Media Release — We promised big news this past week, and Comic Book Resources delivered it earlier this morning. After five issues on the new ongoing series, Haunt, Ryan Ottley is leaving to focus on Invincible and his family. “My main focus has always been Invincible, so Haunt was more of a side thing that turned into more work than I imagined,” said Ottley. “I’ll probably still do an occasional side project here and there, but to take on another ongoing is something I won’t do again. I did 14 comics in 2009, and I need to keep it at around 10 to 12 a year in order to keep my sanity and keep the books looking as fresh as possible. Not that I think the issues I did look horribly bad or anything, because I did do my best on them, but being able to spend more time on each page and get proper rest would be nice.”
Robert Kirkman, co-creator of the title added, “Ryan got a little bogged down as he neared the work on issue #5 of Haunt. It got to a point where doing the two books monthly was possible, but not necessarily beneficial to the enjoyment of his life. He had to work a little bit more than he cared to. He said that he had to leave one book, and Invincible was the one he was doing the longest. He was really enjoying working on Haunt with myself, Greg and Todd, and we were all sorry to see him go, but we certainly understand the need to squeeze as many minutes out of the day as possible.”
While the remaining creative team of Haunt is supportive of Ottley’s decision, they’ll miss collaborating with the artist on the series. “I’m going to miss his work,” said McFarlane. “He said that from time to time, he might rear his head and be able to do something for us, like a cover. He even said he might take a stab at a couple of covers for Spawn, and I’d like to see what that looks like. But it was just that monthly grind of two books – he’s just being realistic about it.”
Although Ottley’s departure comes as a surprise, the aspect of veteran artist Greg Capullo taking the reigns is an exciting prospect. “I’ve been a huge fan of Greg’s work for a long time,” Kirkman gushes. “I’ve been dying to see more work from him, so the fact that I’m going to be writing that work for him is pretty exciting. It’s very much like starting a new book, even though I’ve already been working with the guy already, but my excitement level is about up there with starting a new series with a new collaborator. I’m pretty stoked.”
For McFarlane, long time collaborator of Capullo’s, it was no question who would take over artist duties on the title, “I think it makes the transition very easy, because the guy taking over the book has actually been involved since the beginning,” he said. “Although it’s a new penciler, by no means is it a new artist or new look to what you’re used to on some of the visual aspects.”
As Ottley prepares to leave the title after issue #5, ironically, the reason he’s most sad to leave is due to the collaborative work with the new series artist. “I am really going to miss working over Greg Capullo,” he said. “The guy is a master storyteller and sets up some great compositions, but the thing I have the most fun with is his figure work. I’m amazed at the structure he quickly lays out for each figure, even the small background people. He has so much information of anatomy in those so few lines and he chooses them perfectly. The guy’s got some serious skills from years of experience and hard work, and I try to siphon as much knowledge from his layouts as possible.”
Capullo takes over artist duties full time starting with Haunt #6, which was supposed to be a stand-alone fill in issue for him. “It’s been a really long time since I’ve done a monthly title,” admitted Capullo. “My speed is way down, but that will come back. I just have to get my flow back. Laying out the book for Ryan and doing layouts for Spawn has helped to get my mind back into storytelling.”
“That said, I’m very eager to get back in the ring and show that I can still throw knockout punches,” he added. “I’m ready to lace ’em up.” And we’ll all be there to watch the main event!
For the full interview from Comic Book Resources, visit comicbookresources.com.