continue our conversations today with the creators who will be working
on the Red Circle characters later this year in DC Comics’ revival.
We’ve spoken with The
Web penciler Roger
Robinson earlier, and today, we speak with his acclaimed inker, Hilary
Newsarama: To start with Hilary, you’ve inked some of the
greatest pencilers in comics, how did you get your first job?
Hilary Barta: I showed my samples to then Marvel editor Al
Milgrom and he took pity on me.
NRAMA: Were you at a convention?
HB: The annual comic book convention in Chicago. This would
have been back when they held them downtown at the Pick-Congress hotel.
Back then it was common practice to show your work to editors who would
be set up at a show. It may still be, but I believe that these days they
schedule more official portfolio reviews.
NRAMA: How long was it from the time you showed your samples
until you got work from Marvel?
HB: My very first work came in rather quickly. Al tried me out
on a couple pages by penciler Ron Perlin. But my inks sucked, so it took
about a year or so to get regular inking work.
NRAMA: Jumping the many years in between, what brought you to The
Web's editor, Joey Cavalieri. I had inked Roger's pencils for
Joey on Blue
Beetle, and Joey asked me to ink Roger's new book.
NRAMA: Had you been a fan of the Web prior to getting the
HB: I knew of the character, but I didn't follow it. I can tell
you that I like the new design and I'm interested to see where we take
NRAMA: As you said, you’ve worked with Rodger before on other
projects; is it easier work with people who’s style you are familiar
HB: Very much so. Though occasionally it can work from the
start, it usually takes me a few issues to really get comfortable with
NRAMA: How much do you alter your style to fit each penciler?
HB: That's a good question, but I'm not sure that I have a good
answer. I think I alter my inks to fit each and every artist that I work
on. But I've been told that I alter the pencils, and that my inks are
always recognizable. I might not be the best judge of my own work, as I
notice the differences between various pencilers, not the similarity
that I naturally bring to inking them.
For me it really depends on the penciler, and whether their pencils are
tight or loose and whether we have similar styles. The looser they are
the more I have to finish them, adding my own style. And the farther
apart our styles are, the more I'll alter my style to fit, thus my inks
may be less recognizable. Though sometimes differing styles are at odds
in such a way that I end up changing the look in order to make it work
for me. How's that for a qualified and contradictory answer?
NRAMA: Roger said "Instead of it looking like spandex, I gave
his costume a carbon fiber look." What do you have to do differently as
an inker to get that carbon fiber look?
HB: I don't know yet--I assume that means that there won't be
folds and such in the fabric. In general what I've seen of Roger's work
on the book so far is really terrific. Among other talents, he's a great
NRAMA: You both pencil and ink, any chance we will see some of
your pencil work on the title at some point?
HB: Nope. That's Roger's gig.
NRAMA: As the inker do they give you copies of Angela
Robinson's scripts to reference or do they just give you Roger's art and
have you ink it without a script?
HB: Sometimes the inker gets to read the script beforehand,
sometimes not. In this case I haven't.
NRAMA: Do you ink with pen and brush or do you digitally ink
HB: I use both brush and pen, but I prefer the brush most of
the time. It all depends on what is appropriate for a particular line or
what sort of look I'm going for. Because of all the tech stuff I used a
lot of pen on Blue
Beetle, but I'm mostly using a brush on The
NRAMA: For those not familiar with the art of inking, what is
the difference between the look a brush gives and the look a pen gives?
HB: There is some cross over between the two tools, and you
can't always tell which is which. But the brush has a greater range of
flexibility than the pen, allowing for greater variation in line width.
I think the brush has a lusher, more organic and sensuous quality. It
better serves the classic comic book look of thicker outlines and
heavily 'spotted' blacks, or shadowed areas. Sometimes pen can appear a
bit more mechanical, but the pen is good for more detailed and purely
linear renderings. The wider the line, the more likely it was made by a
brush; conversely, the tinier the detail, the more even and the finer
the line, the more likely it's pen.
NRAMA: Finally, before we let you go, what else are you working
HB: I have a new Munden's Bar story available online for free
at Comicmix. You can find the story as well as comment on it here:
And my limericks are always up at Limerwrecks: