Saturday, February 17, 2018
Home  >  Features  >  SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: Ruairi Coleman (Co-Creator of IDENTITY)



Guest contributor Mark Dickson interviews MightyVille Spotlight Artist Ruairí Coleman about his newest comic book creation, IDENTITY, with Joe Khachadourian, A.K.A. our very own Joe Kach!


Creator-owned independent comics are a dime-a-dozen and it’s often difficult to isolate the ones that are worth your attention; you’re often required to go on word of mouth alone. Alternatively, getting to know the creators behind a project can help to build up faith that they’re capable of creating a quality product. This Spotlight Interview has been put together to help you get to know an up-and-coming creator and let them sell themselves.

IDENTITY is an upcoming release from two creators: writer Joe Khachadourian and artist Ruairí Coleman. It follows Hollywood stuntman, Sami Nassar, as his world is turned upside down when he is mistakenly identified as the alter ego of a local vigilante. Ruairí Coleman followed his co-creator and submitted himself to a Spotlight interview to discuss his influences and his long-term goals in the industry.





Comic book artist

Dinosaurs and teen turtles



Mark Dickson: First things first, where might people know your work from? What’s your most publicly available body of work?

Ruairí Coleman: My most publicly available work would be Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, published by Dynamite. I work on three issues of the book, collected in Volume 3: Raptor City, and it’s available on Comixology or at your local comic retailer. I also did a variant cover for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Amazing Adventures last year, but there’s more TMNT to come…

What got you started as an artist? Do you owe your career to anyone in your family?

I don’t know how far back my artistic inclination goes, but my whole family were always supportive: my mother was constantly supplying stationary and her father, who worked at a printers, would provide me with paper and handmade sketch books. My mum would also have to buy me comic books on a regular basis: the X-Men and Spider-Man reprints; comics based on the Spider-Man and Batman cartoons; the Sonic the Hedgehog comic from the early 90s that had some dodgy Streets of Rage comics, written by Mark Millar if I remember right? I’d copy the artwork incessantly and make my own comics.

Who do you count as your greatest artistic influences?

Stylistically, I’m clearly influenced by Joe Madureira, as well as Mark Brooks, Humberto Ramos and Chris Bachalo among others. I also study the techniques of guys like Stuart Immonen, Declan Shalvey and Greg Capullo to improve the layouts of my pages and composition of my panels. Given that I’m still trying to master backgrounds and architecture, I look at a lot of Manga – particularly Akira – as I feel the Japanese are unsurpassed in that regard. But, yeah, in terms of greatest artistic influence, it’s probably gotta be “Joe Mad!”




Do you have a licensed project that you aspire to contribute to? If so, what is it?

People are probably sick of my talking about it at this stage but it’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! I’m currently working towards my ultimate career goal of getting on IDW’s main TMNT book and the word “contribute” sums that goal up perfectly. The Turtles franchise has such a storied history, involving so many artists and interpretations of the characters, and I want to be part of that for sure.

I don’t just want to draw an issue of TMNT and tick it off my list: I’d love to hang around on that book for a few years, like Mateus Santolouco has been, and really add something to the legacy. I recently saw the trailer for the Mutants in Manhattan game, with character designs strongly inspired by Santolouco’s art, and I think that’s one of the greatest validations of an artist’s contribution to a franchise. I’d love to make a similar contribution to that book.

Aside from the Kimahri that you were asked to draw at Thought Bubble last year, what’s the best private commission that you’ve been asked to complete?

Commissions are great because you always get to draw characters you wouldn’t normally, plus some truly unique scenarios! I did a spate of commissions for Christmas last year and probably my favourite was for my buddy Shane, who wanted a picture of him and his fiancée Fiona, dressed as 80s movie/video game characters (à la Kung Fury) and battling a slew of cliché 80s villains, like ninjas, cyborgs, aliens and punks: that was a lot of fun to do!

What’s the story of how you met Joe Khachadourian?

I was just looking for some paid work at the time and Joe had a post up on Digital Webbing, looking for a paid artist on this creator-owned book he’d written. The synopsis he summarised on that post (Hollywood stuntman gets mistaken for the alter ego of a local vigilante, by said vigilante’s arch nemesis) really grabbed me so I contacted him about working on the book.

From there, Joe gave me more info on the project and I thought it had a lot of potential, and might even be good enough – if done properly – to get picked up by a publisher. Joe was gracious enough to agree to my coming on as co-creator and from there we’ve been working together to craft IDENTITY into what, we hope, will be a successful comic series!




What’s the most extravagant and unbelievable thing that you’ve been asked to draw for IDENTITY so far?

A rainsoaked rooftop battle between two of the book’s most iconic characters! It was a lot of fun to draw, and probably turned out the best of all the pages I’ve drawn. Our colour artist, Tim Brown, recently turned in the colours for that scene and he totally nailed it; I can’t wait for people to see it.

What’s a deep, dark secret about Joe that he wouldn’t want to get out?

He really liked the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I don’t know that he’s ashamed of that fact, but he should be. Credit where it’s due though, the sequel looks like it’s gonna be a completely bonkers adaptation of the 80s cartoon and a lot of fun!

Everyone has the story of the comic that got them hooked on the medium. What’s yours?

I can’t remember which book in particular got me hooked but my love of the medium peaked in the early-to-mid 90s; I still remember getting issue one of X-Men, drawn by Jim Lee, when the cartoon blew up in the UK and Ireland – man, that book was beautiful!

I still remember where I was when reading issue #1 for the first time, and a few issues later when Wolverine has his epic throwdown with Omega Red; moreso, I vividly remember seeing and reading that at the time: I was 9 or 10 at the time. Later on, it was John Romita Jr, Sal Buscema and, particularly, Mark Bagley’s art during the Spider-Man Clone Saga that had me hooked. I still go back to those books for a nostalgic kick and inspiration from time to time.


X-MEN #1


(This interview was reprinted with the permission of The Green Gorcrow and was initially published at this link.)


More Spotlights on MightyVille:

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: Joe Khachadourian (Co-Creator of IDENTITY)

By Plane, by Train, and by Foot - Our First Journey to Midtown Comics!

Annihilating Potential - A Conversation with INVADER ZIM Creator Jhonen Vasquez


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