John Tyler Christopher – the self-proclaimed “Uncle to the Action Figure covers” – sat down with the JLS Comics podcast to talk about his on-going body of work.
Christopher (JTC as he is sometimes referred to by his fans) found his niche in homaging through a series of variant covers the original Kenner Toys Star Wars action figure line. It began in 2015 with Marvel’s Star Wars # 1 and the Luke Skywalker action figure variant, a cover inspired by the “Wave A” line from 1977. From there, the rest of the Wave A, 12-back covers were recreated. (12-back refers to the line of available figures depicted on the back of the card. It eventually ground to just over 90 figures in the main line. While he has only done one thus far, there were also Phantom Menace covers separated from the original series)
Once those first few books hit shelves, the response was overwhelming and their popularity exploded. The line quickly grew outside of the Star Wars line and in to S.H.I.E.L.D., Figment, Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars and the entire line of currently published Marvel Super Hero titles. Christopher told us that he enjoys the Marvel line a lot as it emulates the Marvel Legends line because – among other reasons – he has more liberty to make them his own interpretation. He has been able to make covers for some more of the non-flagship books that he never thought he’d get to draw like Devil Dinosaur and Hammerhead. For the first few years of his career, he told us, it was all about Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and Hawkeye.
John Tyler Christopher is smart. He understand the business side of the business and that is based on his advertising and marketing background. In fact, when you listen to the interview, you will hear him talk about his comic book convention strategy and how that led to him ultimately being offered a gig on the Top Cow book Witchblade.
John Tyler Christopher is also very Fan-focused. He understand that it was and is and will always be about the fans. He goes to conventions to meet fans and you can tell how humbled and appreciative he is when he hears feedback from his fans. You can hear it in his responses to us on the podcast. It’s those reactions and connections that make the artist and their work all the more special.
His action figure variants remain highly coveted and wildly popular, with no end in sight. In fact, he has a plethora of exclusive covers such as Darth Sidious available for purchase on his website http://johntylerchristopher.com/
You can find the JLS Comics podcast “COMICONversation” – hosted by yours truly – on YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, LastFM, Stitcher and TuneIN.