I first met and interviewed X-Men Gold artist Ken Lashley at Boston Comic Con this past August. Warm, genuine and grateful for his place in the comics industry, Lashley is a dream come true for interviewers like myself. So when I saw that Lashley would be appearing at Rhode Island Comic Con 2017, I instantly knew whose table to swing by first.

Much to my surprise, the artist remembered me from BCC. Not so surprising: we had another great chat about his work!AiPT!: So how are you doing, Ken?

Ken Lashley: Good, I can’t complain. I’m a little tired but it’s the last show of the year for me, so things are good. I’ve done a lot of fun stuff this year, it’s been a crazy year, but I love Rhode Island. It’s got a great convention center and I work with Hasbro a lot. They took me out for dinner last night and I had some awesome Italian food.

AiPT!: Where did you go?

Lashley: Camille’s. Really great restaurant–amazing.

AiPT!: So what can you tell me about the upcoming “The Negative Zone War” arc in X-Men Gold?

Lashley: Uhhh, nothing! I’m not going to tell you anything about it. It’s a lot of fun to draw–getting to design new suits for them is amazing. They finally get the X. It’s just really great to be able to put your take on it. I’m doing issues 17 and 18 and it’s been fun doing all the covers. I took a little break from covers to do interiors for 17 and 18, but I’ll be back doing them. I can’t tell you any more, but it’s a lot of fun.AiPT!: Are the new costumes just for this arc or will they be permanent?

Lashley: I can’t say! I would love to tell you! We’ll see, we’ll see.

AiPT!: Last time we spoke you said your favorite X-Men character was Colossus. I’m wondering if you have a favorite X-Men story.

Lashley: I wouldn’t say story, but probably my favorite issue is where Colossus is fighting Moses Magnum and he punches Colossus off this island where they’re fighting and Colossus digs his hands in and saves himself from leaving the surface. And then he wonders why he’s a liability to the team. It was really cool. Overall, I love images–I’m more of an images guy. I loved the way Colossus looked and his characterization. He was an artist. I related to him because I was a big guy who drew and he was a big guy who drew.

From Uncanny X-Men #119

AiPT!: You mentioned you work with Hasbro and I know you did the package illustrations for the Marvel Legends Hydra Two-Pack and Defenders Box Set. Are you a toy collector?

Lashley: I don’t think I’m a hardcore toy collector. I’ve got the stuff that I’ve drawn, but being a toy collector is a whole other thing–I’m more of a comic guy. But I love toys. When I went to Japan, I lost my mind. I bought robots all over the place. I had a suitcase full of metal robots–it was sick. I went to a toy mall and lost my mind.

AiPT!: Are you working on anything with Hasbro now?

Lashley: Yes I am–part of my dinner last night was talking about it. I’m doing some more X-Men Legends stuff now and a certain guy who rides a bike with a flaming head… if you can figure out who that is.

AiPT!: Obviously, the big news in comics this week was Brian Michael Bendis’ decision to move from Marvel Comics to DC Comics. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Lashley: From what I understand, it was a great deal for him and an amazing opportunity. Sometimes, I think you get a little creative fatigue at a place. Sometimes, when you get a chance to do some interesting stuff, you take that opportunity. There’s really only a couple of sandboxes to play in and he’s played in this sandbox and done everything he wanted to do and now he’s doing another thing. You know how it works, it’s a cyclical thing. It’s creative freedom and maybe getting a chance to work on something you’ve never worked on before, and I think that can be just as exciting as anything else.

AiPT!: You’re not exclusive, right?

Lashley: I can go wherever I want to go. I’m working at DC and Marvel right now.

AiPT!: Do you have anything else you want to share?

Lashley: X-Men Gold is wicked. I’m working on some other stuff–Icon and Rocket in Milestone. They’re relaunching Milestone and it’s written by Reginald Hudlin. It’s a great opportunity–when Jim Lee calls and asks you to come on board, you do it.