Jim Mahfood was born in St. Louis
, in 1975 or '76. As early as the fourth grade
, he realized his ambition
: to be a comics artist
. He started drawing small comics as a kid, small story books and the like. In high school
, he was hired by Artline Studio
s to do some inking
. They taught the finer details of the craft
: the tools, the techniques, etc. This work showed him that drawing comics could be a viable career.
His technique was further enhanced by study at the Kansas City Art Institute. Like many other comics artists, he found that his chosen field was viewed with skepticism and scorn in the 'professional' world. He took several courses in 'real' art (life drawing, painting, sculpture) and applied the knowledge he gained to his comics work.
Jim freelanced for a while during art school, doing gigs for Hallmark and local magazines. While in school he met Mike Huddleston, who would later become his partner in 40 Oz. Comics. The two collaborated on a 'Showcase' story for DC, featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes.
In 1995, Jim started shopping his book, "Grrl Scouts" (changed from Girl Scouts after the national corporation objected), around to local comic and music stores. In 1996, he brought his book "Cosmic Toast" to a comic convention in St. Louis, where he met Scott Lobdell, a writer for Marvel Comics. Lobdell loved Mahfood's work, and after showing it around the office, Marvel offered Jim his first big break: The Generation X Underground Special.
The Special was groundbreaking in several ways. The overall physical design of the comic was based on that of Cosmic Toast. The art was all black and white, in Jim's signature style rather than the "Marvel Look". But Mahfood took the "underground" label even further; he took the characters out of their daily superhuman adventures and into normal lives and surreal settings. One of the stories involved a long battle between two of the team; rather than fighting in the Danger Room or out in the street, the two competed in a marathon session of Space Invaders. Another starred the female members of the team in a send-up of Charlie's Angels.
This brought Jim into the limelight. Marvel brought him to the 1997 San Diego Comic-Con. Wandering around the Con, he ran into Bob Schreck of Oni Press. The two had met four years earlier, but Schreck wasn't impressed with Mahfood's work at the time. The GenX Special turned his head, though. Schreck mentioned a gig that he thought Jim would like. Jim went home, did some sketches, and Oni Press decided that he should be the artist on Kevin Smith's "Clerks: The Comic Book". The book saw print in early 1998 and went through four printings in an incredibly short time.
The combined success of "Clerks" and the GenX special allowed Jim to bring more of his personal work into the public eye. He worked on an issue of his friend Rob Schrob's "Scud: the Disposable Assassin". In 1999, Oni started publishing "Grrl Scouts" as a four-issue mini-series. His character, "Zombie Kid", an intelligent, vegetarian zombie, saw print in a few issues of Oni Double Feature, and teamed up with Scott Morse's "Little Grey Man" for the comic "VooDoom". Smoke Dog, a small, mute, funk-loving dog, has shown up in various comics, and in 2001 was cast in statue form.
Jim moved to Tempe, AZ in June 1997, after graduation. He has built up a dedicated local following in the area, doing covers for local underground and mainstream newspapers, designing CD covers for local DJs, and publishing comic strips in a few of the local publications. Jim also attends performances by the DJs he has become friends with, often painting a mural on one of the club walls while the DJ spins his wheels, letting the raw funk influence his work directly.
Jim's work is often very controversial, insulting suburbanites, rednecks, corporations, and politicians. Stylistically, he draws on graffiti-style art. The characters in Jet Grind Radio are somewhat similar to his style, and the style of MTV's Downtown was so blatantly stolen that Mahfood sued the creator.
As of 2001, Jim is still living in Tempe, hanging out with the Bombshelter DJs and shopping at local comic book stores. He's still working on his art; Marvel has re-hired him to work on an issue of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up featuring the Fantastic Four. He's also doing work for DC, Oni, and may also be in an independent film. He even managed to do a fantastic story for the 2000 Simpsons Treehouse of Horror comic.
http://www.40ozcomics.com is Jim's official site.