Thursday, May 11, 2006

REVIEW: Harvey Birdman - Third Season:Still Funny, But Shows Formula

[Interview for Toon Zone News: 12th July 2005 - pre-release screener]

Harvey Birdman is back! For a Brit starved of his Birdman since returning from the US last year, a chance to get to see three new episodes is one that requires no hesitation.

To my delight we have a show that remains as good as ever. And that's precisely its problem.

I "discovered" Harvey Birdman last year where I was studying in America. On late nights of hard work or, on occasions, hard liquor (or of course a tandem of both), the Adult Swim schedule was a feast of adult animated humour that was a far cry from The Simpsons or even Family Guy. I loved it. The shows were a delightful wedge of irrelevant stories, smart gags and fast-paced editing; blink and you are guaranteed to miss the punch line.

Harvey Birdman is a wonderful unashamed mockery of all the cheap retro cartoons of the 1960s and 70s. The gag is, essentially, to place old, well-worn cartoon characters into adult scenarios and plough them through a court of law. Seeing Harvey Birdman, a reinvention of the weary "Birdman" cartoon character of the 60s, having to face a mafia lord Fred Flintstone or a stoned Norville "Shaggy" Rogers is a wonder in its own right. And the fifteen-minute running time is perfect.

So why does it feel like it's running out of steam? Its voice acting is fantastic; most of the show's funniest material comes from its delivery. The video editing remains in top form, visuals lurching by at a mile a minute. The show remains confident with no signs of uncertainty.

“Booty Noir” is possibly the least successful of the three stories that make up the beginning of the show's third season. It contains two separate plots, neither really complementing the other. Plot has never been essential to Harvey Birdman, but any show is a package and as such should have some feeling of unity. For the premiere of a new season, this one feels like a basket of left over ideas rather than a brand new start.

We have one tale regarding Reducto’s desire for the large “booty” of Norlisa. I’ve never been a fan of Reducto, who works best in a supporting role, and having a central plot line revolve around his tongue-in-cheek love for something large rather than small feels stretched. That’s not to say it isn’t well executed, but it still falls short of the mark.

In the meantime, Harvey's rather run-of-the-mill case involves redneck old-timer Wally Gator. Reducto’s story is certainly curious, but fails to deliver full-on laughs. Wally’s doesn't even provoke the slightest smile. The editing and pacing are strong, but the episode, as a whole, doesn’t offer anything new.

“Harvey‘s Civvy” is the most interesting of the three. Murro the Marauder, one of Harvey’s old enemies, files a lawsuit against the lawyer for the physical damage endured during one of their battles in 1967. The idea itself has a lot of potential and the episode does a good job at delivering it. In contrast to "Booty Noir," Potamus’ larger role in “Harvey’s Civvy” is possibly the show’s best example of spotlighting a "tag" character. Potamus and his "did you get that thing I sent you?" are put to good use here and a character I rarely found that funny had me smiling as he attempted to balance out his legal and sexual priorities.

However, the highlight of this episode is Shado the Brain Thief, the prosecuting lawyer. Shado’s animation is simple but very effective. Particularly memorable is a great scene in which Shado's wits are pitted against the show’s favorite mind taker, Judge Mentok. A good idea, a great new character and, as always, Mentok make this a very worthy addition.

“X Gets the Crest” features longtime foe X the Exterminator who, once again, is after Harvey’s Crest of power. The difference is that, after thirty years of trying, X gets his hands on the crest! Harvey (as usual) falls to pieces trying to handle a case for Ricochet Rabbit, while X finds that the Crest benefits him in ways he couldn’t imagine.

“X Gets the Crest” has some solid concepts and scenarios to offer; the switch of character roles between X and Harvey calls into question to what extent either of them - or indeed any of us - is good or evil. Whether I'm overthinking it or not, it makes for some enjoyable situations. X’s attempt to locate F.E.A.R, his giggling presentation of the Crest to fellow villains and his eventual breakdown on a TV chat show are all great fun. However, again, while the fast wit remains on form, it all feels done before.

So while each episode here is tightly handled, the show doesn't feel like it's really finding, or even looking, for anything new. It's as if Harvey Birdman has found its niche and sits comfortably with neither the inclination nor need to evolve. For a show that broke so many comedy molds, this seems a pity.

What is evident in these new episodes is when the show is good, it’s because it’s working on themes or situations it has itself previously proved successful. Even the great debut of Shado owes much to his predecessor Mentok.

Perhaps part of Harvey Birdman’s charm is its repetitive chaos. Harvey Birdman is essentially a long string of one-liners. But it’s quite natural for the viewer to expect something more and Birdman seems incapable of delivering on that. And if it can't, it's in danger of becoming as formulaic and frigid as some of the formats it enjoys mocking.

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

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

I have a great amount of respect for Marc. Some of his inking has to be seen to be believed. I recommend any of the Action Comics complication graphic novels which has his inking on Ivan Reis pencils.

[Interview for Toon Zone News: 24th March 2004]

Last month, Toon Zone was fortunate to be able to speak to Brazilian comic illustrator Marc Campos about his work in the industry. Toon Zone now presents part two of this in-depth interview.

Both Toon Zone and Marc would like to thank Sergio Codespoti for providing the translations for this interview.

Toon Zone: Below is an example of your work for the Bruce Timm version of Superman. How hard was it to adapt to such a specific character study? Was it difficult to adapt to a stylized universe of characters?

Marc Campos: This image was requested by my agent as a test to a new (at the time) DC title inspired by the Superman Animated cartoon. I’ve always tried to enter the American market with my own style and when this opportunity appeared, I was very excited because my natural style has a lot of similarities with the work of Bruce Timm in the Batman and Superman Animated cartoons.

I’m a great fan of Timm. I think that the development of the style used since Batman: The Animated Series influenced many other artists of comics and animation. Timm is a master.

Regarding the difficulties, I don’t want to sound presumptuous, but I didn’t have many. I think it was because the style is really close to mine, and I’m not saying my work compares to a master like him.

Besides, I think the animation experience was good for me. Having to follow a model sheet or a style guide to adapt to a style that is very different from my own creates challenges that makes my work improve. To be honest, I felt shivers down my spine from thinking that I could actually work on a title like Superman.

Unfortunately, when the test arrived at DC, they had already hired another artist. I have loved DC ever since I was a kid, and I think the Superman animated series is the best stuff ever created for the character. The series is simply perfect. I have all the episodes recorded from TV. I’m such a fanatic about it that I created an image bank with information about each episode. One of my dreams is to one day be able to do something with this universe created by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and the other artists of this team.

I believe they recaptured the right concept for each of these characters. They rebuilt the characters.

There are some interesting things about this cartoon-like style of drawing. Personally I think the style has a lot to offer to the superhero genre. I don’t understand why people say nowadays that superhero comics are for adults. It seems that people have the necessity to show that this is an adult narrative, and thus, the stories need to be more realistic to be believable. Maybe in older times people had more capacity for abstract stuff.

I like the superhero genre whether it’s done for kids or adults, with realistic drawings or in a cartoon-like style. I don’t think a story is less adult because the line is more stylized. This sort of worry creates some distortions. For example: I’ve read in many places that the main audience of the Justice League cartoon is adults. On the other hand, the comic book version of it is considered kid stuff. People take this too seriously. They should have more fun.

TZ: Working on the X-Men is any comic fan's dream come true. In the last interview, you explained how Nightcrawler was your favourite to draw. Which character posed the most problems or required the most concentration to draw?

Campos: I think it was Charles Xavier. In regards to other characters, bodily and facial expressions could be more melodramatic, more exaggerated. But I consider Xavier a character whose expressions must be subtler. I cannot imagine Xavier grinding his teeth or frowning in an exaggerated manner.

He controls himself. He is almost the Dalai Lama. It is not my intention to make any jokes regarding limits he might have in terms of corporal expression since he is handicapped, but I am talking about subtlety. His gaze was difficult to do. I wanted to suggest greater profundity… a gaze telling us that this person might know everything he wants to know about any living being on the face of the Earth, but does not do it because of ethical reasons.

TZ: Currently you are inking Ivan Reis' pencils for DC's long running Action Comics title. How different is an ink job to penciling? Will you be doing any pencils for the comic?

Campos: I think there are many differences. The work of a penciler involves so many aspects that I get a headache just thinking about it. First of all, the drawer must READ the script. He has to understand the intentions of the scriptwriter, understand the ambience, the dynamics, the tone of every scene, and not only that, he has to perceive how the whole story will develop through all 22 pages in order to really transmit tension, humor, terror, or any other feelings he has to work with. After that he analyses the script and transforms the text into an image.

The penciler considers aspects of narrative, timing, scene composition, and “camera” angles. Then comes the hardworking part: anatomy, perspective, light and shade, references, and all else. It is very difficult. Inking is Zen-like work. One has to be calm, especially when working with Ivan, who puts many details in each frame. Sometimes I call him and I curse him for about half an hour! That was a joke, but regarding Zen, I was serious.

For me, inking means paying uttermost attention to the work of the penciler. In no way should the inker have to interfere with a line of the penciler to the point of putting more of his own personality than that of the penciler.

I love to work as an inker, it strips the ego away. You go to a quiet place, and with all the humbleness in the world, try not to interfere or damage the work of an artist. In regards to starting to draw again, I think it is very difficult. I don’t like my “realistic” line. If I return to drawing comics, I would like to do something with my own line.

