Not long ago, we featured a 20th Anniversary piece on our beloved SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE. This was designed as a Tribute to both the magazine as well as its unassuming publisher, Dennis Druktenis. We are pleased to follow that up with an interview featuring another icon of SCARY MONSTERS – its incomparable main cover artist, “Scary” Terry Beatty!
DAVE FUENTES: What work had you done prior to SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE?
SCARY TERRY: Before SCARY MONSTERS, I was drawing and inking comic books. My major credit was a private eye series I co-created with Max Allan Collins, called MS. TREE. That ran for over a decade from several different publishers, including Eclipse and DC Comics. I also co-created WILD DOG with Max for DC.
As an inker I worked on a variety of titles — GUY GARDNER, ELFQUEST, MR. HERO, Mickey Spillane’s MIKE DANGER, and more.
I was still a few years away from my long-running gig as inker on DC’s “animated-style” BATMAN titles when SCARY MONSTERS came around2) How did you get involved with SCARY MONSTERS and what was your first Scary cover?
DAVE FUENTES: How did you get involved with SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE?
SCARY TERRY: I got involved with the magazine, when after reading and enjoying a few issues, I sent SCARY’s publisher/editor, Dennis Druktenis, a new logo I designed, gratis, for the mag.
Not long after, I met Dennis at a Chicago Comicon and he asked if I’d like to paint the covers for the magazine. I noted that I was a pencil and ink guy — not really a painter. Dennis replied that he was OK with that — and so I set about learning to paint “in public” by blundering through my early covers for the magazine.
The first cover was either the MONSTER MEMORIES ANNUAL #1 or SCARY MONSTERS #5 (TV horror hosts). I’m not certain without looking it up!
DAVE FUENTES: Of all the covers you’ve done for SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE and its off-shoots, what is the one you are the most proud of?
SCARY TERRY: My Karloff as the Mummy cover won me a Rondo Award — so I’m quite pleased with that. But there are quite a few I’m still happy with — even some of the very early ones. I must admit to a few I’d like to burn — though I won’t identify which ones!
DAVE FUENTES: So what is YOUR favorite Scary Monster?
SCARY TERRY: I’m a big fan of the Universal Studios monsters, and my work studio/library is full of model kits and toys of those characters. If going by sheer numbers, I have more Creature from the Black Lagoon pieces than anything else — so maybe the “Gill Man” takes top honors — though I have plenty of Frankenstein on display, too. And I do love Lugosi’s Dracula. Aw, heck — I love ’em all!
DAVE FUENTES: Describe the process of creating a Scary cover for a new SM.
I’ll then go digging for more reference if needed, and start working on a rough layout — either a pencil rough on paper — or a digital scribble in Photoshop or Manga Studio. At this point I figure out how many elements I really CAN fit on the cover and still have a strong design. Often a few requested images are jettisoned, simply to avoid a crowded image.
I used to paint the covers in acrylic on illustration board — but now do any drawn elements with the inking tools in Manga Studio — and all color and paint in Photoshop.
DAVE FUENTES: What other artistic projects do you do aside from SM?
SCARY TERRY: A few recent projects? One would be inking one of my long-time favorite cartoonists, Ramona Fradon (METAMORPHO, BRENDA STARR) for the political satire graphic novel THE ADVENTURES OF UNEMPLOYED MAN. Also, just published is RETURN TO PERDITION, another collaboration with Max Allan Collins — a 180 page graphic novel for DC’s Vertigo Crime line. It’s a next-generation sequel to Max’s hit ROAD TO PERDITION graphic novel (source of the Paul Newman/Tom Hanks movie). Max and I are also gearing up for a MS. TREE graphic novel for First Comics — and I’ll be illustrating the next “Jack and Maggie Starr” mystery novel by Max for Hard Case Crime.
I also did the concept sketches and box art for Moebius Models’ new GREEN LANTERN model kit — a real treat of a gig for me, as I’ve always been crazy for figure kits.
DAVE FUENTES: Tell us about your latest SCARY MONSTERS #81 cover.
SCARY TERRY: The latest cover has a “brains and craniums” theme — fun subject matter. Dennis requested images from several movie posters — so two of the images on the back cover are digital drawings based on poster paintings by other artists. One was by the late Gray Morrow — and credited as such. but I have no idea who painted the INCREDIBLE 2 HEADED TRANSPLANT poster — so couldn’t credit that unknown artist.
DAVE FUENTES: What other mediums do you work with aside from painting and computer graphics?
SCARY TERRY: Well, I have drawn plenty of comics — so pen and ink, of course — though lately, I’m shifting to digital. I also sculpt a bit — using polymer clay, sculpting wax and epoxy putties. I’ve even done some resin casting.
DAVE FUENTES: Are they any Scary Monsters who’ve yet to grace the cover of SM that you’d like to see get there?
SCARY TERRY: I love Brian DePalma’s PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE — so I’d like to get that particular Phantom on the cover at some point.
DAVE FUENTES: What projects or plans do you have for 2012?
SCARY TERRY: The aforementioned MS. TREE graphic novel and book illos. I also want to do a printed “sketchbook” — and have a comic book concept of my own I may do as a Kickstarter project.
TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES would like to thank Terry Beatty for taking time out of his busy schedule to participate in this interview!