As we've done monthly for...well, a while now, we spoke with the artist of DC's Jonah Hex with a new issue coming out. Okay, technically, Jonah Hex #32 came out a couple of weeks back, and technically, we have spoken with artist Jordi Bernet before - but a) we like the legendary European artist a lot, and b) Bernet had been under the weather when the issue hit.
So here we are, with a little more of a philosophical bent.
Cycle thorugh the images at the right for a sequence from issue #32.Newsarama: Do you think artists are born or made?
Jordi Bernet: I think an artist is born. However, I also think that this is a work that requires lots of work and self-discipline to reach any degree of success.
NRAMA: You have been able to forge a huge, successful career in Europe and yet people haven’t had a lot of exposure to your work here in the states. However, the response to your involvement with Jonah Hex has been met with glowing praise and I’m sure a few job offers. Do you prefer working on Jonah Hex over other types of projects?
JB: Actually, I usually grow fond of the characters I draw. I feel very comfortable with Jonah Hex, with its atmosphere and Justin and Jimmy's scripts. I think it is a nice situation to do a good work and reach the reader.
NRAMA: Is the American market, which tends to favor styles suited to superhero fiction, something you’ve considered important to your career as an artist?
JB: You will find few fantastic heroes throughout my career. Rather, it's quite full of anti heroes and genre characters who come from a very day-to-day reality.
NRAMA: Time and time again one has to marvel at your sense of storytelling and execution. Is it an instinctive or deliberate choice on your part when you approach the imagery for an individual page? In otherwords do you take a mechanical approach to the page or do you allow your emotions to take over?
JB: I celebrate you like my storytelling. Actually, I always try to lend my images some "movie" rhythm. My work is not mechanic at all. There is always a previous preparation, but in overall I let myself be guided by feelings and improvisation.
NRAMA: Can you tell us a little about this issue in terms of how it may or may not be different from other Jonah Hex tales you’ve illustrated?
JB: I think the "Matador" story is the toughest, bloodiest story I have ever drawn for Jonah Hex. I had a great time making it.
NRAMA: Have you been to a live bullfight?
JB: Well, in fact I don't like bullfights. Actually, I hate them. I think it is a very poor thing to have a show where you must kill animals (bulls) to amuse the audience. It is a nice topic to draw, but you will never find me in a real bullfight arena.
NRAMA: How do you research for a project? Do you prefer the internet or a library for reference material?
JB: I scarcely use internet for research. I'd rather use the graphic material I can find in books and magazines.
NRAMA: What artist would you say has had the greatest influence on your career?
JB: I'm unable to mention just one specific artist. I have never had the chance to attend an arts school, but I have always been very curious of knowing and learning everything they did in such places. Many artists have influenced my work, good ones or even bad ones, from all around the world. I have always tried to learn from the talent and the good things from the former and to avoid the mistakes of the latter. I am in love with my job and I even collect original art from the artists I like, so that I can better watch their way of working
NRAMA: Is there a particular kind of story you’d like to illustrate in an upcoming issue of Jonah Hex?
JB: I like to be surprised by Jimmy and Justin's proposals. Maybe at a graphic level, and only to change the usual scenery, it would be nice to place Jonah in story set in the Florida Everglades, surrounded by swamp jungles, quicksand and alligators. But... it's better it it's Justin and Jimmy the ones who come up with the ideas.