Each Inch An Image For Doctor Star's Tomorrow
Jan 25, 2018
by Vince Brusio
Superhero mashups can be especially fun to draw. Just ask Max Fiumara. He’s the artist for Dark Horse Comics' Doctor Star & The Kingdom Of Lost Tomorrows #1 (JAN180099). Work for Max is playtime as he explains in this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview that recreating the human condition for Jeff Lemire’s story is cool, consuming, and costume-centric. And it lets him go Frankenstein.
Doctor Star & The Kingdom Of Lost Tomorrows #1 (JAN180099) is in comic shops February 28.
Vince Brusio: How do you get into the mindset of telling a “Golden Age” superhero story? As an artist, how do you try to capture the “Golden Age” mysticism and electricity in your work?
Max Fiumara: There is a lot of material from the “Golden Age” superhero books that one can review and take as inspiration. Costumes, in particular, are very remarkable with their design. Costumes are easy but also fun to draw for me.
As to the time period, it’s always the same, no matter what decade I’m working on. I spend a lot of time researching the way of living, clothes, and all the details that could help me render a realistic view of the specific time. Most of the real technological artifacts from the 30s look like they came out of a sci-fi horror movie. Making mashups from those artifacts is a lot of fun.
Vince Brusio: At its core, Doctor Star & The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows is about a strained father-son relationship. What’s most important in transferring that kind of tension and emotions into your pencil work?
Max Fiumara: The relationship between these two characters is the core of the story for me, so I’m paying particular attention to it. The script is a great guide for this. The way I draw them comes from continually thinking about how these people must feel, how they would react, look, move, stand, walk.
Vince Brusio: The sneak peek pages shown in the January PREVIEWS reveal very intricate costume designs. The line work we see for this book is incredible and is reminiscent of the intricate linework of Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein adaptation. Did his work have any influence on the illustrations you did for this book?
Max Fiumara: Since early in my career, Wrightson’s Frankenstein is a book I've looked at frequently. I love his art and Frankenstein, in particular. I’m not sure if I’ve consciously taken that work as inspiration for Doctor Star, but unconsciously I most certainly have. The extra details filling the page, the sense of heaviness and movement on the pages is inspired by Wrightson's art. But now that you mentioned it, Doc Star building and working on his weapons has a clear resemblance to Frankenstein creating his monster.
Vince Brusio: What’s the communication like between you and writer Jeff Lemire? As he’s an artist himself, he must have a pretty good idea of what he wants to see on the page. Do your visions ever compete with each other or do you generally agree on what ultimately is put on the page? Where do you two (pun intended) draw the line?
Max Fiumara: Working with Jeff is very easy. I have the entire series’ script, and have known from the very beginning where the story is going to end. Knowing how it ends, makes me think about how much I would like to manage the progress of the story in each issue, how to moderate the different moments and climaxes and planting all the seeds at the right moment, so the story can be told in a good effective way, and so that the end is worth that journey.
I try to be as loyal to the script as possible, while adding a few things here and there. Jeff is always pretty supportive and happy. I think we are on the same page and it’s satisfactory for both of us. Drawing the line in this case is very intuitive and simple. It’s great working with him.
Vince Brusio: What was your favorite experience working on Doctor Star? What was most rewarding?
Max Fiumara: The most rewarding experience is that I get to tell a pretty cool story, and knowing that people will relate to it. Doc Star is a very human guy, especially in these times. You see how a person can act, change, and the consequences of those actions. To understand how the mind works is something that I care about in an obsessive way. I’m very curious about this, and this book has a lot of that, surrounded by superhero stuff. Small moments when, even if the script is not showing it, you can tell or guess what’s going on inside the characters’ heads. That’s the most rewarding.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.