||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2010)|
Gene Ha at the 2008 Big Apple Comic Convention.
|Area(s)||Writer, Penciller, Inker|
|Notable works||Top Ten, The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix|
|Awards||1994 Russ Manning Most Award
4 Eisner Awards
Gene Ha is an American comics artist and writer best known for his work on books such as Top 10 and Top 10: The Forty-Niners, with Alan Moore and Zander Cannon, for America's Best Comics, the Batman graphic novel Fortunate Son, with Gerard Jones, and The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, among others. He has also drawn Global Frequency and has done covers for Wizard Magazine and Marvel Comics.
Gene Ha was born in Chicago, but was raised in South Bend, Indiana. Although he says his parents were well-educated Korean immigrants who hoped their three sons would get prestigious degrees and move on to corresponding careers, Ha, the most introverted of his parents' three sons (and the only one of the three not to play high school football), was a "geek", and sought out escapist fantasy, particularly through comic books. Although he says his two brothers were more artistically talented than he, they lacked the patience to sit for hours on end working on drawing. Ha sees parallels between his generation of Asian-American comics artists and the generation of Jewish creators from the 1930s, both of whom were children of immigrants struggling to fit into America.
Ha cites as his influences numerous creators from the 1980s, such as John Byrne, Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz, Walter Simonson, Alan Moore and most importantly Matt Wagner, whose Mage series Ha says is still "magical" to him, and its main characters "personal archetypes".
Ha took few classes in art, as he was only interested in drawing as a means of creating comics, and South Bend offered little in the way of education in realistic drawing. He began to truly understand graphic arts when working on his high school newspaper, The Clay Colonial, winning the Most Valuable Staffer Award, which was unusual for an artist. After high school, Ha attended the College for Creative Studies. In his last semester he sent drawing samples to Marvel and DC. Though he received a harshly critical response from Marvel, DC was interested, and sent him a sample script.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2011)|
Ha's first published comics work was in Green Lantern #36 (February 1993), whose story, "The Ghost of Christmas Light", was written by Gerard Jones. He would continue a number of books for DC and Malibu Comics, and eventually did work for Marvel as well, illustrating the 1994 miniseries Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, which documented the childhood of the character Cable. He would eventually draw that miniseries' sequel as well, Askani'son.
He would subsequently illustrate a number of different properties for various publishers, including Aliens: Havoc, Superman, JLA Annual, which included interiors and cover work. In 1999, he began illustrating Top Ten, one of the books of Alan Moore's America's Best Comics imprint for Wildstorm. He would draw that series' twelve issues, which ran until late 2001.
In 2006, Ha was set to serve as artist on the first four issues of a relaunch of Wildstorm's The Authority, with writer Grant Morrison. Ha drew two issues, but the project stalled after the second issue, as DC needed Morrison to concentrate his efforts on Batman than on Wildstorm projects.
Techniques and materials
Once Ha obtains a script, he makes "tiny" thumbnail sketches of each page, and then makes layout sketches on reduced copies of comic art board, two per page. It is at this stage that he works out the light/dark balance of the page. Though he says about 90% of his artwork are done without photo reference, he will sometimes photograph his friends posing as the central characters, or use a full length mirror to draw himself. He renders minor characters from his imagination. Irrespective of how much sunlight he has on a given day, he prefers to use a 500W incandescent photo lamp, though he believes a 500W halogen lamp is also adequate. He prefers to use a lead holder with H lead for sketching, and 2B lead for shading, which he sharpens with a rotary lead pointer, believing that such leads can be sharpened better than a traditional pencil. He blows up a scan of each page layout to 8.5" x 11", and draws "tight" pencils on top of these, which are then scanned and printed on 11" x 17" inkjet paper in faint blue line. He prefers Xerox paper because he feels that the surface of marker paper tends to get smudgy or oily. When modifying art in his computer, he uses Photoshop.
To effect his current ink wash style of shading and inking, he uses a variety of warm grey Copic markers with wide and brush tips, in particular a 9W Copic Sketch brush marker. For outlines and precise shading effects he will use a variety of pencils, most notably a 2B pencil, and for highlights and corrections, he will use white chalk pencils and white gouache paint. He also uses Staedtler Mars technical pens.
When doing digitally painted covers, he also uses a Winsor & Newton Series 7 Size 1 brush, Badger Air Opaque airbrush paint, water soluble ink wash and Strathmore Windmill vellum 100 lb. Bristol board. He cleans his brushes with Masters Brush Cleaner, to which he adds water for a gel consistency.
Awards and nominations
- 1994 Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award
- 2000 Eisner Award for Best New Series (for Top Ten, with Alan Moore and Zander Cannon, Wildstorm/ABC)
- 2001 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series (for Top Ten, with Alan Moore and Zander Cannon, Wildstorm/ABC)
- 2006 Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album (for Top 10: The Forty-Niners, by Alan Moore, Gene Ha, Zander Cannon (ABC))
- 2008 Eisner Award for Best Single Issue (for Justice League of America #11: "Walls", by Brad Meltzer and Gene Ha (DC))
- 1999 Eisner Award for Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team (for Starman #46)
- 2006 Eisner Award for Best Penciller/Inker (for Top 10: The Forty-Niners)
- 2007 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series (for Ton 10, with Alan Moore and Zander Cannon)
- 2007 Eisner Award for Best New Series (for Top 10, with Alan Moore and Zander Cannon)
- 2007 Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album (for Top 10: The Forty-Niners, with Alan Moore)
- "Questions". Gene Ha - Comic Book Artist. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- Ha, Gene (June 13, 2008). "Wikipedia Me". Gene Ha: Gene News.
- "Past winners of the Manning Award". San Diego Comic-Con International. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- "Complete List of Eisner Award Winners". San Diego Comic-Con International. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "2006 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- "2008 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and Other Awards Recipients". San Diego Comic-Con International. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- "1999 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- "2007 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
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