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 Kewber Baal Artist "KISS" Dynamite Entertainment
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Posted - 08/25/2016 :  12:21:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit Richv1's Homepage  Reply with Quote Bookmark and Share

Kewber Baal
Artist for KISS
Published by: Dynamite Entertainment
Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur/Jazma VP
Posted: 25/08/2016

Rich: How did you first become an artist and what was your first published work?

Kewber: Well, I have drawn since I was 3 years old, like all children, I think. But, I don't know why, I've never stopped, and drawing was the best thing of my life. I used to pause VHS videos, to draw cartoon or movies scenes, copy comic pages, and also create small comics, folding some default papers, and pretending it is a book. Once I grew up, I was known as "the guy that draws", I think it helped me to keep always going. After this, I found console games, RPG games, animes, tattoo, and comics, all was a reason to draw anything. I've never thought to work with comics, because I live in a small city, in Brazil, so it was impossible for me. But, With the evolution of internet, and social medias, my wife and I noticed there were ways to work in comic industry, and we begun to make pinups, tests, write to agencies, publishers, everything you can imagine. Finally, we found our first works on independent publishers, through forums, and art websites, I as penciller and inker, my wife as colorist. Our first published work was a small story for an horror anthology titled "Ronin Illustrated" #2, in 2007, by Ronin Studios. So other jobs were coming along with time.

Rich: Can you tell us a little about the story in the "KISS" comic?

Kewber: KISS is set in a dystopian future, after a fatal incident to humanity, which became known as "The great War." Because of this, the entire Earth surface became unlivable. However, a small city built below the earth's surface, called Blackwell, was the salvation of mankind, and there is the whole scenario where we will live and understand what will happen. The main characters are four kids, Eran, Noa, Alex and Adi, they like to explore the city, and believe Blackwell is more than what they know and have learned. KISS is entirely based on the "Music from the Elder", which many fans love, and many hate, and so I think this is a pretty bold series by writer Amy Chu, for tribute exactly to this album. However, there will be references to other albums, the reader just need to look a bit more to find something.

Rich: What type of villains do you get to draw in "KISS"?

Kewber: I can just say that the whole city is controlled by the Council of Elders, who operate automaton robots to keep the city in order. this includes police robots, robots in traffic, and as you can see in one of the variant covers of issue # 1, giant robots. Omnipresent, each one have their station, watching every Blackwell sector.

Rich: Do you have a favorite member of KISS and if so why?

Kewber: Dude, ask this is like asking if you have a favorite song of KISS, there is no answer! For me, KISS is all one group, each one with his function, his voice and his musical instrument. I like much of what Paul and Gene idealize today, something that many fans do not accept, that KISS are not exactly the band members, but an ideology, that there may be other Starchild and another Demon if they be not part of the band anymore, like the Spaceman and Catman are not the originals today. This keeps KISS as an eternal legacy that our children and grandchildren can still go to their shows.

Rich: What is the main characteristics your art brings out in each member of KISS?

Kewber: I always try to make as faithful to reality as possible, not only the physical, but also the expressions and behavior. When I work with characters that do not exist in real life, I create their behavior and try to keep true to history. In case of KISS, I watched lots of shows, interviews, TV programs, to capture who's who, in the same way I did with Ash in Army of Darkness comic series. I do not like to draw a generic character, as in a game, and use only a skin of Paul Stanley. I want the readers and fans to read the pages and think "yes, it's really Paul there." Of course, I do not know if I'm doing this right, maybe I fail sometimes, but be sure that I'm trying!

Rich: What weapons do you get to draw KISS using?

Kewber: For now, everything is still undefined. But for the robots, I created each one with its own functions, maybe obvious, but I think it's cool. Demon uses an axe, because the Bass Gene plays, and perhaps it could fly. Starchild uses his star eye as a radar or destructive laser, and it's melee. Spaceman flies and uses firearms from his arms. And Catman is a cat, it eats and sleeps all day.

Rich: Are you a fan of KISS's music?

