The superstar artist talks about returning to conventions with his appearance at Wizard World L.A., teases ‘Ultimates 3’ reveals and shares some video game recommendations

By Todd Casey

Joe Madureira drawing Ultimates 3 heralded his triumphant return to the drawing board, but the superstar artist dubbed Joe Mad by the fans will be returning to the convention circuit with his upcoming appearance at Wizard World Los Angeles on March 14-16. We caught up with Madureira to talk about his stint on Ultimates with Jeph Loeb, his strangest con moment and his video game recommendations.

WIZARD: Now that you’ve been cranking away on Ultimates 3, how does it feel to be penciling for comics again?
MADUREIRA: It’s awesome. There’s something I really enjoy about laying out panels and telling a visual story. It’s been a struggle with everything else going on in my professional and personal life. But I’m kind of likening it to childbirth. Once the kid is out there, you love it so much you forget how painful the delivery was.

How has your work in the video game world enriched your artistic abilities in comics?
A lot of people have commented on how much my style has changed. I don’t think it was that conscious a decision, just a side effect of working on concept art for so long. It’s helped me loosen up a little. Focus more on energy and silhouettes than on cleanliness, which I think made my work a little stiff.

What are some aspects about drawing comics that you missed the most?
Definitely storytelling. Picking the shots, laying out the panels. There’s a certain satisfaction when you “nail it.” It doesn’t happen often that I envision a sequence in my head and I actually pull it off. So when I do, it’s pretty gratifying.

Only three issues of Ultimates 3 are on stands and you’ve already drawn close to two dozen characters, from Cap to Spider-Man, Venom, Thor, Blob—any favorites so far?
The Blob!!! Though Venom is a close second. Obviously, I always jump at the chance to draw Spidey and the Hulk. Oops—did I say Hulk?

How has it been working with Jeph Loeb? He has always written to what he feels are the strengths of his artist—is he catering this story to meet your unique talents?
It’s been great. I’m still waiting on my double-page spread of schoolgirls battling an army of ninjas, but he must be having trouble working it into the story because I haven’t seen it. He does have that knack though. I’ll be like “Dinosaurs in the Savage Land?! What is wrong with this guy?!!” But then guess what? I love dinosaurs! So it’s hard to argue with the guy. I just need more ninjas.

Loeb can also be a pretty convincing person—is he the one responsible for dragging you back into the world of spandex and capes?
He was. That, and the fact I’d be working with Christian Lichtner again. Plus, I really loved what Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch did on the book! He had me at hello.

A lot of new talent has emerged in the comics world since you were last heavily involved—are there any new stars whose work you admire? Are you getting back into reading other books or have you always kept up?
I’m just sort of getting back into it. It’s hard to find or get to the comic shop lately! All my favorite shops keep closing down. I’ve taken to just buying trades when they’re collected like everyone else does these days. There are a ton of awesome guys cropping up, but oddly enough, some of my old favorites are still the guys I follow the most. Art Adams, Adam Hughes, Mike Mignola. The usual suspects.

You’re a big gamer—what video games are you loving right now?
Game-wise I just started playing Devil May Cry 4, which is just as cool as I feared it would be! [Laughs] Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, and Shadow of the Colossus were the last couple games that hooked me big time. I also just picked up Resident Evil 4 on the Wii. I somehow missed it the first time around.

You’re going to Wizard World L.A. this year; are there any old buddies in comics land you’re excited to see or new people you’d love to meet?
Yeah—everyone! I am so out of touch. I’ve been so swamped I don’t even know who’s going. I guess I’ll be surprised!! It would be cool to see the Cliffhanger guys again—J. Scott Campbell and Humberto Ramos. Mike Turner. Ed McGuiness. I guess that Jeph Loeb dude.

What do you miss about comic book conventions? What was the last one you attended?
I want to say it was Wizard World Chicago a couple years back. It’s been ages.

There are going to be a ton of fans waiting to see you; is that intimidating at all? What’s the best part about meeting all these people who look up to and admire your work?
It is pretty intimidating. I was the kind of kid in school that had trouble in school plays and crap. Stage fright. Camera shy. It’s never really gone away. I always just prefer to bury my head in work than to be out promoting my self or my work, which always made conventions kind of hard for me. Still, it really is a great feeling to meet all the people who love the work you do. Everyone has their own stories, or aspects of your work they admire, and it’s nice to get that feedback. One time a fan made me an embroidered Battle Chasers Pillow. I still have it in my office; this was about six years ago! I’ve seen quite a few Battle Chasers tattoos as well. That sort of thing—knowing that your work resonated with people in that way—is the best part.

Do you have any crazy stories of conventions past or memorable moments you could share?
I did have one creepy guy wait behind me at a urinal—I sort of caught that he was there in my peripheral, and when I was done, before I could get to the sink even, he was introducing himself, wanting to shake my hand. And I was all “Hey, can I wash my hands first buddy?” And he totally started having this 20-minute conversation with me in the bathroom that I had a hard time breaking out of. And I thought I had a lack of social skills!

When Ultimates 3 is done, do you think you’ll want to do another project? Anything particular in mind?
I have a couple projects I’d like to do some day, but they are pretty far off. Working at Vigil consumes pretty much all of my time right now, and once Ultimates wraps up, I’d like to focus even more on that. Our first project Darksiders is due to ship early next year, and there is SO much work to be done yet.

Is there anything cool you can tease about what’s coming up in Ultimates?
There are so many characters in the finale, I swear I it’s made me abandon my childhood dream of wanting to do Secret Wars. pad


~ by spyaokid on February 24, 2008.

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