Zona Negativa interviews Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá

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INTERVIEW WITH FÁBIO MOON & GABRIEL BÁ


David Fernández.- You’ve stated many times that you’ll always remember yourselves pencil in hand, drawing since day one, since you have a memory. But, when did you start to use the visual iconography –panels, text bubbles, text boxes– and the narrative elements of the comic book way of storytelling? Do you still preserve any of those original comic books?

Fábio Moon.- I think around 10 or 11, we started to copy the way artists did their comics, instead of just copying the artwork. By then, we were reading some brazilian authors like Laerte and Angeli, who put themselves in the comic, and we started to put ourselves. And we started to draw our versions of many stories that appeared on Mad Magazine, like Don Martin stories or Spy vs Spy. They were drawn on notebooks, which are probably stored somewhere in the attic.

D.F.- With regard to drawing as a way of spontaneous expression during childhood, we find French artist Émile Bravo’s opinion really interesting: he constantly claims that comic books are a true language by themselves, “a graphic way of narrative with its own codification”, always emphasizing their spontaneous condition during childhood (earlier than the knowledge of reading and writing) and its natural manner, that gradually disappear with the passing of time due to prejudices coming from the adult world. What is your opinion on that matter? What attitude did your parents have regarding your artistic interests?

Fábio Moon.- Our parents were always supportive. Our mother is a comic book reader herself who also grew up reading comics, so she always got us all the comics we wanted. She stimulated our creative side. Our father saw that we were serious in our passion for the profession, so he never doubted we were doing that because we believed in it, he never thought we were doing it just for fun.

Early influences: Spy vs. Spy, Calvin & Hobbes, and a cartoon by Laerte
(click images for larger version)

D.F.- During this initial phase of approaching comic books as mere readers, which authors and series got the most attention from you?

Fábio Moon.- Garfield was the first strip which we tried to copy the style. We were reading everything we could get our hands on, from month comic books, to old comics on our school’s library (where we discovered old Tarzan comics, Henfil’s comics, Tintin, Babar, Astérix and Lucky Luck) to strips collected in pocket editions that we got in bookstores. Calvin & Hobbes was the strip that stuck with us the most, specially when the collections would bring big water-colored stories that showed us the full potential of Bill Watterson’s grip of the comic form.

X-Men was the first super-hero comic that we started following and really paying attention to, and that opened the doors to super heroes to us, and we started to buy everything. When Frank Miller, Mazzucchelli and Alan Moore came along with Daredevil, The Dark Knight and Watchmen, we were already much more interested in long form stories instead of the short nature of the comic strips.

D.F.- When it came to developing your own style, it looks like it was heavily influenced by your fellow countryman Laerte Coutinho and by Will Eisner, especially because of the urban atmosphere of their stories. How do you think that influence materialized?

Fábio Moon.- We were hugely influenced by Laerte and Eisner‘s art, but I think mostly we were influenced by the subject of the stories, the ordinary life where extraordinary things happen, that kind of thing. We felt we could be part of an Will Eisner story, we could meet one of his characters in the street, and we could recognize the neighborhood Laerte drew, because it was the same we grew up in São Paulo, so we could relate to both stories in a more personal level, and we felt lie that about a lot of literary authors we read, and that I think was what we realized we wanted to do, but we spent most of our teenager years reading a lot of super-heroes, loving them, and thinking we would grow up and become super-hero artists. We wanted to be like Jim Lee and draw the X-Men, or draw Spider-Man like Todd McFarlane, or create a new cool hero like Erik Larsen‘s Savage Dragon. We only figured out our path was different when we started to have to come up with our own stories weekly, for our fanzine, in the middle of college.

D.F.- Other authors you seem to relate artistically and that might have influenced your work are Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Sergio Toppi, or Eduardo Risso. Shadows and lights, angular outlines… what aspects of their work do you find the most interesting?

Fábio Moon.- We love black and white art. At first, it’s cheaper if you’re an independent artist self-publishing yourself, but it’s so much more than that. There are a lot of artistic choices involved in making a good black and white comic that sometimes relate with abstract art: masses of black and masses of white, the balance of the page, how do you direct the reader’s eyes. You have to learn what to show, what to draw, and what to leave blank, and it’s an art in itself. The visual poetry of comics is born in black and white and we admire and study every artist that excels in this art.

