Hotrod talks Art with Tim Perkins


Some Transformers fans do not know who Tim Perkins is or what he has done. For those who do not know much about Tim Perkins chances are you have seen his work. He used to be one of the artists who worked on Marvel UK’s Transformers. He has worked on some of the more popular story arcs such as “Dinobot Hunt”, “Target 2006”, and “Wanted Galvatron Dead or Alive.” In total Tim Perkins has worked on over twenty issues of Marvel UK’s Transformers comics. Since his time at Marvel UK Tim Perkins has worked on numerous other comics such as Judge Dredd. Recently Mr. Perkins dropped by I decided to contact him to see if he would be willing to do an interview, which he graciously agreed to do. This interview was a lot of fun for me. Mr. Perkins was kind enough to talk about his time at Marvel UK and about the stuff he is working on currently. I hope people enjoy reading this interview at least half as much as I enjoyed doing it.

: Before I begin with the questions, I would like to thank you Mr. Perkins for taking the time to indulge me. I know you are a busy person and it means a lot to me that you would take time out to answer my questions. Thank you very much for doing this interview.

Tim Perkins: The pleasure is all mine, Billy. It's nice of you to ask me to do this.

: At what age did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Tim Perkins: I was about eight years old. My Dad had bought me some American comics and this was my first exposure to the work of Jack Kirby. These two guys are the reason I wanted to be in comics.

: Did you ever go to any type of school to get any formal training? If so where?

Tim Perkins: After I left the sixth form at school, where amongst other subjects I studied Art and English "A" levels, I spent three years studying Graphic Design with a bias towards Illustration at Blackpool College of Art and Design.

: Who are some of the artists who have influenced you and your career?

Tim Perkins: There are so many really and not just comics guys either, but the main influences are probably: Jack Kirby, Bernie Wrightson, Nestor Redondo, Mike Ploog, John Buscema and Will Eisner.

: Before working for Marvel UK, did you have any previous jobs as an artist?

Tim Perkins: Yes I began life as a Graphic Designer here in the UK, following on from my time at college. I first broke into comics in 1984 when I had 'Metempsychosis' a comic story, written and drawn by me, printed in issue #14 of Marvel UK's Mighty World of Marvel. Cover Date: July 1984. This was followed by some work for Harrier Comics on their anthology comic Swiftsure on "Kin" and "Ram Assassin".

: How did working for Marvel UK come about?

Tim Perkins: I received a complimentary copy of MWOM #14 with my work in it and a compliment slip with from the guys down at the Marvel UK offices asking if I would like to show my portfolio of work. Whilst at the Marvel UK offices I met Barry Kitson, who was working on the British version of the Spiderman comic. He asked me if I would like to try inking his pencil work. I inked some of his sample work and sent it in to Marvel, who gave me a great response, but no work. I then collaborated with Barry another couple of times and got the same response, "Great stuff Tim", but still no work. But it wasn’t long before I got my break.

: If you can remember, what was the first project you worked on for Marvel UK?

Tim Perkins: Yes, I remember it well. Transformers, issue #50 of the UK comic.

: When and how did you start working on Transformers?

Tim Perkins: About six months after first meeting Barry at Marvel I received another call from him asking could I help him out on some inking on an issue of Transformers that he was late on deadline with. I arrived at his house the next day and produced my first mainstream published work inking Barry on Transformers, issue #50 of the UK comic.

: Did you enjoy working on the Transformers series?

Tim Perkins: Yes I did. It was my first exposure to working for “real” comics. It was all new to me and I was living my boyhood dream of working as a comic artist.

: What was it like at the time working on the Transformers?

Tim Perkins: As I say it was incredible. Here I was drawing comics for a living, but not just any comics, Marvel comics and on their flagship title. I was also privileged to work alongside some very talented people too, like Barry and Will Simpson, John Ridgway, the late and dear Art Wetherall and lots of other guys.

: Which issue of Transformers that you worked on was your favourite?

Tim Perkins: Possibly the Target 2006 storyline or the 100th issue special both with Will Simpson.

: Did you become a fan of Transformers, and are you still a fan today?

Tim Perkins: Yes I had some of the toys…for reference of course – laughter – and went to see the movie. And yes I love big robots, so I still have an affinity for them, especially Optimus Prime and Megatron and Soundwave.

: Did you have a favourite character to draw? If so who?

Tim Perkins: I think that would be Optimus Prime, there’s just something about him…great design.

: While at Marvel UK did you work on any other titles, and if so which ones?

Tim Perkins: Yes I did, here goes:

Dr Who
The Real Ghostbusters
Inspector Gadget
Capt. Power
Action Force/G.I. Joe
Deaths Head
Die Cut/G Force
Incomplete Deaths-Head
Motormouth Vs Removalman
Bikermice From Mars

I may have missed something, but I think that about covers it. I remember someone saying to me when I first got into the comic business that I would forget some of the stuff I did, until someone else reminded me of it and I didn’t believe it at first. But it is very true you work on so much stuff and half of the time to tight deadlines and just simply forget.

