I finally got a chance to talk to the red hot artist of DC's Hourman series. "Rags" Morales not a widely known name in comics, is quickly making a name for himself. With an art style that is hard to classify, "Rags" has shown an ability to change is style to Golden Age, Silver Age and back to his new twist on a modern style. I had the pleasure to get a eview with "Rags".
Craig: For everyone that is not familiar with your work, would you mind giving the readers an idea of how long you've been in the industry? How you broke in? What are some of the titles you've worked on?
Rags: I BROKE INTO COMICS IN 1989. MY FIRST ASSIGNMENT WAS FORGOTTEN REALMS; A
TSR/DC SERIES BASED ON THE CONCEPTS CREATED BY ED GREENWOOD FOR TSR'S ROLE-PLAYING GAMES AND NOVELS.NOVELIST AND GAME
DESIGNER JEFF GRUBB WAS MY WRITER. I DID SOME 19 ISSUES OF THAT, THEN I MOVED ONTO BLACK CONDOR WITH
BRIAN AUGUSTYN. I DREW 10 OF THE 12 ISSUES. AFTERWARD I WORKED FOR VALIANT (FORMERLY VOYAGER, CURRENTLY
ACCLAIM) COMICS. I DREW 15 ISSUES OF TUROK WITH WRITERS TIM TRUMAN AND MIKE BARON, 3 ISSUES OF
GEOMANCER WITH MAURICE FONTENOT (AND SOME PROLOGUES OF FOLLOWING ISSUES), 1 ISSUE OF SHADOWMAN
WRITTEN BY TONY BEDARD AND ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG WITH MIKE BARON, AN ISSUE OF SLIDERS (FROM THE TV
SERIES) A 41 PAGE GRAPHIC NOVEL OF DAKKON BLACKBLADE JEFF GOMEZ WRITING (FOR WIZARDS OF THE COAST-THE MAGIC THE GATHERING PEOPLE)
AND THE LAST ISSUE OF ETERNAL WARRIORS.....FOR NOW ANYWAY. WHILE I WAS WITH VALIANT I WAS RELEASED FROM MY CONTRACT TO WORK ON
A STORY FOR HARLAN ELLISON'S DREAM CORRIDOR-OPPOSITES ATTRACT-WHICH WAS ADAPTED BY
TONY ISABELLA. AFTER I LEFT ACCLAIM, I WAS OUT OF COMICS FOR A YEAR AND A HALF. I
GOT BIT WORK FOR MAGAZINES (DUNGEON AND DRAGON) FROM TSR. I ALSO WORKED FOR BIG ENTERTAINMENT WHO WERE DOING NOVELLAS FOR HARPER COLLINS-IISAC ASIMOV'S
I-BOTICS AND MARGERET WEISS' TESTEMENT OF THE DRAGON. I WAS TEACHING AT MY LOCAL VO-TECH TOO; ANATOMICAL
ILLUSTRATION. A PHONE CALL TO MY ONCE EDITOR AND WRITER TONY BEDARD LANDED ME THE HOURMAN GIG I'M
CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN WITH THE WONDERFUL TOM PEYER WRITING. SO FAR I'VE DONE 14 ISSUES OF HOURMAN.
Craig: How did you get the nickname of Rags?
RAGS: WHEN I WAS IN ART SCHOOL, WE HAD AN ASSIGNMENT FOR HUMOR CLASS TO COME UP
WITH A DAILY SYNDICATED STRIP. I KNEW WRITERS WRITE WHAT THEY KNOW, BUT I WAS ONLY 20 SO WHAT THE
HELL DID I HAVE TO SAY?! NOTHING. SO I WROTE ABOUT ME, A YOUNG ARTIST WITH INTERESTING FRIENDS TRYING TO GET PUBLISHED. I
CALLED IT "RAGS TO RICHES", RAGS BEING THE MAIN CHARACTER. WHEN I FINALLY DID GET PUBLISHED, I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A KICK
TO HAVE A PEN NAME SO I USED RAGS AS A TRIBUTE TO THE SPIRIT OF INNOCENCE THE CHARACTER WAS ALL ABOUT.
Craig: What books do you read and why?
RAGS: AS FAR AS COMICS GO I LIKE JLA (CAUSE OF GRANT), GIANT KILLER (FROM MY
CHILDHOOD OF BEING A GODZILLA/ULTRAMAN/AND JOHNNY SOKO'S GIANT ROBOT FAN), I LIKE ALAN MOORE'S STORIES. I'M NOT A HARD CORE FOLLOWER OF ANY TITLE REALLY.
