Bob Hall Artist/Writer
Bob Layton Artist/Writer
J. Michael Tatum Voice Actor
Bob Hall had a long association with Marvel Comics, where at one time or another he drew most of the major books and characters such as The Champions, Spiderman, Dr. Doom, Conan, Thor, The Fantastic Four, The Submariner, Captain America, PSI Force, The Avengers and The New Mutants. He was the artist for the West Coast Avengers mini-series and was the primary artist on the original Squadron Supreme. He drew movie adaptations of Willow, Dark Man and the notorious first Captain America movie as well as pencils and inks for the graphic novel, Emperor Doom. Bob was an editor at Marvel in 1979.
For Valiant he wrote and penciled the monthly series Shadowman, wrote Timewalker and then created Armed and Dangerous, a black and white “comicbook-noir” series. For DC he wrote and drew the Batman graphic novel projects, Batman DOA, I Joker and It’s Jokertime. In 2017, he wrote and drew an educational fantasy about the measles virus for the University of Nebraska called Carnival of Contagion. He just finished drawing a ten page comic, Phantom Flight for the rock group, Sound of Thunder and drawing two variant covers for Valiant. He is currently developing a comic/story book for Bryan College of Health Sciences. His work can be seen at www.bobhall.com.
Commissions and original art are available through www.catskillcomics.com. He can be messaged on Facebook through Bob Hall Comic Artist.
Layton began work for DC Comics in early 1977, taking up regular inking duties on All Star Comics, as well as inking multiple issues of Secret Society of Super Villains, DC Super Stars, and DC Special, among others. In Nov./Dec. 1977, he inked the first issue of David Michelinie‘s Star Hunters, and after a number of other shorter inking jobs, moved back to Marvel in 1978, to ultimately take up one of his best-remembered roles.
In 1978, Layton reunited with Michelinie, to co-write Iron Man. The two would become regular creative partners, and began their collaboration on Iron Man with #116 (November 1978). Micheline and Layton established Tony Stark’s alcoholism with the story “Demon in a Bottle“, and introduced several supporting characters, including Stark’s bodyguard girlfriend Bethany Cabe;Stark’s personal pilot and confidant James Rhodes, who later became the superhero War Machine; and rival industrialist Justin Hammer, who was revealed to be the employer of numerous high-tech armed enemies Iron Man fought over the years. The duo introduced the concept of Stark’s specialized armors The two collaborated on the title until #154 and then returned for a second run from #215 (Feb. 1987) to #250 (Dec 1989).
Layton continued to ink and work on covers for titles such as The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Power Man and Iron Fist, and Micronauts. In September 1982, he launched one of Marvel’s first limited series, writing and drawing the four-issue Hercules: Prince of Power. Its success spawned a four-issue sequel in 1984 and a 1988 graphic novel (#37 in the “Marvel Graphic Novel” series) – Full Circle. Around this time, he designed the highly successful Marvel Secret Wars toy line for Mattel, which formed the impetus behind the 1984 Secret Wars event. Layton was one of the inkers on The Amazing Spider-ManAnnual #18 (1984) which featured the wedding of Spider-Man supporting characters J. Jonah Jameson and Marla Madison in a story written by Stan Lee.
In February 1986, Layton revived the original X-Men characters in the series X-Factor,which he wrote and Jackson Guice drew. Layton wrote the first five issues before handing over the series to Louise Simonson. Michelinie and Layton became the creative team on Iron Man once again in issue #215 (Feb. 1987) They crafted the “Armor Wars” storyline which ran from #225 (Dec. 1987)through #231 (June 1988). After Michelinie and Layton finished their second Iron Man run with issue #250, Layton returned to the title briefly to write and draw #254 and write #256 before leaving Marvel. A year later, he returned to the comics industry to ink Jim Shooter‘s Magnus, Robot Fighter #1, from Valiant Comics.
Bob Layton was one of the chief architects of the Valiant Universe, along with Jim Shooter, Barry Windsor-Smith, Steven J. Massarsky, and Jon Hartz. He co-created a number of the core characters including X-O Manowar, and later became Editor-in-Chief and Senior Vice President, during which time he controlled the company during its most profitable period.
