by Mike Rhode
Arsia Rozegar will be best known to comic book fans for his coloring work on Marvel Comics and with Image Comics' Avalon Studios. Like many cartoonists these days, he's branching out into children's books.
I do a variety of stuff. I like to do my own cartooning and digital art, but I'm most of my more well-known mainstream work has been as a comic book digital colorist.
How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
I work digitally for the most part in Adobe Photoshop. Sometimes I wish real-life had a Ctrl-Z.
When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
I grew up with Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe and Transformers.
Can you tell us what your ethnic background is? I've not encountered your first name before.
I'm of Iranian heritage. I was born in Tehran, Iran and came to the U.S. with my parents when I was about a year and half old. Iranian-born, American raised, proud citizen of Earth.
"Arsia" is actually a rare name even for Iranians. My parents specifically chose a name that no-one had.
I grew up in the Washington, DC area. Had a tenure in Southern California for a while and then came back this way. I'm currently in Fairfax County.
I've been drawing and doing art as long as I can remember. No formal training. Just simply had the desire to do it and make it happen.
Who are your influences?
This could be a potentially long list! And it always changes over the years. Some of my big influences as far as comics and cartooning go off the top of my head are Shel Silverstein, Akira Toriyama, Jack Kirby, Peyo, Osamu Tezuka, Kevin Eastman, Frezzato, John & Sal Buscema, Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, early Charles Schulz, I can probably keep going... When I was a teenager reading comics, Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen were big influences. As a comic colorist, Steve Oliff played a role.
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
There was a period I had gotten really burnt out on working on a really popular Marvel title and asked to leave the book. Looking back that was probably not a wise decision. Oh well!
What work are you best-known for?
I think I'm best known for my color work on Marvel's Iron Man and The Hulk due to those titles' name value.
What work are you most proud of?
There is an issue of Marvel's Double Shot where I colored a Klaus Janson Iron Man story. That was a lot of fun to do. I'm also proud of the work I did with Steve Oliff and Olyoptics on Marvel's Thor Omnibus. It was an honor to work alongside the Godfather of Comic Colors. The most recent comic I'm coloring is André Araújo's MAN PLUS which comes out this summer.
What would you like to do or work on in the future?
I would like to continue working on Shahnameh For Kids, a children's book based on an ancient Iranian mythology. I currently have a Kickstarter campaign for it right now! I'm working with the talented Mike Amante on it. I'm very happy with how the book turned out. It'd be great to do a few more books for it and make it a series.
Tell us more about your Kickstarter project and why you decided to do it.
Shahnameh For Kids is a full color illustrated children's book inspired by the Iranian epic poem called the Shahnameh.
This has been a project I've been wanting to do for a while now. I wanted to create a pop version of its stories geared towards younger readers. I wanted to start with one if its more famous tales, and a personal favorite of mine, "The Story of Zal & Simorgh."
This is the culmination of several years of research of the Shahnameh and ancient Iranian studies. It was important to me that the book presented a proper visual representation of what true Iranian culture is. This is something that is rarely shown in mainstream outlets.
I'm really happy with how the book turned out. I think it will appeal to everyone, especially those who love World Mythology.
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
I usually don't have writer's block. There's always so much inspiration around me at all times. Insomnia is more of an issue rather than writer's block.
What do you think will be the future of your field?
I would think it would continue to go towards a digital medium even more-so than it is today.
Awesome Con is always a blast. I will be guest this year and will also be doing a workshop demonstration on how comics are digitally colored. I also enjoy going to SPX as a fan because there are so many great indy comics to check out.
What's your favorite thing about DC?
The museums. People take for granted how we have so many amazing museums and galleries with fantastic works of art to enjoy and appreciate. It's our nation's crown jewel in my opinion.
Sitting in traffic.
What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?'
The Freer-Sackler is great because it has lots of fantastic historical works (I'm partial to the Iranian wing) and the National Gallery of Art is amazing.
How about a favorite local restaurant?
Nothing beats a home cooked meal from my mother.
Do you have a website or blog?