I READ THE JSA STUFF AND THEIR RELATED TITLES- CAUSE I'M INVOLVED- BESIDES BEING GOOD READS.....BUT USUALLY I GET MY COMPS (COMPLIMENTARY
ISSUES) FROM DC AND I READ WHAT EVER I FIND THAT CATCHES MY EYE. OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD I
LIKE -FOR WRITERS- MOORE, MORRISON, WAID, BUSIEK, LUKE, PRIEST, AND PEYER (OF COURSE).
OUTSIDE OF COMICS I USUALLY READ THE NEWSPAPER OR MAGAZINE ARTICLES.....I LIKE PULP NOVELS WITH COWBOYS AND INDIANS-JUDD
COLE MOSTLY. AND I READ PHILOSOPHY-KHALID GIBRAN AND STUFF COMPULATED FROM INDIAN TRIBES.
I'M PRETTY ECLECTIC WHEN IT COMES TO MY TASTES.
Craig: Of all the art styles that are used in comics today, which one's do you enjoy the most and who are your favorite artists that use them?
RAGS: I'M BIG ON ILLUSTRATORS. I AM A HUGE FAN OF NEIL
ADAMS, GARCIA-LOPEZ, JOHN BUSCEMA, MICHAEL GOLDEN (THOUGH HIS RANGE GOES BEYOND ILLUSTRATION-FOR MY
MONEY THE LAST GREAT COMPLETE COMIC ARTIST FOR SOME TIME) ALEX ROSS, TRAVIS
CHAREST, KEVIN NOWLAN, BUTCH GUICE, TONY HARRIS, BRIAN STELFREEZE, FRANK FRAZETTA
(WHO ISN'T?) MARK SHULZ, AL WILLIAMSON, P. CRAIG RUSSEL, SANDY PLUNKETT. I CAN GO ON FOREVER. SOME OF THE GUYS
TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE FUTURE ARE STEVE SADOWSKI, YANICK PAQUETTE, AND GREG LAND. TO BE HONEST
THERE REALLY ISN'T ANYONE I DON'T FIND INTERESTING. I LOVE STUFF FROM MAXFIELD PARRISH TO JACK KIRBY.
Craig: What are some of the comics you grew up reading? Why brought out such an interest in theme for you?
RAGS: WELL LIKE MOST ARTISTS I WAS DRAWN TO THE ART. I
DIDN'T REALLY READ COMICS UNTIL CHRIS CLAREMONT DID X-MEN. IT WAS THEN THAT I FULLY APPRECIATED
WRITING. I THEN STARTED TO GO BACK AND DIG BILL MANTLO, MIKE BARR, FOX GARDNER, DENNY O'NEIL, ROBERT KAHNIGER, ETC.
AS A KID THOUGH MY DAYS WERE TAKEN UP BY SPIDER-MAN, BATMAN, JLA, IRON-MAN, POWER-MAN AND IRON FIST,
DOCTOR STRANGE, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE AVENGERS, X-MEN, BRAVE AND THE BOLD (HUGE ON
JIM APARO). MY AFTERNOONS WERE TAKEN UP BY RE-RUNS OF THE LONE RANGER, BATMAN AND ROBIN, AND PLANET OF THE APES.
AND OF COURSE THE SPIDER-MAN CARTOONS-EVERY AFTERNOON AT 3:00 ON CHANNEL 11 WPIX! MY NIGHTS WHERE
TAKEN UP BY WONDER-WOMAN (BEFORE THERE LUCY LAWLESS THERE WAS LINDA CARTER TO TICKLE A YOUNG
BOYS FANCY!) THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN AND DUKES OF HAZZARD (CATHERINE BACH-YUMMY!). AM I RAMBLING?
Craig: Do you have any stories that stand out in your head as personal favorites?
RAGS: TRUMANS SCOUT RATES BIG. CLAREMONTS HELLFIRE
CLUB OF COURSE. AN AVENGERS STORY CALLED "EVEN AN ANDROID CAN CRY" I DON'T KNOW WHO WROTE IT BUT I'M
PRETTY SURE THAT JOHN BUSCEMA DREW IT. MIKE BARR WROTE A STORY IN BRAVE AND THE BOLD WHERE SGT. ROCK
AND BATMAN TRACK DOWN A HOODED ASSASSIN WITH THE HELP OF JIM APARO. AND BECAUSE IT WAS THE FIRST COMIC
TO REALLY "HIT" ME, BATMAN MEETS THE WEREWOLF FEATURING NEIL ADAMS ART.
Craig: How much have you enjoyed your run on Hourman so far?