Toppi, Eisner and Risso: The power of black and white images
(click images for larger version)

D.F.- Are you self-taught or do you have some sort of artistic formation? In that case, which aspects of those studies were more useful for your growth as storytellers?

Fábio Moon.- We both graduated in Fine Arts in college, and going to Art School was a great way to take our profession seriously because we were posed questions like “what do you mean by that?” and “what are you trying to say with your work?”, “why do you do it this way and not that way?”, “why should we care?”. In art, where this feeling that everything has already been done, you’re constantly thinking about what’s the relevance of your work, and what you’re trying to express and the best way to do it, so it was a great environment for us to find our own voice, our style.

D.F.- You took your first steps in the world of comic books through the fanzine 10 Pãezinhos that you both created. We kind of imagine that you took advantage of the publication by experimenting with a wide variety of styles, themes and formats. When did you consider your style comfortable enough to make it “yours”? Which were the most gratifying aspects of this experience?

Fábio Moon.- The best aspect was the feedback from the public. We sold our fanzine at college, to our friends and colleagues, and mostly they were comic book virgins. They weren’t used to reading comics and had no pre conceived notion of what a good comic should look like, so they had simple and honest questions about how they did or did not understand our work, and this feedback was great for us to learn how to make ourselves understood even by readers who had never read comics before. You have to study and develop your storytelling skills every week. It was a great practice. Still, our styles were only defined much later, when we focused more on longer narratives, and I still think they’re evolving and mutating.

D.F.- Your time at 10 Pãezinhos also allowed you to get more familiar with the phases of developing a comic book: from the script to the drawing and inking, the cover, the lettering, printing, distribution… Did this adventure contribute to consolidate your independence, as well as to respect and value each and every step of the production? Which of these faces was the most tedious for you?

Fábio Moon.- There were no tedious part, actually, and doing it all just made us appreciate more every aspect of a print publication. We grew up reading brazilian authors who had their own magazines, wrote, drew, edit and print themselves, so we thought that was the natural way artists worked. Only when we were reading american comics we started to see collaborations and the a more fragmented way of creating a story.

Covers of three comic-books self-published by Bá & Moon under the 10 Pãezinhos imprint

D.F.- We can only guess that these fanzines allowed you to develop your own, personal way of collaboration, in which you alternate and share the roles of artist and writer depending on the story’s requirements. We know you prefer the attention to be centered on the finished comic book, however, can you give us some details about how this way of working… well, works? Which factors do you take into account when deciding who is going to handle each task and what skills do you think one masters better than the other?

Fábio Moon.- We try to think about what’s best for the story, for the project, when we have to decide who’s going to do what. In the beginning, was a faster artist, and also maybe a better artist, so he was the first choice for longer projects, but sometimes I could draw stuff at the same time so we divided the story to work with two different styles, but we were always trying to focus on the story more than on the art. When we were growing up, we didn’t know who was the artist, the author, the writer. We cared about the character and the story. In a way, the author is invisible when the reader really dives into the story, so we didn’t make an effort to make our “presence” noticeable in our our. On the contrary, we tried to create a story in which it doesn’t matter who did what, where the author is invisible in this sense that the reader forgets about the process and only thinks about the story and its characters.

D.F.- Your first professional contact with the American market took place during the San Diego Comic Con, when Shane Amaya (Terra Mayor) gave you the chance of working at Roland: Days of Wrath. Which was the most drastic change you had to assume in order to bring the project to a successful conclusion? Which aspect of this experience resulted to be the most useful?

Fábio Moon.- We actually met Shane one year before we went to our first San Diego Comic Con while on vacation in California. We thought it would be easy to find a publisher to publish Roland, but after three years showing the project to different editors and publishers, we realized we would have to self-publish it, so we applied to the Xeric Foundation Grant. We applied three times, I think, before getting the grant. That money made the publication possible, specially in color, but we learned that color, at that point, was a luxury that we couldn’t afford, so all the money we made with Roland went to pay the colorist.

We spent three year drawing a four issue mini-series, and that showed us we weren’t ready for monthly publications yet. In essence, Roland was a very different kind of story from the ones we did in 10 Pãezinhos, and we saw that if a project would take so much of our time, it should be a project we could connect more with the story, so we focused on writing new stories after that.

