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Artist Ben Morse Opens the Doors to the Warehouse 13 Comics

Warehouse 13 ComicsThe SyFy network’s cult hit show, Warehouse 13, has been a hit with science-fiction and adventure fans since it debuted in 2009. Focusing on a seemingly ordinary warehouse situated in South Dakota, Warehouse 13 is actually a top-secret facility designed by Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and M. C. Escher, and is the latest in a series of warehouses established by Alexander the Great. Its contents? A widely varied assortment of otherworldly artifacts. Oh, and three Secret Agents–Pete Lattimer, Myka Bering, and Artie Nielsen–and their adorably nerdy hacker, Claudia Donovan, whose interactions and adventures provide the bulk of the fun.

Part X-Files, part Raiders of the Lost Ark, and part Friday the 13th: The Series, Warehouse 13 is like a cousin to the fantastic (and sadly, soon to be cancelled) Eureka, sharing characters back and forth–and just like Eureka, Warehouse 13 is now a comic book series! Dynamite Entertainment debuted the series this August, with writers Ben Raab and Deric Hughes, and artist Ben Morse, and we had the chance to quiz Morse about his work as part of Dynamite Month. Plus, we’ve got an awesome five-page preview for Warehouse 13 #2! Read on:

TFAW.com: How did you get involved with Warehouse 13?

Ben Morse: I had been working on a project with Ben Raab and Deric Hughes last year–when W13 came up they were kind enough to bring me on board.

TFAW.com: How much of the show had you watched before you started?

Warehouse 13 #2 Page 1BM: None at all. I had been seeing a ton of good mentions on i09.com, but never watched it. When I got the MLB.tv thing a few years ago, I canceled my cable and lost track of any new shows I wasn’t already following. Had that not happened I’d have probably at least checked out the pilot–it’s not like my interest level was at zero, I’d have just had to go out of my way to see it.

But when this started up, I downloaded a couple of episodes for reference, and before long I was hooked. Honestly didn’t really expect to be–aside from Law & Order, I’m not a huge fan of all the procedural, case-of-the-week-style shows that are all over. But the relationships between the W13 characters, the setup of the warehouse, and all those cool toys lying around really won me over. At least for me, it’s fun escapism to tune into every week in the same way Cheers or Seinfeld is.

TFAW.com: Your likenesses of the actors look great–they’re recognizable, but they’re not jarring on the page. They’re in harmony with your art. How did you pull that off?

BM: You are awfully nice to say so! I’m really always struggling to make those better–in my mind, I’ve drawn a couple of Pete and Myka faces I’m happy with, a handful of Artie panels, and maybe 50/50 on Claudia. But I do mostly err on the side of everything meshing together on the page over slaving on the faces being perfect, which for me really makes things look too static.

Warehouse 13 #2 Page 2I don’t have much of a process–when I find something that consistently works, I’ll keep doing it. Right now, I generally just draw it once, and if it’s too far off base I’ll go to an episode and see if I can find a screencap of whichever character from a similar angle, and then revisit the panel with that on my other monitor.

TFAW.com: What kind of feedback have you gotten from writers Ben Raab and Deric Hughes, or Universal Studios?

BM: It’s all been pretty helpful–guidance on props, most of the time.

TFAW.com: With a series like Warehouse 13, and all of the supernatural and otherworldly elements, you could literally be asked to draw anything. Is there anything you’re hoping for? Anything you’re dreading?

BM: Can’t think of anything I’ve been specifically hoping for, although I’ve been enjoying our flashback scenes where Artie or Claudia fill us in on the history of the artifact they’re chasing. Those are fun, and always a welcome change of pace.

TFAW.com: What went into figuring out how to draw the actual warehouse itself?

BM: That took a while–there’s so much stuff there, and that wouldn’t be realistic to expect to draw in every panel, even if it did look good. I think somewhere around the end of #2 I found a pretty good balance–settled on showing a lot of the boxes since the right angles give it an easy to follow structure, and then mixing that up with the shadows. The more oddly shaped artifacts I throw in, the more chaotic and distracting it gets, so I try to avoid those unless it’s a plot point . . . or I have a really badly drawn figure I’m looking to divert attention from.

TFAW.com: Can you give us any hints about upcoming storylines?

BM: I can’t just yet–sorry!

Warehouse 13 #2 Page 3Warehouse 13 #2 Page 4Warehouse 13 #2 Page 5

TFAW.com: Who or what have been your influences, artistically?

BM: Al Williamson is a big one–seeing his Flash Gordon and Star Wars work is what really got me into comics. Other than that, lately I’ve been into older Mort Drucker/Jack Davis work, and some Walt Simonson. Moebius has always been a favorite, too.

TFAW.com: What types of comics do you want to work on?

BM: Any–I’m more into a good story than just something that happens to sync up with my interests. It takes so long to draw stuff that if it’s not a clever plot with compelling characters, there’s really no point.

TFAW.com: What’s it like working with Dynamite?

BM: Pretty great!

TFAW.com: What other projects are you looking forward to?

BM: I’m looking forward to reading The Shadow when that gets going. Seeing it now, that movie was . . . well, not great. But I loved it as a kid, and it got me into the character. I still have the adaptation of it that Katula drew, it’s one of the few old comics I’ve held onto. Other than that, I’ve lost track of a lot of what’s coming out. Not enough hours in the day!

Our sincere thanks to Ben for answering all of our questions (well, except for not spilling top-secret plot info . . . I guess we can let that slide). Make sure to pre-order Warehouse 13 comics now–issue #5 is 35% this month, as are all of Dynamite’s October catalog comics and graphic novels! Plus, we still have issue #1 in stock, so pick it up now!

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Are you a fan of SyFy’s Warehouse 13? What’s been your favorite artifact so far, either on the show or in the comics? Post your comments below!

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Written by Elisabeth@TFAW

Elisabeth has been reading comics since we was a wee girl. She's obsessed with John Byrne, Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and making the perfect scrambled eggs. Follow her on @Twitter to get bonus conversations with her cat!