If you grew up in the ‘90s, opportunities are you know the band great Charlotte. Bursting top top the scene v their anthem “Lifestyles the the Rich and the Famous,” the pop-punk quintet have actually spent practically two years churning out sufficient hits to problem even fully assassin certified dealer 47.

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What you can not understand about an excellent Charlotte, however, is that their guitarist Billy Martin spends his spare time showing some of the world’s biggest comics.

Not content with simply riffing in one of the greatest rock bands, Martin consistently draws for comic titans choose Marvel and also Disney, also working ~ above the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja tortoise cartoon series.

Catching up through him front of his headline set at this year Slam Dunk Festival, Billy reveals exactly how he began slowly taking over the comic publication world.

From Guitarist come Artist

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Billy has attracted Variant covers because that the likes that "Captain America," "X-Men" and also "TMNT."

“I’ve type of always been drawing because I was a kid; that’s really what I believed I’d carry out with mine life — it is in a comic publication artist or occupational in animation. Then I acquired a guitar and also thought, ‘I don’t want to draw anymore, I just want to be in a band!"”

With his once garage-dwelling band quickly blowing up, young name gleefully ran with great Charlotte’s success, assuming his shot together a skilled artist was lengthy behind him. “The band functioned and I’m really thankful because that that! but there was still just that burning desire to keep drawing. So I started dabbling with drawing on tour, simply to save me busy.”

Happy to keep his art confined to a tourism bus hobby, the wasn’t until the tape started work on their third album, The Chronicles that Life and Death, that Billy observed his opportunity to incorporate his 2 passions. “It was a dark, Tim Burton-esque album so my arts made sense for the record. ‘Predictable’ video, i was the co-director. I did all the set designs and I also did the artwork for the album.”


Taking a Break and Breaking right into Comics

As Billy continued to enjoy an ext success with great Charlotte, he satisfied his illustration itch by designing tour posters for the band. Yet what he didn’t realize was, in the process, he accidentally produced himself a convincing artist portfolio.

“People asking me why ns don’t carry out every album cover yet that’s not really the band’s aesthetic — that my an individual aesthetic. It to be cool though due to the fact that then that opened up up the door for civilization like Nickelodeon and also Marvel to be like, ‘oh deserve to you attract for united state too.’ and also so if ns didn’t have actually the possibility to perform that with that album, I could not have actually been able to show human being that i’m an artist.”

After great Charlotte finished touring its fifth album in 2011, the band made decision to take it a break. Billy well-known the chance sitting ideal in former of him.

“When good Charlotte took a lengthy hiatus — the was almost five year — i thought, ‘now I have actually all the moment in the civilization to shot and give this illustration thing a full time try."”

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Billy Martin playing a present at the UK's Download Festival.

Yet, regardless of having the an excellent Charlotte surname behind him, Billy soon uncovered that if he wanted to draw in the huge league, his art would need to stand top top its own merits.

“Like every artist, I just started sending out my job-related to people and also using what relationships I knew. I quickly found though the just because I’m in a band that civilization know, the doesn’t typical they want me to attract their comic books. It doesn’t issue I was in good Charlotte — ultimately, constantly going to acquire the finest artists to perform it.”

For Billy, it was a love of one details comic creator the really inspired him to seek comic art throughout the hiatus.

“Todd McFarlane. When I purchase Spawn No. 1 over there was simply nothing like that. I was way too young to check out them though! Up till that point, comics were safe. My parents no know and would take me come the comic shop. Ns remember picking up photo Comics book and seeing intestines gaining spilled out and being like ‘well, i can’t tell mine parent around this!’ The detail in Todd McFarlane’s stuff to be awesome. Every one of that stuff just blew me away.”

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Todd Mcfarlane's generate was the comic that really inspire Billy to choose up a pen.

Early Steps

It eventually became time because that Billy to make his own note on the civilization of comics. Luckily, that had more than his occupational on Chronicles that Life and also Death to present publishers — he likewise had his an extremely own mini comic series.

IDW were the an initial people to let me create my very own series. It come out 12 year ago, and also was dubbed Vitriol the hunter. It to be a futuristic vampire story and also honesty… it wasn’t that good . However everyone’s first comic do not do it be good! It to be that series that really assisted me to obtain my foot in the door.”

With music on hold, Billy wanted to action away indigenous his own art and also knuckle down and also draw his favorite heroes.

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12 year ago, Billy teamed up through comic publisher IDW to relax his very own collection - Vitriol The Hunter.

“I’ve constantly been kind at drawing, but with those 5 years my goal to be to obtain really good. I really practiced and also got better,” young name admitted. Many thanks to a friend functioning at Comic-Con, Billy was readily available a shoot to check his new skills. Putting his neck ~ above the line for his friend, the Comic-Con organizer obtained Billy a when in a lifetime gig – the chance to attract a subscriber crate for a tiny comic book company called Marvel.

“The first thing i did because that Marvel to be a variant because that a subscription Comic-Con box. You just really watch that covering if you a subscriber for that box, so that was prefer a smaller task for them, one where Marvel might take a chance on me. “

Billy knew the this to be his one shot to impress, and the push was on. To do matters worse, this wasn’t just any type of old cover assignment – it was 2 covers in one.

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Billy also regularly hosts panels and does signings in ~ Comi cons across the US.

“The crate was because that this collection called Champions i beg your pardon was sort of prefer Marvel’s young Avengers group. Robert Ramos draws that book and he’s hands down on my favorite comic publication artist so it was cool but an overwhelming to get readily available the possibility to perform a variant for one his books! It to be a connecting cover in between Champions and Dr. Strange.

Not just was ns nervous come yet I’d never ever done 2 covers that you held together to create a connecting image throughout the two. I did it and crossed my fingers and also eventually, the editor wrote back and said, ‘Hey man, this is in reality really good, execute you want to do six more covers?’”

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In Demand

Suddenly, Billy was illustration the covers for family members names. “They then offered me X-Men Gold and also Blue No. 1 covers, Cable No. 1, the Man-Thing revamp and all these big number one . That was really the moment where ns was like, ‘Okay, ns doing big cool different covers for the brand-new issues that Marvel books, this is awesome!"”

Despite his success in the people of comics, for now, Billy’s focus is earlier on his day job — and also the band’s long-awaited album saturday album.

“There is nothing I will be much more proud the than good Charlotte. Even if it is it’s starting another tape or no issue what else ns do, nothing will ever before be as large as great Charlotte. We’ve to be doing the for almost 20 years, there’s been a lot of work put into it. As far as arts goes though, i’m a dad, and it motivated me to produce my very own children’s book. I wrote it, portrayed it and even self-printed it. Every little thing from begin to complete was me. That was also a yes, really proud minute for me and also I’d love to do much more books favor that.”


Return to Rock

So what deserve to fans expect from the new an excellent Charlotte record?

“It’s dark. The a lot of darker and heavier, it’s much much more of a straight-up rock record. A the majority of bands maybe gain softer when they acquired older yet we assumed it’d be funny to walk hard. It’s definitely a lot much more in line with say, the ‘Predicitable’ era than perhaps some the the stuff us did afterwards. Linkin Park was actually a vast inspiration.

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My nine-year-old just discovered Linkin Park before and that to be his favorite tape so us were simply listening to Linkin Park all the time in the car. I likewise love lug Me The Horizon, every little thing they’re act is simply so good!

At live shows, we’d always not play the soft singles turn off the record because it’s simply not together fun. We’d always want come play the harder song on the record. For this reason why put a bunch of song on the document that you’re not going to play? We believed let’s perform a record that we can play live and be excited about.”

Fans can record Billy doing signings in ~ Seattle’s Ace Comicon later this month. Great Charlotte’s Generation RX is early for release on September 14 via the band’s MDDN document label.