Roland: Days of wrath illustration: their first american project

D.F.- Another landmark person in your career is Diana Schutz, Dark Horse’s editor, who kept a yearly track of your progresses. What went through your heads when she gave you the chance to participate in the Autobiographix anthology, with authors such as Will Eisner, Frank Miller or Matt Wagner?

Fábio Moon.- We were very excited, very honored, and very nervous. We were already working on the stories for De:TALES for her, and she was convincing her boss to publish the book, and that story in the Autobiographix anthology was crucial for us to prove what we could do, because we were in great company and we didn’t fall short. A lot of people saw that anthology, artists and editors, and from there on, we were asked “what will your next work be?”

D.F.- Besides editorial contacts, the frequent assistance to comic conventions implied meeting a lot of authors such as Jeff Smith or Terry Moore, who have reached success while being editorially independent, choosing the path of self-edition and creating histories that don’t go with the mainstream. Are they a reference for you, a model for the kind of professional career you want to build and develop

Fábio Moon.- We really admire Jeff and Terry, two of the very first authors we met in our trips to San Diego, because they’re their own bosses and they get the job done. Artistically, our work changed after we discovered Bone and Strangers in Paradise, which we think are fantastic stories, but seeing an independent author succeed in the industry while still being nice and solicit to the public was very inspiring. It helped us go after our own stories, trying to find our own worlds. In Brazil, even if we’re published by a publisher, we still do a lot of self-promotion, we sell a lot of books ourselves, we make a lot of effort to make people look at comics as a respectable medium, and we self-publish our work if we have to because we believe in it and we have learned that sometimes it’s better to be self-published because not every project fits a certain publisher and the freedom and speed involved in making a self-published comic is always very tempting. Maybe if we lived in the US, we would have become independent artists like Jeff and Terry, doing everything, but it’s harder to coordinate that in the US while living in Brazil, so in the US we went after publishers who wanted to publish our stuff. Still, just like in Brazil, we know some projects work better independently, and if that’s the case we’ll do it, like we did with Rock’n’Roll, 5, Pixu and, this year, Atelier.

D.F.- Roland: Days of Wrath was followed by Ursula (a book published under the name Meu Coraçao, Nao Sei Por Que at 10 Pãezinhos) and Rock ‘N’ Roll alongside the D’Angelo brothers, Kako and Bruno. At this point, you started to get some feedback from the American readers, who might be a little more in touch with the world of comic books than the readers of 10 Pãezinhos. How were those first impressions?

Fábio Moon.- We got very nice feedback from the readers, the artists and the editors, but at the same time we saw that even if people liked what we did, it was a little different from what they were used to seeing, so it wasn’t an easy sell. The art had a familiar look, but the sensibility on the stories were strange and alien for most of the readers, and so it took us some time to find a place in the market.

Sugarshock, De:TALES and Smoke and Guns covers

D.F.- During the first steps of your American career, you participated separated in other independent projects. Fábio, for example, had the chance of collaborating with Joss Whedon in Sugarshock. Were you a follower of his work in the comic book industry, as well as his work on TV? Was the fact that it was published in a webcomic format a factor that conditioned the composition of the comic, or you worked on it the same way you usually do?

Fábio Moon.- I worked the same way I usually do, and it was written the way a comic is usually written. I still think most webcomics are done with print sensibilities and references, and so the way the artists work can be the same.

About Joss, I watched some Buffy and some Angel with my sister, who was a big fan of the series, and I had read his X-Men comics, which I really liked.

D.F.- Another project you participated on was Smoke & Guns, created by Kirsten Baldock. We can imagine that it was a great challenge, developing a noir atmosphere based on the genre’s classic themes, but at the same time making it kind of “out of time”. Did you have total freedom, regarding this point, or you received specific instructions from the writer?

Fábio Moon.- I had complete freedom. It was Kirsten‘s first comic, and I came in as a more experienced artist, so I could make a lot of suggestions visually about how to make it work the best it could. As I said earlier, we love black and white art, so it was thrilling to do a noir story. The style fits the “out of time” quality of the story, and the result caught the attention of Image’s editor Eric Stephenson, who got us in touch with Matt Fraction to work on Casanova.

