Mark Simpson is better known to comic books fans as the artist called Jock. He’s best known for his work in The Losers, Batman, Wolverine and 2000 AD. He’s also provided concept paintings for movies such as Hancock, Dredd and Batman Begins. His most recent movie work has been Ex Machina, and he has a limited edition collection of the art from this movie out in August. We caught up with him to find out more.
STARBURST: How different was working on Ex Machina compared to 2000 AD?
Jock: Compared to working on a comic, films are entirely different. Not just what is required of you, but the pace and approach to the images too. With film, your work has to have a reality that the filmmakers understand and have the element of real world design that will make something achievable on film.
Why Ex Machina?
The draw for me was working with Alex Garland — we worked together on Dredd and I found him to be challenging and really smart. So when he called about Ex Machina, it didn’t take me long to agree. And the script was so good - with the A.I. robot Ava at the heart of the story. Again, it was very challenging making her work. All of my work with Alex is in this portfolio release. I’m very proud of the package.
And how does it compare with the work you did on Dredd?Dredd was louder, larger and more bombastic. Also, being an adaptation, we were always aware of the source material. But being a big Dredd fan, that was fairly easy for me. With Ex Machina, it was an entirely original story and had a much more thoughtful quality to it. The work reflects that.
What is your dream movie project?
I don’t really have one, to be honest! Our comic, Wytches, is currently in development with Brad Pitt’s company Plan B, so that’s my current focus and I’m hoping it comes together well. I would have happily got the call to work on the new Star Wars films, saying that!
You're a legend in the British comics industry. What's next comics-wise?
Well, thanks for saying so! I still feel like a newcomer in lots of ways, but I guess a lot of time has gone by since first drawing Dredd in 2000AD. I’m currently drawing an issue of Batman with Scott Snyder, before we start up again on the next arc of Wytches from Image Comics. That should be out at the end of the year.
Finally, what tips do you have for new artists?Persistence, persistence, persistence… always. Stick at it if you believe you can do it, and be honest with yourself.
You can find out more about Ex Machina – Ava Evolved here.
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