By Superherologist - December 15, 2009
Our series of interviews with competitors in DC Comics’ monthly Zuda contests continues this week with a pair of interviews with current competitors, featuring the creators of comics featured costumed superfolks. Later this week we’ll speak with Greg Smallwood, creator of Villain, but let’s start with Luciano Vecchio about his work, The Unseen Tribe.
Llama: What’s your background in comics?
I have worked as a freelance artist for many years now, both in comics and illustration. The highlights would be the indy superhero comic Sentinels by Drumfish Productions in the US (you can see it at http://www.sentinelsonline.com/), OGN Real Clohe and anthology Abreme (both released in Argentina and Spain), and I have just finished Cruel Thing, a beautiful goth saga of hardcover books released in Spain (Norma Editorial), France (Emmanuel Proust), and serialized in Heavy Metal magazine (check it out at www.CruelThing.com).
Llama: Why are you subjecting yourself to the stress of a month-long contest?
Vecchio: I didn´t even imagine the stress that would go along with it in the first place. Actually, I found myself with free time while in between projects, and one night I dreamt I was participating on Zuda and woke up with a good feeling about it. So I just followed my guts instinct, channeled this comic almost right from the unconscious mind, submitted, and here I am.
Llama: Your artistic and storytelling style in The Unseen Tribe reminds some readers of Saturday morning cartoons. How would you describe your style?
Vecchio: Artistic wise I´m an eclectic mix of very opposing influences, so I´d describe my style as something that reminds you of many things, but isn´t quite American comic school, or manga, or even your usual ameri-manga. I also mutate from work to work, and since Unseen Tribe is my first webcomic I wanted to fully exploit the screen visualization and format (I didn´t want to just do the same thing I would do for a printed comic), so I went with super saturated screen colors, and a dynamic storytelling that would emulate an animated feel, and I’m glad it´s perceived that way.
Llama: What sources have influenced you – cartoon, comic books, cereal box art?
Mostly comics and anime. When I was a little kid I learned to read with the Mexican editions of DC Comics, and have always read comics since, from every source (American, manga, Argentinean and European). The same applies to anime and movies, with a soft spot for works that fusion different influences as I do, such as Avatar The Last Airbender.
Llama: Why are you telling this particular story?
Vecchio: On one hand, after working on the adult goth saga Cruel Thing for a long time, I itched to draw something colorful, fun, and action packed, and I wanted to do superheroes again for a change. But I didn´t want to play by the usual rules of superheroism (the rigid morality, dual identities, etc). On the other, I’m somewhat of a mystic freak and wanted to work with stuff I´m dealing with in real life, like pop magic, lucid dreams, reiki, consciousness awakening theories… all that taken to the extreme became the basis for the powers in Unseen Tribe. Their self-generated superabilities are the post-new age equivalents of an x-factor or metagene, if you will. So that leaves us with a group of superpowered and enlightened kids, the first of a wave of spiritual revolution, driven by curiosity and young passion. Unseen Tribe is light hearted adventure revisited through the eyes of change-of-era human evolution philosophy.
Llama: Have you incorporated people from your own life into any of these characters? For instance, did you have a Professor Tot in your life?
Vecchio: Haha, no, not exactly, but everyone has had a teacher full of himself to rebel to when we were young, right? (In fact, now that you mention it, I did hate my chemistry teacher in high school, who happened to teach religion too). As any artist I always channel bits of myself on every character, and people around do serve as inspiration. For example the team leader, Iri (Code name Q-Mecha) is named after my friend Iris, a real life alchemy student herself.
Llama: What part of this story do you look forward to the most?
Vecchio: I’m quite anxious to finish this first episode (that resolves around page 16, since it´s only meant as an introduction) to be able to slow down and focus on the characters and their background. This is a character driven story, so while there´re lots of adventures lined up, it´s getting to know the Tribe and see them grow what I look forward the most.
Llama: With a lot of Zuda winners, we’ve noticed that the style changes between pages 8 and 9 for a variety of reasons. If you get to continue telling this story, do you see yourself tweaking its style? If so, in what way?
Vecchio: Artistic wise I´m very content with the style I´ve achieved, so that’s going to be kept. What will mutate for sure is the pace and page design, coming back and forth between the turbo speed action and the quieter parts that didn´t make the cut into the first 8 screens, as any story would.
Llama: Since you’re writing about superpower: Which superheroes do you enjoy most?
Vecchio: The ones written as human and flawed, with virtue and vice to identify with, while they try to do good and not always succeed but they grow on the process. Also, the ones that revisit classic aspects of the genre with fresh modern eyes. My current favorite superhero books are Invincible, Doom Patrol, Runaways, and anything written by Gail Simone, Brian Michael Bendis, and of course Grant Morrison.
Llama: Finally, what would be the worst superpower to have?
Vecchio: It’d have to be either those that prevent human contact (it would suck to be Rogue) or those that make you lose control of yourself and your identity, like Hulk’s. What´s raw power worth if you can’t be fully yourself?
Find out what Stan Lee, Adam West, Lou Ferrigno, and many others thought would be the worst superpower:
* Adam West (@therealadamwest) Picks Worst Superpower
* Single-Shot Interviews: Worst Superpower, Celebrity Takes
Read The Unseen Tribe by Luciano Vecchio at Zuda Comics: http://zudacomics.com/node/1616
If you like what you see, VOTE!