We recently spotted Jay Leisten, while hot-air-ballooning high above the Andes mountains in Peru, and here’s what happened:
Q: What’s it like working together with Kieron Gillen and Greg Land (on Uncanny X-Men)?
A: Its been great so far. Kieron really understands the group dynamic. Its a big part of what made his creator owned work so strong. Greg & I have worked together for years so weve developed a synergy over the years that allows us both to focus on our strengths.
Q: When you first began inking Uncanny X-Men, which character were you most comfortable with, and why?
A: Probably Wolverine. At conventions hes easily the most requested sketch and I love rendering metal and hair so I can always lean on that.
Q: Now that the Uncanny X-Men series is well underway, which character have you become most comfortable with, from an inker’s standpoint?
A: As time has gone on Colossus has become my favorite because I get to do all that grey tonal work for his armor.
Q: Tell us a funny Steve Kurth story?
A: Wish I had one. We chat online but havent gotten to hang out in person for more than a few minutes.
Q: Captain America is more fascinating than ever before, thanks to a creative team which includes yourself, Ed Brubaker, Steve McNiven, and Giuseppe Camuncoli. How does a dream team like this come together?
A: Well, I can only answer that from my perspective. Steve & I had done a few things together like a Witchblade cover & some Old Man Logan, and after the OML pages I mentioned to Steve that I’d be up for a project with him should the opportunity arise. Once Cap got started I came in on issue 2 at Steves request. Cammo came in to help us out for the final issue of our arc and really did a good job trying to mesh styles with Steve & I.
Q When you aren’t inking comicbooks, what are some of your favorite ways to unwind?
A: Well, during football season we have a get together to hang out, and I also attend a local drink and draw group from time to time.
Q: Do you have a favorite brand of ink, or is one ink really just as good as the next one?
A: I normally use Dr Martins Black Star which is insanely expensive, but lately I have switched to Dr Martins Bombay. Ink is very important, especially when I am doing grey tone work as the black has to be really solid or the scanning will fall apart.
Q: What room temperature is best for inking?
A: My office is in a walkout basement room & I keep it around 70 or so. If its too cold or too hot it can cause the ink to get jelly-like or if its too humid the ink will bleed into the paper making fuzzy lines.
Q: Which single comicbook issue have you inked, which you are most pleased with?
A: I usually say Sojourn 19, but I was also very happy with Uncanny 540, so much so that I arranged to keep the whole issue of art.
Q: As far back as you can remember, who were some of your favorite inkers from the days of your youth?
A: Probably Al Williamson. He was amazing on JRjr.
Q: When was the moment that you knew you wanted to be an inker?
A: I started to notice the influence guys like Scott Williams, Batt & Danny Miki were having in thier respective studios and was trying to be either a penciller or inker. I wasnt getting as much traction
with my pencil samples so I decided to focus on inks and decided that some day in the future I’d come back to pencilling.
Q: You open a bottle. A genie pops out and grants you three wishes. What are they?
A: Tough to say. 1. That comics sales would return to their heyday. 2. That paper quality and art supplies would improve. 3. That I could get one of my creator-owned projects off the ground.
Q: Your life story is being made into a feature-length film. What is the name of the film, and which actor will portray you?
A: No Free Lunch. My friends would say Quentin Tarantino, but I’d prefer James Roday.
Q: You’re in a heavy metal band. What is the band’s name, and which instrument do you play?
A: Thats easy. I was in one. It was called Deadline. I played bass live, but recorded guitar, drums & bass. I also wrote most of the music and lyrics.
Q: You’re joining the UnCanny X-Men tomorrow. What is your superhero name, and what is your mutant power?
A: Captain Obvious. I would point out useless information and have access to my own internal wikipedia.