Like Her Characters in Her Debut Series, MEGAN HUANG is Heading into Uncharted Territory
Megan Huang is an artist and colorist that has done a variety of work with publishers, including Action Lab, Oni Press, Image and Dark Horse. Now, she's striking out, doing all the work, with her own creator book, Rangers of the Divide. Comic Book Yeti steps out of the heatwave to speak to Megan about being cool, her cool book and her cool colors.
COMIC BOOK YETI: First thing, Megan, how have you been doing this summer in the heat?
MEGAN HUANG: It’s been okay. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the heat, I just…melt…like the Wicked Witch of the West if it’s like a degree or two over room temp.
CBY: You left the work-for-hire behind and are now four issues into your own book, Rangers of the Divide. Why the switch and how is it going?
MH: Oh, I’m still doing work for hire. I recently did color work for IDW and some covers for them and Oni Press, as well. I just like having that variety, so that I don’t get bored with one thing (not that my projects are boring!). However, working on Rangers has been great. I do like the level of control I have with the book overall, since the only thing that’s not up to me is some of the editing and design work, such as the logo.
CBY: Where did the idea for Rangers come from? It looks like a mixture of several movies,
books, and anime.
"I think doing it on my own has made me stronger. I feel more confident now that if I pitched a solo book again, people would have a good amount of faith in me and my work..."
MH: It is! I referenced Attack on Titan, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us, Avatar (James
Cameron), and How to Train Your Dragon. All amazing works of art, and I’d be a fool not to
steal one or two things from ‘em. ;)
CBY: How long of a story is Rangers of the Divide? Are you going the James Cameron route and we’ll have to wait years, or do you have a clear ending with a number of issues in mind?
MH: Nope, you won’t have to wait years, haha. The schedule (we’re still working on) is set to have the next series release next year, October potentially. I have a plan for the series, though it’s loose. I’m thinking a maximum of 12 more issues should do it. So, it’s kinda planned, but also kinda vague in case things change for whatever reason.
CBY: You wear all the hats (with the exception of editor – I believe that’s Judy Khuu) on Rangers of the Divide. Do you ever have a conflict with yourself over a choice – like drawing or coloring a particular page/panel or wish you took on some help like a letterer a co-writer?
MH: Yep, my editor is Judy Khuu, and Rose Weitz recently came on as her assistant editor too. But yeah, I do have tons of conflicts with myself, almost all the time. I have to sit on things before I make a decision, because I know I’ll regret it and NEVER forget if I go the wrong way. Yeah…I’m a bit much, haha! I’m not sure I would want more help than I have. I like the struggle, haha. At least, when it’s not too much of a struggle... It keeps me busy, and honestly, it’s a big source of entertainment in my life. Plus Judy, Rose, and everyone else at Dark Horse who’s had a hand in making the book happen has been very helpful! Love ‘em all!
CBY: That’s a mature answer. I don’t think we grow without a struggle. Is Judy mentoring you through this adventure? Have you got a peer you can honestly show something to when the struggle gets too real?
MH: Judy has been a mentor in some ways, sure. She really knows her stuff. I definitely take all other advice to heart. Judy is a force of nature and she definitely has helped the book to get to where it is today. She’d be that peer you mentioned, probably Rose too, and my friends in the industry have always been very supportive of my work, even when I was just starting out (I was not good when I was starting out, haha). I think that’s why I haven’t lost my mind with it all yet, they really keep me going, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!
CBY: What is the process for working on Rangers? Do you plot and script it all out and share it with Judy or Rose and then work from that? Or do you do it loosely because you are running the whole thing, and show the pages for feedback? Or something else entirely?
MH: I’d say more option A. It would be looser if it was just me on the book, but I do try and lay things out so that everyone can follow my jumbled thoughts. Overall, the process has been me showing them the outline, then the next step would be for me to show them the scripts, followed by everything else. Having everything down in the beginning is a huge help later, even though sometimes it can feel redundant. But in the end, I’m always thankful for it.
CBY: So all your work is done digitally?
MH: Yes. I used to draw traditionally, but in order to streamline the process, I decided it would be best to do everything on my PC. I’ve been told by many people that having traditional pages to sell later would be good, but I’m okay with that loss, for the sake of getting my work done faster.
CBY: Ah, the old artist digital/traditional monetary dichotomy. I have always believed, if you do honest work, you’ll do well. Honestly. It’s not a loss if you are building a body of work and a reputation. But this is a problem with many creators living month to month. Do you have support or a cushion that also helps you make this decision?
MH: Right! Yeah, I do have a cushion, and I’m lucky to have it. But with my body of work growing, I don’t think I’ll need it much longer. I think it’s plausible that if I keep up the grind, and things keep going the way they are, that I can really be a creator full-time for a good chunk of my life. I also saw an artist make one-off prints of their digital pages to sell, which was reeeeeally smart, so in a way, I still have an opportunity to sell my work later on, if I feel like it! :D
CBY: Let’s talk about your color. In all of your work, you use a bright palette viewed through what I would call an "ethereal filter." Is that a purposeful choice or just your natural eye?
MH: I think it’d be my natural eye (not to toot my own horn!). I just kinda go with what I feel will work. It’s a lot of trial and error, and sometimes tears when I just can’t figure it out, haha, but in the end, it’s worth it to be comfortable with the product.
CBY: This is your first book as sole creator. Do you feel you’re doing well? Has it made you a
stronger creator for future projects, either solo or with other creators?
MH: I think I’m doing well…? I’m actually not sure! But based on feedback from readers, my editors, etc., my work and work ethic has been received decently. But that imposter syndrome is always there, for sure. I think, doing it on my own has made me stronger. I feel more confident now that if I pitched a solo book again, people would have a good amount of faith in me and my work (again, not to be tootin’ my own horn!!!).
CBY: I enjoy seeing you post commission examples. I can see your work on so many other books. Is there a project or character you would like to work on? Or someone you’d like to work with?
MH: Thanks! I would of course love to do something for the Big 2, which I think is a standard for everyone in the industry, haha! But I’d love to work with Rick Remender, since for a while there, his work was 50% of my reading. Some titles I’d like to work on would be Rolled and Told, (more) Star Wars, Godzilla, Assassin’s Creed, Doctor Who, and The Witcher. I do occasionally pop in with Dark Horse to ask about open space on The Witcher books. So far, no dice, but I intend to keep asking since Judy works on them and I feel okay bugging her from time to time. ;P
CBY: Here's hoping you get to spread out and tackle some of these along with continued success with your own projects.
Megan Huang is a talent that should be on your radar! If you want to see more of her work, check her out at the following: