Comic book artist Ken Lashley in Manila for AsiaPop 2016
by rick olivares
Canadian comic book illustrator Ken Lashley is one of the few to successfully transition from the 1990s all the way into the second decade of the new millennium.
Lashley, who has drawn over 320 comic books in his career, is in Manila for the second staging of the AsiaPop Comicon that will be held from August 26-28 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
“I’m excited to be here,” said Lashley during the press conference that kicked off the festivities of the country’s biggest pop culture event last Wednesday, August 24, at the Conrad Hotel. “I’ve heard so much about the passionate fan base for comics and pop culture here so it’s good for me to see it myself and experience it."
Lashley broke into the comic book industry following a legend. “I followed the legendary Alan Davis on Excalibur,” he reminisced with a smile. Exaclibur is one of the successful spin-offs from the then hugely popular X-Men line of comics published by Marvel. "It was my first job and a tough one at that. I was young and learning the chops. At that time, Image had broken into the business and everyone was clamoring for that kind of dynamic style that Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Todd McFarlane, While Portacio, and Rob Liefeld espoused. I was caught in between my influences who were John Byrne — who is my all-time favorite artist and not only because he is Canadian but also because he drew my absolute all-time favorite comic book in Uncanny X-Men, George Perez, John Buscema, and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez among others, and the new guys making waves. I was learning on the job.”
“Apparently, a lot of people love those books and they still ask me to sign them. So I am grateful for that although I won’t say it is far from my best work,” Lashley added.
Since then, the big man has gone on to illustrate comics from other companies including DC and Image such as Justice League of America, Superman, Flash, The Darkness, and Tomb Raider among many others. “What started out as a passion and a hobby became my life. And it’s so much fun to be able to draw comics and attend conventions like AsiaPop in Manila and meet new people.”
Aside from comics, Lashley has also made the transition to design where he has worked on products from toymaker Hasbro (G.I. Joe, Transformers, Marvel, Star Wars to name some) and Lucas Digital. He’s also currently pencilling Uncanny X-Men which he has attacked with a lot of fervor. “I know that the comic isn’t as big or popular as it once was,” he noted. “Growing up, this was the book for me and many others. That is why I pour in my heart and soul into the work. I want to help bring it back to where it was. And I guess, it has paid off because I have been asked to work on a new arc."
Lashley also hinted about working on an animated series that was massively popular during the 1970s and is slated for a big comeback. Voltron, one of those Japanese animated series from also the same time was recently brought back and updated for a modern audience by Netflix and Dreamworks. “There’s another one in the works,” was all Lashley said.
When pressed if it is "Battle of the Planets” Lashley refused to comment. “Let’s all just have fun this AsiaPop and when it comes out, let’s celebrate.”
Fans can meet Ken Lashley and other comic book artists like Mike Zeck, Billy Tan, While Portacio, and others during AsiaPop Comicon.