TZ: You've done a great deal of work for a variety mainstream companies: Dark Horse, Marvel, DC. Which character or title would you love to be involved with in the future?

Campos: Many, many indeed, although some of them might not be well-known to the public. There is a character named Magnus, Robot-Fighter. It was created by a great artist called Russ Manning. I love this character because it has to do with the classical science fiction of the fifties, a thing that nowadays is considered a bit trashy, but which is also very entertaining.

As I already said, I am a big fan of DC, where one can find wonderful characters such as Dr. Fate, Flash, Metamorpho, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and Rac Shade. I am a big fan of Aquaman. I have already read almost everything about him and I would love to work with this character.

I run the risk of sounding very pretentious, but I would love to have a chance to write and also to draw a story with one of these characters. Actually I never considered myself an artist, I started to draw because I liked to write stories, I loved animation and movies and I was a fan of comics.

I wrote stories and wanted to see them expressed in the language of comics. That is why I started to draw. I never imagined I would become an artist. Things just happened.

The final part of this interview will be posted next month, when Marc will be talking about his work in Brazil, which is largely unseen in the US. Look out for a Drawing Board Exclusive interview with Marc about his drawing style in the near future.

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

(c) James McLean

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

[Interview for Toon Zone News: 16th February 2004]

Comic artist Marc Campos has produced work for a multitude of different titles across the comic industry. He is currently inking for DC Action Comics. Based in Brazil, Marc has kindly offered to share some of his work and background with Toon Zone. This is the first part in an extensive and exclusive three part interview with the artist and will look at his career and artwork both in America and Brazil. Look out for a further in-depth commentary on his technique as a comic artist at The Drawing Board Website in the very near future.

Both Toon Zone and Marc would like to thank Sergio Codespoti for providing the translations for this interview.

Toon Zone: Marc, can you tell us a little about how you got into comic illustration?

Marc Campos: I started to work with comics in 1984. And although I’m from a small town called Três Lagoas, that year I was living with my parents and my brother Ricardo. At the time, I was 19 years old and played in a rock band. I have always been a great fan of comics, but at that age I paid more attention to music. I bought a local comic title which had an ad for a company that was seeking new talents. That was funny because at the time the local comic market was on a low tide and seeing an ad seeking new artists was a bit nonsensical.

I sent a horror story anyway and to my surprise later, the company sent me the story printed on a comic, a check for the story, and an invitation to actively participate in the future editions.

I did some six or seven stories for this company that was located at (the most important city in with a population of more than 15 million people). Later on I met someone from Editora Abril, which was the biggest publishing house in Latin America. I did a test to be an art assistant and got the job. My musical career ended there. I returned to São Paulo (I had lived there previously in 1983) and sadly I still live there.

Editora Abril had the license to publish both Marvel and DC stuff here and to me it was a pleasure to work in the Brazilian editions. I did color separations for the local editions of Dark Knight Returns, Ronin, Black Hawk and a truckload of other fantastic stuff.

It also had some bad moments. Obeying editorial requests, I had to commit some heresies (famous around these parts and probably unheard of in the foreign market) on some Marvel materials. Like altering some characters that were in Secret Wars because of some of the chronology in the titles they published here. In that case, I switched the female Captain Marvel for Iron Man. Believe it or not, I had to draw Iron Man in every panel Captain Marvel appeared.

In Daredevil Born Again, they asked me to change the scene where Karen uses drugs. I had to change that panel too!

After that, I did some work for an animation company called Thalia Films that did some work for Hanna-Barbara. I started doing clean-up and ended up as an animator. We did one episode of Flintstone’s Golden Years (I’m not sure if this was the final name), one or two Smurfs, one of Snorkels, and we even did a pilot of a cartoon, I don’t know if it ever aired, called Clown City .

I returned to Editora Abril as an Art Director and in 1989 I accomplished my dream of really working with comics. I did a test for the old Malibu and ended up doing three series of Deathworld. Then I did Retief and The Warlords and finally Dollman.

TZ: Who have been your influences within the comic industry?

Campos : I have hundreds of influences; North American artists, Europeans, South Americans, Japanese, and of course, Brazilians. In general I like the old artists, the great masters... Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Will Eisner, V.T. Hamlin, Al Capp, Dik Browne, R.B. Fuller, Ramona Fradon, Harold Foster, Russ Manning, Milton Caniff, C.C. Beck, Frank Robbins, Alex Toth, Alex Raymond, Jim Steranko, Hergé, Morris, Charles M. Schulz, Jules Feiffer, Goscinny, Guido Crepax, E.P. Jacobs, Hermann, Hugo Pratt, Jean Graton, Greg and Henrique Breccia. Also some of the new masters like John Byrne, Walt Simonson, Frank Miller, Keith Giffen, Mike Mignola, Mike Allred, Mike Avon Oeming, the Hernandes brothers, Bruce Timm, Daniel Torres and finally the Brazilians: Ziraldo, Mozart Couto, Flávio Colin, Laerte, Lourenço Mutarelli and Libero.

