Comics Salopia: Charlie Adlard Talks About His Career In Comics, Influences And His Astounding Work Rate

by Olly MacNamee

One of the partners behind this new comic con with a difference, Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead) was the focus of his own panel, in his hometown too, this past Saturday, and those in attendance were treated to a leisurely walk through his career to date in which he shared his own early experiences of comics as a kid, which was a story all too familiar with many in the room, what with us mostly being British. We are lucky to have both the influences of American comics and the more high-art, culturally appreciated Bande Dessinee albums such as Asterix and Tin Tin. I have to admit, while Adlard wasn’t dismissing the artwork of the American books, the European books of the likes of Moebius, Alberto Uderzo and Herge, were of a far higher calibre from start to finish. Albeit, not as regularly published as the monthlies of the US.

When Adlard first book into comics back in the 90’s, painted art was all the rage and he cited Dave McKean (The Sandman) as a huge influence, but as his go-to artist, it had to be Alex Toth, who Adlard admired for his economy of line, something you can definitely see in his own work on The Walking Dead (TWD).
Maybe one of the reasons he can produce two pages of inked art a day! That’s an impressive work rate and the reason TWD is a solid monthly, and at times has even been a bi-weekly (although, at that point, the inking talents of Stefano Gaudiano, who leaves the title this month with issue #192, were brought on board to help out).

Another reason for his rather impressive output might be down to his attempt not to really use photo references. Instead, he’ll people watch and try to remember the flow of a person, or how their clothes crease and fall. That’s some visual memory he must have.
Like many other artists, Adlard has switched to digital – for a good while now – but still produces his pages for TWD by hand. After all, as he jokes, his art agent wouldn’t be too happy with him if he went completely digital.
Charlie wound up the panel with his commitment to TWD over other media TWD appear in. After all, if he did get involve with the show, he mentions, it would probably only be as a storyboard artist and that doesn’t interest him. It’s good to know that he’d rather stick to the book and offer us all quantity over quantity.
A promise he delivers one each and every month!
The Walking Dead #192 is out now form Skybound/Image Comics.

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