The first time I met Chuck Mullins was at my local comic book shop, Cavalier Comics, during Free Comic Book Day 2015. It was my first time covering an event for the blog, and I was excited to promote the shop that cultivated my comic book geekdom. I was also stoked to meet and promote our local artists and writers, on a day to celebrate the medium we know and love. If I recall correctly, Chuck was my third interview of the day and we quickly found out we had mutual love for artist Esad Ribic and 90s-era Image Comics. It was a great conversation and a favorite of the interviews I’ve done.
When Chuck contacted me to see if the blog could help promote his Fantastic Realms Fantasy Art Calendar Indiegogo campaign, I was more than happy to help spread the word.
“It will be a quality work of fantasy art that can give you a wonderful escape 365 days in the year,” said Mullins. “The calendar has every major, national, and international holiday and includes many birthdays of famous artists, writers, and people who have moved fantasy, science fiction, and comics in a positive direction.”
The calendar is $33 and will be a high quality, oversized, printed on 80lb premium paper, and hand signed by Mullins himself. He’s making reward tiers that include 11×17 or 11×14 art prints as well.
“All I need are 250 backers to make it happen and there is even a reward where you could get some original art,” said Mullins. “The art should look really good on this paper. You can choose reward tiers that include a number of prints that you’d like to have.”
This is Mullins’ first ever attempt at Indiegogo and crowdfunding in general. He hopes to achieve the calendar funding, but is using this to understand what needs to be done to run a successful crowdfunded project to help with his ultimate goal: a graphic novel.
“I wanted to test it out and learn what it takes to have a successful Indiegogo campaign before I put a graphic novel on it,” he said. “So I came up with the fantasy art calendar. The art and design of the calendar is something I’m very proud of. It is a fantastic design with some of my favorite fantasy art I’ve created the past few years. Some of the art actually has characters and creatures that will be in my graphic novel…The calendar is a learning experience and I have already gained a lot of knowledge about promoting,”
One of the fantasy creatures in the calendar that will appear in his original graphic novel concept, the Thunderbird, has become one of his favorites to illustrate. He’s having a good time drawing a wintery holiday showdown as well.
“So far my favorite character to draw in the calendar was a Thunderbird. It is a creature that will be in my graphic novel. It turned out great with storm clouds and lightning coming off of its wings,” he said. “But the Santa vs Krampus is turning out to be a really fun piece too!”
All of Mullins’ art shows how much he enjoys drawing, but his Minion mashups may be the best representation of how much fun he has creating his art. The project went viral being featured on pop culture sites We Geek Girls, Movie Pilot, Inspire First, and many others. He said the idea started with his love for both Marvel in print and on the big screen. He then turned that love in to a fun project that brought him national attention.
“The Minions idea was me just playing around with a “What If” idea. I’m a Marvel guy and I love the Marvel movies and the minions are some goofy little villains,” he said. “I think the first one I did was a Wolverine Minion mashup. It made me giggle so I started making my own Marvel movie posters mashing them up with the Minions. It took off in a big way and pop culture websites all over the Internet started doing articles on it. Kids and parents love them at conventions.”
Mullins gets inspiration from a wide variety of artists. He mentions comic greats Terry Dodson and Mike Zeck to fantasy art mastermind Frank Frazetta to Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali. He said Mike Zeck’s Kraven’s Last Hunt and Wolverine’s first limited series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller are works that inspired his love for comic books.
“Mike Zeck drew a Kraven the Hunter series in Amazing Spider-Man that was just awesome. He did the [1980s] Secret Wars art that I loved as a kid too,” he said. “Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s Wolverine 4-issue limited series sure was impactful. I drew pictures out of that for a long time. My first commission as a kid was to do a cover from that series.”
Mullins’ art continues to be defined by his wide eyed wonder of the comic book and fantasy mediums developed from his childhood. On his website, ChucksArtBox.com, he said his creativity stems from his many relocations and having little while growing up. He said those tough times helped him see the world in a way that helped him cultivate his art.
“I was drawing before I could even read. I would flip through a Captain Marvel comic and try to figure out what was going on just fro the pictures. I would get inspired and go draw,” he said. “I am a guy who has a great relationship with his inner child and uses everything create to have fun with it.”