I’m not sure if all this shows up in a relevant way in my work. If I had to pick some of that list I would say Kirby, Ditko, Eisner, Hamlin, Capp, Hergé, Simonson, Miller, Giffen, Mignola, Timm, Ziraldo, Libero, Colin, and my ultimate influence: Daniel Torres.

What attracts me to a style is its personality, the soul of the line. I don’t seek the technical virtuosos. To me an artist doesn’t have to necessarily recreate reality as a photograph, he should code it, stylize the images as he or she sees it. He can show his vision, his interpretation of that reality. There are some artists who are only putting a new spin on things that Alex Raymond or Kirby created and so on. Of course it’s difficult to show something totally original today, and no artist should seek that, but the problem does not lie in wanting to show something new. At worst, the reader does not wish to see something new.

TZ: You've done comic work, both pencils and inks, for a variety of different companies - do these companies differ in terms of how they work in relation to the comic artist?

Campos : It’s hard to answer that because I’ve never worked directly with those companies. I’ve always worked using my Brazilian agent, Hélcio de Carvalho, from Art & Comics. They are also agents of Ivan Reis, Ed Benes, Joe Bennet, Roger Cruz, Greg Tocchini and many others. Mike Deodato used to work with them too, but today he is at Glass House. As far as I’m aware, I’ve never had a problem with editors or their companies.

When I was invited to work with some American companies, I had to adapt my line, my style, and do something more mainstream... more super-hero like, a bit more realistic. It was an interesting challenge. I thought that the work would not be consistent and I wouldn’t be able to get to do some titles... it ended up with me being known as the “first” Brazilian to enter the difficult and competitive American market of comics! It was a surprise.

My first work was for Malibu and it was the most traumatizing of all. I had to do 56 pages of pencils and inks per month. After two and a half years in this crazy rhythm, I had a serious heart problem and had to stop for six months. I’d forgotten how to draw. Later I had to run after it to get it back.

I liked working for Marvel a lot because there I could use my own style, which has much more to do with the so called animated style, and even better, I could ink my own work, giving it a much more personal finishing. But I’ve always loved DC. I love their characters. They are icons, the stuff of legend. They have a powerful and deep mythological quality, although everybody understands that they are a bit superficial and to some extent outdated.

I did Darkstars, Justice League of America , Extreme Justice, Guy Gardner – Warrior, and Blood Pack for DC and I found it odd. I didn’t like the end result. I don’t like my drawings when I try to be more of a “realist”. I’m sure that my realist style is almost insignificant.

My work for Dark Horse, in The Mask Adventures, was nice and easy. Dark Horse seems to be a very good company to work for.

TZ: Of the X-Men characters you've had to draw, which have you particularly enjoyed working on? Which do you think you have styled the best?

Campos: Without a doubt it was Nightcrawler! I love the character. He has some body dynamic that is easy to be explored. He has a few characteristic stances that I was honored to be able to do. I studied the work of the fabulous John Byrne to do The Origin of Nightcrawler and it was real nice to notice how he achieved the transmission of the personality of Kurt Wagner using stances and expressions. I tried to follow that but I don’t know if I achieved it.

TZ: We have a picture from the Brazilian edition of Sin City – how did this job come about, are you a fan of Frank Millar's work?

Campos : Leandro Luigi Del Manto, at the time one of the editors responsible for the Brazilian version of Sin City (currently working for another publisher), invited me – and some other artists – to create pinups of Sin City . It seems that Dark Horse and even Frank Miller liked it a lot and approved it.

I’m an ardent fan of Frank Miller... I might be the only living being who loved DK2!!! I really liked it and I think I understand what he tried to do. I don’t like the end of the story, what he did with Dick Grayson and Superman... but anyway...

I’ve followed his career for many years now and I can see how his art has changed and has gotten better over time. Not only in terms of style, narrative and the scripts, but in his way of perceiving and doing comics for the American industry. Miller is fundamental in the construction and destruction of how comics are made, not only in America , but in the whole world. He will be forever remembered for his relevance because of his art and his influence in the industry.

The first time I went to America, I went out with some people, from the Cleveland Convention, to buy some comics and got scared when I bought his work and some of Mike Mignola’s stuff because I saw how some people hated the art of both. These guys were short of cutting my throat! They said that both cannot draw! Even if this was true, which it is not, it is as if comics were only about pretty drawings! There’s much more to it than that.

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

{c} James McLean