From Friday’s The Oklahoman:
By Matthew Price
Tulsa artist Dustin Evans has helped chronicle the adventures of Disney’s pirates and gargoyles. This summer, he’ll introduce comic book fans to new characters in “Imaginary Friends.”
“Imaginary Friends” is a 96-page comic book being published by Viper Comics. Evans handles the entire art process — penciling, inking and digitally coloring the story.
“This book is great for people who love ‘popcorn movies,’” Evans said in an e-mail interview. “There is a lot of action, comedy and great characters that drive the story. The plot revolves around six Imaginary Characters, being led by their fearless leader, Rex Montana, to save the world from certain doom. The question is can a clown, skeleton, pageant winner, deer-man, action hero and small child actually save the world?”
Jason M. Burns wrote the “Imaginary Friends” story. Burns is also the author of “Expendable One” and “M-Force.”
“It’s hard to sum this book up, but if I could pick a word or two to describe it, ‘roller coaster’ would be it,” Evans said.
Evans started drawing seriously in fourth grade, after getting a “How to Draw Dinosaurs” book from the library book fair.
“I drew every prehistoric animal in the book at least once or twice,” Evans said. “It wasn’t long after this when I discovered comic books. Batman, Superman and X-Men were my books of choice. I spent hours drawing and redrawing my favorite super heroes in battles only limited by my imagination.”
Evans took every art class he could from middle school to high school, then attended Oklahoma State University, majoring in illustration and graphic design. Evans graduated with a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in 2005.
But even before that, Evans was graduating into comics. A trip to Comic Con International in 2004 provided Evans’ big break.
“It was my first time on a plane, and my first time in a major state that didn’t border Oklahoma,” Evans said. “I handed out sample packets of my work to companies around the building, talked to as many people as possible, asked numerous questions and listened to all the feedback. It was the single most exciting and bizarre experience I had encountered to date. Celebrities were everywhere and artists and writers I had respected for years were looking at my work.”
A few days after returning home, Evans received a call from Disney Adventures, asking him to draw a comic strip based on the “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Later, he provided the colors for Disney’s “Gargoyles.”
“I grew up watching the animated series, so working on the comic books was like a childhood dream come true,” he said.
Currently, Evans is working on digital colors for an upcoming book from Devil’s Due called “Serpo,” scheduled for an August release.
“‘Serpo is a three-chapter graphic novel in the sci-fi/action genre, loosely based on a true story,” Evans said. The book was written by Burns with pencils/inks by Joe Eisma, letters by Nick Deschenes and colors by me, of course.”
In his approximately four years as a comic-book artist, Evans said his upcoming “Imaginary Friends” is the work of which he’s the most proud.
“It will be the biggest project to feature my artwork alone, since I’ve started my comic book career,” Evans said. “There’s just something great about flipping through 96 pages, knowing you’re responsible for all the art from the lines to the colors throughout the story.”