D.F.- Gabriel, you participated in Casanova alongside Matt Fraction, a quite atypical series where you, apparently, were able to make good use of your experimental vein in order to depict this history’s hallucinogenic feeling, where espionage, science-fiction, thieves and parallel universes all mix together. Were Fraction’s scripts specific in this aspect, referencing his pop, cinematic, literary or comic book related inspirations, or were you totally free to handle the aesthetic development?

Gabriel Bá.- The scripts are completely full of references and indications of feelings we should go after and places to look in order to get the right vibe for the book. I don’t know half of what Matt is talking about, just because I’m from Brazil and he’s making this homage to stuff from the 60’s and 70’s in the U.S. that I haven’t really read or seen. As much as I may look for it and research, I will never see it through his eyes. In the end, the story has to work for the reader who doesn’t know any of that stuff either, so I think I can do a good job just telling the story the best way I can.

Two Casanova pages, written by Matt Fraction
(click images for larger versions)

D.F.- Fábio, after Casanova’s first volume, you took the baton from your brother and handled the next arc. Were you comfortable working on an already aesthetically defined universe? Which are your immediate plans regarding this series, now that it’s a part of Marvel Comics’ Icon catalog?

Fábio Moon.- I would be much less comfortable if it wasn’t a universe created by my brother. I saw everything being created, and I gave my feedback during the creation as we always do with each other’s work, so I was Casanova‘s biggest fan at that point. I took over so could work on The Umbrella Academy and to make sure the next artist wouldn’t suck and ruin the book.

Now that it’s coming out again through Icon, we’re making sure the colors retain the weirdness and the mood of the original art. We originally wanted Casanova to be a different book from everything else in the stands, and we’re trying to maintain that feeling.

D.F.- Gabriel, one of your main solo projects was The Umbrella Academy: firstly, due to the intense marketing campaign Dark Horse organized; secondly, due to the fact that the writer was Gerard Way, leader of the band My Chemical Romance. What meant to you the special attention the series received due to those factors? Were you surprised Way’s script, considering his lack of previous comic book experience?

Gabriel Bá.- I was really nervous at first, because I couldn’t screw this chance to do it right. It would be my first BIG PROJECT with major exposure and everyone had doubts of Gerard for being a musician getting into comics, including me. Once I started getting the scripts, I loved them and it was a lot easier to work just focusing the quality of the artwork.

Awesome splash page from The Umbrella Academy second miniseries. More pages in this link
(click image for larger version)

D.F.- Even though it belongs to the super-hero genre (that you are not particularly keen on), it has multiple peculiarities that turn it into a quite atypical comic book. What attracted you the most from The Umbrella Academy? When did you started working on the third volume and what can we expect from it right now?

Gabriel Bá.- I love the dynamics between the characters and that has got me from the start. Working on fight scenes and stuff is just fun to make homages to the super-hero books I used to read when I was a boy, but creating the emotional tension is the great achievement of this series, in my opinion.

As for the third volume, we haven’t started it yet.

D.F.- The BPRD: 1947 miniseries gave you the chance to work with one of your artistic referents: Mike Mignola. You also had the opportunity to “visit” a fictitious universe that worked perfectly on an aesthetical level with your own style. How did you get this chance and what do you remember from that experience?

Fábio Moon.- Mignola is another great influence for us an an author, like Jeff Smith and Terry Moore, and every time we went to the San Diego Comic Con, we went to his booth to look at his stuff and to give him our work. Over the years, he started to remember us from previous years and took notice of our work, and eventually we started to talk about maybe working on something together. Once started to work on Umbrella with editor Scott Allie, who’s also Mignola‘s editor on Hellboy, our connection grew, and then when Mike came up with the idea for 1947 that needed two different styles with similar sensibilities, it all came together. It was a great experience, everyone walked out of it with this feeling that “we should this again some time”.

B.P.R.D.: 1947: page 23 from #4 (by Bá) y page 8 from #5 (by Bá & Moon)
(click images for larger versions)

D.F.- After a series of in individual projects, you reunited for Daytripper. What aspects did you find the most beneficial in working with other authors? What you missed the most of your “artistic separation”?

