Last week at DragonCon, Atlanta's premiere pop-culture convention, drew record crowds and one of the attendees was actor Scott Adsit, voice of Baymax from Disney's Big Hero 6. Adsit has made a name for himself with roles in NBC's 30 Rock to Adult Swim's Frankenhole and Moral Orel. Adsit is also known in the art collecting community as having a fantastic (and almost intimidating) art collection featuring Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
While Adsit didn't have any books handy for us to peruse, he provided scans of some of his favorite pieces to talk about. ComicBook.com was there at DragonCon to talk to Adsit about life after Baymax and scoring a few Bayamax pieces, his collection from the early days and getting started, to how he managed to get an actual Alex Ross piece in one of his books.
ComicBook: So Scott, it's almost been a year since Big Hero 6 came out and you're Baymax! He's become this huge thing! Tell us about life after Baymax.
Scott Adsit: It doesn't stop. People are always asking for Baymax favors like messages for their kids and drawings and things like that. So I've opened a few award ceremonies via voice messages and it is...you feel like you're being brought into a family at Disney and they make you feel very welcome. That maintains throughout the whole year so far. I do feel like I'm part of the Disney family. I get to go to Disney parks for free and things like that.
Yeah, they give me a VIP pass for Disney Land. It's a great perk, I've got to say!
And you've gotten a few pieces of Baymax to add to your collection, right? I know Mark Brooks did a piece of him in the armor. Have you gotten anymore?
Stephane Roux did one of Baymax and myself. Various artists have done something and just handed to me as I past artist alleys. I've got them all in my apartment in New York.
But what you're sort of well known for in the community as having just a killer collection of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen pieces. You have a few sketchbooks that are just filled with great works. You've got, what, four volumes at this point?
So what was it about LXG that made you start collecting them? Were they always your first thought or did you get a few random pieces before settling on them?
Well the first time I was friends with somebody at a con, which was quite a few years ago now, but it was Mark Brooks that became my first artist friend. I started a sketchbook for people to put sketches in and I handed it to him and just "go do the thing." He said "no, you tell me what to do in here" and told me I needed a theme. Oh, okay. So I was thinking of something that people would like to draw that they don't draw too often, what do I love, and what would I love to keep looking at. I figured well League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is one of my favorite books so I chose that.
I told Mark to do like a Mr. Hyde and he said no, "I draw really pretty, sexy women. It's kinda my thing. So I'm going to draw you a pretty, sexy woman for the first page". Because when you do the first page really, really well, every other artist has an obligation to top it.
So my first piece was Mark Brooks' Mina and it was beautiful. He drew her in light and dark shading, but did her scarf in blood red. The interesting thing was that bled into the next page. Just a little spec, but Stephane Roux took that and drew Captain Nemo around that little bit of red and made that Nemo's ring.
So that became a theme throughout every page.
Right! Because I remember talking to you years ago, I think it was HeroesCon and Brian Stelfreeze was doing a Mina for you and your only prerequisite was that red somehow be included. Now I know why.
When choosing a character of the team, is it carte blanche or do you have something in mind for each artist?
No, I don't assign anything like that. I just say it has to be a character that appears in the books and that it has to have red in it. That's all I say. Some people weren't sure what to draw or say there's too many Nemos or Hydes. [David] Finch drew one of the Martian from the second volume. It's this skull-like, octopus thing. He drew it in ballpoint and it's beautiful.
Adam Hughes asked what would I like, and I offered a few suggestions. One was Mina and Quartermain in bed together. I think I said either pre-coitous or post, and he did it in mid.
It's a well-known piece. Now, you've highlighted a few pieces for us to talk about. What makes these so special? I mean, they're all just, pardon the pun...or don't, extraordinary. The Stelfreeze alone is gorgeous. He makes it look so easy. I remember watching him make it years ago.
Variety is what I like. I like that I have Mike Mignola has a ballpoint, full page drawing that he did in a bar of Mr. Hyde and Nemo. Just ballpoint pen.
Now, Stelfreeze did watercolor. I told him about wanting just a little bit of red in it. He brings it back to me and it's a portrait of Mina's back and I think the red is on her puncture wounds. He said "you wanted red, so I based the colors off of that". So her back is all bright green. So to him, when I said make red the focus he said he made it all green so the red is the focus. It's really a stunning piece.
Do have a favorite character that you prefer over the others or when you hand your book off you're secretly hoping they do this instead of that?
Not really, no. Whoever I just got a new one of, that's my new favorite. Some artists have kept my book for a year. I can't even show you my books right now because-
They're all out on loan. I know that feeling.
Right. I tried to get them back before this convention, but it just didn't work out.
So I'm always amazed when they do more than one character. Some people do the whole League, which is great.
Well, I was going to ask about that Alex Ross piece.
That one is amazing! [Laughs] Let me tell you the story about that. I think I got hooked up with him by Paul Dini and he was nice enough to give me Alex Ross' email. As it turned out, Alex is a huge 30 Rock fan so he was happy to take the book. So I sent it to him and when it was done a month later we had dinner in New York. We had a lovely time talking about Superman and stuff. He presented the book to me and I expected, you know, like a pencil drawing of Hyde. If I'm lucky, with some red in it.
When I got it back, if you've seen it-
Oh, I've seen it!
It is the entire League as played by the cast of 30 Rock.
With you as Quatermain!
I'm Quatermain, Tina is Mina-
Jack Macbrayer is Griffin [The Invisible Man].
Jane is the symbol of Albion. Balwin is Hyde and Judah is the Martian with a hat.
It's just...a grail. There's no other word for this piece.
Here's the thing though. I went home to scan it right away in case I spilled something on it and as I'm taking it off of my scanner, the back page of that book gets exposed. He gave me an Easter egg. It is a brown pencil drawing of Alan Moore and some dialog that he does not approve of this book.
That is beautiful!
[Adsit didn't want to publish the drawing or the dialog, but showed us with agreement not to publish the description. Rest assured though, it is priceless.]
John Bryne did a piece that includes characters he's never worked on. Which is his rule. He doesn't allow himself to do characters he's never worked on, but he did it.
Lastly, this is a question I get asked a lot and something I've mulled over. I've only been collecting for about a decade, but do you ever feel that this is something you'll "grow out" of or just stop collecting at some point?
I'm in my late 40's and if I haven't given this up by now, I never will. As long as people are still nice to me, that's all I want.