Tito W. James: How’s FanExpo Boston treating you?
Chris Uminga: It’s a good show. It’s much bigger than it used to be. It’s transitioned into more of a culture comic con as opposed to a traditional comic con like it used to be.
It’s good because it’s bringing in a different crowd and a bigger audience. You get to expose your work to people who just might be here for a Harry Potter “meet and greet,” who wouldn’t normally attend a comic con.
TWJ: Is there anything that stands out to you in terms of current comic book culture?
CU: The movies and TV shows have changed everything. It’s made it more welcoming for the casual comic fan. It moved us out of a niche of old dudes with long-boxes.
The movies and shows have introduced comic characters to a broader audience who may have been afraid to starting reading comics. Because when you have fifty years of history where do you start? I think movies are a really good introduction. They get people to buy the comics, the toys, and come to a comic convention.
Also, not everything is superhero-based as far as comics go. The internet really changed everything as well, where you can self-publish a web-comic. It doesn’t have to involve superpowers–it could just be a slice of life. Katie Cook has her own webcomic and seeing that is really inspiring. You don’t have to work for Marvel, DC, or Image. You can just do it yourself and get a group of fans.
TWJ: What made DC reach out to you about the vinyl figure line?
CU: I’ve known Jim Fletcher, head of DC Collectibles, for many years. My art style is very different, not very editorial. They always said “We’re going to find something for ya.”
One day they said they wanted me to do this thing called DC Artist Alley and I lost my mind. I was so excited when they told me I’d get to work on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. You can’t ask for more as a comic fan. It’s the Trinity, it’s the big guns! To get a chance to play in that sandbox is pretty amazing. I’ve got a Flash figure that’s going to come out in December, which is pretty great.
TWJ: Do you have any advice to creators at Artist Alleys looking to be discovered?
CU: I think social media is a huge thing now. You have to have a strong social media presence. It almost becomes a secondary part of the job. You have to make sure that you’re updating, letting people know what you’re working on, where you’re going to be, and answering questions. Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, show your work to as many people as possible. It’s a great time to be an artist.
I’d like to thank Chris Uminga for taking the time to do this interview. You can find his vinyl figures for DC Comics Artist Alley right now.
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