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Hangin’ in Hel City:
An interview with Kyle Hotz

I’ve been a huge fan of artist Kyle Hotz ever since I laid eyes on his Mosaic series done for Sirius Entertainment. It featured a mysterious cyborg named Moses (who goes by the street name of Mosaic) and who happens to wage a one-man war in Hel City. What’s not to like about this bad ass shitkicker decked out in leather and exhibiting that heavy metal swagger.


It’s a shame this character has received very little notice, but Kyle went on to big things while working for Marvel: including creating the Hood - a modern bad to the bone villain and also working on the Zombie: Simon Garth under the Max imprint. Kyle’s got an eye for amazing b/w detail and a penchant for dystopian worlds and all around psychos.

I recently had the chance to sit down with him and discuss a few of these past projects and also get a little insight into his influences and favorite characters that he loves to draw. I think you will be surprised at how hard he works at being a comic book artist, so enjoy everyone!

HMS: Hey Kyle.

Kyle Hotz: Hi Kenneth.

HMS: The first question I want to start out with goes back to the late 90’s when you worked on Mosaic for Sirius. Who created the Hell City Ripper and how did this series come about?

Kyle Hotz: Well, I created all the hell city ripper and mosaic stuff. I really just wanted to get going on a creator owned project, so on weekends or evenings, while I was doing Evil Ernie (Destroyer), I worked on mosaic. When I finally got the whole thing penciled I showed it to Robb Horan at Sirius and he was interested. I took the next six month inking it and it was a lot more work than I anticipated--15 hour days, seven days a week. I had penciled it so crazy detailed that it took like three days just to ink a page. I think I came pretty close to having a breakdown on that, haha.

HMS: At the beginning of each issue, you list a myriad of bands in the credits; suggesting a soundtrack score of sorts. I noticed some are metal bands, so did music play a lot into the formation of this series?

Kyle Hotz: White zombie's “More Human than Human” was the initial inspiration. I drew a picture of the main character inspired by the song. All the rest are things that I felt really fit the book or even what I listened to while drawing it. Music did and still does play a huge role in how I work.

HMS: Would you ever consider bringing Mosaic back to comics?

Kyle Hotz: I've wanted to do more Hell City stuff ever since, but it doesn't, or at least didn't, pay much. I had to take more money jobs. But at this point I think I'd need to reprint mosaic to make the audience more aware of it before I could do the sequel and prequel. I've tried a few places but, even though people say the right things, and it would be a very cheap date (since it's totally done already) I haven't been able to get anyone to commit.

HMS: When you began working at Marvel, you co-created the Hood with Brian Vaughn and then worked on the Zombie for the MAX line. Did you treat those books as simply work for hire? Also, what was your experience at Marvel like?


Kyle Hotz: Well, I began working at marvel waaaay before the hood. I did Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider 2099 and Carnage - I'm sure there are some others before the Hood was created as well. Zombie was work for hire, even though with the second one I wrote it and tried to bring in some fresh but still classic horror themes, it was still a pre-existing Marvel property. The hood, I do have some vested interest in that I always keep my hopes up for a cool toy, or that he'll be a bad guy in the Dr. Strange movie. For the most part, I love marvel. I get to draw all these guys I loved from my childhood. I disagree completely with what they did to the Hood, as it was never our intention, but it is their property. And, in any case, with the second Hood mini I got to draw a bunch of third and fourth tier villains, which are my favorites.

HMS: I can’t say I am finding much of the current crop of artists working on Marvel books all that interesting. What is your take on the current landscape there?

Kyle Hotz: I'm the kind of artist who thinks everyone is better than me, so I'm not the best person to answer this. I will say that there doesn't seem to be as many individual styles like there used to be. When Marvel was bought out, a bunch of books got cancelled (the one I was doing was one of them, a book called the Destroyers, which had a brand new team made up of the Thing, She Hulk, Beast, A-Bomb, Harpie and Karkus), and there seems to have been a slow change to a more house style. Don't get me wrong, these artists are amazing, super talented people, but there is a look that you can recognize with a lot of the title. Something like, maybe they want them to be more accessible and recognizable to the people who only know marvel from the movies. So, maybe I drawing Spider-Man doesn't really fit that. Or really, maybe they just have better guys for the job.

HMS: If you ever came back to work for Marvel, what would be the dream character you would like to work on?

Kyle Hotz: Marvel dream jobs: Wolverine, Dr. Strange, Man Thing, Werewolf by Night, Man-Wolf and probably a whole bunch of bad guys.

HMS: I often compare your style of art to Kelley Jones, but I am sure that is just coincidence. Can you tell me what artists inspire you?

Kyle Hotz: No, of course Kelley is an inspiration. Now, my style was relatively developed already by the first time I ever saw Kelley's work, which was Red Rain, but I loved his stuff so much I hunted down everything after that. Kel and I have a lot of the same influences and love the same things, so a lot of the similarity comes from that and that we think alike on a lot of things, but I'd never, never deny his influence. Others who inspired me were Armando Gil (still the most naturally gifted artist I've ever seen work), Michael Golden, Bernie Wrightson, Jack Davis, Moebius, Nestor Redondo, and a bunch of others. Currently I really dig Eric Powell and Tony Moore. James O'Barr was and is a huge influence. Most people say they don't see that one, but they're just looking at the surface--his influence is really all thru my work. And of course, Simon Bisley!

HMS: What are your current projects? Anything you can tell us about?

Kyle Hotz: I just finished doing an adaptation of the Book of Revelation and am starting on the official Tobin's Spirit Guide, from the Ghostbusters franchise.

Kenneth Gallant, HMS

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