by R.C. Samo
Humility is often a virtue most lacking when people reach a certain level of proficiency in their chosen fields, especially, when dubbed as an, “expert” or as, “exceptionally talented.” That’s not the case with Inker, Norm Rapmund; an amazing artist who, after working more than two decades in the comic book industry, still surprises himself with how well his finished inks appear.
Rapmund, who is currently working on Teen Titans got his start as an inker with Image Comics on Youngblood, after meeting Rob Liefeld at Comic Mania. Lefield saw his potential in a 22-page comic that Rapmund created and inked in Sharpies! Three weeks later Lefield gave him a sample page to work on at home and was taken aback by Rapmund’s work. Digging into his Tower Records bag Liefeld introduced Rapmund to 1.2 inking pen and a career was born.
“I don’t know what Rob (Liefeld) saw in me, but he saw something. It’s still surreal that people know my name and know my work. I guess people are really buying these things,” bashfully said Rapmund while working on a Booster Gold sketch. Ironically, it was his run on Booster Gold that introduced Rapmund to the DC Universe.
Being an inker is not the most glamorous job in comics, but it is one of the most important. The inker is the finisher. It is his/her job to make sure the drawings pop off the page, giving a sense of realism to the characters.
“That’s my job is to be the keyboard player,” joked Rapmund about his status in the chain of command in producing a comic book. What people tend to forget, is that the keyboard player is usually the one writing the songs.
Rapmund’s career began to flourish when the X-Men movie came out and Marvel put him on both X-Men and Wolverine. What makes his work standout is that Rapmund is consumed with the work. He focuses on the faces, hands and head of the characters.
“Show me a good face and I’ll look at the rest as long as the storytelling is there,” said Rapmund.
With all his accolades, at home he is just dad. It wasn’t until about three or four years ago that his kids started realizing that he would get noticed by fans.
Rapmund is a reserved person who is far more comfortable working in his man cave than being out seeking recognition, but talent recognizes talent and the comic book industry has taken notice. Always gracious, always smiling and always intently working; Norm Rapmund is the example of professionalism and humility in any field.