Fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other familiar comic books series may or may not be aware of the name Jeremy Clark. As a professional comic book inker, Jeremy has had the pleasure of working with major publishers and is responsible for inking a number of fan favorite variant covers including some from TMNT. Our very own Machelle aka ‘April O’Neil’ had the pleasure of talking with Jeremy at the first-ever 90s Con over the weekend. With a beaming smile, Jeremy spoke about his love for fans, his journey in the comic book industry, and all things TMNT related!
Jeremy discussed how wonderful it is to interact with fans at 90s Con who have spent many years viewing his work and are equally as excited about it. As Jeremy himself said, “I couldn’t be doing this and be on this side of the table if there wasn’t an equal amount of support on the other side of the table.” He was obviously very appreciative of the dedicated fanbase his work has gathered over the years even calling himself just “one cog in a machine,” that he hopes keeps on working. That being said, Jeremy was also excited about the onslaught of new comic book audiences and the destigmatization of the comic book industry as “nerdy” since the boom in popularity of comic-book adaptations on screen. “I think you see everybody from all walks of life being very excited about the stuff that we are doing,” Jeremy explained, “They’re not worried to put on a Batman shirt or something of that nature anymore. It’s kind of become this whole pop culture scene that everybody seems to want to be a part of.”
Comic books are obviously a huge passion of Jeremy’s and remained so even before his time working in the industry! Jeremy described his love for noir-style comics such as The Crow or Watchmen which inspired him to divert from a career in political science to one as a comic book inker. In particular, he said that the black-and-white style of these works was what drew him to work as an inker as he loved the linework within these darker comics. Of course, it was his ink work on variant covers for multiple titles, including that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles created by Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird that led Jeremy into a more mainstream comic book audience. Standing proudly next to one of the covers he inked for issue 1 of The Last Ronin, Jeremy was happy to announce that he had more work for the TMNT series potentially coming soon. In addition, he is taking a different route from his usual superhero-style comics and devoting some time to a new horror anthology called OMG. For fans of Jeremy’s work who are considering lending their artistic talents to the comic book world themselves, he advised them not to be afraid of the unconventional path. His main pieces of advice – talk with established professionals to get detailed feedback and don’t be afraid to focus solely on the genres you love. It is better to be really proficient at one style at first than to try and be good at all of them!
Getting back to his roots, our April O’Neil / Machelle was ready to throw some rapid-fire TMNT-related questions Jeremy’s way. On the topic of the beloved 90s series, Jeremy was ready to get nostalgic and share stories about how his love for pizza influenced his art for the series, his opinions on the movie series – especially his love for the animated adaptations – and why his interest in traditional Japanese weaponry makes him a big fan of Leondardo’s in particular!
It is truly wonderful to see someone so enthusiastic about inking comic book icons take pride in his work and in his growing fanbase. Jeremy has an obvious love and dedication to all the characters he has helped put on the page which shines through his attention to detail in his work. Fans of Jeremy’s can keep up with him on Instagram and Facebook @jeremyclarkink as well as on his website jeremyclarkink.com. As Jeremy would say, cowabunga dudes! Be sure to check out the full interview with Jeremy on GeekRockTv’s youtube page linked down below.
Host: Machelle Noel here from 90s Con and joining me right now is Professional Comic Book Inker, Jeremy Clark! Jeremy thank you so much for joining our show, we’re so excited to see you, cowabunga!
Jeremy Clark: Yeah, happy to be here!
Host: Okay so first off, let’s start with 90s Con. How excited are you to be at the first-ever 90s Con?
Jeremy Clark: Now I am excited because a lot of the titles that I worked on are, you know, things that people grew up with in the 90s. Naturally, I think I’m gonna see a lot of unique folks and people that are gonna be equally excited about the titles and things that I worked on.
Host: Is there anybody, in particular, you’re geeking out about?
Jeremy Clark: Like any of the actors?
Host: Anything, just go all at it!
Jeremy Clark: Oh I’ll tell you. The gentleman behind me, Mr. Rags Morales, worked on one of my favorite comic book series from DC called “Identity Crisis.” This was many years before I got to do some stuff for DC so it was really cool to see some of the other guys that I was reading before I even got into the industry as a pro.
