We’ve got a special treat today here at FIRESTORM FAN – a fantastic interview with fan-favorite Firestorm artist, Pat Broderick!
Pat Broderick’s first work on Firestorm appeared in Flash #303 (Nov. 1981). He continued drawing the back-up stories in The Flash and launched Firestorm’s ongoing series the next year with The Fury of Firestorm #1 (June 1982). Pat stayed with the character for about a year and a half before moving on to other projects. His work on the series is fondly remembered by many Match-heads, and those early issues of The Fury of Firestorm remain some of the most beloved tales of the Nuclear Man.
Pat is also known for his great work on numerous books, such as: Micronauts, Captain Marvel, Green Lantern, Doom 2099, Captain Atom, and Batman: Year Three. Pat was active in the comic scene for over twenty years and then turned to advertising full time. Nowadays Pat is dedicated to giving back to the craft that has given him and his fans much enjoyment by teaching illustration and storytelling at Tampa’s International Academy of Design and Technology. Pat has recently returned to the world of comics with his own creation, Nibiru the Legend of Annunaki, an epic Middle Eastern saga inspired by the regions ancient lore, truth, and myth.
Pat was kind enough to spend some time discussing his run on Firestorm and other projects with FIRESTORM FAN.
FIRESTORM FAN: How did you first get interested in reading comics and what were some of your favorites?
PAT BRODERICK: I guess like all of us this started when I was a child of 8 years old back in Brandon, Fla. I wasn’t a great reader, but when my older brothers brought home these comics I spent hours looking over them. One day I picked up a pencil and copied a panel from X-Men #1. I was hooked from that moment on. Throughout my early school days my test papers were covered with sketches of comic book characters.
FF: What attracted you to drawing comics and how did you break into the business?
PB: At the age of 17 I read that DC comics was sponsoring a “Junior Bullpen contest” at that years New York comic con. I put together a dozen samples and went to New York that summer, and was chosen. I think that was around 1974. It was very intimidating as there were hundreds in line that day. Around lunch time the panel took a break and I noticed two important looking gentlemen talking in an adjacent ballroom. I wandered over and introduced myself to them and asked if I could show them my work. They turned out to be Carmine Infantino and Saul Harrison. I got lucky….
FF: What creators influenced you early in your career? Which creators still influence you today?
PB: As a child that would have to be Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby. Then as a teenager it expanded to Wally Wood, Russ Heath, Gil Kane, Joe Kubert, and most importantly, Neal Adams… Then Frank Frazetta, hell everyone who worked for both companies at that time. I just couldn’t get enough.
FF: You’ve worked with many different inkers, each bringing their own distinctive feel to the art. What are some characteristics that different inkers bring out in your pencils?
PB: I use to think that I had been inked by both good and bad inkers. But as an adult looking back I realize that the “bad” was my own inexperience, not the inkers.
FF: Over the past couple months, I’ve been reading the Micronauts series for the first time. Such wonderful and imaginative comics! That series provided you the opportunity to draw some wildly imaginative characters and landscapes. What are some of your favorite memories and/or things you drew from your time on that book?
PB: The entire series was a dream come true for me. Look I’m a fan boy at heart. So at the time I was really knocked out by the Mike Golden issues and wanted to just do the series justice. Having just finished my run on Captain Marvel I was well entrenched in the Sci-Fi Genre so this fit like a glove and it began a working relationship with Bill Mantlo…
FF: How did you get the Firestorm assignment and were you familiar with the character before taking the job? When you took the job, had it been determined the back-up strips in The Flash would lead to an ongoing series?
PB: The Firestorm assignment was the first single character title offered by Dick Giordano. I had just left Marvel at the time and had done some work on the Legion of Super-Heroes series but really wanted a single character title. I got lucky again and began what turned out to be a very successful partnership with Gerry Conway. Gerry liked working the “Marvel” way and gave me a great amount of input. I’m forever grateful to him for that.
FF: Did Gerry Conway write full-script or plot-first, and how collaborative was your relationship while on The Fury of Firestorm? Once you received the script/plot from Gerry, how would you tackle it?
PB: Gerry worked from phone conversations with me first, I’d take notes and he’d let me add just about anything I wanted. It was truly a unique method. Then I would create small but very detailed thumbnails and afterwards enlarge them with an Art-o-graph projector onto the 11×17 stock. The art would then go to Gerry for scripting.
FF: What were some of your favorite issues or storylines from your time on Firestorm? What makes those issues stand out for you?
PB: The entire run has to qualify as my best. Every plot that Gerry came up with was better than the previous one, so it’s really hard to differentiate one from another for me to choose.
FF: You drew a lot of interesting characters during your run on Firestorm. Which did you enjoy drawing more than others?
PB: I most defiantly would pick Firehawk.
FF: During your time on Firestorm, there were mentions in letters pages and fanzines of a Firestorm graphic novel you and Gerry were working on entitled, “Corona”. The mystery surrounding this unpublished graphic novel has become legendary with Firestorm fans. Can you tell us anything about the graphic novel? Do you still have any pages from it?
PB: All that I can say about the graphic novel is that it’s a shame it was never published.
FF: Why did you end up leaving the Firestorm book?
