By Mike Collins
YMB: This September you've returned to the X-Men in a big way becoming the ongoing artist on Uncanny. How did that come about?
Bachalo: I marched in the Marvel office one day with my trusty pocket knife, took a few prisoners and hacked off a finger or two and made my demands: A harem of fantastic babes, a life time supply of Darth Vader M+M's and Uncanny. They gave me Uncanny. I figured one out of three wasn't bad and folded the knife. We're good now. In a perfect world I'd let Mike and company know that I was looking for a monthly and they'd offer up Uncanny. Much less stress that way...
How does the schedule differ on a monthly as opposed to a mini series?
Not much. Both are a monthly turnaround for me. There's maybe a little more room on the mini depending on when they want to ship....
Your style changes between projects, sometimes dramatically. How do you decide what style you are going to use on a particular title?
The writing, the tone, the pacing, they all dictate the style, feel and presentation of the book. I've been crazy fortunate to work with the best writers on the best series the past 14 plus years. I think I've touched all the genres, well, maybe not the Archie Genre, though, it would be nice to spend some time with Veronica. For me, Its' important to inject each series with it's own character, look and feel. That's a cool aspect about working in comics--visiting different series. Typically, I read a script, address the topic and make a decision on the best way to tell the story. That's why High Cost of Living doesn't look like Steampunk, Steampunk doesn't look like Captain America, Captain America doesn't look like Batman B+W, Batman doesn't look like Shade. Steampunk was, for me very greasy and broken to pieces, fragmented and held together by rusty bolts and chains. Witching Hour was methodical, a deceptively straight forward, nothing is what it seems story. I can't imagine drawing Captain America the way I drew that series. I was invited to create a Batman B+W entry. I had a dark, creepy story, with lots of black and washes in mind. A small spin about an obsessive Batman groupie. It would be spooky, like the Ring movie--the first one, not the second. According to the rules, an individual is not permitted to both write and draw Batman at the same time...unless incorporated. That sounds complicated, so, I invited Brimstone writer/creator Cy Voris to help me out. We created our little 8 pager and it was fun and dark and creepy like the first Ring movie and the point is that the subject matter dictated the style and look of the book. Creepy story, creepy art. Lots of black and scribbly, edgeofvisionthingscrawlingoutoftheblackgoodness kind of stuff.
What’s in store for the X-Men during your new run?
I'd love to spill but that would be telling. I can say that we'll be spending a lot of time with Rachel in the early going and tearing her life up to pieces. Pretty nasty stuff. I complimented Chris on really going for broke with the destruction. I find that writers/publishers pull too many punches with their characters. Not this time around. That's why I like Millar and his work on Ultimates. You never know what's going to happen in that book. Everyone's fair game. Fantastic.
How long do you envision being on the title?
My first goal is to stay on longer that my first go around--about 10 issues. After that, as long as they'll have me. I think four years is a nice number. We'll see. If the lottery numbers come through it may be earlier than that, though, I 'd have to do something besides vacation all day, so maybe I'd stick around and annoy the folks that find me distasteful....
What’s Joe Quesada really like to work with?
I have no idea. I've not spoken with him in years. I figure I must be doing okay as he and his pals keep giving me great things to do...
When you begin work on a new issue, how do you go about it?
The first few issues are the worst for me. It's like joining [a] party and not knowing any one. There's that difficult period of time of getting to know the participants and getting a feel of what the scene is all about. A few beers and few issues of acclimation help out nicely. Once I'm settled in and comfortable and know the characters the book feels real nice the good work begins...
Generally how long does a single issue take you to draw?
Ideally, a book takes about a month. That's about 6 pages a week, including the cover. I've drawn issues in as little as 8 days and as long as three months. When I'm behaving, a 4-5 week schedule is nice.
How about the covers? The covers that Marvel has released are fantastic. How do you go about designing them?
Well, now that's a big question. I spent 5 years in school trying to figure that out. Still learning come to think of it. Typically, my first objective with covers is to sell the book. My cover is going to compete with five hundred others covers on the book shelves, so I need to find a way to arrest the eye of the prospective buyer. On Uncanny, my objective is grab the reader with a simple, striking image, with as few characters as possible, using a narrow range of color--the more colors on the cover the more it will blend with the other riff raff on the stands--and sell the buyer that this is a dangerous, over the top, super powered, sci-fi adventure book worth their three bucks. The first objective is to be graphic and simple. Look at Millers stark and dramatic work. You can see a Sin City book from across the room. I really liked the Cassaday Astonishing X-men cover with Professor X. That big, black and white head shot one. I could see it from 20 feet at the Borders book store. Very Effective and I bought it. The second objective is to try and sell the story or the topic of the book. You wouldn't put Marv shooting someone's guts out on a Betty and Veronica book. Media is important. Note the starkness of the Sin City work. Black and White. Hard lines. Sharp contrasts. Really sells the idea of SC, doesn't it? The McKean covers on Sandman effectively sold the feeling of that book. Very different media on those. Adam Hughes style on Wonder Woman sold the idea of that title. All three styles are very different from one another but effective in advertising the content of their respective books.
You’ve been doing some of the colors on some of your work, What programs do you use?
Mostly, Photoshop. I'll use digital photography from time to time for texture work or BG's. Photoshop is the greatest invention since, I dunno, the telephone. I can't belive it's for real. I grew up in the old days when a having a calculator put you on the fast track. The ability to manipulate photographs, colors, drawing and pictures at the speed of light cannot be described in words. I dabble occasionally with paint but I don't miss it.
What other characters would you like to take a shot at that you haven’t spent much time with? Any you’d like to return to?
I want to write someday so I put together a proposal for a Gen X series that didn't find any legs. I'll try again someday. They offered me Uncanny instead. Nice trade off. Spidey would be cool If I didn't have to draw the Peter Parker parts. Batman would be really amazing...
Your first creator owned work was Steampunk. Are there any plans to go back and finish it? Are there any other creator owned works you have plans for?
Steampunk would be nice to finish . We have one more big arc to wrap it up. Lots of juicy plot developments are in store. I don't know at this time where it will be completed, but I'll do my best to make sure the ending sees the light of day. I've no more creator owned project in the works....today. That could change quickly. Like I said, it would be really cool to write so look out...
Posted by YourMomsBasement at November 1, 2005 11:59 AM