When I first came to New York City, what I was thrilled about was not the Empire State Building, or the Statue of Liberty; it was the fireplugs in the street. These things that Jack Kirby had drawn. Or these cylindrical water towers on top of buildings that Steve Ditko's 'Spider-Man' fights used to happen in and around.
I came to think that nobody from England could draw American comic books, because they were clearly all done by this sort of Mafia, all these guys with Italian and Irish names who had the whole thing sewn up. It was actually seeing a comic book drawn by Barry Smith, who was about my age, and English.
I think readers are always patient. Look at the 'Harry Potter' series. Some have given up on this generation of kids as game and TV addicts, but lots of people spend lots of time patiently reading through hundreds of pages of dense prose. I think reading a comic by comparison is a lot more immediate.
I think probably the first time I wanted to be an artist was when I was about six or seven years old. I used to get British comics and I clearly remember seeing my first American comic: an issue of 'Action Comics', with Superman on the cover with a treasure horde in a cave, and Lois saying something like 'I don't believe Superman is a miser!'
One of the things when you're drawing a comic book is that you're spending four or five times as long to draw it as the writer takes to write it. In my career I've had to spend a week drawing something that a writer has thrown out in an hour. And there's nothing worse than having to work on something that no previous thought has gone into.
There are people who specialise in lettering, and I've had my hand lettering made into a digital font. I picked up a copy of the 'Dandy' the other week, and I was amazed to see that it was completely lettered in my hand-lettering font. It was quite a thrill, really, having been a 'Dandy' reader years and years ago.