Interview: DC Comics Artist Andrea Sorrentino
When IGN.com recently awarded DC’s Andrea Sorrentino the Best Comic Artist of 2012, I’m sure the news took at least a few people by surprise. After all, he bested Batman’s Greg Capullo to take the award, and Sorrentino’s title – I, Vampire – isn’t one of the more recognizable books in the New 52 (not to mention it was recently cancelled). But notoriety aside, his work is undeniable: Andrea’s darkly resonant style has an immersive quality that is simply stunning, and has garnered the Italian-born artist some well-deserved recognition.
While I, Vampire will be finishing it’s run with issue #19 (scheduled for release on April 24) fans of Sorrentino can find his work shortly on The Green Arrow in February. DC has been teasing his forthcoming Arrow covers and interior art, and it’s clear that they have big plans for the title; buoyed by a hit TV show, Oliver Queen is stepping into the spotlight as one of the company’s more noteworthy characters (and thankfully without the ridiculous goatee.) Entrusting Sorrentino with the title is further evidence that DC has faith in his abilities, and his stock will no doubt continue to rise in 2013.
I had a chance to ask Andrea some questions about his recent award, his run on I, Vampire, and what lies ahead for him in the coming year.
Blake Northcott: Congratulations on winning the IGN.com award for Best Comic Artist of 2012! Were you surprised that you won?
Andrea Sorrentino: Thank you very much, Blake! And yes, it was like an early Christmas gift for me, and I certainly didn’t expect it at all. I know there are some artists and writers that are used to receiving awards, but for me, after just one year working on I, VAMPIRE, it was a really great surprise.
And I can’t say it enough about them, but a huge amount of credit goes to my colleagues Joshua Hale Fialkov (the writer) and Marcelo Maiolo (colors). You can’t have great comic book art if you don’t have a great scriptwriter and an excellent colorist working with you.
Blake Northcott: A few of the other nominees in the category were relative newcomer Fiona Staples and the very popular Greg Capullo. Are you a fan of their work? And what artists are you inspired by?
Andrea Sorrentino: I live in Italy, and while there is a pretty good selection of American comics to choose from, unfortunately we don’t receive everything.
I actually discovered Fiona Staples online when I was searching for someone to color I, VAMPIRE. I was searching Google and came across Fiona’s NORTH 40 cover, and was amazed with her talent, and then I kept searching for her work. Her art on SAGA is stunning, and she really deserves all the praises she’s receiving.
Greg Capullo is a comic book legend…there’s not much else I can add to that. And while his work was impressive during his run on SPAWN, his work is even more stunning now on BATMAN. I may have won the IGN 2012 award this year, but come on — I still have a lot to learn before I reach his level.
Blake Northcott: Were you a fan of vampires before you started working on I, VAMPIRE?
Andrea Sorrentino: Oh yes, I’ve always been into horror. Mainly I’m a Lovercraft/Cthulhu mythos fan, but I really like all different types of horror. And vampires are maybe the most charming and elegant part of the horror genre, so it’s hard to not love them.
I feel like they’ve definitely suffered from a lot of overexposure lately, and this gave the impression to many old-school fans of vampires that they’ve become just for teenagers. In my opinion if a story is well written a vampire story can overcome any prejudice from the fans. A great example is Scott Snyder’s AMERICAN VAMPIRE.
Blake Northcott: I recently read that you are going to be moving on to DC’s GREEN ARROW in 2013. Can you tell us anything about the move to a new book?
Andrea Sorrentino: Yeah, I’ve left I, VAMPIRE after issue #15 in October in order to work on GREEN ARROW, starting from issue #17 in February 2013. I was still working on I, VAMPIRE #13 when Jeff Lemire – the amazing writer of ANIMAL MAN, SWEET TOOTH and THE UNDERWATER WELDER – contacted me on Twitter and proposed that I join him on his upcoming run on GREEN ARROW.
I was a bit sad about the idea of leaving Andrew and Mary, but after so many issues in a row on I, VAMPIRE I felt the need for a new challenge. Also, Jeff has been one of my favorite writers in recent years so I couldn’t really say no.
The good part is that the editor Chris Conroy gave me the chance to still draw the I,VAMPIRE cover for issue #17. This satisfied my need to do horror artwork, and I’m not missing my old teammates so much.
Blake Northcott: Have you read a lot of the old GREEN ARROW comics, or have you seen the new American television program ‘Arrow’?
Andrea Sorrentino: I’d be lying if I said that I grew up reading about Oliver Queen. As I mentioned, due the way DC Comics has been published in Italy for last several decades, I’ve never been able to follow all their books the way that I’ve wanted. I’ve read some issues several years ago; the excellent GREEN ARROW: YEAR ONE by Diggle and Jock. and some JLA issues where Ollie popped up from time to time. This was the extent of my Green Arrow experience before DC launched the New 52.
After I got the gig I read the entire New 52 run of GREEN ARROW, and I’ve spoken with Jeff a lot about his ideas for the character. He has some amazing thoughts about where to take the storyline long-term, especially dealing with his back story. This is definitely going to be our own, new vision for Oliver Queen, and I hope people love it.
Blake Northcott: Your style on I, VAMPIRE has a dark horror look to it; will you be changing the look of your art for GREEN ARROW, or will you be bringing that same dark feel to the character?
Andrea Sorrentino: I’m still working with the same dark style. When Jeff contacted me in the very beginning of the GREEN ARROW project, he told me he wanted the same dark ground-level mood of I,VAMPIRE, so I’m trying to give him what he wants for it.
Of course, there are some little differences; Jeff tends to fill the pages with a few more panels, and he tends to write more dialogue, so this may affect the art and layout. Also, I think it’s going to be a bit more colorful because we’re approaching it differently — I, VAMPIRE is more horror while this is a superhero book. There is also a new colorist for this project. But aside from that my style will remain basically the same, as you can see from the first covers that were revealed.
Blake Northcott: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and let’s talk again soon.
Andrea Sorrentino: No, thank you. It was really a pleasure!
The Green Arrow #17 is slated for release in comic stores on February 6th. And don’t forget to follow Andrea on Twitter.
Blake Northcott is an author, Twitter-er, and occasional Slayer of Vampires (only the ones that sparkle).You can follow her on Twitter, or pick up her best-selling Sci-Fi/Superhero books Vs. Reality and Relapse over at Amazon.com.