ALWAYS. It stressed him out incredibly but on my side there were just minor adjustments necessary. When we fell behind and went to Hawaii to get caught up, it was because he was slowing down and I was looking at the pages on the wall and going, "Well, I'm fine. I'm five pages ahead. I'll wait 'til he starts getting caught up and then I'll do some more pages." Well, no, then he just slows down and goes "Well at least he isn't putting any more pages up on the wall, so I've got time to do these." Then I'd have to do more pages faster because the end of the month was coming up. So, then I just worked at my own pace. Get an issue done in three weeks. Period. No excuses. Complete blinders on. Danny Thomas gave his daughter Marlo blinders as a present one time with a card "Run your own race." I never forgot that.
Twenty nails on the wall with twenty buffalo clips and the pages go up and Gerhard finishes them. I fill the twenty hooks in three weeks. Then when we moved the operation to the Off-White House, we each had a room with twenty nails on the wall and twenty buffalo clips. So I'd fill up my wall and then he'd take them down and finish them. If I go ahead, I'd put the next issue's pages on his wall, so he can see that the other wall is full and now his wall is filling up. Not subtle, but very Real. And then I'd even get to the point where I had my "orphans of the floor". Both walls are filled up and I'm three pages into the third one and the pages are next to my drawing board leaning against my table. He gets the issue done, moves the pages off his wall onto my wall and puts my orphans onto his wall.
Did you ever ask him to change something he had drawn (or wanted to, but bit your tongue)?
No. It would never have occurred to me. He was a much better technical artist than I could ever hope to be. It's a Gerhard page. It blows anything else in comics out of the water. It wasn't until WAY late, the second or third last year -- 2002, 2003 -- when the stress was really getting to him and I said, "If you want, I'll just fix anything I don't like." Anything I think I can add, I'll just put it in. And yes, that was a great relief to him. Because he thought I was chewing my tongue to ribbons. For me, it was fun. Are you kidding? A finished Gerhard page and I can go -- you know, a few 102 pen strokes here would really make it look like Wrightson. But it was always COMPLETELY unnecessary. But I would get this sense of relief from him when I would do it. His stomach might be in much better shape today if I had said that in 1990, say. But, it was COMPLETELY unnecessary. Why would I think to say it?
MILLAR WORLD, where James L. Sarandis has a few questions, but the one that caught my eye was this one:
Pretty much the same question as Dave Vai above but with Eastman and Laird's TMNT. Also What was your favorite collaboration?
Hit the link to MILLAR WORLD for the answer to that question... and be here tomorrow for more HARDtalk.