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Interview with comic artist Whilce Portacio

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Interview with comic artist Whilce Portacio

Interview with comic artist Whilce Portacio

1) What was the FIRST issue you picked up that inspired you to draw comics?   

I have never found out which issue it was, but it was Hulk by Herb Trimpe.  All I remember is the cover was basically a huge shot of the Hulk’s fist!!! I thought it was so cool, I copied it and started drawing it all over school. I soon got in trouble with the principal for drawing it on the desk and walls!!! I was very fortunate to be able to tell that story to Mr. Trimpe himself….

2) What artists inspired you or still inspire you?  What is it that you like about their style?  

Neal Adams for his realism, Jack Kirby for his imagination and power, Gil Kane for his stylized anatomy….

3) You’ve drawn everything from Uncanny X-men, Incredible Hulk, Punisher, Spawn, Batman, Superman…is there a character that you haven’t drawn yet that you’ve always wanted to? 

My first love is science fiction, so I’ve always wanted to draw the Silver Surfer and Deathlok!!!

4) You’re also the creator of Bishop from the X-men.  What were you thinking when you first created Bishop?  What inspired you to create him?   

I’ve always wanted to create a character that was as skilled and as willing to do whatever was needed to survive….but….a character that was not as emotionally damaged as Logan. My solution was a man born in the harsh “kill or be killed” times of Days of Future Past. Where if you survived, that meant you could take care of yourself, but because you were born into it, survival and killing were second nature to you. So for Bishop, he wasn’t an angry person, for him it was just what the world was like….

5) In the ‘90s, you helped create Image Comics and set the bar higher for comic art—how did you end up getting involved with the other Image guys?  What was the goal or the mission at the time?   

We all just peaked at the same time. It was as simple as, we were all making waves at the time as the new young bloods. The mission was always to do our own comics the way we wanted to, with no editorial control….the type of comicbooks we knew our audience wanted…!!!!

6) You also created Wetworks, which had the very first Pilipino character.  Where did the idea for Wetworks come from? 

My dad was in the US Navy and I use to read all the soldier stories as a child…all the bravery and comradery…I’ve always wanted to do a story of a brotherhood of soldiers…

7) Who are your two FAVORITE superheroes of all time?  And if they clashed, who would WIN?  

That would be the Silver Surfer and Deathlok. The Surfer would win but Deathlok would die so valiantly!!!!

8) You started out as an inker in the ‘80s then moved on to penciling.  As an artist, how did you first develop your style and do you feel that’s changed?  What’s your method?    

I first studied my idea last work. Once I learned what I could, I put all my comicbooks away in a closet and for four years never looked at them again while I struggled to figure out my own style….

9) What’s the hardest thing about being a comic artist today?

Nowadays each comic book character is worth so much money that they are treated like precious items. Before that, we could take liberties as the new artist on the book—change the costumes, do all the covers, create new characters for the book, and in my case allowed to create the stories too!  We had a lot of freedom back then.

10) What NEW kinds of characters and stories do YOU want to see in comics going forward?   

I would like to see superheroes from different countries, but not heroes that mimic U.S. superheroes.  I want to see what different cultures would bring to the genre.

11) I know you’re really into film, so if you could create a movie of one of your creations which would it be? And why?      

I created Stone at Image, he’s a hero based on Philippine mythology. As per the prior question, he is a superhero not like a U.S. hero. He is Pilipino and therefore he would be more about family and relationships. We are a culture that believes in people. So as a film, his story would shine a different light on the superhero genre.

12) What projects are you working on now? What can we expect from the great Whilce Portacio? 

I am actually working on Stone 2.0!!!!!!

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