Last time around I showed you Ben Torres’ original Knight Watchman sample pages and someone asked how I “found” Ben. Like so may of the other artists I’ve worked with, Ben found me. After reading Berzerker #1 with the original Knight Watchman backup story, Ben sent me a great packet of samples and the following letter:
Here is some sample work (mostly sequential) from a book that will be coming out later this year called RAK Rampage Featuring Darklord the Survivor. Also included are some card designs I did for ANIA, the association of Black publishers, and also my version of the Knight Watchman. By the way, David Noble referred me to you.
Since the Knight Watchman story in Berzerker #1 was drawn in a Bob Kane/Bill Finger Golden Age Batmanesque style, I tried to interpret him in a ’90s Frank Milleresque Dark Knight Returns style. I really like the Knight Watchman character and think that he has a lot of potential. Please give me a call when you receive this package. Thanks.
PS: Sorry about the letterhead paper. I was at work.
The letterhead in question was from the Ohio Department of Mental Health. First of all, I was relieved that he was a worker and not a patient there. Secondly, I was blown away by Ben’s art.
There were a handful of pin-ups with strong dynamic figure work, but also about 18 pages of great storytelling, detailed full pencils with dynamite in your face action. I knew that I wanted to work with him, and so did Big Bang partner Chris Ecker when I showed him Ben’s samples.
But on what? He would have been perfect for the mechanized mayhem on Berzerker, but I already had a regular artist. And there was only the one book from Caliber Press. I would have loved to see him on Vanguard at Image Comics but a merry-go-round of great artists were already working on it: Joe Madureira, Jason Pearson, Angel Medina and others.
And that’s exactly the way it happened. Looking back at these samples, I would be just as excited to receive them today, and would do anything I could to work with this guy. I recently asked Ben why he hadn’t done more comics and he said he couldn’t afford it.
Since I first met Ben, he’s been Senior Designer at Hasbro Toy Group, Creative Director at Creative Design Hong Kong / China designing seasonal programs for major U.S. Retailers, Senior Product Manager at Bradford Exchange designing high end programs for the collectible industry, Creative Director at Awesome Toys, and is the owner of Ben Torres Design Inc. Woof.Some brand highlights include Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Batman, Superman, Transformers, among many others.
Next time: Brother Hood.
All non-Big Bang artwork in this post is copyright Ben Torres or respective owners of the characters.