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John Van Fleet is an illustrator and comic artist who's work I've enjoyed for many a year. He graduated from art school at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY alongside the likes of Kent Williams, George Pratt and Mark Chiarello. Adrian warmly refers to them as "that Brandywine crew." For me, they'll always be The Fab Four.
Van Fleet started out studying graphic design at Pratt, but hated it. After seeing what his buds were doing in comics, he decided to make the switch.
The stuff by him that you'll wanna check out weaves back and forth between full blown comics, masterfully illustrated comic covers and trading cards. I say look for Typhoid, Batman: The Chalice and Batman: The Ankh if you want some really fun comic stories.
As for single images, try his covers for H-E-R-O and American Century. You cannot go wrong. And all of his trading cards are super nice, too—he's done tons.
John lives outside of Chapel Hill, NC with his family and works from his home studio. We caught up with him there and found him to be affable, funny and pretty free wheelin' in our chat. He was a hoot!
In the interview, we cover his background and some hilarious stories from his days in NYC, how his approach to picture-making developed, the sometimes 'arduous' use of photo ref and freelancing after all these years.
**There's a really funny Easter egg at the very end of this episode. Check it out!
Also, the title of the interview is a reference to the H-E-R-O series Van Fleet worked on back in 2003. It was a new take on a Silver Age DC book from the '60s called Dial H for H-E-R-O.