Darryl Banks is best-known in comics for his fantastic run on DC’s Green Lantern. His artwork beautifully rendered Hal Jordan’s transformation into Parallax (a character co-created by Darryl and Ron Marz). His dramatic storytelling left readers in shock after the deaths of The Guardians, The Corps, and Sinestro. Then he brought us all back with the rise of a new hero—his other co-creation with Ron Marz, Kyle Rayner.
(Commission of Kyle as Green Lantern - 2010)
Darryl’s career began long before his eight-year run at the helm of Green Lantern. He began at Innovation Comics with a fully-painted comic, Cyberpunk. At Innovation he illustrated the Justice Machine, and later Millenium he went on to work on the classic pulp hero, Doc Savage. The growth in his art was quick, and a mature storytelling technique blossomed from those early independents.
(Page from Doc Savage: Man of Bronze, 1991)
Once Darryl got to DC that was where most of his professional comic output was focused. He worked on such titles as The Legion, JLA, Adventures of Superman, Aquaman [I know it was a backup, but Aquaman is my favorite DC Character – Ian], and Tangent Comics. His first foray into the Marvel Universe was a wonderful stand-alone crossover, Green Lantern and The Silver Surfer [which I believe is one of his finest works]. At Marvel, he penciled a Captain America Annual and a fill-in job on Uncanny X-Men. Those issues, coupled with the Surfer/GL crossover gave us a glimpse into what wonders could, and should, lay ahead. With the focus at Marvel turning to the stars, Darryl’s cosmic mastery surely has a place on their section of the new comic rack.
I first met Darryl at a Mid-Ohio-Con in the year 2000. I was 15, and I had been hanging around with the guys of my local comic shop for a while. They were premiering their first small-press comic effort. All the guys said, “Go talk to Darryl!” I was nervous as hell, but the shopkeeper handed me a stack of books and said, “Here, take these to Darryl, tell them they’re from me, and that’s your in.”
After a nervous greeting on my part, Darryl sketched this:
It has not been very far from my art desk for the past 14 years, and Darryl has been a favorite of mine ever since.
[A couple of years later I was helping out that same comic shop make comics. I started out on backgrounds, but I later moved onto illustrating and inking. At some point the original inker jumped off, so I got the call and a nervous 19-year-old at college was inking a full-length Darryl Banks feature. My nerves were only outweighed by the tight deadline. I cringe when I look at the pages, but they were the first time I was ever able to work with a real pro.]
(Splash Page from Johnnie Zombie Annual #1, Pencils by Darryl Banks, Inks by Ian Nichols, 2004)
Darryl’s work is sleek, modern, and dynamic. His ability to foreshorten is one of the notable, elite, skills in his arsenal. Once again we are very fortunate and I am very grateful to be able to publish a piece of Darryl’s art in the pages of Hellena.
(Pinup from Hellena #1, Pencils by Darryl Banks, Inks by Ian Nichols, 2015)
In addition to the fabulous pinup, Darryl was kind enough to answer a few questions and let us know what's up.
What gear do you use for penciling (types of lead, pencil type, etc.)?
I use HB, 4B and sometimes 6B wooden and mechanical pencils.
Recently you began inking your own stuff. What gear do you use for inking (brushes, pens, nibs, etc.)?
Pitt pens, a Winsor & Newton “0” brush and a Pentel brush pen.
You do some fantastic work with markers and I’ve seen your old watercolor work. Have you experimented with digital coloring or inking yet?
Thanks! I color my commercial art in Adobe Photoshop.
When you were working at those independent companies early on, were there people that showed you how to make comics, or was it a learn-as-you-go process?
I had to learn as I went. I learned comics art one bit at a time. I wish I had comics classes in college but that was for illustration and design.
Is that where you caught the bug, or was your desire to be a comic artist instilled earlier?
I wanted to pursue a career in comics during my senior year in high school.
When you worked at DC, you had a bunch of inkers. Primarily it was Romeo Tanghal on a lot of your GL run. You also worked with guys like Terry Austin, Paul Neary, Andy Smith, and a number of others. What was it like seeing your art interpreted by so many different people? Any personal favorites?
That’s a hard one to answer. Working with Terry was a dream. Paul Neary inked like I imagine my technique will be in the future. After a lot more experience!
(JLA/The Spectre: Soul War, Pencils by Darryl Banks, Inks by Paul Neary,2003)
Working on a monthly book, there have to be some deadline/scramble stories. Any you can share with us?
Too many deadline scrambles!! There is a time to be picky and a time to keep moving.
Independent comics are doing as well as they ever have. Any ideas or characters for a creator-owned comic of your own we might see in the future?
Not at the moment, but I have had character ideas brewing in my mind for years.
Recently you did a Kickstarter campaign on a project called Horizon’s End. Although it didn’t get funded, are there plans to do anything with that?
I did more sample pages for Horizon’s End but I’m not sure what will happen with it next. It may be too expensive to get off the ground. Strong concepts from Daron Kappauff and Chris Dellociacono. I can’t forget the spectacular color art by Moose Baumann.
When I reached out to you to do a pinup for Hellena, you said that you were a huge Conan fan. What Conan works are your favorites, and what artists define the character for you?
Roy Thomas and John Buscema ARE Conan! That duo is also one of my favorite teams on the classic Avengers comics, too. Conan is a great character. He balances action and humor especially with Thomas and Buscema.
You do commissions for fans through your Comic Art Fans Gallery (LINK). Are they all GL requests? Any memorable ones?
I do a wide variety of characters from various companies. I have done quite a few Green Lantern pieces as you would imagine! Last year I did a commission of the Avengers as Green Lanterns. It was unusual but enjoyable!
Anything else that you’re working on that we should know about and where we can buy it?
Most of my work is concept illustrations and character designs. I have also been doing artwork for Filsinger Games which is a SCi-Fi wrestling card and dice game company which the fans can buy. Also watch my Facebook and Twitter pages for my convention schedule!
THANK YOU Darryl!
You’re very welcome!
Here's a cool video of the man at work:
Here is Darryl's Comic Art Fans gallery where he posts his latest commissions and lets people know how to get one.
For the first time in years, Darryl and I will be at the same convention at the 2016 Gem City Comic Con! I look forward to it greatly.
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