Host: That’s awesome, and are there any other TV shows that you’re kind of excited to see?
Jeremy Clark: So I know everybody’s maybe like, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, you know some of the 90s, pop people. The music that we obviously have on . . . I know that there’s like the Backstreet Boys who are gonna be here.
Host: Yep . . .
Jeremy Clark: Some of those guys, so you know if I can ever escape my table long enough to be able to go enjoy some of those aspects I absolutely would.
Host: That’s awesome, and yeah they do have some amazing fanbases but so do you. How does it feel to meet up with your fans and know that you’re still beloved after so many years?
Jeremy Clark: The way I see it is, I couldn’t be doing this and be on this side of the table if there wasn’t an equal amount of support on the other side of the table. So, at the end of the day, I’m just happy when people appreciate the work and they want to see more things that I’m having the pleasure of working on. It is a team effort and I am just one cog in the machine so hopefully, it’s a good one and not completely falling apart and becoming decrepit over the years haha.
Host: So true. So you’ve been blessed to work with so many various comic book projects with multiple publishers including IDW, DC Boom, and Titan. Can you tell us a little bit about your origin story? What is your “once upon a time?”
Jeremy Clark: Sure! So you know I broke in like most people do by working on a bunch of the indie stuff that maybe was well behind the scenes, Kickstarter type of projects. As some of those projects started to accumulate, there were more and more publishers that began to take notice, and as a result, I was offered more opportunities within the bigger companies like some of the ones you just mentioned. As a result of that, I got to start working on covers with Raymond Gay or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers and Vampirella and a lot of these things that are associated with the 90s today.
Host: How has your former education helped you to become where you are today as a comic book artist?
Jeremy Clark: So I’m gonna be the individual that nobody should follow in regards to that because I ended up going to college but for something completely non-art related. I was a political science major with a double minor in history and business.
Host: You don’t think that’s coming into use right now? Haha . . .
Jeremy Clark: I mean with all the crazy things that are going on around the world today . . . you know I do still keep track of it and I do enjoy diving into the various things that are happening geopolitically around the world, but at the end of the day my job is to sit at a table and put some lines on paper. So that’s what people want, they don’t want to hear about all the other serious types of things that are happening in the world. I’m just happy, again, to be a part of a career that makes people smile and also makes people enjoy or inspires them to do the types of things that they love.
Host: What inspired you to get into this field?
Jeremy Clark: I was a big fan of projects like The Crow which was James O’Barr’s series and DC’s Watchmen, the original one with Dave Gibbons. So more of the . . . not major titles like Batman or Superman, I always into more of the noir, kind of darker, deeper type of stuff. As a result of that, I think I gravitated more towards inking because that all related to the raw, black and white linework that was associated with each of the books. That’s what drew me in, personally, to the comic scene.
Host: So, what effects do you think the current boom in popularity of superhero and action film genres has had on the comic book industry? This is from Lauren, one of our fans.
Jeremy Clark: Well obviously, to Lauren, it’s brought in a whole new audience. I think that for people who are fans of the stuff it has made it a little bit more accessible to the regular audience in terms of it’s not like this “nerd thing” that’s only related to a particular group. I think you see everybody from all walks of life being very excited about the stuff that we are doing and about going to movies and they’re not worried to put on a Batman shirt or something of that nature anymore. It’s kind of become this whole pop culture scene that everybody seems to want to be a part of. I think, in terms of the movies, it’s just brought in a whole new wave of the audience that’s been more acceptable to what comic books are and what the genre of the content is.
Host: Right behind us is The Last Ronin. How did you get involved with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
Jeremy Clark: So, at first it all started with Raymond Gay who was working and penciling out a lot of Turtle content that people were enjoying. Then there were a number of stores that wanted to do exclusive variants that were specific to their region, their audience, their stuff. It all started with the variant issue #100, which you can see here, which featured the entire cast of Turtles including the new one, Jennika, who is a female turtle. Then from that, it translated into doing more of the regular series stuff, and then two variant covers for issue #1 of TMNT: The Last Ronin which is the one that you see behind me as well as the NY Comic-Con exclusive which was a huge hit and everybody seemed to enjoy it. It just kind of snowballed from there and again, I’m just happy to be a part of it.
