The Kubert School Spotlight recognizes a chosen Kubert School instructor or alumni, showcasing their work and journey as a comic book professional.

    Talent from The Kubert School


    Warren Martineck

    Director of Special Projects/ Talent Acquisitions

    Interview by Michael Kraiger

    The Kubert School: What originally prompted you to attend The Kubert School?

    Warren Martineck: I was 16 and working in my local comic shop and occasionally we would set up at various comic conventions. At one particular show in Connecticut, it worked out that we were set up right next to Mike Zeck. In
    between him doing autographs, commissions and talking with fans, we spent the whole show talking comics and art and what it was like being an artist drawing comic books for a living. It was the first time I was introduced to the idea that drawing comics could be a viable career choice. Who knew? My thought was “...if ever there was a dream job.” As kids would say, “I want to be an astronaut,” or “I want to be President”, I would walk around saying I want to be a comic book artist... never actually thinking it would ever happen. A few years later when life forced me to start asking questions about what I was going to do for the rest of my life, I got to thinking about that Dream Job. The problem was, I had no idea what I was doing, where to start, or had any
    clue how to get into the business. Remembering the ads in the pages of all my old comics, I looked into it further and realized the Kubert School was exactly what I needed. I put together a portfolio, got accepted, and it turned out to be the best move I ever made.

    TKS: Did you consider any other career before deciding on art?

    Warren Martineck:  I actually had a decent job before I went to school. I was working full-time for a land surveying company and doing pretty well for myself. My boss at the time even offered to send me to school to get my surveyor’s license. Golden opportunity, set-for-life type of stuff. The problem was I was too much “right brain” and all those numbers just gave me a headache. All I really wanted to do was draw superheroes all day long. You should have seen the
    look on his face when I declined and said I was leaving the firm to become a comic book artist.

    TKS: Who are some of the artists that inspired you early in your career? 

    Warren Martineck: At the height of my comic collecting days I was really into Frank Miller's Daredevil run, which really showed me the power of great storytelling. I always loved David Mazzuchelli’s work. His style and technique gave such atmosphere and mood to a story. And Adam Kubert's run's on Spirit of Vengeance and Wolverine... it just didn’t get any better than that.

    TKS: Was there any particular experience or class that stands out in your memory?

    Warren Martineck: I didn’t think it would, but the class that really stood out for me was basic drawing. I realized early on in that course, once you get a full understanding and get a good solid foundation on all the basic drawing
    techniques, you could pretty much draw anything after that. All the rest is really just style.

    TKS: What was your first freelance job after leaving school?

    Warren Martineck: I actually started getting some work during my first year and was especially busy during summer vacations. I had become friends with a recent graduate who was doing some inking work on the side for DC comics and he started feeding me some pages to ink backgrounds on. (Hawkman and Flash as I recall were a few.) My first official job after the Kubert School was working as a freelancer in the Production Department at DC Comics – doing corrections, lettering, and whatever else they wanted.

    TKS: What was your first published work?

    Warren Martineck: I was in the same class with Sergio Cariello and he had a penciling/inking gig with Caliber Press doing a Worlds of H.P. Lovecraft comic, called Dagon. If I remember correctly, he needed help with deadlines on issue two. Keith Champagne, Rich Miller, and I had an apartment during our second year and he got us to do the penciling on much of the issue and we each got our own section to do. And there it was, first credits in a published comic book.

    TKS: How did you get involved with sketch cards?

    Warren Martineck: In the mid-90’s, I was doing a lot of trading card artwork for Fleer on their Marvel Overpower CCG series. Around 1997 they contacted me about doing some sketches on this new card concept they were calling Sketch-a-graphs. It was a genius idea – original sketches drawn by comic artists on a blank trading card and inserted directly into packs. I did over 500 sketches for their second of three releases, which was called Marvel Creators Collection
    . Sketch cards took a hiatus for a few years after that, but the collectors kept the concept and its popularity alive. Around 2001, Rittenhouse Archives brought back the sketch card concept for their Star Trek line. Along with a handful of other artists, I did some 1,600 sketches for that set and have been working for them on and off ever since.

    TKS:. Is there any particular card set that was a real favorite,
    something you might have been chomping at the bit to draw?

    Warren Martineck: It’s a toss up. I had always been a big Battlestar Galactica fan, grew up with the original series and was blown away by the new series. When I found out Rittenhouse Archives was doing sketch cards for Battlestar Galactica, let’s just say there was no fracking way I was missing out on it. The other was when Rittenhouse Archives announced sketch cards were going in their Marvel Avengers 1963-Present set. It had been a few years since I had the chance to do superhero stuff (... late 90’s Marvel crash... tough times to be a freelancer... another story for another time…) So having the chance to get back to drawing Marvel characters again was too good to pass up.

    TKS: Recently you were made Director of Special Projects/Talent
    Acquisition for Rittenhouse Archives, Can you tell us a little bit about that
    position and your duties there?

    Warren Martineck: In this business, persistence and putting your best into everything you do will pay off at some point. That’s what happened here with Rittenhouse Archives and me. Along with some set design and concepts, I’m
    basically their full-time artist. In addition to drawing as many cards as I can every month, I’m in charge of finding new artists to work on sketch cards, although I don’t do the actual hiring. On average, I’ll go through 4 – 5 submissions a week and the good ones get passed on up the line to be approved with the Marvel editor and the Hiring Dept. To the rest I try to respond with
    some type of critique or advice that will help the artist up the level of their artwork or give them a better understanding of what we’re looking for, instead of just replying with the basic “Thanks-but-no” form letter.

    TKS: Are you working in their offices?

    Warren Martineck: It’s working out pretty well. Originally the idea had come up, but bottom line was I really didn’t want to uproot the family and move to Philly. Having worked with them for so many years and proving I can keep to my
    word and hit all my deadlines, they awarded me the flexibility of working out of my studio, although I still head in to the offices now and then.

    TKS: Has there been a moment when you felt like you had achieved what
    you’d set out to do by originally coming to the school?

    Warren Martineck: Yes. The first time I walked into a comic shop and saw my name in the credits of a Marvel comic. I physically held proof that all those years of hard work were paying off.

    TKS: What is a typical working day like for you?

    Warren Martineck: Wake up and immediately begin to stress about how I’m going to finish all the work before the deadline ends. That describes the rest of my day now that I think about it. Then there’s checking emails, actual drawing, and a daily effort not to waste all my day online mixed in there as well. I am one of those artists that once I get going and get all warmed up, I can work for many hours straight or even days on end and get a lot of work done.

    TKS: What are you working on now?

    Warren Martineck: The last Sketch card set that I did artwork for which was just released was a Marvel The Bronze Age set and I’m currently doing 4-card puzzle sketches for the next set called Marvels Greatest Battles

    TKS: What’s next for you?

    Warren Martineck: On deck are a few more Marvel sketch card projects including a Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandoes set that I’m looking forward to starting. I’ll be attending more conventions with this new job in the coming years and I’m also in the preliminary stages of getting set to pencil an Independent comic for an extended run of 10 - 12 issues over the next year or 2 called A.O.A.: Angle Of Attack.  That’s what my 2013 is looking like if all goes as planned. 
- Things rarely go as planned. 



    Rittenhouse Archives