‘Radio Spaceman’ Artist Greg Hinkle: The Conskipper Interview

What started as a sketch in Mike Mignola’s sketchbook has become another fan favorite character and the star of his first two-part Dark Horse Comics series called Radio Spaceman: Mission to Numa 4.

Mignola’s collaborator and artist on what will be hopefully be many more adventures (and issue #2 is in stores on April 13), Greg Hinkle, discusses his introduction to the character, as well as what makes the art on the series so unique in this exclusive interview.

How did you get involved with Radio Spaceman?

Greg Hinkle: I was with Stephen Green at the LightBox convention in Pasadena a few years ago. Stephen had worked with Mike on BPRD, and he encouraged me to go introduce myself. We exchanged contact info, and the idea of doing something connected to the Hellboy books was tossed around. The pandemic hit and after a few months he asked if I might be game for something different. Something a little bit more sci-fi. I think I agreed before he finished his sentence.

So much of the story in the first issue is told through visuals, with very little dialogue.  Does this allow you as an artist to experiment more or are you too busy pushing the story forward with the visuals?

Hinkle: My goal is clarity above all else. I don’t want readers to have to work to understand what’s going on. I imagine my parents trying to read it, and if they’re likely to get confused, then I explore other options. 

I’ve always admired the way Mike’s pages and panels are composed. Each panel works by itself, but also serves a larger whole. I don’t know how successful I am at emulating that, but it’s something I think about. So, no, not a lot of experimenting!

Many of the scenes (particularly on the ship) are filled with details that bring the world and characters to life.  How do you go about filling a scene with the objects and contents that inform the character?

Hinkle: It might be a bit of a boring answer, but it really just came down to drawing stuff that was fun for me. Lots of tubes and pipes, dials and knobs for Radio Spaceman. Lots of little twisted up shapes for alien foliage. I’m not the fastest artist in the world, so I needed to find ways of staying interested while I stared at these pages for weeks and weeks.

How was it working with Mike on the series?

Hinkle: It was great. He was very encouraging, and let me kind of lean into things that were fun for me to draw, like in the previous question. He would provide some good reference as a jumping off point, and just let me run with it. Hopefully it won’t be the last we see of Radio Spaceman. 

Your Airboy with James Robinson was one of the most entertaining and unique stories over the last ten years.  Memories of working on the series and your role in Airboy as artist and character?

Hinkle: At this point, Airboy feels like a fever dream. I remember pieces of it, but not very clearly. It seems appropriate, you know? The piece I remember most vividly is James telling me just how much full frontal nudity there would be.

Upcoming projects? 

Hinkle: I’ve got some personal projects to kick around, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of Nocturnal Commissions with my buddy Jason McNamara. But in the meantime, I have a soon-to-be two year old at home who’s happy to have a little more attention from dad.

Radio Spaceman: Mission to Numa 4 #2 will be in stores on April 13 and you can also check out our review of issue one right here.

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