Spider-Man/Deadpool artist Chris Bachalo has a style that’s instantly recognizable (and the images he produces ain’t half bad either). Bachalo was one of many talented creators to swing by Providence for Rhode Island Comic Con 2017, which ran from November 10-12. As a longtime fan of Bachalo’s work, which has graced such series as Generation X, Wolverine and the X-Men and Doctor Strange, I made sure to swing by his table for a quick chat about his style, his Marvel Now! redesign of my favorite X-Man Cyclops and more!
AiPT!: You have such a unique style. I’m curious, who are some of the artists who influenced you?
Bachalo: Oh, my No. 1, very first influence I had growing up as a kid, maybe when I was 10 or 11 years old was Frank Frazetta. He was the first artist I appreciated. I think in comics, the artist that had the biggest influence on me was Michael Golden. I first discovered him on Micronauts, specifically the #7 cover with Man-Thing on it. I was really big time into monsters and really liked his depiction of Man-Thing, so that’s when I discovered his art.
AiPT!: Are there any artists who are currently influencing your style?
Bachalo: That’s a really tough question to answer because I think I’m constantly discovering new artists. I might look at what they’re doing and particular details in their work. I might look at how somebody does hands or how they present their compositions and go, “Oh, that’s really cool, I want to try that,” or, “Oh, I want to try the way this guy’s doing that.” But I don’t think there’s any one particular artist these days who’s influencing me. I’m just constantly looking and if someone grabs me, I may start bringing bits and pieces of their style into how I work. It’s a constant evolution, it’s a constant process–the work.
AiPT!: You’ve done a lot of work on the X-Men’s side of the Marvel Universe. As an artist, what attracts you to the X-Men?
Bachalo: I think what I like about the X-Men… the irony is, when I was a kid, I got into comics because I was a huge fan of monsters, like Godzilla, the Wolfman, Frankenstein… I enjoyed watching the shows on TV and I was into dinosaurs as a kid, so what drew me to comics was when I found a few comics that had monsters on them like Swamp Thing, Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night. Those are the comics I grew up with. So the irony is that I never collected the X-Men as a kid. I was never that interested in them or Spider-Man. I enjoyed the monster books. But I think the appeal that the X-Men have for me is they’re not necessarily a superhero book–they’re a sci-fi book. And sci-fi has a lot more appeal to me than straight-ahead superhero books like The Avengers or Superman.
AiPT!: I love your Marvel Now! redesign of Cyclops. Redesigning such iconic characters–does it excite you or make you nervous?Bachalo: Yeah, Cyclops, there’s an interesting story behind that one. I have to give Brian Michael Bendis all the credit on that one because I fought that design all the way through. At one point, I literally went back to him and [editor] Nick Lowe and said, “I really don’t want to do this, it’s not turning out well.” Because Brian had the idea for the X across the face, and every incarnation I came up with just looked like a dead fish with a big X across his eyeball, so it was really hard work. I said, “I don’t think this is working, guys, let’s keep the original or go in a different direction,” and Brian said, “No, keep at it, keep doing it, you can do it.” Originally, I wasn’t very happy with it, but as I spent more time on the book, I actually grew to like it. So Brian gets a lot of credit on that for pushing me through it. It was one of the tougher redesigns I’ve had to do.
AiPT!: You mentioned Bendis–do you have any thoughts on his move from Marvel to DC Comics?
Bachalo: I think it’ll be really good for Brian and the comic industry, because I think it’s a new sandbox to play in for him. I’m sure he’s going to have a ton of ideas with all the new characters he gets to work with in the new universe. So my guess is it’s going to be really good for the industry and he’s going to put out some really cool stories over at DC.