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William Wray is a trip. Let me say that up front. He is a former comic book artist, former animator, former cartoonist, and present-day fine artist; but turns out his real superpower is that of storyteller.
And his stories will trip you out.
If his name sounds familiar, that's because Wray went by 'Bill Wray' in his commercial art days. As Bill, he worked in animation for companies like Spumco and Cartoon Network, created backgrounds and storyboards for television shows like The Ren & Stimpy Show and Samurai Jack, and was the creative force behind Monroe, a cartoon strip he did for MAD magazine. Monroe ran in over 100 issues of MAD before BIll, frustrated with editorial, finally hit the ejector button.
Turns out, he's also done some comics. In 1997, he co-created Hellboy Junior with his friend, writer-artist Mike Mignola. The series was a one-shot, but is remembered fondly by rabid fans of the Hellboy universe.
During our conversation, Wray dropped a few names, but not at all in the douchey way. When one has had as varied a career path as him, one is bound to have run into everybody: Dave Stevens, Doug Wildey, Howard Chaykin, John K., Roy Thomas, Al Williamson, Tony Dezuniga, Alfredo Alcala, Jack Kirby, Ashley Wood, etc. (Exhausting, right?)
We jumped on board the Bill Train and held on for dear life as he regaled us with tales that will literally curl your hair. And he also shared some insights into his life now as a fine artist; a pursuit he finds richly satisfying, but replete with its own unique challenges.
Oh, and do pick up a copy of Wray's new art book from Brandstudio Press called Monolith. It's his second book with Brandstudio and looks to be 48 pages of full-color, full-bleed, urban landscape awesomeness.
Thanks for checking out the interview. We had a lot of fun. William Wray was a hoot.
And a trip.
Below are a few of Wray's fine art pieces. The first being the Cap painting he mentions in the episode.