Brazilian Creators Serve Up Surprises in 3-2-1: FAST COMICS

321: Fast Comics preview
Credit: Felipe Cagno
Credit: Felipe Cagno

Comics and Kickstarter is a known combination that can lead to great success, or utter heartbreak, but either way, help you launch a project that means a considerable amount to you. Comic writer Felipe Cagno’s 3-2-1: Fast Comics Vol. 1 Kickstarter just reached its goal, but there’s an important message behind the publication for this anthology: comics are universal. Newsarama recently spoke to Cagno about the project and and the plethora of talent helping make it.

“At first, it was mainly because of the artists behind the project,” Cagno said when talking about why bringing the project to the United States, as it’s previously been printed in South America. “Most of them work or have worked in the U.S. for the major publishers so people expect to see work from them and this is by far the most different pages these artists have produced in a while. It was nice to show artwork from these guys that did not feature superheroes.”

“And since I lived in the U.S. for a few years and English is as natural to me as Portuguese, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take some of this talent and show around,” he continued. Cagno wanted to find a bigger audience for himself and the artists in the book that might be less known than “the big guns." That being said, it was the attention of one of those "big guns" which encourage Cagno to do an English edition of the book for the U.S.

Credit: Felipe Cagno

“I digitally released the book on Comixology and it got some terrific reviews from the people who bought it, some good folks from DeviantArt also thought the concept was quite unique and wanted to spread the word about it," says Cagno. "But perhaps my biggest push was DC superstar Joe Prado picking up the book and reaching out saying he had loved it and that it was ready for the American market.”

The concept and name behind the project, 3-2-1: Fast Comics, comes from the fact that each story in the anthology has three pages, involving two characters, with one plot twist; definitely the meaning of a fast read. Cagno didn’t the challenge all that difficult, save for the twist.

“For me as the writer, the most fun was being able to dip my toe in all these different genres I never thought I'd have the chance to work in, and I absolutely loved it,” he said. “It was extremely hard to come up with a twist for every story and I think overall we were successful at it, even though some twists are more surprising than others. Still, the pressure to get every story right was enormous and definitely the most daunting part of the creative process.”

Credit: Felipe Cagno

Cagno continued on about said process and how the artists enjoyed the freedom. “For the artists I believe it was all about the fun. Most of them I got in touch asking beforehand what they would like to draw, either a different set of characters, like pirates or dinosaurs, or a specific genre, like Sci-Fi or Western. I'd pitch them ideas and we'd go from there, it was a very back and forth process but the artists were all working on something they loved in the first place.”

“The daunting part for them was probably doing something as good as the story from the next guy,” he jokingly said. “They all felt the pressure to do something great and in line with the overall quality of the book, nobody wanted to be left behind, it was a very healthy and friendly competition.”

Credit: Felipe Cagno

The artist talent for 3-2-1: Fast Comics hails from in and around Brazil, and area that has been a hotbed of artist for American publishers Cagno says. The writer mentions the long list of names from Mike Deodato, Jr. to Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, Rafael Albuquerque, Fabian Moon and Gabriel Ba, but other names fans might not be as familiar with.

“Marcelo Maiolo is one of DC's best artists having colored Green Arrow and Green Lantern Corps. Image Comics has the Eisner-nominated colorist Frank Martin on East of West, Rod Reis on C.O.W.L. and Greg Tocchini on Low. Dark Horse features the work of Will Conrad on Angel...I could go on and on listing publishers and titles featuring the work of artists that perhaps the American audience has no idea came from Brazil.”

Cagno believes that there's plenty more talent to highlight and that we're going through the best time for comics in Brazil, both creatively and financially. He dives more into why translating 3-2-1: Fast Comics for American audiences is important in the long run. “There are hundreds of titles being produced that never cross frontiers because of the language, but they are very good, up to par with titles released around the world.”

With the level of talent all over this project, Cagno wanted to highlight both new talent as well as rising stars.

Credit: Felipe Cagno

“First and foremost I love finding new artists, seeing new art for the first time and anthologies are great for new finds," Cagno explains. "This was definitely a big incentive, to work with a plethora of talented artists and jump from one style to another. I love Udon's tribute books because they present hundreds and hundreds of new artists and unique styles, and I wanted a similar experience for my readers, just a step further than one single pin-up.”

He then mentioned that inviting artists and having 3-2-1: Fast Comics debut at a local comic con took about seven months as well as his new hectic schedule.

“I am now working on four comic book series at the same time, three of them are single stories and the fourth is a new 3-2-1: Fast Comics book and the different rhythm between them is a fantastic creative kick.”

He continued on with more of his creative process that might help multitasking writers. “If I get stuck somewhere in one of the single stories, I can just relax and get back ‘in shape’ by writing a short three-page story for the 3-2-1: Fast Comics, it’s just very assuring to be back and forth between formats, especially because I can take a lot more risks with a short story.”

Lastly. Cagno talked about his future at large and what he plans to accomplish: “Perhaps these short three-page stories is something I will do for a while yet… not to mention is a great way to make friends and form partnerships with new artists.”

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