Thursday, 4 December 2008

LADRÖNN interview [2]

Interview by smoky man & Antonio Solinas. Conducted in May 2008.
Originally printed in Italy on Scuola di Fumetto magazine (N. 61, July 2008, Coniglio Editore).
Presented here in English for the first time.
Above: Cover for The Atom N. 25.
The Atom published by DC Comics.
LADRÖNN interview [1]

11. In a interview, talking about his style, John Romita Jr. said: “I still don’t believe I have a style as such. If anything, I call it a deadline style; whatever comes out on time, that’s me. You’re given a plot and told you have approximately three weeks to finish it or you don’t get paid. […] I’d be interested to see what my work would look like if I had plenty of time and plenty of money. I’d love to have the amount of time that some European artists seem to have, which is maybe a year, or year and half to do one piece of work. I suppose then it would have a very different look, and maybe I’d develop a style of my own. But then again, maybe it wouldn’t be as good, because I would be overthinking and overworking the pages. As it is, it’s rapid fire and immediate and it works out just fine.” [from Artists on Comic Art by Mark Salisbury, Titan Books] I am curious to know what your opinion about this. Also, what do you think of deadlines and was you ever conditioned by them?
Ladrönn: The deadline is definitely something you need to learn to deal with. Romita said something that is true, and that is the sad reality of the USA comics books industry. Romita - and many other artists - have the same problem: the big publishers like Marvel and DC Comics need to produce a lot of books and the artist must draw on a page-a-day basis. This is a very complicated task because the quality of the work is not always is the best at the end of the day. When I started to work at Marvel I saw the deadlines as a big issue… you feel that there is no time to work out the details. For that reason I prefer to stay on the side, not drawing comics books for the mainstream, not only because I don't want to compromise my style again but… my health.

12. When you work on a story do you prefer working on a full script or do you like more working with the Marvel approach of a simple plot to be developed by the penciler?
The best way is the full script, because you know what the characters are talking about, if they are happy or sad, otherwise you can't add feelings to the story. On the contrary if the penciler develops the plot I think it will work better, because he knows what is going on in the story, unfortunately the writer is the one who creates plots the most of the time and artist never know what the writer is thinking between the lines.

13. Any desire to write and draw your own created comics?
Absolutely, I like to write but you need time to create a great story so, maybe some day, when I have the time I will prepare something.

14. What does it mean for you - as a professional comics artist - “experimenting” with your Art?
I experiment with my art all the time. I like to improve my work everyday, there is always a way to do your artwork even better.

15. From your privileged point of observation, what’s your perception of USA comics market status? Is it too much super-heroes based – even if in this period we can see some diversity?
The comics are a mirror of the society in every country. In the USA the hero culture is very strong. They have a very particular vision of the world: sometimes for US people is difficult to see beyond their borders but I hope it changes some day and the horizons will open even more for the comic readers because there are wonderful books outside the United States domestic market. At the moment I think publishers like Image Comics, DC Comics and some others have been bringing great European and Asiatic works to the States. I also think that a line of comic books like Vertigo is very good and healthy for the USA readers.

16. On the other side, what about the French comics market?
I don't know very much about the business side of French market: this is the first time I have a book done specifically for the European mainstream… ask me the same question in ten years and I will let you know, but I know the quality of the French books, and how much care the French and other European publishers put in their products. As I said before my biggest artistic influences come not only from French but European graphic novels and now that I'm involved I can see how professional they are.

17. What’s your opinion about the “graphic novel” tendency?
I think the US comic book mainstream publishers need to take some time to think about the future of the industry, starting with a big filtering of their products, because there are many books and editions published every month with very bad quality. This happens because there is no time to do something better, it is a endless race without sense. I think the graphic novel is the best way to start producing less but better books because, if you start taking more care of your comics books then the readers will learn that they can be something which deserves a special place in their home library.

18. And about the strong connection of comics and Hollywood? Any pros and cons?
Comics and Hollywood: I think that formula is working pretty well in the USA now. Hollywood has discovered a new market, I only hope the movie industry opens more to characters from other cultures. I would love to see a live action movie of Ranxerox. The only big con I see here in the USA is the media censorship at any level: in the United States everybody is frightened of being sued by some stupid association or people.

19. Your dream project?
The Incal.

20. Which comics do you regularly read?
I don't read many books nowadays. I don't have much time to read but, I like European comics, I always buy the Spanish editions and I also like to read manga.

21. Let’s close with a big one. Comics: industry or art?
Both but I think the industry is leading the race.

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