All-American Artist Ron Garney
by Will Allred (10/10/1997)
After spending several years paying his dues, Ron Garney catapulted into the spotlight with his and Mark
Waid's pairing on Captain America. That's when life got interesting. Barely a year into the job
and receiving both fan and industry acclaim, he and Waid were unceremoniously dumped from the book in
favor of the publishing plan known as Heroes Reborn. With Heroes Reborn coming to an end and Cap
returning to the Marvel Universe proper, Marvel also returned...to their senses and immediately set
about trying to mend fences and get Waid and Garney back on Cap. They succeeded and the duo's return
issue (also a #1) will be out in November. Ron recently attended DefCon 4 in Tulsa and talked to me
about how he got his start, the Silver Surfer, and some tantalizing info on what's coming up in Captain
Allred: When a where did you get your break?
Garney: I broke in at Marvel in 1990. I had actually worked up samples for a couple of years on
and off. Finally, I decided to take it a little more seriously. I basically decided that I wouldn't
submit anything until I knew I was ready. So once I was sure that I was ready, I showed my samples to
Mike Zeck who lived in the area. He seemed to think I was pretty good, so he took me into Marvel. I had
three offers waiting for me on my answering machine when I got home that day. Oddly enough, my samples
were of Captain America.
Allred: What was your first published story?
Garney: G.I. Joe #110 - "Escalator to Armageddon".
Allred: Yo Joe! Sorry about that, I have fond memories of that title. What are some of the
titles you've worked on since getting your foot in the door?
Garney: I've done some Daredevil fill-ins and then started on Moon Knight, which I did for over a
year. I also continued doing fill-ins, pin-ups, and things like that during that time on books like
Daredevil and Morbius. Then I was offered a project that came to be known as the Midnight
Sons, which had a huge promotional campaign, but flopped horribly. It was fun to just be part of it,
though. This happened during the time when things were really, really good at Marvel, so it was a great
payday regardless. The book I was on was called Nightstalkers. After that, I penciled Ghost
Rider and then moved to Captain America, where Mark Waid and I eventually got dumped for the
Heroes Reborn project. Once that decision had been made, Mark and I finished our run on Cap, and I moved
on to the next project, penciling the Silver Surfer.
Allred: Your rendition of the Surfer has a distinctive look to him. Was this something that
simply evolved over the course of the job or did you have a definite plan in mind.
Garney: I had a definite plan on how I was going to approach both the Surfer and Cap. One
question I kept getting was whether the Surfer was going to be drawn the same way that I drew Cap. All I
could say to this was "No, because he's not the same guy." With the Surfer, I really wanted a chance to
bring out some of my Moebius influence. And, more importantly, I really wanted to bring an alien presence
to him. That's what I concentrated on. With Cap, on the other hand, I really focused on the majesty...
Cap's status as a living legend, so I used a lot of upshots and tricks like that. For the Surfer, I tried
to convey his alien-ness in the way he moved and looked. You could just see it in his eyes and face that
humans were totally foreign to him. Unfortunately, I still didn't get to completely do what I wanted to
with him visually due to the story-line. I really wanted to go the distance with the whole alien aspect
and turn the book into something more akin to Sci-Fi/Fantasy rather than just another superhero.
Allred: That's right, the Surfer's back on Earth now.
Garney: That was something of a disappointment to me. The reason I wanted to do him was so I could
do all that "cosmic stuff," but, unfortunately, I never got the chance.
Allred: As I'm sure everybody knows by now, you and Waid are back on Captain America
starting in November with Captain America #1. Can you give us an idea of what's just on the
horizon for everyone's favorite star-spangled Avenger?
Garney: First, we're bringing back quite a few classic villains like the Taskmaster, Kang,
Batroc, and the Red Skull. Actually, Mark is the one who wanted Batroc back. I only agreed to it if I
got to redesign him and get rid of the stupid mustache and pointy boots. Also, Sharon Carter will be
coming back pretty soon in connection with Nick Fury. She has a hunch that he might still be alive and
starts searching for him so she can kill him.
Allred: Will Cap's adventures in the Heroes Reborn universe affect him?
Garney: Not directly, no. But, the effect that he believes his absence as well as that of the
other heroes had on the Marvel Universe definitely will. He begins thinking about training a replacement
just in case the unthinkable happens.
Allred: So we'll be seeing the Nomad, USAgent, D-Man, and some of the other Cap wannabes out there?
Garney: No. He won't be going to any of them. He'll recruit some new trainees, which will
eventually lead to the creation of a new villain.