Please read Part 1 of the interview before reading Part 2
The Work Itself
The one thing that I admire about his artwork is the simplicity of the characters while expressing their emotions. He believes that his artistic style in portraying the emotions was “largely an ongoing organic thing that happens.” It seemed like a natural technique that developed possibly from subconsciously picking up on how other cartoonists have done this. “After reading other cartoonists’ work for years and years, there’s a lot of visual language that just becomes ingrained.”
In regards to Mini Marvel, the characters originally are adult superheroes with some sort of super powers. Since the series is for all ages, including children, the characters were tone down to a child friendly design. However, each character wore its signature attire. According to Giarrusso, the process of designing the characters was “not too complicated.” He tried his best to draw children, then incorporating it with the Marvel costumes. “Those classic Marvel costumes are unmistakable.”
On the cover of Mini Marvels: Rock, Paper, Scissors (the one with Spiderman in the center), most of the characters has a two-finger position. As Giarrusso explains, the position is the “scissors” gesture from the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” For example: Hulkman’s left hand is making a fist to represent “rock,” while Mr. Fantastic’s right hand is flat, representing “paper.”
In one of the stories, Paper Boy Blues, features Spiderman as a newspaper boy. In the story, there is one scene or panel where the character’s spider sense was activated. Giarrusso depicted these powers by drawing jagged rays around the character’s head. In another panel, Professor X used his psychic powers, which was represented by straight-line rays. How did Giarrusso figure out what kind of rays or lines to draw so that the reader’s can differentiate the mental powers? In regards to the Spidey senses, he believes that he may have copied the “established spider sense lines from other Spider-Man comics.” However, he does not recall how he came up with the rays for Professor X. “It looks like I was just using some comic book basics there. Looking back on it now, that art looks extremely crude to me (it’s been ten years!), and I might approach it a bit differently now.”
© 2011 Linda Thai
Stay tune for Part 3 of the Chris Giarrusso interview.