Posted - 03/23/2012 : 3:26:52 PM
Penciler for Marksmen
Published by: Image Comics/Benaroya Publishing
Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur/Jazma VP
Websites: www.imagecomics.com , www.benaroyapublishing.com
Rich: Why did you want to be the Penciler on "Marksmen"?
Javier It offered to me the chance to recreate a post apocalyptic world, a not-so-distant place where mankind has to start again. The moral dilemmas, the different standpoints in order to face this new environment, as far as the "new" reborn civilization is concerned... those were very interesting elements which I wanted to graphically play with.
Rich: What personality do you try to convey in your art for Drake?
Javier Drake is like Mel Gibson's character in the Mad Max movies, a loner in a burnt and hungry world. Drake is a new Aragorn, marked with a destiny he hasn't embraced yet, but which is indeed inexorable, needed for his people. He is the kind that doesn't take a backward step ever, so you can figure out this behavior brings him a lot of problems and fights.
Rich: How do you illustrate this world of the future?
Javier We have the Cormac McCarthy's The Road world in mind for the great landscapes. A landscape where the excesses of the post-industrial world and the financial crisis have destroyed the Nature. America is devastated, barely unrecoverable, but the roots of the American spirit are still alive. We will see in this particular world how the dream reborn from ashes, like the Phoenix in its darkest time.
Rich: Do you use any reference material when drawing this comic?
Javier Of course. Like the 99,99% of the pencilers I must study buildings, vehicles, cities, technologies, weapons.
I must grasp their forms and physics. It's crucial to understand how things physically work in the real world in order to translate them and their dynamic movements onto paper. Even the easiest things. It's one of the fundamental obligations for each comic book artist. Drawing comics is akin to an eternal high school learning period. It never ends.
Rich: What kind of armor do you draw on Ulysses 99 (Drake)?
Javier The armor is a mixture of my early designs and Garry Leach's concepts. Indeed in Drake's armor the work of Garry is principal, most of the good decisions were introduced by him. It has been a great honor to collaborate with such an artist like Garry.
Rich: Did you enjoy working on "Star Trek-The Next Generation Ghosts"?
Javier A lot. It was fantastic. I was introduced in the awesome Star Trek universe thanks to the amazing TV show, so I was very honored to work with the comic book version from IDW Publishing. I grew up watching it here in Spain. That series taught me that there can be a whole universe beyond our daily mental boundaries, you know.
Rich: What were the main features you gave to Picard and Riker?
Javier Leadership. I haven't ever seen Riker like a second-in-line character. He is a character able to adopt his own decisions when it is needed, but at the same time is like a soldier, 100% loyal to his commander. It's a very interesting balance. And Picard has that inquisitive sense of the scientific man. That mathematical need to solve problems. To fix things. And he has no fear to face impossible dilemmas. He is a great character that I wouldn’t necessarily care to follow to the Hell's Gates.
Rich: How often do you draw?
Javier I draw every day. I’m always trying to overcome challenges, to keep growing as an artist and to learn. There are a lot of formative ingredients needed to draw comic books professionally, but the most important of all is excitement. It's not only excitement for drawing what you like. It's an energy that you communicate to your readers through the language of your strokes.
Rich: Which comic character would you most like to draw that you have not?
Javier I have a great respect for Adam Strange. I think it's an awesome character. A human hero bound to an advanced alien world by the force of love. It's filled with a lot of possibilities. It also has had such great authors working on the adventures. It could truly be a dream. And obviously there are two characters that got me to love the superhero genre: Superman and Spider-Man.
Rich: Are comics different in Spain than North America?
Javier Not so different. They were 30 years ago, but not today. Manga has been a best selling product in the last decade but now they are selling less and less. American comic books are always the top sellers for decades. They have great acceptance in Spanish readers and they are the supporting cornerstone for the Spanish market. There's a loyal base for European comics, mainly French BD. On the contrary, the local production have been oriented to non-commercial comics, maybe a lot's of so-called graphic novels in which the art is merely testimonial and the space for action and adventure is usually forgotten (and mainstream readers with it). Thankfully there are some interesting intents by some publishers to rebuild a timid commercial panorama, which is always good.
Anyway there's a very varied availability of genres and references for the average reader, but in the other hand the market is still extremely small. In Spain, we have always suffered deplorable educational policies (firstly under a nationalist dictatorship in mid XX century, right now under this supposed democratic monarchy) whose consequences mainly reflects in the overall reading indexes today.
Rich: Which comics would you recommend other than "Marksmen"?
Javier Samurai Blood is awesome. The art is strong and very dynamic and the stories are very good, with great action. Furthermore, Red Spike is another great choice. And this offers a genre I love a lot, technological augmentation and military action.
Beyond Benaroya I recommend Dan Slott's Spider-Man because of the great writing. Superman and Action Comics are also great books. And I loved a lot the artistic work of Cliff Chiang in the reboot of Wonder Woman. And overall, everything that is penciled by Frank Quitely, ultimately one of the best storytellers in the medium recently.
Rich: What do you have planned for the future?
Javier Keep on working in the American comic industry. These are the comics I grew up with and the format I have always wanted to draw. I have some new offers on the desk, so I have to decide which ones right now. I'm planning with a Spanish writer, and a great friend, for some future BD projects we want to develop one day with my pencils, inks and watercolors.
Rich: How can someone contact you?
Javier Through Facebook or Twitter of course, but I you want to review my work (not only published comic-book work) you can access to it here: http://arandalus.tumblr.com/
And for contact or commissions, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Rich: Any words for fans of "Marksmen"?
Javier We have enjoyed a lot in creating this story for you. I hope you like it and enjoy the characters and awesome writing from David Baxter. Remember, the world of Marksmen isn't so distant from today, but each of you still can change our future.