From the 2001 novel to the STARZ TV series and beyond, the world of Neil Gaiman's American Gods is ever-expanding, and it continues to grow today with the release of Dark Horse Comics' American Gods: My Ainsel #1. The first issue in a new story arc featuring the continued adventures of Shadow and Wednesday, the new comic book features eye-catching artwork by Scott Hampton, and we caught up with the artist and colorist in a new Q&A feature to discuss what he enjoyed the most about working on the new story (which also features great cover art like the one shown above by Glenn Fabry).
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Scott! How did the opportunity to work on American Gods: My Ainsel come about, and what interested you in the project?
Scott Hampton: Craig Russell contacted me after he and I collaborated for the first time on Neil's The Graveyard Book graphic novel.
Were you a fan of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods or the TV series adaptation before working on the comic book series, or was this an entirely new world for you to explore?
Scott Hampton: I hadn't read American Gods when I got the call, so it was very fresh for me. I am not watching the series since I don't want to be influenced by it, but I hear great things. I plan to watch it when I finish work on the comic.
I really enjoy the classic look of your artwork in American Gods: My Ainsel. Did you have a specific art style in mind when you first read the story for this series?
Scott Hampton: Not really. I like to let the prose suggest routes. As I read more of the story, I found myself leaning toward vibrant paintings for the other world sections.
What has it been like working with P. Craig Russell on this series? What do you enjoy the most about combining his prose with your artwork?
Scott Hampton: Craig is a great talent and getting his scripted layouts always jazzes me. Since he is focusing on telling the story in rough form, he doesn't get into details, but every so often a particularly interesting scene will come up and he'll bring it forward with lush, beautiful pencils, which I gleefully paint up.
Do you have a favorite scene in particular that you helped bring to life through your art in this series?
Scott Hampton: The House on the Rock section with its trip to Asgard and the great conclave of the Gods was something I was excited to draw.
Have you been inspired or influenced by other comic books or artists while creating the artwork for American Gods: My Ainsel?
Scott Hampton: Believe it or not, I have been so focused on this work and trying to stay on schedule that I haven't gotten to a comic shop for over a year. So I look at new stuff when I'm at conventions and there's a lot of great stuff being put out. That said, Bernie Wrightson, Michael William Kaluta, P. Craig Russell, Frank Frazetta, Johnny Craig, Wally Wood, Bernie Krigstein, etc. are always an inspiration.
You’ve worked on a wide range of comic book series in your career as an artist. Is there a comic book series that you haven’t worked on yet that you would love to be a part of?
Scott Hampton: That's a tough one. There are lots. I've always thought I'd like to do my version of Superman one day.
With the first issue of American Gods: My Ainsel out now from Dark Horse, what projects do you have on deck that you’re excited about, and where can our readers follow your work online?
Scott Hampton: "October in the Chair" is a thirty-page story and another collaboration with Neil and Craig and will come out with another story by Craig (with a couple of shorter pieces) sometime next year.