sexta-feira, 26 de março de 2010
DAN’S JOURNEY: Interview with Dan Fraga
Dan Fraga is one of the popular comic artists that started in the American industry back in the 1990’s, during the golden days of Image comics.
With a wide range of work that includes CGI based comics and different styles and themes that vary from traditional super-hero slugfests to radical Sci-Fi scenarios, he is now working in regular basis for the Big Two, Marvel and DC Comics, but is plenty of plans for the future.
Here he will talk about his early days, his works for Rob Liefeld and his literary influences, that include Joseph Campbell and William Gibson.
With you, Dan Fraga!
">Octavio Aragão – Hi, Dan! Good to have you here! First of all, please, can you talk a little about your career? How did you begin in the comics industry?
Dan Fraga – When I was 13 I decided I wanted to be a comic book artist. 1986 was the year and THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS was the book. I know that I don't have to elaborate, because so many people feel the way I do about THE DARK KNIGHT.
In 1988 I got to see my first comic convention. It was Wonder-Con #2. I got to meet so many creators at that show. Arthur Adams, Bob Shreck, Larry Marder, Michael Kaluta, Sergio Aragones , Erik Larsen, and Ron Lim... it was amazing. It was at that show that I was certain that I wanted to draw comics. In 1988 I made my first zine, it was called CHESSKNIGHT VIEWS. It featured an interview with the great Carl Potts. That interview is still one of the best pieces of advice for aspiring comic book artists. Carl knows his stuff.
In 1989 I went to another convention where I met Rob Liefeld for the first time. The dude was really cool. He was one of the few creators who really seemed to care when he gave you a critique of your work. He'd suggest books and artists and was really specific with his advice. I found that to be very encouraging and refreshing. Most of the time I'd show my work and get replies from the editor that sounded exactly the same as the one he gave the ten guys who showed their work before me. Rob's advice was really tailored for the person he was critiquing. I was a really grateful for his time and for his attention to my work.
My buddy Mike, who went to the show with me, bought a sketch from Rob that was drawn on the back of his personal stationary. It had Rob's number and address on it. I took that opportunity and called Rob that following week to thank him for his time. He was gracious and took my call and was really cool about a stranger calling his house. I started sending him more of my pages and drawings as I'd get them done. I'd send a fax daily when I was on lunch break in high school. I was a pest. Seriously.
That's when I got to meet Marat Mychaels. He was Rob's assistant at the time. Marat and I became friends over the phone and used to talk shop all of the time. We were about the craft. Every aspect of it. It was a really cool time to be into comics. The time before Image Comics happened, 1991, I had just graduated from High School and I was walking into the new exhibition hall for the San Diego Comic-Con. T2 opened that weekend. Man, it was cool. I ran into Rob and Marat and they had told me how they were going to start a comic studio and wanted to tell me about it. This was the first time I had heard about what would later become Extreme Studios.
This wasn't the only excited news that I had heard at that show. I had done samples for the show and I had shown them to DC comics editors Neil Pozner and Brian Augustyn. They were so pleased with the samples that they gave me a tryout story. It was the one they gave to guys that showed potential, the JLA carnival story. I sent in my pages and I hadn't heard anything back. I was a little discouraged but I still kept plugging away and inquiring with both DC and Rob about a job. In February of 1992 I got that break. Rob Liefeld had asked me to join Extreme Studios.
OA – What was your favorite gig till today?
DF – I liked KID SUPREME.
OA – As we can see through your work in GEAR STATION, you are an enthusiast of the possibilities of CGI Comics. Do you believe that the Internet - with the web comics - could be the answer to the industry?
DF – No. I think the industry is in a time of healing from the abuse it had in the 90's and is on it's way to full recovery. CGI is a tool, and that's it. It all comes down to the story and art.
OA – Personally, I think GEAR STATION was your best work to date, with lots of great backgrounds and an interesting character design. Why do you put it aside and went back to the majors? It wasn't worth the effort?
DF – Low sales. I was going broke, working 16 hour days. I have a wife and a mortgage. I had to do something.
OA – You are a great fan of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, such as Star Wars and Lord of The Rings. I even can notice a heavy influence of the SW narrative structure in GEAR STATION. Do you also read Science Fiction and/or Fantasy? Or your basic influences are movies?
DF – I actually got the structure from Joseph Campbell's A HERO’S JOURNEY. I like movies and Sci-Fi novels. Especially William Gibson.
OA – Ok, let's talk about the future. How do you see the future of American Comics and what's your plan for the next years?
DF – American Comics are maturing. Almost too much. I think they are going to snap back to the more exciting fun stories. Jim Lee's Batman is the herald for this. My plans are DARWIN LIGHTWING and doing the best work I can.