Fábio Moon.- We learned a lot about being good artists and storytellers by working with other authors, because you have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to draw scenes, people and places you didn’t come up with, and make it work, and you really have to push yourself in ways that not every personal work demands. We learned a lot about writing, about what we like and what we don’t, and we took everything into the pot for Daytripper. We kept working on little projects on our own in the meantime, like Pixu and 5, so we never really stopped to work together, but there’s this really fast communication between us, not only because we work on the same room, but because we’ve been together for more than 30 years and we really know each other, and that speed and connection is unlike any other collaboration. We’re twins, it’s like we have our own language, so working with anybody else is like speaking a different language.

D.F.- Daytripper looked like the perfect project for a comeback: not only were you able to make a very personal comic book, but you also made it with evident care and love. You also had a really good marketing machine to boot, due to being backed by a big publishing company, but you didn’t have to renounce to your creative independence. Was it hard to convince the editors at Vertigo? It seems like Bob Schreck was seduced by the idea from the very beginning…

Fábio Moon.- We met Bob in 2001. We started to talk to Vertigo editors in 2002, 2003. We started pitching ideas in 2006 and we pitched the idea which turned into Daytripper in 2007, and after that it still took another year to nail the project. All this time was the time it took for us to get recognized artistically, to develop a reputation as authors, not only as artists, and to work on enough projects to show that we were authors with something to say but also professionals who get the job done. Bob saw all this evolution and he really believed in us, and he was fundamental in Daytripper. It helped that we won a lot of awards and media attention with all the other works, but it’s all about the work. We worked enough until we were ready, I believe.

Cover and interior art from Daytripper
(click images for larger versions)

D.F.- Through Brás’ history –histories–, we visit a tale full of existentialism that gives the Carpe Diem idea a great recognition, emphasizing the feeling that your life can take an unexpected turn at every second. Somehow, it looks like a demonstration of the famous quote by John Lenon: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Did you live any personal experience that made you think about this way of looking at life? What was the genesis of Daytripper?

Gabriel Bá.- We like to tell stories that would stick with the reader, that would make something click on their heads and not leave instantly after they close the books. This idea of paying attention on what really matters in life has always surrounded our stories, so when we had to come up with a story to propose to Vertigo, this was the one we had more stuff to talk about. We were actually surprised with how personal and deep the story ended up, like we have been thinking about it all our lives, preparing ourselves to tell it.

D.F.- This book’s literary charge is quite evident; in fact, you have spoken about the clear influence of novelists such as Jorge Amado, Machado de Assis and, specially, Joao Guimaraes Rosa. Can you specify which aspects of those authors’ work were more inspirational for Daytripper?

Gabriel Bá.- The way you develop your characters and their relations with the readers in literature is quite different from most comics. A writer can make the most insignificant moment look like an ocean of emotions through his words, reaching to the reader’s imagination. It a lot less about the action, but what every little action means on a bigger picture.

Part of Brazilian society, it’s culture and manners were told, constructed by literary books more so then history ones. The way we see ourselves and relate to each other is always a comparison to archetype characters of great masterpieces of our literature. We have all that inside of us, much stronger than the way characters are constructed in comics, or stories are told in comics. We want to tell the stories we only read in literature, deep and meaningful, but in comic-book format.

Designing Daytripper covers. The development process is detailed on Vertigo blog

D.F.- Daytripper is a history about overcoming, vitality and love, but also about loss, grief and being unable of taking control of your own life. Was it complicated for you to find the balance between the dramatic elements?

Gabriel Bá.- We strongly believe that talking about emotions we may reach for a wider audience, everywhere in the world, people who don’t even usually read comics, because everybody has feelings. The struggles we show on our story could happen anywhere, to anyone. We need to be true to ourselves – thus placing the story in Brazil – in order to achieve a level of honesty with the story that will really touch the reader. It was a really hard and delicate process, but I think we did all right.

D.F.- For this book you left black and white behind, despite being really comfortable with it… but what a relieve must be the fact that the colorist is going to be Dave Stewart, one of the industry’s most reputable professionals. How do you value Stewart’s collaboration? Did you give him specific instructions regarding color?

Fábio Moon.- We had been working with Dave on Umbrella Academy and Sugarshock at the time, so we already knew he was a great artist on his own, and he really embraced our projects in a very personal level. We didn’t worry about the colors, but still we gave Dave a lot of references, photos, notes, because we had a very clear vision of what we wanted every scene to make the reader feel, and since color works so much on an emotional level, we had to give Dave very specific notes, which he only enhanced.