: If you do not mind, when and why did you leave Marvel UK?

Tim Perkins: It wasn’t so much me leaving as the work dried up in the late eighties for me so I had to find other comics work with other companies. I was asked to do some more stuff for them when they re-launched their title range in the early nineties, which I did for a while, until the work dried up again. By this time I had begun to work for Jim Shooter’s Defiant comics, working out of the offices in Manhattan. I was there for nine months all told.

: What is some of the work you have done since working for Marvel UK?

Tim Perkins: Wow, that’s a long list, that information is on my website, but I’ll name a few:

Dreamstone, Dark Dominion, Chameleon Cat, Big Book of Death, Twins of Elvedom, Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Earthworm Jim, Phage Shadowdeath, Dark Crusade, and lots of other stuff. Again that stuff is all on my website for anyone that may be interested.
The web address is:

: What do you think about the current Transformers series being published by IDW?

Tim Perkins: It’s great. The writer, Simon Furman is firstly a very nice guy and secondly a great writer. He was fun to work with at Marvel UK. The fact he is still writing the stories means his understanding of the Transformers as characters lets people relate to the earlier versions, which we worked on, and their newer incarnations at IDW. Something else to bear in mind here is that it would be quite easy for the stories to become generic and repetitive, but with Simon at the helm this is not the case, due to his talents as a writer.

: How do you think IDW’s series compares to Marvel UK’s?

Tim Perkins: I think both series stand on their own two feet. The advantage the newer comics have is the production. We never had computers to generate the colour art. It would have been cool if we had. Again story wise I see both as equal because of Simon’s involvement.

: Have you ever been contacted by Dreamwave or IDW about working on Transformers again?

Tim Perkins: No unfortunately I haven’t.

: Would you ever like to work on Transformers again?

Tim Perkins: You bet. If anyone out there at IDW would like to hire me to do so, please by all means contact me through my website, it would be cool to revisit them again after so long.

: What is your favorite part about working on comic books?

Tim Perkins: Creating new worlds and characters and storylines everyday. It’s a very privileged position to be in doing what we do. I know lots of people that would love the opportunity to do this for a living. I am working on a new Graphic Novel at the moment and I am even more excited now about this work than I was when I first broke into the business, back in the early eighties.

: What advice would you give a young artist looking to break into the comic book industry?

Tim Perkins: Don’t give up! For everyone that does, that puts you nearer the top. Also draw, draw, draw, draw, draw, draw, and then draw some more. It’s also important to only send off or show your best work. Better to have an editor see 6 great pages of sequential art then 60 bad ones.

: How in your eyes has the comic book industry changed over the years?

Tim Perkins: There have been some major technological changes. Printing values are higher now in general. Artwork can be at least partly if not fully computer generated now, although I know guys that completely create their artwork in the computer nowadays, and to great effect. And more companies exist, giving wider choice to the fans. The companies may no longer sell comics by the millions anymore, but there are a ecch of a lot more comics available to buy. You only need to see the content of previews to see this.

: What do you think about these changes?

Tim Perkins: In the main I think that they are for the better. I would like to see more effort to reach the kids though and give the industry a larger audience base. I would like to see comics on the newsstands again as well as in the direct sales shops.

: f you could write or do the art for the title of your choice right now, which would you choose and why?

Tim Perkins: That’s easy, my Graphic Novel “Worlds End”. The reason for this is it’s all mine. I’m writing it, drawing it and painting it in the computer. This will be the first time I have told a story in exactly the way I see it in my head.

Other than this, if you mean mainstream comics, then there are a few things I would like to do:
Weirdworld would be first, with Conan the barbarian second and third would be Transformers.

: If it is okay to talk about, what are some of the things you are working on now?

Tim Perkins: Well I have just set up a new company called Wizards Keep here in the UK. Worlds End is the main project there for me although through it I am also producing a lot of other products. For example I am selling signed, numbered, limited edition, Sketchbooks, and Giclee prints of my work, posters, ceramics, original artwork and private and commercial commissions are available too.

The long term plan is to publish the work of other creators as well as mine. I have already tentatively spoken to some guys in the business to this effect.

: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Tim Perkins: The release of Worlds End is the big event. I am also speaking to a number of companies in regard resin figurines and toys, based on the Worlds End concept. It’s a very exciting time for me at the moment.

: Again thank you Mr. Perkins for doing this interview. It really does mean a lot to me. I hope you enjoyed this at least half as much as I did. I look forward to maybe talking to you again in the future. Thank you very much.

Tim Perkins: I have enjoyed our little talk immensely; it was a lot of fun. I hope we do it again some time soon too.

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Posted: Sunday, September 17th, 2017
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