Nerd Nation recently had the opportunity to interview Arvell Jones at Fantasticon Toledo.
Arvell broke into the comics industry as art assistant for Rich Buckler, the first of a Detroit group of artists to enter the field professionally. After helping him on Marvel features starring the superhero the Black Panther and the Buckler-created cyborg antihero Deathlok, Jones received his first published credit, for pencil-art assistance, alongside Pollard, on the Buckler-drawn Thor #228 (cover-dated Oct. 1974). Following an illustration for the text story “The Atomic Monster” in the Marvel black-and-white horror-comics magazine Monsters Unleashed #9 (Dec. 1974), Jones made his full comics-art debut as penciler of an 18-page story starring the martial-artist superhero Iron Fist in Marvel Premiere #20 (Jan. 1975). He went on to do the next two Iron Fist stories in that bimonthly series. At DC Comics, Jones worked with writer Gerry Conway on the Super-Team Family title which starred the Atom teaming with various other DC characters. After the cancellation of Super-Team Family, a Supergirl/Doom Patrol team-up drawn by Jones originally scheduled to appear in that series was published in The Superman Family #191-193.
Jones worked on the DC Comics series All-Star Squadron in the mid-1980s, penciling the majority of the issues released between 1985 and 1987. After leaving the comics field for several years to work in television, he returned in 1994 to provide pencils on DC Comics/Milestone Media’s series Kobalt and Hardware.
One of Arvell’s personally designed characters is Misty Knight in the Luke Cage series.
Nerd Nation: Besides your own characters, who are your favorite characters?
Jones: BATMAN (said in a deep, raspy voice). Also Black Panther, Captain America, street level type characters.
Nerd Nation: As an artist, what are your favorite tools of the trade?
Jones: A #2 pencil and a piece of paper. Also my Mac and Photoshop.
Nerd Nation: Do you have any favorite artists?
Jones: I would definitely include Jack Kirby and Neil Adams but there are a lot of good artists.
Nerd Nation: Any new artists to keep an eye on?
Jones: Wow, there’s so many in the business…I like Ivan Reese, Stewart Edmund….those are a couple I can think of.
Nerd Nation: Do you think it was harder back in the early days to get into the business or harder now?
Jones: I think it was harder then. Now there are more avenues to get into the business through self-publishing, social media, new technology. I think there’s more opportunities now for new writers and artists.
Nerd Nation: Do you ever see someone else’s artwork and think you could have drawn that scene better?
Jones: I sometimes think how it could have been done differently but not better. It challenges me to always be looking for ways to improve my own work.
Thank you to the guests we had the pleasure of speaking with at Fantasticon!