His first Valiant work appeared in Magnus, Robot Fighter #1 (May 1991), in which he inked Art Nichols‘ artwork from Jim Shooter’s script. He would continue with Magnus for five issues and produce covers to issue #9, while inking the inaugural issues of Solar, Man of the Atom, which he edited. In February 1992, he co-created with Shooter and Steve Englehart and penciled the first issue of X-O Manowar, after which he handed over the core art duties to Sal Velluto, but provided inks for #2. The following month he drew the cover to David Michelinie’s Rai
In August 1992, he co-wrote, edited and inked Archer & Armstrong #1, edited and provided pencilwork on Eternal Warrior #1, and inked Barry Windsor-Smith on Unity #0. Starting in November 1992, he co-edited with Dark Horsepublisher Mike Richardson the Predator/
His workload decreased greatly towards the end of 1994, in large part due to the sale of Valiant (Voyager Communications, Inc.) to video game giant Acclaim Entertainment for $65,000,000.00 USD, a deal in which Layton played an instrumental part. His story concepts and design work on Turok, Dinosaur Hunter was utilized to great effect by Acclaim when the video game became the largest selling title in Acclaim’s history, with over 1.5 million units sold. He continued to work editorially, largely for the new Acclaim imprint Armada Comics, for which he edited a number of Magic: The Gathering comics during 1995-96. He edited Bob Hall‘s four-issue Armed & Dangerous (April–July 1996), and returned to X-O Manowar for which he wrote the final three issues.
After a several-year association with Valiant/Acclaim, Layton moved to Florida for a short retirement. Although he found time to write the first eleven (of twelve) issues of Acclaim’s Doctor Tomorrow between 1997 and 1998, inking a couple of issues, notably #6 which was drawn by Dick Giordano, who resided in Florida as well and was something of a mentor to Layton.
Return to DC and Marvel
In 1998, he returned to DC, re-teaming briefly with penciler Sal Velluto on a story in September 1998’s The New Gods Secret Files and Origins, before collaborating with his fellow Floridian and artistic friend/mentor Dick Giordano on several projects. The two-issue prestige format Elseworlds tale Batman: Dark Knight of the Round Table was co-drawn and co-inked by the both of them, from a script by Layton and debuted a month after their six-issue mini-series The L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons), which ran from September 1999 to February 2000, with script and inks by Layton, and full pencils by Giordano. The two wrote a second Batman Elseworlds tale, Batman: Hollywood Knight a three-issue mini-series which told the story of a Serials-actor who became convinced he was The Batman. It was written by Layton with pencils and inks by Giordano.
Between Elseworlds, Layton worked with Marvel Comics on an Iron Man reunion, which saw him produce the four-part limited series Iron Man: Bad Blood with his long-term collaborator David Michelinie. The series ran from September to December 2000, with art by Layton and, as previously, the plot was a joint effort, and the final script by Michelinie. Layton then stayed at Marvel for a short time, teaming with Dan Jurgens as inker on Captain America (#38-50), as well as inking a short run on The Avengers (#44-47). He inked the Dan Jurgens-drawn The Power Company: Manhunter and part of Just Imagine Stan Lee … Secret Files and Origins for DC in March 2002.
J. Michael Tatum
Nurtured on anime classics from the tender age of Star Blazers, et al, this reclusive fanboy-turned-voice actor/writer/ADR director/flake extraordinaire spent more years than he cares to remember in what might charitably be called free-fall before landing, mostly by accident, smack dab on the industry of his dreams. To this day, some believe the small crater made by the impact remains the source of his power.
Discovered by Funimation warhorse Christopher Bevins, who cast him as Rikichi in 2005’s Samurai 7, Tatum’s inexplicable luck has held long enough to see his flag hoisted on a slew of dream roles, most notably Kyoya Otori in Ouran High School Host Club, suave, demonic Sebastian Michaelis in Black Butler, France in the Hetalia franchise, Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss, and the equal parts maniacal/vulnerable Okarin Rintarou from Steins;Gate. More recently, Tatum can be heard in the epic My Hero Academia as Teyna Iida.
Other characters the man still can’t believe he’s had the crazy good fortune to play include: Doumeki in XXXHolic, Jiro Mochizuki in Black Blood Brothers, Isaac Dian in Baccano!, both God Eneru and Dalton in One Piece, Komui Lee in D-Gray Man, Dororo in Sgt. Frog, the titular loveable savage of Heroic Age, Ryosuke Takahashi in Initial D, Lawrence Kraft in Spice and Wolf, Zarbon in Dragon Ball Z Kai, and Scar in Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. His vocal stylings, much to the chagrin of drama teachers everywhere, he’s sure, have also been featured in Romeo X Juliet, Speed Grapher, Trinity Blood, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Black Cat, Nabari no Ou, Ghost Hunt, School Rumble, The Tower of Druaga, Aquarion, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, Shuffle, Shigurui, Glass Fleet, Mushishi, Soul Eater, along with feature-length films such as Vexille, Summer Wars, Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker, and Empire of Corpses, among many others. His videogame credits include Sir Hammerlock from the Borderlands franchise, Julius Kresnik from Tales of Xillia 2, Mr. Foster from Killing Floor 2, various playable characters from SMITE, and Kelvin from Battleborn.