Host: Yeah! We got some footage from San Diego Comic-Con and there was really a big turnout over there as well. What other projects do you have going on in your pipeline?
Jeremy Clark: So there’s a number of new projects that I’m currently in development with that I can’t speak entirely about, but there is a horror anthology that is really different from the stuff that I’ve been doing in the past. It features this spider queen type of character with all these alpha spiders and things and it’s called OMG: A Horror Anthology. Ray and I are also doing some cover work for that and really centralizing around that character. So it’s kind of this departure away from superheroes and things toward a more, just classic cult, fiction, horror-related content from back in the day.
Host: Nice! Okay so before we close out with our fast Turtle questions, what advice do you have for people who want to get into the comic book industry?
Jeremy Clark: So naturally the easiest way, or should I say the most appropriate way of doing it, would be to come to shows like this. A lot of the time you will find editors or professionals who have already been in the industry for a long time that can help provide some of that insight or feedback that you might not get otherwise from just looking online. Just by coming up and having a conversation like we’re doing right now, there is a lot of information that can be had that way. But, submitting portfolios and doing portfolio reviews, always trying to get better at your craft, increasingly adding new techniques and things to the repertoire that you already have, and then just finding the things that you enjoy doing. You know, if there’s a particular genre that you’re attracted to then focus on that. You don’t have to be the best at everything, you just have to be really good at one particular thing and you’ll be fine.
Host: I love that! You don’t always have to take the conventional route. Obviously, you took an unconventional route, and look where it took you. You don’t have to stay on the same freeway as everybody else, it’s okay to take a different freeway.
Jeremy Clark: You know, everybody has a path in this world, and eventually, as long as you’re determined and willing to put in the work and the time, hopefully, you’ll be able to get there when it’s all said and done.
Host: That’s awesome. Okay, so let’s go with our fast Turtle questions . . .
Jeremy Clark: Uh oh . . .
Host: Are you ready?
Jeremy Clark: Ooh I’m probably gonna miss all of these haha . . . .
Host: Okay so this is from teenagemutantninjaturtles.com. The Turtles just asked you for a pizza order, how would you like your pizza? What’s your favorite topping?
Jeremy Clark: Oh I’m gonna go with Hawaiian, for sure.
Host: I love pineapples!
Jeremy Clark: You know everybody hates on the pineapple on pizza! Come on, what is wrong with you people? I mean, it’s wonderful of course. Any type of pizza is great because pizza is amazing.
Host: It’s healthy too!
Jeremy Clark: The funny thing is, for the cover of issue #106 that Eric Henson and I worked on, he had tucked a slice of pizza in Michaelangelo’s belt on the cover as he’s doing the nunchuck pose. So there’s this dripping slice of pizza in his belt buckle, that’s how much we like pizza.
Host: Oh my gosh, I love it!
Jeremy Clark: So pizza’s great, FYI.
Host: Who’s your favorite Turtle?
Jeremy Clark: Leonardo and that’s because I like anybody who uses a katana. I really gravitated toward traditional Japanese, shogun types of elements. So it could have been any of the turtles personality-wise but whoever had the swords was gonna be my guy!
Host: That was gonna be my next question, what’s your favorite choice of weapon?
Jeremy Clark: Oh got it! Done haha . . . rapid-fire, keep it going!
Host: If you got a chance to be one of the newest turtles, what color would you be?
Jeremy Clark: Ooh well I guess the Last Ronin isn’t really black, it’s like this dark bluish-grey, but I like black and red. Unfortunately, red was the original bandana for all of the turtles when they were initially released . . .
Host: It’s funny cause when I think of 90s con, this is like the vibe I get (gestures to Jeremy’s clothing).
Jeremy Clark: This is the vibe!
Host: Hot Topic, Spencer’s, that sort of thing . . .
Jeremy Clark: The funny thing is, I’ll be in like a blazer tomorrow and I’ll look way more professional this is just travel-day attire so you’re catching it how it is.
Host: What are your thoughts about the female turtle?
Jeremy Clark: Which one, cause there’s two. . .
