Nathan Fox Finds Stories Everywhere
Nathan Fox does a lot of work in comics so he was a natural choice for the animated spots for AMC’s “Comic Book Men.” AMC opted to use secret identities and the aesthetics from comic series to advertise the upcoming season of the reality show that follows the daily operations and general hijinx of Kevin Smith’s New Jersey comic book shop. Nathan had never worked on an animation spot like this before which presented challenges and requirements that were beyond what normally is demanded by static 2D compositions.
Luckily for him, there was a lot of creative leniency. Each of the five gentlemen followed in the show are represented in the spot, and then are revealed to have their own super powers. A lot of the visual storytelling, and even the specifics of those revealed powers were up to the creative team, including Nathan. “Outside of the general ideas in the brief, the costume, the colors, the detail, were all made on our own, and were on our artistic end to define,” Nathan says. “It was cool having some freedom and collaboration to do visualization.” Nathan worked closely with Nick Flaherty on these ideas and executions to help fulfill the vision as fully and creatively as possible.
That transformation of regular, everyday person into superhero is exactly what drew Nathan to this project. In general, superheroes aren’t what he spends his energy on. “Superheroes are not my real forte,” he puts it simply. “But, in terms of this project I think it was really fun to take some real life characters and metamorphose them into crazy superheroes that were going to get animated was a lot of fun.” For a lot of the canonical characters, superpowers are discovered, or gifted, as a metaphor for what that character was lacking, or needed in their life. But Nathan finds there’s already a rich well to draw from in every day experiences.
Where the stories of superheroes use those metaphors to make comments on society and the human experience, Nathan looks to that experience directly. “All those people that we pass on an every day basis have stories to tell, they all come from some place. Good, bad, or otherwise. That uniqueness has always perked my curiosity,” he explains. But it goes even a little deeper than that. “A lot of us are odd and unique and twisted and private or weird or shy or whatever. That in and of itself in terms of character and humanity and identity, all of that: that’s always been an interest to me.” Why embellish or inflate when the story is already deep enough? Nathan explains, “It really just comes down to what the story is and how you want to move, engage, or immerse people.”