5 Questions with a Hypersmash Artist: Jason Hoagland

This is the second in a series of snapshot interviews with the artists of Hypersmash Studios. (If you missed the first one with Scott Arnold, you can check it out here.) Taking the time to answer our questions is the artist on Battle Team Omega, Jason Hoagland. We hope you enjoy his responses.

1) Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What do you do for a living? And what is your artistic background?

Jason Hoagland - My full name is Jason Dean Hoagland. I was born on October 31, 1976 in Norwich, Connecticut, where I also spent my first 17 years, and I'm the oldest of my parents' three children. I currently live in Somerville, Ma, right across from Tufts University, and I work for a small company called Avian Securities where I do what I like to call "investment research", even though I really just eat fake sushi and surf the net all day. As for my artistic background, my high school had several excellent art teachers, and I attended the Massachusetts College of Art, majoring in illustration.

2) Who are your artistic influences? Could you name a couple of your favorite comic books and comic characters?
Jason Hoagland - I've had lots of favorite comics artists over the years and I love to talk about them all, but I'll try to keep this short.

I'm proud to say that my very first comic was Master of Kung-Fu #117, which was extremely well drawn (and inked) by Gene Day. I think very highly of issues #114 through #118.

Michael Golden's stuff has always been on top of my desk, especially the first issue of the Micronauts, Doc Strange #55, his early issues of The 'Nam, and several of his stories that appeared in Batman Family.

I loved the Fantastic Four as a kid and so most of the artists associated with that comic were a big deal to me, particularly Jack Kirby and Keith Pollard. I used to get pissed if Joe Sinnott wasn't the inker on my FFs.

John Romita Jr's issues of Daredevil were a big influence on me when they came out in the late eighties. I look at his dad's Spider-Man stuff all the time. Steranko's pop-art/psychedelic imagery resonates with me. Issues 22 and 25 of the original Nova series with art by Carmine Infantino, and only those two. Batman and the Outsiders #26- art by Alan Davis.

In recent years some of my favorite artists have been Chris Sprouse on Tom Strong, Frank Quitely on X-men, Takishi Miyazawa on Mary Jane (the comic), Adrian Alphona on Runaways, Alberto Dose's issues of The Flash, Kevin Maguire's Justice League stuff. Seth Fisher's Flash, Green Lantern, and Doom Patrol stories are cool and wierd. I recently discovered that I had really underappreciated how awesome Curt Swan was. Kurt Schaffenberger too. I'd love to get a hold of CC Beck's Captain Marvel stories from the forties. The collision of National Geographic with the newspaper cartoon in TinTin always makes me feel like I'm reading something worthwhile. I'm thumbing through Jesse Hamm's "Good as Lily" right now. My misremembered idea of what Saturday Morning Cartoons of the early eighties were like kinda inspires me. I also feel really intellectually stimulated after watching spaghetti westerns. Musically, Stevie Wonder, Arthur Lee, and The Kinks.

3) What were your first impressions when you saw the art of the other Hypersmash artists?

Jason Hoagland - Jeremiah looks like he will add a really cool atmosphere and a lot of cinematic verve to Rogue Agent Zed. Scott's style is perfect for Lightning Girl loves Rocket Boy in that his art is so in tune with the modern youth culture that those characters live in. And yeah, that Doctor Straightjacket would perform brain surgery on himself is an awesome idea.

4) How would you describe the title you are working on? What is the most appealing part of working on the title? And are you working on any other projects?
Jason Hoagland - I would describe Battleteam Omega as being about an elite team of superheroes who collectively adopt a teenage girl, not realizing that stewarding a teenager to maturity is a lot more demanding than fighting robots or aliens. What makes the comic interesting to me is that there is this huge divide between our teenage protagonist, who is trying to assert her own individuality and make her own mistakes, and our heroes, who desperately want to reign her in and provide her with some direction but who have widely divergent ideas about how to do that. Hijinks ensue. So, I think there's this interesting dynamic where the reader will be able to subjectively relate with both sides of the teen/adult rift in a way that he or she couldn't when they themselves were teenagers. And all of this drama is set against the popart backdrop of alien invasions, robot uprisings, and zombie outbreaks. I'm not currently working on any other projects except for this, as I want to make this a success.

5) Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of the blog?
Jason Hoagland - Red Sox rule, Yankees Drool? Also: Let There Be Lasers!! Plus, Don't Eat Yellow Snow. P.S. I Love You.

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