Thursday, May 11, 2006

INTERVIEW: Marc Campos on Action Comics and beyond! PART THREE

This interview was not just the third part of a Toon Zone News interview, but sister to a seperate interview for the Toon Zone Drawing Board which also explained the nature of his student's work. The interview is also archived in this blog.

[Interview for Toon Zone News: 2nd May 2004]

Toon Zone offers the final part in our exclusive in-depth interview with Action Comics inker Marc Campos.

Marc, who has worked on both independent and mainstream titles in the US in a variety of roles, spoke to Toon Zone about Brazil and its relationship to the US market.

Toon Zone: We talked about your US work for Marvel and DC in the last part of this interview, can you tell us about the comic work you do in Brazil? You have some projects which probably have not been heard about in the US.

Marc Campos: I have a series of projects that are being developed here in Brazil. Most of them are connected with a school I have here, in partnership with Octavio Cariello, that already works for the American market in titles like Queen of the Damned (Innovation), Green Lantern Annual (which I inked), Black Lighting and Deathstroke (for DC), and Logan Shadow Society (for Marvel).

All these projects are, to a great extent, completely done (scripting, drawing, inking, coloring, lettering) by a core art group that we formed from the students. The first of these projects is already going. It’s a fanzine called Ainda? (it means “Still?”). All 12,000 copies of Ainda? are freely distributed in all of Brazil. We do this to create a portfolio for our students who work in disciplines like scripting, comics drawing, and illustration. The project is then distributed to the art directors of most of the major publishing houses. Because of this, a lot of our students are already working in the market doing illustration on books and articles in some of the best magazines published in Brazil.

Another of my projects is called Quebra-Queixo (Jawbreaker). This is my own creation and it has gotten many local awards. Quebra-Queixo has had an erratic publication starting from the early 1990s and lasted until last November, when we published its first album with Devir (which is also the biggest RPG publisher in South America).

The album is a big hit here in Brazil and has been exported to Portugal. All except one story were done by our students. One story was done by Rael Lyra (from the Brazilian state of Pernambuco), who is now currently drawing Dragon Lance (from Devil’s Due), signing as Rael.

We are already creating the second album of Quebra-Queixo, which will be released next November. In this second album, we will be doing a national contest to reveal new talents, in partnership with Wizard Brasil (that's the Brazilian version of the Wizard magazine). The winner will be able to draw one of the stories. I’m also negotiating, with the help of my agent, Joe Prado from Art&Comics International, to publish this material in America. We already have enough material to publish five editions. If any small publisher out there is interested... please get in touch with me!!!

The universe of Quebra-Queixo is huge, and because of that, the reader will find adventures of not only the main character, but also of many other characters--sometimes we even include some material that is outside the universe, like Cão e Gata (Cat & Dog) and Power People.

I’m also negotiating the production of a title aimed at kids, with characters created by me, one of my ex-students, Artur Fujita--who now helps us coordinate the art group--and by one of our teachers, Paulo Pina. We will close the deal on this new project probably this week.

There are other projects, including some with the translator of this interview, Sérgio Codespoti, using the same structure of the student art group.

I’m very conscious about my responsibility in opening new doors for new talent and giving them the possibility of starting in this market. I perform this role passionately. We already have so many great and talented students. One example of this is Renato Guedes. He drew some Smallville editions for DC and now might be one of the artists on 24 Hours. Another known name is Ricardo Riamond, who is considered to be one of our best colorists here.

We also have notable teachers and collaborators like Ivan Reis (he teaches How to Draw for Comics), Roger Cruz (he teaches Anatomy for Super-Heroes), Greg Tocchini (he was our teacher and course coordinator and is now a collaborator), Edde Wagner (inker). We are very proud of what we do at our school. If anyone is interested in learning more about it please access

If that was not enough, I’m starting to illustrate a series of three books directed to teenagers which is also from Devir. I’m doing them with the help of Marcela Godoy, one of our ex-students (of scriptwriting) that I promoted to Devir. She is now publishing a novel (with illustrations done by me).

TZ: If anyone wanted to look at some of these books, are they available to order in the US?

Campos: Unfortunately not. As I said, I created this core group of students to create many projects with the collaboration of other teachers and ex-students. As we have a good amount of material, and we intend to contact the American publishers to try to publish those stories and expose the artists to America.

TZ: What are the differences between the Brazilian and US comic industry?

Campos: Well, the biggest difference is that in America there is a big and stable market. In Brazil, there are bubbles of national production that appear and then burst very fast, without much explanation.

