The following is an interview with David Nakayama on partnering with Clover Press to launch a Kickstarter campaign for The Marvel Art of David Nakayama, a coffee table book collecting nearly 20 years of his incredible cover art with Marvel Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Nakayama about the experience of revisiting his artwork for the collection, his creative process in collaborating with Clover Press, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: As you look ahead to the combined collection with Clover Press, what has been your experience in revisiting your body of work?
David Nakayama: Yeah, I couldn’t be more excited about it—especially because it’s my first-ever collection of any kind. Looking back at this body of work (some of it shockingly created back in the early 2000s!), I just found it so interesting to chart the changes and growth over the years. Having spent 12 years in video games working in different styles, I remember thinking really hard about what style I should use when coming back for comics. Like, if I can draw in many styles, which ONE do I choose? So, you can definitely see that experimentation over time before I start settling in on something that feels distinctive and that synthesizes all of my best moves together.
BD: Your work has spanned various entertainment mediums, from comics to video games. Was there anything in particular about the sequential art medium that attracted you more than other artistic media?
DN: I decided at about age 12 or 13 that I just wanted to be Jim Lee when I grew up. I just thought, “what could be a better job than this?,” you know? I like the bombast, infinite possibilities, and the bright, colorful nature of the comics medium, and it’s always been close to my heart. Working in games was worthwhile and memorable, but working in a team environment definitely had its pluses and minuses. I think I might be better suited for freelance, where I can work specific problems for a mix of different companies.
BD: In revisiting your work years later, was there anything new or intriguing that you took away from the imagery that you hadn’t anticipated when originally creating it?
DN: These are very insightful questions, thank you! I think the thing that surprised me the most was that the germs of what I consider my style now started creeping into the art much earlier than I realized. Like, if you look carefully, you can see in some of my earliest covers that I’d hit on a great stylistic move, then not be able to repeat it for years, but then it would reemerge eventually, and now it’s an essential part of my style today.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with Clover Press for the collection?
DN: Hank Kanalz, Robbie Robbins, and the team at Clover Press have been nothing short of amazing! It’s been a joy to work with them as we put this book together. They’ve had good advice about how to format things and what to include, and they’ve been very receptive to my thoughts when I feel strongly about something. Most of all, I’m just so thrilled to have their help in putting this book together at this level of quality. I know that if I tried to put this together myself, it would’ve been a much less exciting product. Instead, we’ll have a truly top shelf book available very soon.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you’re able to share with readers?
DN: I’m particularly excited about my ongoing main cover gigs (including our new Spider-Gwen series that launches in October)! And I’m always excited about the projects I’m developing with my retailer partner, Unknown Comics. So, that would be my Hellfire Gala magazine covers, for example, and we’ll have a new line of X-Men covers that’ll follow shortly thereafter. Got some cool video game freelance coming up, too— stay tuned!
BD: Lastly, in light of the Kickstarter campaign, are there any particular backer rewards that you would like to highlight for our readers?
DN: There are so many cool things that we get to offer as part of this Kickstarter. You can count on super sweet alternate covers, extra merchandise on the side (worthy of being its own product, honestly!), signed editions, remarques, and we’ll see what I can manage for sketches, as well! This is the full court press, and it’s going to be incredible. Guys, thanks a ton for coming along for the ride!