Geek: Who is this Tyler Crook character and what’s he been doing up until now?
Tyler Crook: Mostly I’ve been making video games. I’ve done some other art and design work – kids clothing, yellow page ads, website design – but the bulk of my career has been as a 3D modeler in the video games industry. For the last two years I’ve been working on an original graphic novel with my buddy, Phil Gelatt called Petrograd. It’s historical fiction about the assassination of Rasputin. I had always had the comic bug and wanted to get into it and after working on Petrograd I knew I had to make comics my full-time job.
Geek: And how did you get the B.P.R.D. gig?
TC: I saw Mike Mignola at a comic convention and I showed him my stuff. His reaction was really positive, so the next time I saw him I showed him more. He gave me his contact info and told me to keep in touch. I did and a few months later I got a call from our editor, Scott Allie asking if I could take over for Guy Davis. I had a 5 year plan to get out of games and into comics full time but this gig blew that plan out of the water.
Geek: So what, in particular, appeals to you as an artist about the B.P.R.D./Hellboy universe?
TC: The thing I find really engaging about the B.P.R.D. universe is that the fantastic and horrifying co-exist with the mundane. It’s a place where fish dudes and ectoplasm[ic] men sit around with fire-starters in the break room and swipe pieces of cake that someone left in the fridge. I don’t think there is any limit to what I will be asked to draw which is awesome because I like drawing everything.
Geek: To what degree did you follow the work of your predecessor, Guy Davis?
TC: I’m a really big fan of Guy’s work. I first became aware of him in a Blair Witch Project anthology that Oni Press put out about a million years ago. So I’ve been following his work off and on for a long time. His work is really amazing—it’s full of energy and character and it’s completely unmistakable.
Geek: In the same vein, what sort of inspirations and reference points are you bringing to your run on the book? Checking out your site, you seem to employ some varied and interesting styles.
TC: I do like to work in a lot of different styles but for comics I tend to stick to ink and brush. I draw a lot of inspiration from dudes like Milton Caniff, Frank Robbins and Harvey Kurtzman. Generally though, I feel like my style fits pretty naturally into the B.P.R.D. world.
Geek: Can you tell us anything about your first arc with the series, Monsters?
TC: I can tell you that it will answer many questions and rise many more questions! I can also say that there will be frogs.
Geek: Do you have any other projects coming up that you can talk about?
TC: Petrograd will be out in August and I recently finished a fill-in issue for Sixth Gun that should also be out in August. Both of those are being published by Oni Press.