This week i was gifted the honor of interviewing the very talented artist, Sanford Greene. Greene is an official Marvel artist, who has also done work with DC, Dark Horse, EA, and more. He also has done well known independent work, including ROTTEN APPLE, AN ARMY OF FROGS, and others. Just as respected in mainstream as he is in Indie, he take both sides of the track seriously as his work reflects it. From Shaft to Sonic, his subjects vary.
Greene was also recently rewarded the honor of being the artist of the new Marvel series, BattleWorld Runaways, which the announcement pretty much broke the Internet.
As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of ALL things Black Indie. I believe in self ownership and cooperative economics above ANYthing. When i see an artist master both, how can I not give praise?
Illustrator/Concept artist 4 Marvel Entertainment
BOOKS/ SERIES you’ve created and/or worked on::
Deadpool, Spider-Man, Rotten Apple, 1000, Sonic The Hedge Hog, An Army of Frogs, Method Man, The Uncanny Avengers, Hulk Team-Up, and others.
Once again, congrats on the new BATTLEWORLD RUNAWAYS series! How did THAT pan out? That cover for #1? Yeah. Pure illness. Not really much else to ask or state about that. Not even sure if this is part of the interview, I just wanted you to know that, LoL::
I was contacted by Marvel editor, Wilson Moss. We were already working together on a few other Marvel projects. That is indeed the illustration for issue #1.
What was your favorite comic book series as a child, and did it influence your art into adulthood?::
It’s gotta be X-Men! Those characters were so unique to me growing up as a kid. I loved the diversity. That component is a huge component to my work today.
What was your favorite cover art/project that you created for a different artist/company?::
Honestly my Rotten Apple project. Even though there’s only a one-shot available so far, it’s the most fun I’ve had creating. I’m trying to bring that same energy to my current Marvel project.
What made you choose to use zombies as the villains in your one shot, ROTTEN APPLES? Are there more issues in the future?::
I just seemed like a no brainer for zombies these days. There will be more issues!
Working for mainstream is a huge honor for many I speak to. You’ve done massive work for MARVEL, DC, DARK HORSE, DISNEY, EA, and everyone in between. With that being said, what gives you the pleasure knowing that you’re JUST as well-loved in the INDIE community (we don’t just love just ANYbody, you know, lol) ::
It’s an honor to have an appeal in both genres. To be honest, the indie scene is where all the hot new talent resides. It’s very similar to the film industry in where Hollywood goes after these unique “indie” voices and puts them on a mainstream platform. It seems to be a pretty good formula so far.
As I was looking back at your crowd funding campaign for your sketchbook series, DEADLINES, which was fully funded, I paid very close attention to how absolutely ATTENTIVE you were to the contributors. I’ve seen many campaigns that get money from the community, and then they just “ship and dip” per say, lol. It’s borderline insulting. You were very strong with networking, staying up to date on the progress, as well as adding later incentives.::
Thank you for that compliment. My wife was a trainer for how to conduct costumer service, so I learned from the best! News travels faster than ever. All people need to do is send out a tweet about you and it could make or break you. Your brand is MAJOR in this industry. That being said, you want to make sure as much as possible to satisfy the costumer when they leave you.
Hip hop is obviously a MAJOR influence in your art, as anyone with eyes can see. From your color choices to the movement in your storylines, the force is strong. Who are your favorite emcees to listen to while working? What is your favorite J Dilla track? And yes I know you have one, because your love of hip hop lets me KNOW you probably listen to Detroit’s beloved Dilla, lol::
Maaann… this is another conversation all together! I’m a huge fan of the genre, but honestly I like to a ton of NPR and podcast when I work. Keeps my mind focused a bit more plus it helps me not feel so isolated from life! Working in my studio for 6-8 hours alone everyday is what it is. HOWEVER, When you speak of Dilla you are speaking the gospel of the illest hip hop influence maybe EVER. I can’t even talk about him in the format…. I have too much to say!
METHOD MAN series was very successful at San Diego Comic Con. Have you had any negative feedback from doing your hip hop inspired series and graphic novels? Have they ever been shunned by the mainstream?::
Not that I know of. I’ve gotten nothin’ but love for the Method OGN. However, I wish I could do it again, there’s SO many things I’ve learned over the last 6 years.
SHAFT… Your covers for every single issue absolutely SLAY. How did you get hired of for Dynamite’s HOTTEST series, at least in my opinion?::
I was reached out to by friend David Walker who was the scribe of Shaft. We’ve been talking about working together for a while and it finally came together with the help of Dynamite Entertainment.
As I told David Walker in his interview I did recently, your HANDS UP DON’T SHOOT cover for Shaft Comics was absolutely AMAZING. How important is it to you to cover controversial topics in our community in the form of your artwork?::
Very!!! Since I have the platform to speak on these subjects, I feel it’s my duty to do so. The goal is to hopefully shed some positive light on these sensitive subjects.
Do you feel that predominantly black comic book conventions are a good thing for YOU? Why or why not?::
Honestly, I haven’t given that much thought. But, I do think the more diversity I can be a part of the more exposure I will gain as a black creator.
Do you think that sexism exists in comic book industry? (I will ask this every week, America, so deal with it, lol)::
YES… Look at what the majority of the female characters dress like in the average mainstream book. 😉
What do you feel needs to be changed in order for the advancement of women in your industry?::
I think it’s very simple, just create more female protagonist that look and sound like women we see in real life!!! That means getting more females to write and illustrate female characters!
Out of all of your projects, which was the most difficult and why?::
Not sure Once I’m done I move on to the next project. Honestly, it could be my creator owned projects “ Rotten Apple” and “1000”. Mainly because I won’t it to be just right so I move on them slowly. Almost to a fault.
OK, less serious stuff- if you could have ANY two characters be your homies in REAL time, who would they be and WHY?::
Powerman and Iron Fist! NUFF SAID
Are there any new or upcoming projects/events you’re brainstorming?::
Nothing I can speak on yet. Look for “ Runaways “ due out later in the summer.
Where can we find you online? Links, Handles, Hashtags, Bribes::
Facebook, Instagram, twitter… all @sanfordgreene
Any last thoughts, screams, rants, praises, etc?::
Shout outs to my homies Axel Alonzo and Will Moss over @ Marvel, and to my family.
MECCAcon Weekly is a weekly series of features, interviews, and highlights, all focused around comics and art, mainly centered around the AFRIKAAN diaspora community. We focus on the upliftment and advancement of arts thru various mediums. #MECCAconWeekly can also be found on our sister site, DARK MATTERS.
MECCAconWeekly is also a division of Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – MECCAcon. MECCAcon is an annual convention every SEPTEMBER, located in Detroit, MI.
“BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED” …This is my motto. Whatever environment you come from, whatever your surroundings or financial circumstance, there is ALWAYS room to grow, flourish, and BLOOM.
Maia Williams, also known as “Crown”, is executive assistant to many different businesses, artists, and events in the Metro Detroit area. Crown is also CEO and founder of