Jeremy Clark: Well, Venus was never well-received just in general.
Host: But there’s an underground cult following . . .
Jeremy Clark: I think the fact that they provided the turtles in general with a ranged character like Jennika because she’s got a bow and arrow and has like some of this overreach type of quality to her whereas all the other turtles had to be up-close and personal, in your face. I was like, come on! Is nobody gonna be like this cool, you know, range-type style of character? So for me, out of the two female turtle characters, Jennika would probably be the choice for me.
Host: What are your thoughts when you see female fans coming up and telling you they love your work when you think it’s like an all-boys club?
Jeremy Clark: You’d be surprised! Even on titles that are like Vampirella or Lady Death which are these more voluptuous, more risque types of female characters, I would say that a vast majority of fans of that type of work are indeed female. I always thought it was going to be the exact opposite in that there would just only be a conglomerate of male fans for that type of work and it’s always shocked me how many female fans there are for certain types of genres. They’re not atypical.
Host: Out of the five movies, which one was your favorite?
Jeremy Clark: Ooh, do the animated ones count?
Host: Sure, why not! I mean Chris Evans was in it so why not. . .
Jeremy Clark: I mean those were good! I would lean toward the animated ones. If I had to choose one of the ones, maybe the second one that had Megan Fox in it? Just because I thought the graphics were a little bit better you know, obviously. I know everybody likes the classic ones that have like Vanilla Ice running around and the older stuff.
Host: That was my childhood!
Jeremy Clark: It is, you’ll have to forgive me for wanting a little bit extra on the screen. I think they did that with some of the content in the new ones.
Host: What do you think about the new movie coming out and Seth Rogen being involved in it?
Jeremy Clark: That’s gonna be another animated one! I don’t think it’s only gonna be one, I think it’s gonna be multiple. I’m excited for that, actually, I think that it’s got some really unique art direction so far, just from the stills that I’ve seen, and I am intrigued by where I think they’re going with it.
Host: I like the whole graphic novel aspect of it. . .
Jeremy Clark: Yeah, I think it’s a truer rendition of perhaps the graphic novel elements kind of like how Watchmen, the Zack Snyder film, was almost panel-to-panel. You looked at it and if you’ve ever read the original series, he tried to maintain this very fluid panel-to-panel recreation of what the actual scene was. I hope that’s what they’re doing with this animated one since it’s a lot easier to translate than the live-action format.
Host: It’s really hard for the fans cause it’s hard to please everybody, but we’re in a time right now where I think people are starting to grow into it. I know it’s starting to grow on me. So before we close out, what’s your favorite turtle slogan?
Jeremy Clark: Cowabunga, I always do that, and sometimes I’ll sign the books with “cowabunga dude” on it as well.
Host: So where can we find you online? What’s your social media handle?
Jeremy Clark: So everything for me is my name, Jeremy Clark, if you can remember that you’re gonna start there, and then the word ink just like any type of ink except incorporated. So @jeremyclarkink and that’s dot com, Instagram, Facebook, the whole shebang.
Host: Awesome! So we’ll close it out with cowabunga in five seconds. Jeremy thank you so much for joining us!
Jeremy Clark: Thanks for having me!
Host: Folks be sure to find him online and hopefully, you’ll see him at a con near you!
Jeremy Clark: Yeah, come find me at a show!
Host: I’m Machelle Noel with Jeremy Clark and we’ll see you next time!
Lauren Badilla | Writing Contributor
B.A | Communications | UCLA
Lauren is a senior and transfer student at UCLA who will be graduating in June with her bachelor’s degree in communications. During her time in college, she has been especially interested in focusing on journalism and public relations as potential career paths. Lauren has always been passionate about storytelling which is why she enjoys writing, movies, TV, and music because they help bring stories to life for many people to enjoy. In particular, she is a huge fan of Disney, Marvel, and the Harry Potter franchise and enjoys listening to indie/alternative music. When she is not binge-watching the latest show or listening to her favorite albums on repeat, Lauren loves fashion, playing piano, baking, and spending time with her friends and family. She is very excited to be interning for GeekRockTV as the program will give her a chance to put her skills to the test while utilizing her love of all things pop culture! View My Articles