D.F.- What criterions did you follow to decide that Fábio was going to be the artist? Did you find difficult translating into panels the perception of Brazil, or São Paulo to be more specific, that you had in mind? And just out of curiosity… did Gabriel draw parts of the series’ #9?

Fábio Moon.- I had more time, was still very much involved in the second Umbrella mini-series, and at that point we trusted both styles. It was the most challenging project I ever worked on visually. I never drew some many sketches, and worked so much behind the scenes to create this real world we see, a world that FEELS real more than it LOOKS real. As we had done before in other projects, we played with the idea that some parts of the story could profit with a change of styles, so we played with that in dream sequences, and drew some dreams.

Three Daytripper covers, by Gabriel Bá
(click over images for lager versions)

D.F.- Whit this book you also assumed the responsibility of drawing the covers, an aspect that you didn’t find very comfortable to work with despite the awards and nominations. Were you satisfied with the end result? Were you on charge of the coloring?

Gabriel Bá.- Drawing a cover is completely different from a comic-book page. It’s all about composition, making a striking image that will call the readers attention and interest them on opening the book. I had a really hard time getting the concept for the covers right, because I didn’t want it to look like a comic-book cover, or at least I wanted it to be different from everything else in the stands. I also didn’t want it to look like the covers I’ve done to Casanova or Umbrella Academy.

In the end, we both like the results very much, even though it had been an ordeal we had to overcome.

D.F.- How do you value the reviews and critics that readers and specialized media made about Daytripper? Do you think it’s a landmark series regarding how you are perceived by American readers?

Fábio Moon.- I think it was very well received, and that made us very happy. We were confident in our choices, but aware of the unique aspect of the series, and we were relieved when the public and the specialized media embraced the series the way they did. It’s a landmark series, maybe, but only while this is the latest work we publish. We’re still very much defined by what we’re currently publishing, so we can only hope whatever comes next holds up whatever it was we manage to accomplish.

D.F.- Can you talk us a little bit about your upcoming projects? Do you plan on continuing to alternate collaborations with other authors with the developing of more personal and joint series? We can only imagine that it must be really gratifying to receive so many nominations to some of this industry’s most prestigious awards, with the comics you really want to do…

Fábio Moon.- Alternating collaborations with our more personal projects allow us to keep working without disappearing from the reader’s eyes for a long time. While we work on more Umbrella Academy, or more Casanova, we have time to think about what we’ll write next without market related pressures. Making comics takes so much time that we really like to choose carefully what we’ll work on next. We really care about every project we’re involved on, so we take everything very personally, so the awards and nominations are nice because they reward something we hold dear. But we are equally rewarded when a reader comes by our booth to tell he or she was deeply moved by our story, or how much they liked it, how much they care.

Detail of Bá & Moon's blog header
(click on the image to visit the blog)

D.F.- You’ve been working on your blog for five years, were you initially reflected your love about comic books, the need of telling histories through comic books, and how much do you enjoy the process. It has been the perfect platform for readers to make an idea about the creative process that is developing a comic book, and to know the people behind the pencil, the brush and the computer. What experiences you have gathered thanks to this logbook, and how do you value the role of new technologies in the promotion and diffusion of the Ninth Art?

Fábio Moon.- Since we have a very personal approach to comics, having the blog helps to have a personal contact with the public and with other artists. It’s a conversation you can keep open about how wonderful and how hard it is to create and tell stories, and how you’re constantly learning and searching for new and better ways to communicate. New technologies have helped a lot the promotion of new artists, but still the best way to do the job is the old fashion way. At least, for us.

D.F.- With regard to the use of these new technologies for creative aspects, do you usually work with informatics applications? What opinion do you have about digital formats and webcomics?

Fábio Moon.- Like I said, digital formats are easier to promote your work, but they’re still in the very early stages visually. We letter and color most of our work in the computer, but we still think the paper version in the best reading experience.

Colective projects: Pixu, 5 and Rock'N'Roll

D.F.- Going back to promoting comic books, it’s almost seems mandatory to ask about comic conventions: they seem to be really useful not only on a promotional level, but also as a way of “association”. I’m talking about collective projects such as 5 or Pixu and anthologies alongside authors such as Becky Cloonan, Vassilis Lolos or Rafael Grampá. From an artistic point of view, how has the contact with these authors influenced your own work?

