Mike Deodato Jr has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign which only has a few days left to run. Mike is most is most well-known for his superhero work over at Marvel and is one of those guys who has been lucky enough to have drawn pretty much every character. However this Kickstarter project will all be his own personal work including drawings of this wife and daughter made up of both single panels and sequential strips. Geeks Unleashed got a chance to speak to Mike about his comic roots, including who is his favourite Marvel character to draw and his Kickstarter project.
Mike: Sure! I live in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, a beautiful beach town about as close to the equator is you can get in my country.
Geeks Unleashed: You came into comics in the 1990’s; what interested you to come into comics?
Mike: A love of comics that came, in part, from my father — who was a comics writer and artist himself. I was always around great work. He showed me all the classic comics artists from all over the world, and I wanted to become one of those guys.
Geeks Unleashed: Some of your first work was on Beauty and the Beast (based of the Linda Hamilton television show) and Wonder Woman. Was it hard breaking into the comic book industry?
Mike: It wasn’t hard, necessarily. I was, I think, the first Brazilian artist to score work in the USA market, and the second guy to get steady work from David Campiti, who was running Innovation Publishing at the time. That’s where I came on like gangbusters, drawing not only Beauty and the Beast in a painted style, but also Lost in Space and Quantum Leap, and inking Mack Bolan: The Executioner. Had I been closer to their office, I probably would’ve swept floors and emptied ashtrays. I was a working dynamo! My schedule is more intelligent and settled, now.
When David left Innovation in ’93, he started an agency — Glass House Graphics. It’s still humming along nearly 20 years later, as am I — and I’m still working on great books in the biz. It’s meant a lot of learning and adapting and never stop growing.
Geeks Unleashed: You have been lucky enough to draw pretty much every Marvel Comics character, one of favorites was when you drew the Thunderbolts. What Marvel character/s are your personal favorite to draw?
Mike: Wolverine! I had to beg, plead, cajole, threaten, blackmail, bribe, and kidnap to get to draw that book for a while. Wait, maybe not kidnap. On the fence about the blackmail part.
Geeks Unleashed: When you work alongside other writers how much creative input and direction do you like to put in and are some writers you work better with?
Mike: Almost no input. Once in a great while someone will ask me what I’d like to draw in a series, and occasionally they even listen — but usually my first knowledge of what’s gonna be in a script is when I read it. There’s great stuff about working with every writer Marvel’s put me with, from Bruce Jones on up through Brian Bendis. I think we’ve all done terrific work together.
Geeks Unleashed: You’ll be one of the creators involved in Marvel NOW. Can you tell us more about that?
Mike: Let’s see….for Marvel THEN — (Laughs) — I drew The Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, Dark Avengers, Chartreuse Avengers, Avenged Avengers, and quite possibly the Cross-Dressing Avengers. My guess for Marvel NOW is they’ll probably keep me on an Avengers book. I don’t see Millie the Model or Two-Gun Kid in my future, but who knows?
Geeks Unleashed: You’re also working on a Kickstart project – “THE CARTOON ART OF MIKE DEODATO, JR. Volume 1” which, as of right now, has exceeded its target of $10,000 by almost $4k. In your video you state your family inspired this project. For those people who don’t know anything of it can you tell us about it?
Mike: THE CARTOON ART OF MIKE DEODATO, JR. is, in its own way, a little slice of a companion book to THE MARVEL ART OF MIKE DEODATO, JR. book that came out a year or so ago.
Geeks Unleashed: You use a lot of your own personality and humor in “THE CARTOON ART OF MIKE DEODATO, JR. Volume 1”. What inspired the creation of this departure from your normal work drawing superheroes?
Mike: I’d been creating these cute little cartoons for my wife and daughter for quite a while, and a lot of people suggested that I compile them into a book. So that’s what I’m doing, using Kickstarter to fund the project and get it publicized.
Geeks Unleashed: When people back a project on Kickstarter they also get incentives, can you tell us about those?
Mike: The nice thing about Kickstarter is that people pledge an amount they want to contribute, and they earn rewards — anything from a signed copy of the book to custom commissions, or top-collectible original art or even me showing up in their town to attend a convention or comics shop event. So it’s a pretty personal endeavor, both on the book’s side and on the rewards that fans can receive. Go to my Kickstarter page to see my video, check out the reward levels, and contribute. There’s only a few days left, so I can use everyone’s help right now to make this go as big as possible and get more rewards into people’s hands.
Geeks Unleashed: Some of the art is very traditional comic book strip, have you considered having these published in newspapers?
Mike: Of course. If there’s a newspaper syndicate that wants to discuss it, drop my agent David@glasshousegraphics.com a note, and we’ll talk! It would be cool to be a full-fledged newspaper cartoonist, I think.
Geeks Unleashed: Will the success of hitting your pledged goal of $10k, can we look forward to another Kickstarter funded project?
Mike: YES. It might be volume 2, or it might be something else — a top-secret project I’m in discussions about, right now.6
Geeks Unleashed: Do you have any other projects that you can perhaps tease about on the horizon?
Mike: YES! How about a collected trade paperback and limited hardcover edition of the JADE WARRIORS mini-series I did years ago at Image Comics?
JADE WARRIORS, by the way, is now an online comics series serialized for free over at jadewarriors.keenspot.com. We’re featuring all the original issues, then finally letting readers see the two final issues that never got published. Pretty cool to showcase the entire thing, after all these years.
Thank you Mike for your time and good luck with Kickstarter project.