Daniel Schneider read his first comic book, Ultimate Spider-Man #1, when he was sixteen years old, but he has wanted to draw comics since he was seven. “Basically my career path has only been two things ever in my life: I wanted to be a dinosaur hunter at first and then I realized that dinosaurs aren’t alive any more, so that takes out the fun of the hunt, and so after that I switched to being a comic book artist,” Schneider says. Lucky for the dinosaurs, Schneider landed his first professional comic book gig, drawing Merc for Zenescope Entertainment.
Schneider was signed on to draw Merc after meeting the co-owner of Zenescope Entertainment, Ralph Tedesco, at the 2009 San Diego ComicCon. “I just kept coming by his booth at Zenescope and kept talking to people about getting my work in and on the very last day I talked to him and he really liked me and he really liked my stuff.” Tedesco told Schneider to contact the Zenescope editors, which he did, and now with one issue down, he still has another four to go.
Merc being Schneider’s first professional comic book, he’s very excited. “It’s just neat to finally get in and see how the whole thing actually works,” he says. Schneider has been working on breaking into the comic book industry for the past five or six years, since he attended his first comic book convention in Chicago. Schneider arrived at that convention with a notebook of random drawings, but after talking to guests there he soon understood what it would take to be a professional. “It was after that that I started really pursuing [a career in comics], and really honing my portfolio and all my skills towards what I needed to be doing,” he explains.
Ivan Reis, Frank Frazetta, and Boris Vallejo are among Schneider’s artistic influences, but he also has influences outside the comics medium, including Bernie Brown and Henri de Groot, both “old-school” cowboy artists. “I have a definitely more Western influence in my art than some guys,” Schneider says of these influences.
Schneider hopes to have the opportunity to work with Zenescope more in the future, but he would also like to work in genres he’s more familiar with such as fantasy, super hero or Western. “If I had a chance to work on a good Western, that’s something I could actually bring something new and different to that no other artist has.”