Interview by “Royleo” at Shinobi News
Some time ago we introduced you to Leo Manco, who draws for the Yankee market and worked in series such as War Machine for Marvel and DC/Vertigo’s Hellblazer. Here, we bring you a freshly baked interview about his new project for Radical Publishing [...] We hope you enjoy it!
Roy: Tell us, how did you start the project? Did you call, or they asked you?
Leonardo Manco: I started the project because I was called, had just finished with Driver for the Dead and it seemed that the line of work would fit nicely in the book.
R: How many issues are there?
LM: It’s a six-episode miniseries.
R: Did you already know David Lapham’s working? How is working with him?
LM: Yes, I knew him, I mean, through his other projects. I think he’s an excellent writer, very professional, knows how to work well with characters and give a lot of personality to each of them, is not repetitive, and doesn’t waste time on soap bubbles to fill space, working with him is work at a very serious level and that’s pleasant.
R: Did they have open dialogue, or did they send scripts already finished and you just shaped it on paper?
LM: While I do rely on what’s written in the script, after finishing with preliminary layouts, we talk about what should change and what not, as well how to sequence the odd scene, anyway, as it’s a very important project, Radical talks between each step with everyone involved with it, so contact is very fluid between everyone.
R: Right, it’s true you two are not alone, there are also the creators of the series…
LM: Yes, that’s right, every page, before there’s a final product, it passes through everyone’s hands.
R: Are they very strict with what they want to see in the work?
LM: No, but of course, they want to see if it is becoming their idea and if it corresponds to what they had in mind, which has a lot of logic.
R: Absolutely, it’s all a process. Does it take long to get the ok from the many people who see it or is [the process] more dynamic and well established?
LM: No, it’s almost immediate, working with a deadline like any other book, so the feedback is constant.
R: Oh, great, that helps a lot, so there are no delays in release dates, right?
LM: Exactly, anyway, I am well known for always being a couple of days late, which I try to compensate for with good quality of work.
R: Haha, yes, I saw some pages and the truth is, they were great.
Did you immediately accept the project? Had you already worked [with them] or was this the first time?
LM: While every publisher has its own inner workings and all are alike in something, which is quality and delivery at a certain time, to work for Radical is to do everything very thoroughly, each project is very special and defined, it’s always creating from scratch a totally new universe in each book and this takes time, as it did with Driver for the Dead and After Dark.
Thanks for the compliment about the pages!
R: Haha, you’re welcome.
If you note that productions from Radical are always well studied and careful, I wanted to ask how you impacted their work. Did you change something in your way of approaching the job, or was it a perfect fit?
LM: At Radical, we adapt perfectly well. I found a way to address each page the way that I like, with horizontal panels, cinematic shots, something I wanted to do for many years, something I started doing around 1995 in Werewolf by Night, but because of the concept and visual rules of the super-monster-hero genre, could not. With Radical, I can play more with my own visual ideas, find my graphic style.
R: Do you use any new techniques to work, aside from the type of panel?
LM: I see a lot of movies and not many comics, so it’s not only using horizontal pictures, but also how you move through each of these shots to resolve a sequence of 5 frames in one page. It’s not easy, but is very interesting.
R: Yes, I imagine it’s quite a challenge.
Returning to the work, did you immediately accept or did you have your doubts?
LM: No, not at all, I accepted immediately because when I read the synopsis of the story, it seemed very different from what they had been doing and would be able to implement my visual ideas very well.
R: You can tell that it has a lot to do with work on your part, as I told you. Were you happy with the final art?
LM: Yes, although I’m never entirely happy with anything, I always say what I will do in a year will be much better. But I think in a year, when I see this book, it will be rewarding enough, as it is with Driver for the Dead now, for example.
R: Do you notice much difference between the two books? In your work, I mean.
LM: While I always do the best I can give in my work, this last stage is marked in some way as very personal for me, something much more thoughtful.
R: Much more rewarding, right?
LM: Not at all, no responsibility is rewarding, haha.
R: HAHA, touché.
Tell us how working with Alex Maleev on covers was.
LM: I don’t know, he did his and I mine, but we were not in contact at all.
R: Would you have preferred that you were in charge of all the art?
LM: No, not at all, his covers are great and get a lot of press coverage.
R: For fans who are Latino, do you know if there are plans to edit a complete work in our language?
LM: I think they are in talks, but I could not ensure anything, however, people who read comics prefer them in English, as I understand.
R: Finally, are there plans to continue the success or is it just this miniseries and no more?
LM: Who knows!
Click the image to go to the original article at Shinobi News, where you can also see page excerpts from Damaged, or click here to learn more about this series. Note that this article has been translated from Spanish; if you notice translation errors, please leave us a comment below.