Rick Hoberg got his start in the comics business in the mid-70s, assisting Russ Manning on the classic Tarzan comic strip. He moved on to comic books and has drawn nearly every major Marvel and DC superhero at one time or another. At Marvel, he has rendered titles including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Conan, What If, and Star Wars. At DC, he has covered Batman, Brave and the Bold, All Star Squadron, Green Arrow, and even Captain Carrot.
In addition, he’s a leading creator in the field of animation having worked on dozens of cartoon shows including Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends, G.I. Joe, X-Men, TMNT, Ultimate Avengers, Justice League, and many more. He’s currently hard at work for Film Roman doing the storyboards for The Avengers.
You can find out more about Hoberg, who’s based in Seattle, on his website, www.rickhoberg.com. Among the many art galleries you can view extensive samples of storyboards, including a series of images from the popular show The Secret Saturdays.
Question 1: When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics for a living?
As a kid. My dad turned me on to the comics page in the papers, and I quickly found the world of comic books, where my love for the art form really flourished.
Question 2: Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?
My dad, who not only showed and shared comics with me, but also sat me down to watch movies like King Kong and The Sea Hawk. Also my wife and my mother both of whom encouraged the pursuit of my vocation.
Question 3: Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?
Doug Wildey, who taught me the art of cartoon storyboard and layout, and Russ Manning who first hired me to do comics and instructed me in the technical aspects which, in the end, create a good artist. I admired and loved both of these men.
Question 4: What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
Scuba diving, bicycling, museums, movies, and opera, when I can afford it.
Question 5: Describe your typical work routine.
I get up around 6:00 AM, do chores and catch up on correspondence, work out three times a week, and try to get to work no later than 9:00 AM. Then, depending on my workload, I work until at least 6:00 PM, and quite often as late as 8:00 PM.
Question 6: What writing, drawing, or other tools do you use?
The usual: pencils, paper, erasers, ink pens and brushes, and now my computer for sending and receiving work, as well as retrieving reference.
Question 7: What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
A good piece of storytelling and a nicely conceived and rendered drawing.
There have been a lot of them. But it would be any project where I can improve my skills and my work while having fun. I am getting that on my current gig on The Avengers show at Film Roman. Real old school superhero stuff. It is why I do this stuff.
Question 9: We’ve all met very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?
Never give up on a job and continue to improve your work. Constant learning and honing your craft is the true reward of this work.
Question 10: Time to get philosophical: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?
“The Zen of Drawing.” Don’t just outline things as symbols on paper, actually create things you believe to be real, at least in your perception. Russ Manning called it “Being In Drawing.” When that is happening, it is very cool.
Want more? See the index of “10 Questions” interviews.