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Artist Spotlight: Marco Rudy

Comic Books

Artist Spotlight: Marco Rudy

The super talented artists talks Kickstarter, Marvel work, and much more.

You know Marco Rudy from such incredible works as The Winter Soldier, Swamp Thing, Superman, Avengers, Spider-Man, and Uncanny X-Men, among many others. His art is not only gorgeously rendered, but there’s a keen creativity abounding his overall layout design and structure.

Recently, Rudy launched yet another successful graphic novel, the first volume of RDW, and there’s already a second volume likely on the way soon. To better understand his efforts and the larger vision across his diverse catalog, we sat down with Rudy recently to discuss his comics craft and what the future may hold, among other tidbits.

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AIPT: Since the release of RDW – Vol, 1, what have you learned about Kickstarter, about comics creation…about life?!

Artist Spotlight: Marco RudyMarcy Rudy: Comics creation, well, is much, much harder than I could ever have imagined. 

On one hand, like any other creator, I struggle massively with imposter syndrome. Seeing a story I made from top to bottom get enough attention so its existence is achieved (because people are actually interested in reading it), is something difficult to describe. And on the other hand, failing that would have been soul-crushing. But one has to live with the wins and the losses, evolve and try again, I guess.

I suppose that I can say that for as daunting an experience going to crowdfunding is, to get your story out can be, especially for the first time, the prize, the reassurance you get IF it gets funded, is a feeling like no other.

RDW is the very first book I ever fully wrote, and being such a visual storyteller first, putting that into words is much harder than I thought – And giving it to other people to read, is even harder. I’m my hardest critic, but I know how harsh the outside world can be, so, the fear of failure is very present. I learned to trust my gut, do the research I have to, do for the story to be as plausible as I can make it and, well, listen to your editor, when discussing dialogue, with you :)

About life…er, well, that I can actually pursue a career in creator-owned, but that it takes serious time and investment, for it to happen. So, let’s see if Vol. 2 gets a good reception on crowdfunding, to see if I can continue this trend and eventually just live off the stories I want to tell, whenever I want to tell them.

Artist Spotlight: Marco Rudy

Courtesy of Marco Rudy.

AIPT: How has the response been from fans who have read RDW so far?

MR: Excellent! Much, much better than I had anticipated. Being such an unusual visual storyteller, I was concerned that the story wouldn’t translate well, but the reception has been nothing less than stellar.

AIPT: Your page composition is always amazing to me, but your storytelling is too. How do you merge the idea of character development, a journey, and then formulate the layout of a page?

MR: I first try to see what each sequence has to say, and why. Then I look up an unhealthy amount of references, from movies to games, to music, to comics, to try to get the right “feel” for what I’m trying to say with the sequence. As I do that, the visual approach starts formulating in my mind and I start sketching very small thumbnails on the borders of each page – after quickly diving into each sequence in a suggested amount of pages (4-6, for sequence, on average, but sometimes more, sometimes less). And then I work the layout into the scene, the goal being to always either have the design (and color approach) add to what is being shown or at least influence how whatever is being shown/told, is conveyed.

AIPT: I was able to look at a few of your favorite pieces, could you tell me why (pick three!)?

MR: Ooof and I have to pick? Let’s see… I guess I’ll highlight three, in a sequence of my creative evolution, or better yet, transformation if that makes sense?

The first is the Final Crisis double spread page – it was my very first ever double-spread page, in my very first big gig, and it has Wonder Woman at the center. Couldn’t have asked for more, as a rookie.

Courtesy Marco Rudy

Courtesy of Marco Rudy.

The second was the Swamp Thing page—in which years of experimenting with layout and design were finally taking effect and what eventually became “my voice”—was becoming more and more prevalent. Plus, it’s a nice solemn moment, with Alec Holland, the borders kind of merging with the roots and plants around the setting, evoking the surreal nature of the scene and the “realm of the Green”.

Courtesy Marco Rudy

Courtesy of Marco Rudy.

The third one being one of the pages for “RDW – A Tale of Lost Fantasy – Vol. 1” – we can see what I can call, so far, at least, my “final form” creatively speaking. Everything on the page serves the story being told. A character in the middle of a fever dream is waking up, the layout serves to show that their connection to reality is still…revealing itself (still dreaming/hallucinating) the colors further enhance the difference from dream to reality and basically, the design has the scene almost “melt” into itself, while the characters state of mind is to immediately question what just happened. The design sets the story, and the layout tells it, even as you read the action in each panel. I’m inviting the reader to engage the page and see more than what is just in each panel. And interpret that, the way they will, to make up the full context if they so choose.

Courtesy Marco Rudy

Courtesy of Marco Rudy.

AIPT: I know the dust is still settling on RDW, but what can you tell us about the second volume?

MR: It’s awesome? The best thing since sliced bread and that everyone should get it, once it’s out? That it’ll win every award, including MTV’s “Best Kiss” (I don’t think that is happening anymore, is it?!)? Anyways, in truth, I can say that the book is in production, I have all the pages penciled, everything is written and 5 pages already painted, but I have been going through edits and sussing it out more. The story still focuses on Astrid and her plight, but I will say that the working of this setting takes more center stage in this particular book. And a massive reference to Johnny Mnemonic. So, stay tuned!

AIPT: What comics are you into right now, anything current or back issues/graphic novels you’ve been reading?

MR: I’m eagerly awaiting collected editions of Saga 3, The Immortal Hulk, Decorum, Bitter Root, and a few others. I like fully collected storylines, be it in hardcover format or in trades. So, for now, I just check previews for those and wait patiently. As for older stuff, I guess it’s that time of the year when I re-read classic X-Men trades, so I have been doing that. Last week I re-read PTSD, which is a beautiful graphic novel by Guillaume Singelin, published by 01 First Second; it is a book that has influenced me in my way of telling a story since I first read it. Beautifully illustrated, a story wonderfully told. Cannot recommend it enough!

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