Comics isn’t a business where someone can just blindly jump in and make a success of themselves; they have to learn the ropes, learn how editors and publishers work, and learn the way to handle yourself in the industry. A surprising number of comic creators got their start by doing internships at major publishing houses, including the likes of Joe Madureira. An enterprising young artist in today’s marketplace got his start in the same way, and now he’s on the path to go from reliable company man to making a name on his own.
Reilly Brown got his first taste of the comics business by working as an intern at Marvel in the summer of 2002. The artist went on to get a degree in illustration from Virginia Commonwealth University, in the early ears of the 21st century split his time between doing samples for Big Two and creating a number of small press books. In 2005 his luck finally caught up to his skill and he got his first shot at the big time with a story in that year’s Marvel Holiday Special. In short work he landed a regular assignment drawing Cable & Deadpool. From time to time Reilly moonlighted doing freelance work such as a one-off comic for the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey, but he quickly became a trusted company man for Marvel editors to put on its lower tier books. Brown went on to have stints on Deadpool, New Warriors and Incredible Hercules as well as standalone books like Chaos War: Alpha Flight and Spider-Man: You’re Hired. In the summer of 2011 he got his biggest gig yet, stepping in to illustrate the two part “The Substitute” arc of Amazing Spider-Man with writer Christos Gage. Since then Brown turned his focus on creator-owned project, starting with the digital-first series Power Play. Mixing extreme sports with superheroes, this story by Brown and Kurt Christenson is a fun romp mixing superpowers and sports.
Brown may not be the flashiest artist in comics, but he’s developed a strong sense of storytelling and an approach that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Comparable to a degree to a young Rags Morales or John Buscema, Reilly seems to be floating around waiting for the right project to put his name on the map for the comics industry at large.