PB: I had gone through a bout with depression at the time. My marriage fell apart, I felt lost, I had just accepted my Sun-Runners assignment from Pacific comics and was just overwhelmed at the time. The one thing that happened that was positive was I had met my next, and current wife Patricia at the time, we married about a year and a half later and have been together now for 28 years.
FF: While drawing The Fury of Firestorm, you created the artistic look for the character of Plastique. Years later she turned up in Captain Atom, a book you were drawing at the time, and she became a reoccurring character. Coincidence?
PB: She did become a popular character, even made it into live action with the Clark and Lois series. A hot lady, an explosive personality, with a French accent to boot…
NIBIRU & THE LEGEND OF ANNUNAKI
FF: Your new creator-owned project, Nibiru & the Legend of Annunaki, just launched. Can you tell us a little about the series and the main characters?
PB: Nibiru and the Legend of the Annunaki is a fascinating story from the beginning of the Sumerian civilization. It describes, in their words, their “Gods” who actually lived with them some 8,000 years ago, how they had discovered Earth and set up mining operations here. But they found our worlds environment and working conditions harsh so they revolted against their superiors. One of their “Lords” was Ea/Enki of their royal line who was a scientist. In order to quell the rebellion he offered to create a worker from one of the indigenous hominoid species they had discovered here to do the mining for them. They created the “Adamu”, the first homo-erectus, “In their image and likeness”. Enki’s brother Enil who was their leader and royal heir to the throne of Nibiru had established his home here on Earth, called the “E-din” which was located in the Mesopotamian valley. He reluctantly approved of this hybrid, but with restrictions, so when he discovered that his brother Enki was educating this Adamu and his mate he expelled him from his home to work in the mines along with their other altered workers. All of this story has been adapted from the Enimu-Elish tablets. It is these tablets that we have the story of Gilgamesh.
FF: The back story of Nibiru & the Legend of Annunaki is rich and steeped in history and myth. What inspired and influenced you as you created the series?
PB: A couple of events were the bases of this inspiration. First when I read “The 12th Planet” by Zecharia Sitchin, and the additional work of Michael Tellinger “Adams Calendar” all of their source material is derived from the Enimu-Elish. The second and most important event was the tragic death of my nephew Dan Reilly a year ago. I was really hurt and angry by this tragic event and wanted to scream about the unfairness of it. So I decided to find out why “God” was still so cruel. I found out from this research that things are not always what we’re taught. I discovered that there was a reason why the God of the Old Testament seemed to be so different from the God of the New Testament. And that’s because they were two different entities. You see the Old Testament was a rewriting of these older text from Sumer. That they had adapted the Sumerian Gods into their own rewritten history. Enill had become Yahweh. And his efforts to reinforce his position as their leader became his instruction of “You shall not worship any other God before me”. You see it had become a feud between brothers and their sons for control.
FF: We’re all familiar with your amazing artwork, but Nibiru & the Legend of Annunaki will be the first time many fans have seen your writing. What aspects of writing comics do you enjoy the most and what do you find the most challenging?
PB: What I enjoy the most is being involved in both aspects of this art form now. And with the help of very talented people such as Robb Epps who acts as my assistant editor who proof reads my work and points out my short comings as a writer. But this series is built on a established foundation so my job here is to try to get into the characters minds and rework it to fit into this medium and attractive for todays readers.
FF: As this is a digital-only series, it provides the opportunity to tell stories differently than you would in traditional comic book format. What are some differences readers should expect to see in Nibiru & the Legend of Annunaki?
PB: It’s produced in landscape format for adaptation to the new technology of the internet and the many different appliances which access it. Each story runs 16 pages in length which is perfect for my working schedule as I also teach at two local colleges. So It’s being offered at $1.50 per issue or $18.00 per year.
FF: How can people subscribe to your digital-only series and how is the content delivered?
PB: It can be accessed through my web site www.theartofpatbroderick.com where it can be read and downloaded as a PDF. Later on this year there will be a Kickstarter campaign to launch a trade collection.
FF: What are some of the differences you find when working on a creator-owned project versus a job for one of the big companies?
PB: I take all of my own calls instead of knocking on closed doors. And its mine, so any future financial benefits will be mine and not shared with any of the big companies. No more 12 dollar reprint checks. No more unreimbursed appearances in animation or live action, or toy lines.
FF: What other comic books are you reading nowadays?
PB: Really nothing at the moment. Way too busy for that right now.
FF: Looking back at all the work you’ve amassed during your career prior to Nibiru & the Legend of Annunaki, what are you most proud of? What do you consider a high point both personally and creatively?
PB: To answer this is to open a whole can of worms as all of the writers I’ve worked with will certainly feel that their work should be the one I choose. So let me say it this way, all of my collaborative efforts received my best. I will have to say that my work on Doom 2099 with John Moore stands out as the best of my time on that series, and not the work with that other Doom 2099 writer.
Thanks to Pat Broderick for generously donating his time to this interview! Head over to Pat’s website, www.theartofpatbroderick.com, and subscribe to Nibiru & the Legend of Annunaki! For more on Pat’s era of Firestorm, click here for a FIRESTORM FAN interview with writer Gerry Conway!
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the interview!
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