Vertigo veteran Eduardo Risso gets the chance to bring art to life this week as the guest artist on Art Ops, the series that explores what would happen if art was alive.
Written by Shaun Simon and usually drawn by Mike Allred, Art Ops launched in late October. The ongoing series centers on a character named Reggie, who discovers that not only is art able to come to life, but there's a group of operatives, or "Art Ops," who make sure artworks stay controlled and hidden.
Newsarama talked to Risso about his two-month gig on the book, as well as his upcoming work with Paul Dini on his autobiographical graphic novel, Dark Night: A True Batman Story.
Newsarama: Eduardo, how were you approached about working on the Art Ops series? Had you heard of it? What did you think of the concept behind the series and the opportunity?
Eduardo Risso: Shelly Bond – Vertigo editor – was the one who brought me to this new series. In two chapters the story takes place in the 70s and she thought I was ideal for drawing them. I didn’t hesitate, it was something new, different and therefore a new challenge.
Nrama: What visual approach are you taking to the Art Ops story you're drawing, and is it different from what readers who might be familiar with your work would expect?
Risso: I don’t know if readers can expect too much from me here. My intention is always to do my best to not let them down, but finally they will decide if what they see is up to what they want from me.
Nrama: Have you ever felt like your own work has come to life, even if it was inside your head or in a dream?
Risso: I feel that my work comes alive all the time. For me, the blank page to draw on is a window to adventure. When i’m on an adventure I live with a camera in my hand and that’s what I try to give to the readers inside the space that gives us every chapter of the story.
Nrama: What works of art do you wish would come alive, and which ones do you hope never do?
Risso: If we talk about art in general… all the works of art. Each one of them could reflect a moment in the history of mankind, the time in which it was created.
Nrama: You've also working on the Paul Dini graphic novel The Dark Night: A True Batman Story recently. How did that book challenge you?
Risso: I love challenges in comics! This one was very intense. Paul was behind the project so I couldn’t pass it up.
Nrama: How was the Paul Dini book a unique experience for you as an artist?
Risso: It is real, tangible, painful. Fictional characters can help or sink you in this book. In most other stories,characters just live their own life.
Nrama: How do these two new issues of Art Ops differ from that experience? Was it a welcome change?
Risso: I must be honest, Art Ops was made before Dark Night and yes, it’s unlike this and other works that I have had to draw. I only worked on two chapters but thoroughly enjoyed it.
Nrama: What are some of the more interesting things you get to draw in your issues of Art Ops?
Risso: Perhaps, the time frame of this story. The 70’s. Age of revolution and cultural movements within our societies. Interesting fashion to show.
Nrama: What was the most challenging thing you drew in your two issues of Art Ops?
Risso: Giving life to a painting that projects tenderness and fear of those who are watching.
Nrama: How was it working with writer Shaun Simon?
Risso: I can say little about someone who I didn’t know as a writer. I had space to work, so the short experience was very good. I always feel better when a writer gives me such freedom and it probably improves the final product.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about working on Art Ops?
Risso: I just hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed drawing it.