Meeting Ben Stenbeck

11 07 2008

A couple of weeks back I had the chance to meet Ben Stenbeck, a man who is that rarest of things, a rising comic artist from little old NZ. He was signing comics at Heroes4Sale, the comic shop I frequent. Why was he signing comics? Well he’d hit the big time – art for a BPRD comic co written by Mike Mignola. I already raved about how awesome BPRD is below so I was pretty jazzed that a kiwi was doing the art for it. Now I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of my favourite writers and artists before at Armageddon but I’ve chickened out. A few years back Warren Ellis was there and I couldn’t think of anything witty to say so I hurried past. I did manage to have a chat to the guys from the Red Star but that was probably due to not having a clue who they were (they were sadly missing name tags) so I could have been talking to Chris Gosset or his PA, who knows? There have been others as well. Eddie Campbell tried to sell me Bacchus. At that point I hadn’t read From Hell so I only had the vaguest inkling of who he was. He actually came across as this slightly dodgy guy, from memory quite tall with a pronounced Adam’s apple. I wish now that I’d bought it. Of course if I’d known who he really was (ie I’d read From Hell at that point) I’d probably have run away like a timid chinchilla.

What was Ben like? Cool and normal, much as you’d expect. We talked for about 40 minutes about his work, what it was like working with Mignola (apparently he spoke to him once), the normal kind of things. Ben was stoked at having done BPRD, he described the experience as his dream project. Both of us geeked out over how awesome Hellboy was and he even signed my comic. One thing it brought home to me was the fickleness of the comic industry. Ben didn’t have any comics work on as Dark Horse (who publish Hellboy and BPRD) were waiting to see the reaction to his issue. He had to do some freelance advertising work in the meantime. Now I have no doubt that Ben’s going to succeed, he’s much too talented to disappear but that’s kind of scary, especially if you have a family to support.

Ben’s other main work was the Living With The Dead comic from Dark Horse which was okay, not spectacular and he also did a Hellboy Animated comic which came with the DVD. I had the chance to buy some panels from that comic but instead I decided to go with a couple of pictures he did. One of Hellboy and a nasty beasty and the other of my favourite character Abe Sapien. 

Ben Stenbeck's Hellboy
Ben Stenbeck’s Hellboy
Ben Stenbeck's Abe Sapien
Ben Stenbeck’s Abe Sapien

 We just need to get some frames and they’re going up on the wall.

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