Fábio Moon.- As twins, we have always been inspired by each other. We want to do better because of the other, we’re always pushing ourselves to get better, to impress and to dare the other to impress back. When we meet someone we feel inspired by the work, we want to collaborate to see what can we accomplish together. We collaborate out of curiosity, there’s a mystery involved in every new project where you don’t quite know what will come out of it because the roles aren’t so defined or separated.

D.F.- It also looks like you feel artistically close to authors such as Craig Thompson or Paul Pope. Would you name any author from your generation whose work you specially liked?

Fábio Moon.- Those two got more than artistically close over the years, as we eventually met and befriended them. We all have this “brushy” sensibility, and it’s clear that we all go search for inspiration all over the world to feed this sensibility. We also really like the work of Guy Davis. We think his work on the BPRD series is phenomenal, and it was his work that made us conceive the idea of entering the Hellboy world and drawing something we only felt possible when Mignola drew it. There’s an artist called Kazu Kibuishi, who organizes the Flight anthologies, and he’s a great visual storyteller with his Daisy Kutter and Amulet Graphic Novels.

D.F.- Can you also tell us what kind of materials do you frequently use, both craftwork (pencils, brushes, paper) and computer tools (hardware and software)?

Gabriel Bá.- We both draw with pencil, 2B mostly. I ink with pens from various brands and sizes, from Sakura, to Staedtler, to Faber-Castell, while Fábio does it all with one single brush, Windsor and Newton Series 7 number 2. We use every kind of paper that we can get, no specific brand or weight or anything. As for the computer applications, we have 2 MacBook Pros where we use Photoshop to color (with a Wacom tablet), Illustrator to letter and InDesign to put books together when we self publish stuff.

Detail of the studio shared by the twins

D.F.- Considering the main role inking plays in your style, would you be comfortable with the idea of letting another person do it, if a specific project required it?

Gabriel Bá.- The artwork is only ready when it’s inked. It’s the ultimate drawing experience to ink the pages and give it a real look. It’s the step we have more fun doing, so we wouldn’t let anyone else do it. Working only on pencils only is no fun at all.

D.F.- OK, that’s a wrap on our part. We want to thank you very much for your time, patience and kindness. And, of course, we wish you the best of lucks for any present and future projects. If you want to say something to our readers, your Spanish fans, or even for those readers that are going to met your work through Daytripper, that’s the moment…

Fábio Moon.- Stay curious. There’s so much possible in comics, you can always discover a new exciting story or author if you stay open and curious.

LINKS


 We begin this section with a compilation of links related to the twins’ presence on the Internet: official blog, Flickr account, Fotolog, Twitter (1 and 2), Facebook (1 y 2), MySpace (1 and 2), 10 Pãezinhos blog (where they publish Quase nada series) and bio/bibliography. If anybody wants to buy original art of Gabriel and Fábio, nothing better than visit The Beguiling.

 We continue with some links focused on Daytripper, recently published by Vertigo imprint: Facebook about this limited series, first chapter prepublished by Planeta DeAgostini Cómics, entries on their blog focused on this comic, Vertigo blog contents related to the series development (including references to the cover process, literary influences and a “requiem” article); and a bunch of inteviews published on Newsarama and Comic Book Resources.

 Now we offer you the chance of reading some interviews: done for Comic Book Orange (vídeo), The Comics Journal (retrospective abstract), Comic Book Resources (all the ceative team of Pixu 1 and 2), The Wall Street Journal, RT Book Reviews (vídeo), Comicdom (retrospective), Alter Ego Comic Cast (podcast), Brokenfrontier (about Sugarshock); and some focused on The Umbrella Academy, published on Dark Horse website, Fanboy Confidential, Comics Bulletin and Comic Book Resources.

 Last, a reminder about some interviews we did to artists mentioned by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá during the interview: Jeff Smith (1 and 2), Terry Moore, Mike Mignola, and Paul Pope.

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2 Comentarios en "Zona Negativa interviews Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá"

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Komakino

Excelent!……bueno, la verdad es que no me lo he leído, pero sabe como mal que tras tan tremenda currada nadie diga nada, no?

David Fernández

Gracias, Komakino! 😉 Ya he visto tu comentario en la versión en castellano.
Un saludo!

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