“Between the Panels” is a bi-weekly interview series focusing on comic book creators of all experience levels, seeking to examine not just what each individual creates, but how they go about creating it.
As the comics field has expanded over time, readers have been treated to the emergence of more and more unique voices. Take Lane Lloyd, for example. They describe themselves as making “weird, scary, cartoony comics” — and any readers who sample their work will know it’s the product of a singular voice telling singular stories.
First, the particulars…
Your specialties (artist/writer/letterer/inker/etc.): Artist/inker/colorist — at least with my own work.
Your home base: Maryland
Fanbase Press Contributor Kevin Sharp: What attracts you to making comics specifically over other artforms?
Lane Lloyd: I always joke about finding animation too hard, so I went to the next easiest thing, which is comics. In all seriousness, though, since I was a little kid, I have always loved comics as a medium. I think there are just so many storytelling and visual things that comics can do that no other form of entertainment can, and that sort of limitless potential is what excites me as an artist.
KS: What kinds of comics made up teenage Lane’s collection?
LL: Hmm, it would depend on the week. Teenage Lane was very much not sure what they actually loved. Hellboy was always a constant, and there were a couple years where I was the biggest fan of Spawn. Hellsing was another that you probably would see me read all the time.
KS: Do you remember a time as a younger reader when a comic story really wowed you?
LL: I think it must have been Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. At that time, I had read so many volumes of the Essential Marvel collections, and while I loved them, there was just something magical about reading that first volume of Hellboy when I just happened to pass it at my local library. I’m not sure if it was the story as much as it was the art. Trust me, as I grew up, I learned just how much of a genius Mignola is as a writer and a world creator, but there was just something about his style, how it literally didn’t look like anything else I had read so far. Also, let’s be honest, Hellboy is kind of hot.
KS: Where did the art bug come from for you originally? Was there a work of art that made you think, “I want to try doing that?”
LL: I remember my mom handing me the first two volumes of Essential Spider-Man and the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man. I was maybe nine at the time, and I hadn’t read a ton of comics. I always doodled, because I watched my dad paint constantly, but something about reading those books got me really excited to try and get better.
KS: Did she give you books like that to get you reading in general, or because she knew you had an interest in the arts by then?
LL: If I remember correctly, the first Spider-Man film was coming out, and I had some knowledge of him as a character back then and I was really excited to see it. Mom knew I liked to read, so I think she was trying to kill two birds with one stone when she set me up with those books!
KS: With your dad painting, you obviously were around art from early on. Was that more of a hobby for him or a professional pursuit?
LL: Dad was really inspired by Frank Frazetta, so most of his paintings were homages to that kind of style. For him, art was just a hobby, something to do when he needed a break from the world or doing it to put a smile on someone’s face. I can’t tell you the amount of spray painted shirts my brother and I had, just because Dad wanted to make a shirt with our favorite characters on them.
KS: What inspired the choice to try the comics form once you started making your own art?
LL: I’m a very visual kind of person, I always have been. While I do like to write, it’s not my favorite thing to do, and as a kid, I thought animation was f—king magic and that I’d never be able to do it. Comics, in my mind, seemed like a much more approachable way to tell the stories I wanted to tell, even if they were just a blatant rip-off of Medabots. I also did a long run of comics about a very, very original character called Spider-Boy.
KS: As both writer and artist on your own comics, how do you typically start — with image or story?
LL: It kind of happens at the same time, if that makes sense? I can see images in my mind, so a lot of the time when a new idea pops up, I’m writing it in my head while also seeing how I want it to look, ideally. From there, I usually thumbnail my thoughts down so I don’t forget about them.
KS: And in the case of something like God-Puncher?
LL: God-Puncher has such a weird origin story. I really like the DC character Arm-Fall-Off-Boy, and while I was working one day, I started making this imaginary pitch in my head. What would be my take on Arm-Fall-Off-Boy, what kind of story would I tell if I ever got lucky to play around with the character? Eventually, reality sunk in and instead of wishing to work on an established character, I took the basic idea of [AFOB] and created the character of Tim Finnly. Then came the image of Tim swinging magical fists at otherworldly gods, and that was that. God-Puncher was born.
KS: Tell us a little about your current workspace or studio setup.
LL: Right now I have a little office that is way too unorganized, no matter how hard I stare at the mess and wish it would disappear. Most of my work is done on an iPad, but occasionally, I will use my Huion tablet, even though I’m incredibly rusty with it.
KS: Thumbs up or down: listening to music or other background noise while you work?
LL: Thumbs up all the way up. I’m one of those people that hates silence, so I always have something on. Typically, it’s podcasts, but I’ll admit a lot of rewatches of Parks and Rec [have] happened since I started doing this thing full time.
KS: Without asking you to pick your favorite among your projects, for those unfamiliar with your work, is there book you could point to that most fully represents you as a creator?
LL: Even though I feel like I’ve grown as an artist since then, I still genuinely believe that the most “Lane” project out there is God-Puncher. It’s my little baby, and I did everything for it. If you want a good feel for how I tackle storytelling, I’d still look towards that.
KS: What’s one difference you see between the artist who made that and the artist you are today?
LL: I think I’ve become a much more confident artist and storyteller than I was back then. I’m definitely more willing to take risks now that I know that I can.
KS: Who have been the most influential comic artists for you, either due to their work on the page or their career model?
LL: It’s Mignola and Kohta Hirano for me. Both of them have mastered the technique of making every single panel interesting or just downright awesome to look at. I’ve studied both of them, and while I don’t think I hold a candle to them, I’d like to think that I try my best to also make sure every image you see in my book is interesting.
KS: As long as we’re naming names, can you shout out anyone who’s been especially helpful to you along your comics journey?
LL: There are almost too many to name. I’ll list a few people who welcomed me into the community with open arms. If you are reading this, Matt Taylor, Shadia, Liana Kangas, Ned Barnett, Grant, Danny, and Vita, thank you so much for being there for me, and one day I hope to do you all proud.
KS: As we come to the end, let’s give some love to a comic by someone else from any era that you look at in awe or admiration.
LL: Oh jeez, this is always so hard. I pretty much love everything I read, so I’m going to go with the most recent comic I finished because I think it deserves a hell of a lot of love. BARKING by Lucy Sullivan because I think it’s a very powerful story about depression and there isn’t a single person who draws like Lucy, and we are all so lucky to get to experience her art.
[Author’s Note: For more about Lucy, see our chat here.]
KS: Let us know what you’re working on now and what we should look out for in 2022.
LL: So, I can’t talk too much about some of the things going on with my projects just yet. Hunt for the Solavore, which is a space opera horror written by Grant Dearmitt, is about to be sent to print! There is a Kickstarter going on for a comic called Odd Yarns, which I was lucky enough to do the art on, and it looks like it’s already funded! And the last thing I can bring up is I am doing five variant covers for a new comic series called New Rat City! It’s probably the biggest job I’ve taken so far, and I so hope I make everyone happy with these covers!