With his Coop meets Kirby style, Sergio Calvet’s work bridges the gap between low-brow art and comics culture. Distinct lines invoke a bygone era without ever losing sight of the far future. Let’s get to know him a little better, shall we?
First off, for the non-comic fans out there, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Shortest answer to that question would be that I’m an independent comic-book artist and illustrator from Barcelona that pays the bills working as a librarian. A librarian that works too designing graphic materials for the place I work for so at the end of the day I spend lots and lots of hours thinking about drawing, bright colors and such.
Your art style invokes the 1960’s era of Marvel comics. Is it safe to say this is on purpose?
My first exposure to American comic books were crappy Spanish editions of Ditko’s Spider-man and early Kirby’s Fantastic Four. I guess that first experiences always leave a mark on us. Directly or indirectly both artists are still very present on how I envision the comic book page.
More modern favorites of mine only accentuated that influence considering that at their roots they are very classic artists too: Alan Davis, John Byrne, John Romita Jr., the Buscemas, Mike Mignola, Bruce Timm or Art Adams.
How big of an influence is Jack “King” Kirby?
Directly or indirectly the Kirby influence has been HUGE!
Maybe not so much in my first steps cause when I begun to draw my own comic books as a toddler Sal Buscema and John Byrne were my biggest influence. After some years and different stages and funny turns of my style (I even had a “Image” era style for a while) I begun to look more and more to the likes of Kirby, Ditko or Steranko. I’ve studied them, applied some stylistic choices but never with the intention of becoming a clone of them. I’m happy to say I got my own distinctive style. Or so they tell me!
Does working in a classic style make it harder to get work in an industry that style wants that “90’s” look?
Classic flavor has its market but it’s not what the mainstream publishers look for anymore. Artists with a classical vibe in their style enjoy some critical acclaim but they are not super-sellers. Or maybe it’s simply that they are not given the chances to work on big titles. I don’t know. Truth is I stopped sending submissions to the big companies 8 or 9 years ago. I’m happier and more comfortable working the indy scene.
Do you enjoy 50’s and 60’s music and film as well?
I enjoy music from those years but I’m not precisely a connoisseur.
Genre movies from the 50’s and 60’s? That I love! And they are big influence on my comic book work, specially as a writer. Gotta love movies like “Monolith Monsters”, “7th Voyage of Simbad”, “Jason and the Argonauts” (anything by Ray Harryhausen for that matter), early Hammer films productions,…
What is it about mid-20th century pop-culture that people find so interesting?
Hard to say. One could argue that pop culture as we consume it nowadays was born on those years or is directly derived from product being created then. Super-heroes as we know them, the big-hit-billboard bands, sci-fi B-movies,…
You’ve worked on Halloween Man a lot over the years. I interviewed Drew “Wildman” Edwards earlier. I hear his scripts can be pretty weird. Is that true?
Well, as an artist there’s scripts that you can draw in auto-pilot mode and there’s scripts like the ones of Drew Edwards’ with elements and bits of action far from what you’d call “normal”. And I’ve always had the suspicion that the scripts I get are the polished/clean version. His scripts are raw, pure punk!
Drew’s scripts come from a lot of different influences, musical, from film and from comic books. I’m not sure I always catch them all but you can sense they are there,… watching,…
Tell us about “Solomon X?”
“Solomon X” is the 10th anniversary book of Halloween Man. I can’t tell much without spoiling it big time but in it Drew pays homage to a favorite character of his, one with a hockey mask and a big knife.
In “Solomon X” apart of the regular dose of Halloween Man action there’s room I’d say for some intense, dramatic moments. It’s not a 10th anniversary book to simply to get out of the spot.
And I’m very happy to be the artist of the “Solomon X” book too, because the story originates in a small gift Russell Hillman (Halloween Man editor) asked me to draw for Drew’s birthday some years ago. So now… the circle is complete!
What about Skyjack?
“SkyJack and the Forty Thieves” is my creator owned book. All we’ve talked before about influences and the such is in there… plus some beautiful ladies. Ok, lots of beautiful ladies.
The basic story goes… a policeman frustrated with the inability of a corrupt system to fight the criminal organization known as the Forty Thieves becomes a costumed criminal himself (SkyJack) to beat the Thieves at their own game. And surprisingly he’s very good at it! Not so when dealing with his two ex-girlfriends. one of them a police officer in charge of chasing that new guy SkyJack and the other the daughter of a defunct mafioso.
I publish SkyJack adventures both in comic book and in webcomic (if someone it’s interested they can find them both at my blog: http://sergiocalvet.blogspot.com/).
And “Magic of Myths?”
“Magic of Myths” is a completely different beast. Its a fantasy book written by Corey Brotherson in which the main character, a school teacher called Eve, finds herself wearing a glowing battle armor in a journey through some fantasy realms that mimic somehow elements from her past life. In this book I’ve let loose those Harryhausen and Kirby influences I talked about at the beginning of the inteview.
Now you’re working on an original graphic novel as well?
Indeed, “Samurai and Dinosaurs” written by my old pal Mike Murphy from Chibi Comics (we’ve collaborated before, in the superhero book “Nothing Ever Lasts”). This one is in strict black and white and it forces me to use a completely different bag of tricks than “Magic of Myths”. As you can guess for the title (dinosaurs? samurai?) the book reunites two of the greatest things ever!
And it’s simply the bigger thing I’ve attempted to draw (I’ve been working on it almost exclusively for 5 months now). We’ll publish it around Christmas.
Anything else you have coming up?
Yep! These past years I’ve been drawing a lot of stuff of a indy superhero book called “Nothing Ever Lasts” for Chibi Comics, the same editor of “Samurai and Dinosaur”. Just around the launch of “Samurai and Dinosaurs” Chibi will publish a TPB collecting a lot of that material (and there’s a lot!).