world he gets into once Manny shows up. Their contrast and eventual rivalry really fuel the story. Eric and Joe have great imaginations and are so funny, that bringing this world to the page was a lot of fun. I hope the readers have as much fun as I did.
Visit the Kickstarter page for their upcoming volume 2: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/roysharpton/space-bastards-volume-2-hardcover