Artist Alley: Chris Burnham

Matthew Sardo caught up with Chris Burnham at Four Star Studios in Chicago to talk about what it means to be a creator. Burnham is best known for his work on Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc.

Why are you a creator?
“Oh man! I honestly could not think of anything else I wanted to do. I went to college to try and figure out something else to do and by the end of four years of wasting all sorts of my parents money, I wanted to do the thing you can do for free in your own basement,” said Burnham.

What was your biggest influence growing up?
“The Toxic Avenger definitely ruined my life growing up. That alley scene with the eye poking and brain smashing, i had to run to the bathroom when I saw that. Now I moderately famous for drawing eviscerations and blood and brains and eyeball poking and what not. I guess it eventually paid off, but fourth grade was rough, I had tough time sleeping after seeing that stuff,” said Burnham.

What book did you read that made you want to get into the comic book industry?
“I guess my book growing up as a kid was the Avengers. The John Buscema, Roger Stern run. The first one I picked up was 274, The Death Of Hercules when the Masters of Evil invaded Avengers Mansion. Yeah, that was awesome! It rocked me to my core,” said Burnham.

What was the first comic you published and how did it feel to hold in your hand?
“It was awesome, my first comic was Moonstone Monsters: Sea Creatures and I drew a killer frog monster story called “Croaked” that was written by Ben Raab. I felt like I definitely done it and accomplished something and I was super proud of the work I did. Looking back on it now, I don’t know. There are certain panels that are awesome, but there is lots of stuff that’s just like, “What were you thinking there pal?” I was convinced that I was gonna be drawing Green Lantern within the hour, because at that point Ben Raab was the writer of Green Lantern. I was convinced that I had an open door. Didn’t work out that way, that was 8-9 years ago,” said Burnham.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“Hopefully getting paid more money to come up with weird shit in some form,” said Burnham.

What advice do you have?
“Put your head down and do it. Yeah, just get down and plow through it and don’t waste your time on sample pages for Spider-Man. Cause you’re not enough yet to get hired for Spider-Man. So don’t waste your fucking time. Just do your own thing, try real hard and stay up late,” said Burnham.

Matthew Sardo
Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.

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