RAGS: I LOVE WORKING WITH TOM ON THIS. HE'S REALLY
PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS FOR THIS TITLE. HE TRIGGERS SUCH AN EASY FLOW FOR ME AND I REALLY THINK WE MESH
WELL. HE'S A TREMENDOUS INSPIRATION AND IS WILLING TO LISTEN TO SOME OF MY STUPID IDEAS. HE'S A TREASURE. AND
TONY BEDARD IS WONDERFUL AS WELL. HE PUSHES ME ONLY WHEN IT MATTERS AND IS WILLING TO LET ME DO MY JOB
WITHOUT GETING UNDER MY SKIN. DAVE MEIKIS IS TOPS WHEN IT COMES TO INKING ME. HE'S
NOT AFRAID TO ADD SOMETHING TO THE ART-HE DOESN'T FOLLOW, HE EMBELLISHES- A TRUE INKER. JOHN KALISZ IS GREAT TOO-A
TRUE PRO WHO LETS ME GET AWAY WITH TELLING HIM HOW TO DO HIS JOB! HAHAHAHA! ACTUALLY I THINK HE JUST YES'S
ME TO DEATH. GOD BLESS HIM. AND I'VE BEEN LUCKY WITH THE FILL-IN GUYS ANDREW
HENNESEY, MARK PROPST AND GLORIA VASQUEZ. I DON'T KNOW IF WE'RE CONSIDERED A DREAM TEAM, BUT IT'S BEEN A DREAM FOR ME.
Craig: Do you have any personal stories or moments on the book that stand out as favorites?
RAGS: ISSUE #5 FOR IT'S BRILLIANT PRESENTATION AND
CATALYST STORY. ISSUE #8 FOR IT'S ATTENTION TO THE SUPPORTING CAST AND ISSUE #9. ISSUE 9 HAS IT ALL.
Craig: Where do you see this title going into year 2000? Do you think the fans will be surprised by any of the happenings in the series?
RAGS: IF I TOLD YOU I'D GET SHOT. BUT LIKE IT HAS BEEN,
WE'RE GOING TO BE DEEPLY IMBEDDED IN THE DCU. HOURMAN HAS TOO MANY CONNECTIONS NOT TO. THE
JLA, THE JSA, JUSTICE LEGION A, YOUNG JUSTICE IS IN HIS HOME TOWN, THERE'S HYPERTIME, AND HELL HE CAN GO BACK AND
FORTH AT WILL THROUGHOUT THE DCU. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.
Craig: When do you think we'll ever see a real team up between Red Tornado & Hourman? Or Young Justice & Hourman? Are you looking forward to drawing them if ever your given the green light?
RAGS: ALL I KNOW IS AS A FAN OF BRAVE AND THE BOLD, MARVEL PREMIER, AND DC COMICS
PRESENTS, I KEEP PUSHING THE ENVELOPE FOR GUEST STARS. THAT WOULD REALLY PLEASE MY INNER CHILD. A DREAM JOB FOR ME WOULD TO DO A TITLE THAT IS BASED
ON GUEST APPPEARANCES.
Craig: Do you have any other projects coming up in the year 2000?
RAGS: SO FAR MY PLATE IS FULL OF HOURMAN.
Craig: Is there anything you'd like to tell the readers about your plans or
anything personal you'd like to convery?
RAGS: I'VE BEEN BLESSED WITH SOME OF THE MOST INTELLIGENT FANS AN ARTIST COULD HOPE FOR. THEY HAVE TO BE. THIS TITLE IS TOO HEADY FOR YOUR TYPICAL ZOMBIE. MY FANS ARE SO SMART THEY POINT OUT SOME THINGS THAT JUST ESCAPE ME. THEN I'M LIKE "WOW, I DIDN'T EVEN SEE THAT!" IF YOU NEED EVIDENCE JUST LOOK AT THE HOURMAN BOARDS IN DC'S WEB SITE. THEY REALLY BRIGHTEN UP MY DAY. IT'S FOR THEM THAT I WORK HARD TO DO A GOOD JOB. I HOPE I'M FULFILLING EXPECTATIONS. IF NOT I'LL WORK HARDER.
Once again, thank you very much to "Rags" Morales, for taking a few minutes out of his schedule to give the fans the low down on Hourman. Look for Hourman currently appearing in his own series, JSA and random issues of JLA.
This eview is exclusive to the "Young Justice: The Hangout" and "Hourman: Man of the Hour" websites. Any use of the text herein in not allowed unless you get the written consent of webmaster Craig Young. Email him at Coberry265@aol.com, for permission.