It's not every day that a creator owned comic reaches its 50th issue. A few weeks ago, Richard Starkings' Elephantmen did just that.
Starkings first discovered comics back in England through his brother, who was a collector and dealer with a massive collection. At any given time, he had access to more than 7000 Marvel and DC comics. But since his brother arranged the books with Marvel on the bottom shelves and DC on the higher shelves, just out of his reach, it was the House of Ideas that first got him hooked into the world of superhero comic adventures.
That early catalyst led to a career in comics, working for Marvel UK, where he immersed himself in almost every creative discipline, including writing, editing, lettering, and coloring. He has created comics in the UK and the US for nearly every major comic company, including Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image Comics, which currently publishes Elephantmen. If you’ve picked up a comic at some point in the last few decades, odds are good you’ve seen the ComiCraft logo or Richard’s name in the credits somewhere. With the rise of the digital age of design, ComiCraft helped establish the concept of comic book fonts in a time when lettering was done by hand, an artform in its own right. But Elephantmen is his baby, completely creator owned and is the focus of his efforts whenever he hits the con circuit.
After years of seeing the man at nearly every Comic-Con I went to on the west coast, I finally tried to sit down with Mr Starkings during San Diego Comic-Con, but quickly discovered that his booth was so busy, so full of eager fans lined up for the latest volumes of Elephantmen, hoping to get them signed by its creator, that we had to postpone until after the show. Luckily, he spends almost as much time at our local SoCal comic shop, The Comic Bug, as I do, which gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up with the man and learn a little more about the origin story of the comic series and its creator.
If your local comic shop doesn’t carry Elephantmen, request it. You can also find the book on ComiXology.com.