Creator Profile: Nick Bradshaw by Jerry Whitworth
In the world of comic books, there exist legendary comic book artists. Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Carmine Infantino, Neal Adams, George Pérez, and Joe Kubert are just a few names this idea brings to mind. However, before they were legends, they were up-and-coming talents who grew, evolved, and developed over time to reach the heights they eventually achieved. It has become fairly commonplace in this day to identify these new developing superstars and to push them creatively to realize their potential. One such young gun is Nick Bradshaw. Son of the honorable and revered politician Claudette Bradshaw, Nick was born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick. It was at a young age he developed his love for comics when his father Doug bought him Archie comics sold at the local grocery store. Eventually, this lead to expanding into superhero and horror comics (as Bradshaw also became an avid horror film fanatic). Bradshaw developed an interest in animation, moving into the Ontario area after transferring from his local community college to attend Algonquin College (based out of the capitol city Ottawa, where his mother lived most of the year as part of her career). For one of his class projects, Bradshaw was developing something based on the film Army of Darkness. When he was younger, his brother Chris and his friends had rented Evil Dead II which Nick went behind his sibling’s back to watch. It would be this moment that really helped Nick become a horror film fan, especially of the Evil Dead series. Doodling since the days when he first discovered Archie, Nick produced some hand drawn cartoony Army of Darkness art and published it online. As fate would have it, Dynamic Forces had acquired a license to make Army of Darkness-based comics and came across Bradshaw’s art while they were looking for someone to draw their new title. Dynamic contacted him and Bradshaw saw his first professional printed work in 2004’s mini-series Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes. Bradshaw’s career in comics had begun.
Following Ashes 2 Ashes, Nick Bradshaw continued to work on Dynamic’s Army of Darkness titles with Shop Till You Drop Dead, Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator (which lead to his working on Re-Animator), and Tales of Army of Darkness. Andy Hartnell, writer for Ashes 2 Ashes and co-creator of WildStorm’s Danger Girl, was looking to produce some more content for his aforementioned creator-owned series however fellow co-creator J. Scott Campbell continued to be swamped with other assignments. Recognizing Bradshaw as having the stylistic chops to pull off Danger Girl, Hartnell brought him in to work on two mini-series in Back in Black and Body Shots. Around this time, Hartnell and Bradshaw also produced a creator-owned series for WildStorm in Rokkin. A fantasy-based series, Rokkin featured a butcher named Arness who is granted godlike powers and who tried to avenge the death of his wife at the hands of the evil forces of Lord Vulmax. Following these works, Bradshaw decided to leave the comic industry. He went on to work for casino game designer Spielo in 2007 where he worked as a game designer, illustrator, and in-house artist. While Bradshaw was working for WildStorm, he would find love with fellow illustrator Danica “KARIBU” Brine in 2006 and would move back to Moncton in 2007. A strong believer in charity, Bradshaw produced many donations for The Hero Initiative and took commission work during his time away from comics.
James Kuhoric, who worked with Nick Bradshaw on two Army of Darkness projects and Re-Animator, produced the original series Legendary TaleSpinners in 2010 for Dynamite Entertainment (an emerging comic book imprint for Dynamic Forces). The assignment would see the return of Bradshaw to the industry who drew covers for the series. It was shortly after this that Marvel Comics would bring the artist into the fold. Bradshaw’s extensive Hero Initiative work would catch the eye of Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe who commissioned the artist to provide a pin-up for Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1 and a one-page origin of Magneto with writer Mike Carey for X-Men: Curse of the Mutants Saga #1. After these issues were published, Bradshaw was contracted to the company and provided art for the first chapter of “Escape From The Negative Zone” by James Asmus in Uncanny X-Men Annual #3. Bradshaw would go on to lend his art to two issues of Astonishing X-Men for Daniel Way’s “Monstrous” arc. 2011 would finish out with Bradshaw announced to be working on Wolverine & the X-Men with Jason Aaron. Initially drawing four issues including the three-part “Mutatis Mutandis,” Bradshaw become a frequent artist for the title drawing sixteen issues in total across three years, notably on the five-part “The Hellfire Saga” storyline. About the same time Bradshaw’s collaboration with Jason Aaron began hitting stores, the artist had hired Randy Martin of Mighty Nib (known today as Mighty Fine Art) to be his agent for his commission work.
In Nick Bradshaw’s journey at Marvel, his contributions would bring him recognition from his peers. In fact, Brian Michael Bendis would request Bradshaw to come work on Guardians of the Galaxy with him. During the summer of 2014, Bradshaw made his debut on the title around the time the film version hit theaters becoming likely the biggest film of the season and perhaps the biggest of the year. Bradshaw would also be recognized by the company as one of their Young Guns (along with Mahmud Asrar, Sara Pichelli, David Marquez, Valerio Schiti, and Ryan Stegman). Beginning at Wizard World Chicago in 2004 with an initial line-up of Jimmy Cheung, Olivier Coipel, David Finch, Adi Granov, Trevor Hairsine, and Steve McNiven, the program places a focus on the talents seen as the up-and-comers for the company (as well as the industry) and gives fans a nod to watch what projects these talents are working on. It should be noted, the Young Guns classes are not a frequent occurrence: in the ten years since its start, only four classes have existed (2004, 2006, and 2009 before the latest crop).