Bob McLeod is probably one of the nicest guys in comics. He's also one who's work, unfortunately, is not that visible in American comics today. He hasn't left comics, but has been busy plying his trade in other venues the last few years.
Read on, to find out what he's been up to.
I'm currently pencilling an inking a 31 page Phantom comic book for the Swedish publisher Egmont. I don't think it will be distributed in the United States, unfortunately. I hope to be doing a couple issues a year for them. I also just finished about 40 black and white drawings of cartoon animals in business suits for a business psychology booklet. I'm also working on a proposal for a new series I hope to sell to an American publisher. I'm working with a new writer, and all I can say at this time is that it's about a group of superheroes.
This is my first job for a foreign publisher, and they're probably as diverse as American publishers, but so far my experience has been very pleasant, which is far from how I would describe working for American publishers. The Editor is intelligent and polite and helpful and extremely competent. The script is fun and readable by a wide age range, and I've been given plenty of time to do pencils and inks myself instead of splitting up the art. The pay is a little less than my Marvel rate, but well worth the effort and overall Im really enjoying the experience. I'm emailing the pages to Sweden, so I'm keeping the original art here.
Well, I did some storyboards years ago, and some cartoon spiders for a traveling exhibit for the Smithsonian, as well as various other cartoon illustration jobs. You can see examples of practically everything I've done on my web site, www.bobmcleod.com . I've also done cartooning seminars at several schools, and taught some drawing and cartooning classes locally. I also worked freelance for a couple ad agencies in the 70's doing "comp" illustrations. Last year, I briefly had a full-time office job drawing designs and illustrations for t-shirts.
For the full story, go to this link: www.bobmcleod.com/start.html . To make a long story short, I went to NYC in 1973 and met Pat Broderick at a comics convention. He was actually in my high school art class in Tampa, Florida, but we never met in class! I recognized him, tho, and introduced myself. We became roommates and he introduced me to Neal Adams, whom he met by getting into the DC apprenticeship program. With a phone call, Neal got me a job at Marvel in the production dept., doing lettering corrections and art corrections, and about a year later (after studying the original art in production and drawing several practice sample pages) I finally started getting some freelance work pencilling and inking.
I really enjoyed drawing Superman, and Star Wars, but my favorite comics work was drawing and inking Teen Hulk and other jobs for Marvel's Crazy Magazine. I did several movie satires and some other stuff. My original goal when I moved to NYC was to work for Mad magazine. Everyone would probably expect me to say the New Mutants was a highlight, but that was really a very frustrating experience, because we started off behind schedule and I could never really catch up. I also wasn't in sync with Chris Claremont, and didn't like the inking I got on the book. Ink-wise, I enjoyed doing Conan over John Buscema and Dracula over Gene Colan.
I don't read comics, because my reading time is so limited I'd rather devote it to reading books and magazines. I like many of the current artists, but don't have the time or money to seek out their work.
I'm basically in comics full-time now, I just don't have a regular book and often have to go outside comics to pay the bills. I'm ready and willing if anyone would like to work with me.
My idea of a dream project now is very different from what it might've been a few years ago. I would really like to do some more humor comics, like the work I did for Crazy. I suppose I should finally approach Mad magazine. And I'd love to do some full color dramatic comics where I could do all the art myself; pencilling, lettering, inking and color. I'm hoping to do some book illustration next year. I 'd like to do black & white interior art and painted covers for young readers, and some painted paperback covers.
Thank you for asking.
Interview by Mark Allen