Guest Q&A: Gene Ha

Gene HaLegendary artist Gene Ha is primarily known for his superhero stories and covers. He started off drawing books such as The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix for Marvel and Starman for DC Comics. He is best known for his collaborations with writer Alan Moore: Top 10 and its prequel The Forty-Niners. Both projects won Eisners, the highest award in American comics. In 2008, he won his third Eisner for Justice League of America #11 with writer Brad Meltzer. Ha is currently contracted exclusively to DC, working on stories in Project: Superman, Action Comics and Justice League.

Meet Gene Ha on Nov. 3 at the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival, where he’ll be the star of a spotlight at 12 p.m., and will be available throughout the day in Artist Alley to meet fans and sign books.

1.    What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Shooting the breeze with my wife and my dearest friends, knowing my work is done for the day. But a full-time comics artist always has work he should be doing.

2.  What is your greatest fear? 

Causing permanent hurt to my loved ones because I was lazy or irresponsible.

3.  On what occasion do you lie?  

I lie when it’s obvious I’m lying. Though I sometimes tell the truth in a way that sounds like a lie. For instance, I’m a fictional character.

4.   If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to be wiser, which is different than smart.

5.   What do you consider your greatest achievement?  

Marrying my true love.

6.   What do you most dislike about yourself?

I can be socially clueless, in a nerdy vaguely Asperger’s kind of way. Sometimes I hurt or insult people without meaning it. But I’m much better than I was in my teens and twenties.

7.   Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I work alone. I don’t use many words or phrases. But perhaps “geek” as a positive thing.

8.  What is your most treasured possession?

My dog Fina.

9.  What do you most value in your friends? 

Even more passion for my geek passions than I have.

10.   The quality you most admire in a person? 

Constant self improvement, which requires brutal self honesty and willpower.

11.   What supernatural gift would you most like to possess? 

Un-aging immortality, immune to hunger and the elements. The world’s a beautiful place and I wish I had a lot more time to experience it.

12.   What is your favorite food? 

A homegrown summer tomato with a little salt and olive oil.

13.   What is your favorite color? 

The amber of violin varnish, which is also the color of my wife’s hair.

14.   Who is your favorite fictional character? 

Ned Beaumont from Dashiell Hammett’s The Glass Key. He’s both smart and wise.

15.  Who is your favorite person in history? 

Dashiell Hammett. I’m not saying he’s one of the greatest people ever,  just that I like him more than anyone else I can think of.

16.   Who is your favorite artist?

Diego Velázquez. He painted honestly and without formula but somehow made it beautiful.

17.  Who is your favorite musician? 

I’d have to name a band of musicians: The Pixies. Their solo work isn’t as good.

18.   Who are your favorite writers? 

I’m answering Dashiell Hammett too often. Let me revise a previous response, “Dashiell Hammett” is the phrase I use too often. He had the simplicity and raw honesty of Hemingway without being predictable. This is because, unlike Papa, Samuel Dashiell could laugh at himself. I’m also a big fan of Alan Moore.

19.  Who are your heroes in real life? 

Al Franken, Milton Glaser, Jack Kirby and Richard Feynman. Oddly enough, they’re all Jewish, but otherwise very different people.

20.  DC, Marvel, Lovecraft or Whedon Universe?

Dr. Horrible for the win.

21. What is your present state of mind? 

Philosophical but a bit distracted.

22.  What is your motto? 

Eat the strawberry. It’s the moral of a Buddhist parable, though I’m not a Buddhist.

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