Kewber: When I met Kiss, I was already quite old, because where I live at that time, there was no much access to rock albums, heavy metal and such, only regional music. So what we find were k7 tapes or CD's, which we exchanged between friends, and among them were KISS. My wife is superfan, and much of what I know was from her. I am very curious about backstage of anything, so I do not just listen the music, I wanted to understand what was KISS, how a band was that way, the clothes and makeup, the name, the lyrics, everything was weird and interesting at the same time. mainly for the time when the band emerged. The good part of this is when I was called to work on the series, I already had knowledge about the band, it was easy.

Rich: Why do people love the comic book "Jennifer Blood"?

Kewber: At first many people though Jennifer Blood was just a "Punisher wearing a skirt", due to the initial premise of the character, and also because she is Garh Ennis creation. But they were definitively wrong! I like to think everyone that followed the series until last issue, loved the way the story was taking, how the "Female Punisher", issue by issue, was finding herself as a sociopath, and even a psychopath, doing atrocities that were out of limits, ever for her. And, how Jennifer Blood, the big hero, the family protector, turned into the biggest villain of her own journey. That was a deep character with so much to explore, that I would like to draw her again, and maybe try to write a mini series.

Rich: Who was Ash fighting in "Army of Darkness: Furious Road" and how did your art bring them to life for the reader?

Kewber: Ash is purely Ash. Period! For who is Army of Darkness, and Bruce Campbell fans, they know what I'm talking about. When I got the first script, was the same time Ash vs. Evil Dead was in its first episodes on TV. Furious Road was in a future apocalyptic world, with older Ash. So, yeah! Ash must be the same Ash of TV! I talked to Dynamite's editor Joe Rybandt, and to the writer Nancy A. Collins, and they agreed with the idea. I thought the reader would like a lot to see actual Bruce Campbell on TV and in a Comic book. And, as I mentioned, I watched the movies, Bruce Campbell's interviews, to bring him into that creepy world created by Nancy.

Rich: You got to draw "Blood Queen vs. Dracula" did you get to draw lots of action with blood and gore?

Kewber: Put the Blood Queen and Dracula together in the same story, we can only wait for blood! But not too gory, vampire series should have gore, they are methodical, proud, powerful. and indeed, after Jennifer Blood, nothing more else scares me! Blood Queen vs Dracula was a series that I loved to do, because Troy Brownfield created a whole involvement between the characters, fatal and sexy at the same time, creating tension and increasing it every issue, until taking us to the Grand Finale. This allowed me to explore the characters a lot, and it was challenging at the same time, especially for Dracula, as a character portrayed in many media over the years, I had to create something that was new and unique but at the same time the reader could know that he is Dracula.

Rich: How does an artist become as great as you are?

Kewber: Am I great? Thank you for the compliment! I'm not great, I have so much to grow up, and I don't even know if I will be great one day!
But I think the cause to an artist improves, is this feeling you can always learn, and the feeling that each page will be a new challenge. Even if the page is just about a boring conversation, you must think "what can I do to make this page blow minds?" I already worked in an action book, that a reviewer said that one of the pages that touched him was a conversation scene. In an action series. You can not imagine how much I was happy and proud of myself, to know that someone was shaken after read a page that for many artists could be something boring to do. Besides that, an artist need to feel pleasure to draw, and keep working always. Time will do the rest.

Rich: Which super-hero comic would you most like to work on?

Kewber: I've never drew a super-hero comic yet, but I like a lot and would love to work on a John Constantine book (OK, he's not exactly a super hero). So, talking about super-heroes, I would like to work on Superman or Captain America. I like the good iconic heroes, with good principles, wanting to make a better world, although I'm pretty sure I would do better drawing Deadpool.

Rich: What super power would you like to have and why?

Kewber: I would like to multiply myself! There are so many things I would like to do, to learn, and so many things I would like to draw, but I'm sad when I notice I'm only one person.

Rich: What would you like to say to all the fans of your work?

Kewber: The first thing to say is my sincere Thank You! Thanks a lot for liking my work, for following the titles that I'm working on, and for enjoying reading my pages! Honestly, I do not know if I have many fans today, but if they are a few or any ones, I'm quite happy! Whenever someone contacts me and takes the time to tell me he/she likes my work, it makes me feel great, and this is what makes me want to be better and better! Then again, thanks a lot for you all!

Richard Vasseur
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