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I wanna talk about Adrian Johnson for a minute. Yes, I know today’s interview is with 'The Quiet Superstar' Leinil Yu — but indulge me, please.
The three of us are all fans of Leinil’s, but it was Adrian who pulled the trigger and invited him on the show. Yu and Adrian are roughly the same age, both are Image Comics babies, and Adrian became a fan of Leinil’s right from the jump: his professional comics debut on Marvel’s Wolverine (1997).
Adrian was majorly excited when the Manila-based artist said yes to the podcast invitation. He dove headfirst into his prep and research for the talk. And it was a real treat to sit and watch my boy cheezin’ like the Cheshire Cat as he interviewed someone for whom he's been a longtime fan. Matter of fact, it always is. When Dwight does it, I love watching it; and I’m sure when I do it, those two guys get a kick out of it. Okay, back to Leinil!
Wolverine, Superman: Birthright, Batman/Danger Girl, New Avengers, Supercrooks, Superior, and now Indestructible Hulk — Leinil Francis Yu is rocking it. And not just because of the kinds of books he works on. The dynamism and raw energy in his work put him head and shoulders above many of his peers — but then so does his prolificity. In a fanboy world where we throw the term ‘superstar’ around willy-nilly because someone “draws good” and quickly gains popularity, Yu actually cranks out the pages.
He does the work. He makes comics.
It’s a shame that one has to parse that distinction from other so-called comics superstars, but it’s true. (They know who they are.)
Enjoy hearing about Leinil’s early days and the influence of guys like Travis Charest and Yu’s mentor, Whilce Portacio. Enjoy hearing about his excursions into concept art for film (Serenity). Enjoy hearing Leinil very pragmatically reconcile himself with the lofty term ‘superstar’. And definitely enjoy listening in on the overall good time we had chatting with this humble, yet multi-faceted guy. Because it was like that!
**Some Firefly/Serenity concept art by Yu!