It’s somewhat comical, but understandable, since we live in a country with huge economic problems. That is why many of us seek the American market. We love comics and we love what they do in America. (I speak for myself, but it is also the feeling of many of my friends.) So for us to work in the American industry is not only a question of survival, but also of passion. However, we would all love to produce material that could be published locally.

They say I was the first Brazilian to enter the tough and very competitive American industry, and because of that, for a very long time, I became the number one enemy of many people here. They used to call me traitor, or that I had “sold out” to the Americans, and many other things. But I’ve never stopped publishing comics in Brazil. I created many magazines with my own characters and those of friends, as well as creating Quebra-Queixo.

That character is reasonably well known here, and the winner of many important awards. Besides that, I’ve been working at the school since 1997. I think that, slowly, the market is becoming more stable. After me, many other artists started to publish regularly in America, a market that before that time used to be very distant for us. It was almost impossible to imagine that some day we could publish in such a competitive market. I’m sure that the history of comics in Brazil changed after Brazilian talents like Roger Cruz, Mike Deodato, Ivan Reis, Ed Benes, Joe Bennet, Greg Tocchini, and so many others showed their work to the Americans and then to the world. After the decades of accusation, we are now very respected by all Brazilian artists. Our trade started to be seen as serious. But the path was and still is very hard here.

Brazil has an important tradition in two forms of comics: an adult, creatively owned comic and a humor-based one. We have fantastic artists like Lourenço Mutarelli (who is now being published in Spain and Portugal with huge success), Laerte, Angeli, Fernando Gonzales, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon, and so many others. The main market for these artists are the daily comic strips and graphic novels (called albums in Europe) and they are closer to the European style of comics more than the American one.

Regarding sales, we have a huge market for readers below 18. We have an author dedicated to children comics, Mauricio de Sousa. Mauricio created a great universe of characters (some thirty years ago) that still publish about ten monthly titles. None of these titles sell below a hundred thousand copies. Marvel and DC Comics are also a huge hit here. We have the public for that. Another thing that is still big here is Disney Comics and the new Cartoon Network related properties. There is space for everything here, but the biggest comics produced locally are the titles of Mauricio de Sousa, oriented towards the kids.

Here, the professional comic artist has to work in many diverse areas. I had to write, draw, and ink many comics for an important market here. Most were adaptations of local TV hits, usually kid’s show hosts that became comic characters. Another good market is the adaptation of animation hits like He-Man, Bravestar, and Thundercats. When the original material from America finish, the public here still wants to consume it, so we arrange to produce more locally, creating scripts and art for these characters.

I’ve also worked with animation. I even co-directed an animated video clip for one of Brazil’s greatest rock bands, the Titãs. I’ve done illustrations for CD covers for rock bands and singers. I’ve done production drawings and scripts for a TV series with a famous model here (we transformed her into a super-heroine). Well, I’ve done a lot, and that’s how the Brazilian artist survives.

TZ: Tell us about your work with Ivan for Action Comics. Will you work on Action Comics for the foreseeable future?

Campos: I have known Ivan for many years. We are friends above all, and I have an enormous respect for his talent. Ivan worked as an artist for Mauricio de Sousa Studios for a long time. We worked together in many things, including the comic version of many stories of Disney’s Tarzan. I was away from comics for some time, and he invited me to ink his work on Lady Death (of Crossgen Comics).

Then he invited me to continue our partnership doing Action Comics. He is a great guy. I have never known someone as passionate as Ivan for what he does, and that inspires me. Besides this, he has a very important quality: he’s humble. He is also one of the most relaxed and generous people I’ve ever met. He knows that is what I think of him.

I would like to continue and to preserve this partnership for a long time. It’s a great pleasure working with him. While he, Eddie Berganza, and Chuck Austen want me on the team, I’ll be here.

TZ: Any other current or future projects you'd like to tell us about?

Campos: I have some dreams. I would like to offer scripts for the Elseworlds line of DC. I have dozens of ideas for projects of that kind that I could offer DC. I have two other big dreams. The first is to create plots for the DC Animated Universe, particularly Justice League Unlimited. I’m an obsessive fan of the series. I also love the old ones like Batman, Batman Beyond, and Superman.

My second dream would be to publish my own characters in America, introducing the talent of many of the artists here!

Toon Zone's Drawing Board Website will be hosting a gallery of work done by some of Marc's students as well as some comments from the artist himself in the very near future.

Translator for this interview was Brazilian comic artist Sergio Codespoti. Marc recommends readers have a look at his website at

Action Comics #815, featuring pencils by Ivan Reis and inks by Mark Campos, was released on May 12th 2004

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