From The Byrd’s Eye; A Profile on Cory Byrd.

Local comic artist, Cory Byrd, talks about his process, inspiration and struggles in regards to his most recent monthly title “Tooth and Nail.”


Antonio Llanos, Staff Writer

The creative process can be a challenging obstacle to tackle. For Cory Byrd, a storyteller, comic book creator and educator based in Hanover Park, Ill., it’s just another spoke in the wheel of his everyday routine. 

 By day, Byrd works for Columbia College, and when he clocks out, he looks after his family.  However, to say Byrd is just another person living in the United States would be a large misrepresentation.  When not with his children or with his wife, Byrd toils hard in his basement studio assembling his monthly title, “Tooth and Nail,” which is up to issue five with issue six in development. 

“Tooth and Nail” has sold out of numerous comic shops across the Chicago area multiple times with each consecutive release. 

“I started the series with comic strips that I did back in the early 2000s, based on my mother-in-law’s four cats – Destiny, Sapphire, Jade and Buddy,” Byrd said.  “I changed Buddy’s name to Onyx in the comic because I didn’t even name him Buddy, and so they kind of evolved from like a comic strip type thing.”  

Byrd further explained how he developed his work into a specific genre but found an interesting in centering cats as the central characters. 

“[Just this] ninja type thing as like little cats. Just as ninjas and samurai,” he said. “And I said, ‘Wait a minute. Let me see what I can do with this. And so I made the cats bigger, more like human size and everything, and then I decided to (do) a five-page preview of it.” 

Development for the series took a while. Byrd conceptualized the series as a departure from some of his early work published in the early 2000s, speaking about how after a while when he was getting stuck and feeling artistically constricted by the scripting of the story. To combat this, Byrd returned to his original idea and took time to refigure his vision.

 “Usually I don’t like redrawing things. But I redrew that, and then it just kind of spawned into what we have today with ‘Tooth and Nail,’” recalled Byrd

As both the author and artist of the series, Byrd finds a semblance of peace working on both parts of the book.  

“Visually, I’m telling the story as a comic book artist,” he said. “Even though I’ve learned from scripts. I’ve worked off scripts, not just mine, but other people’s. My processing is more about visual storytelling, and because I’m a visual person I’m able to tell the stories visually in my head.” 

Being a comic book artist doesn’t always come with many rewards, particularly the stigma of having to constantly validate the art form as not exclusive for kids or teens.

“There’s so many adult comics out there,” Byrd said. “There’s so much great storytelling in comics. Just because it’s visual doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a story. There are some fantastic stuff. You got “Saga” (by Brian K. Vaughn). You got Watchmen (By Alan Moore). Alan Moore’s pretty much a literary artist that does comic books and takes it very seriously, and I think we got to get out of the mindset that comics can only be for kids.” 

Byrd combats the stigma of comics with a classical approach.

“In early times Egyptians drew pictures on the wall to tell stories,” Byrd said. “They were one of the greatest civilizations of all time. So they can tell stories with, drawings on the pyramids. So, why can’t comics be a valid form of entertainment?”   

In his documentary, “The Father Of 1000 Pencil Shavings” Byrd emphasizes the importance of nurturing. Specifically, he delves into the philosophy of nurturement and support. Throughout his childhood, his father embraced his ambitions and desires as well as taught him how to draw. Being a father now, Byrd passes on the philosophy to his daughter, highlighting how his daughter will go to him in order to further the ambition of her craft. Byrd not only holds this philosophy in his family but for his fans as well. 

“I think that we just have to continue to connect,” he said. “Talk to different people, learn from each other, and continue to grow and be stronger as artists and creators.”   

Issue six of “Tooth and Nail” is available in a comic shop in the DuPage County area. For those of you who are looking for extra copies, “Tooth and Nail” can be found at his website For information about Byrd, you can check out his website or his Instagram.