The artist at workSpanish cartoonist Daniel Acuna might be best known for his cover work for Marvel, but his career began with a Spanish book called Claus & Simon in Hollywood. Two sequels were done which were republished in America by Heavy Metal, but it wasn't until he did some European covers for Alan Moore's run on Supreme that he caught the eye of American comics.
Acuna was recently named one of our 9 Creators To Watch in '09 and with good reason. He's done some breathtaking work on The Flash, The Eternals and most recently coverwork for Marvel and part of Uncanny X-Men Annual #2. While his next big project is under wraps, he's been all over the Marvel Universe doing cover work for various titles.
As one of the few artists in comics who do all the artwork – from pencils to colors, Acuna is a startlingly talented artist we wanted to know more about. And to know more, we interviewed Acuna from his home in Aguilas, Spain.
Newsarama: Let's start off with an easy one, Daniel – what are you working on today?
Daniel Acuna: Aside of some covers, Nova, Dark Reign, or Dark Tower, I can’t say anything about that yet, sorry!
NRAMA: We'll get it out of you someday. Let's talk about recent history – you did some great work on The Eternals. What's it been like to work on this family of characters?
DA: It’s been very exciting to work with Kirby characters so interesting as these ones, and an (almost) complete change from my last project at DC Comics (The Flash) where I used a “funnier” and more comedic style, almost expressionist in the characters, something that I missed being able to do.
In The Eternals, it’s a lot more important to have drama, a mysterious tone and grandiosity. And what can I say? I love my job and I love being able to change and adapt my style to any given project. I don’t know if that way i try to change is visible or not, but I do it in every part of the work: a little in the colors, a bit the characters’ expressivity, some more in the inks (doing more solid blacks, for example)…
NRAMA: In addition to The Eternals, you've been an in-demand cover artist all over Marvel. How is doing single covers different from bigger projects like The Eternals?
DA: It’s a lot of fun getting out of the “routine” of your own project and jump in into others, even if it’s only as cover artist.
NRAMA: What other characters would you like to work on in the future?
DA:Every single character I grew up reading, really. The Fantastic Four, Power Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Nova, Captain Marvel, X-Men, Hulk, and above all them, Spider-Man.
NRAMA: Before you ventured into American comics to work at DC and Marvel you did your own creator-owned series with Santi Arcas called Claus & Simon. Do you plan to return to that someday or do further creator-owned work?
DA: The characters I created with Santi Arcas (also an amazing colorist, as you can see in books like Vixen) are a part of me. We created them 15 years ago. And yes, I hope we can return to tell their stories some time in the future.
NRAMA: People may not know this, but unlike most other comic artists you do all the art – from the pencils, to the inks and then the colors. What led you to do this?
DA: Maybe Richard Corben is to be blamed for it. Since I have memory, I remember seeing his comic-books at home (they were my father’s, who tried to hide them from me), so trying to imitate him I started to develop a more complete art style, not only with pencils and inks, but also with volume, and finally, color. For me it was the natural thing to do, and I wanted to do those covers, so nice and colorful, above all because this way your art has no boundaries or at least the less possible. And it came a moment in which my style was the sum of it all, the process starts with the pencils and ends with color or greytones. That’s why, at the beginning, I was afraid of the American industry, since I thought it would be difficult that I could show my “true face”, the kind of art in which I think I can shine as an artist.
NRAMA: In addition to be named to Newsarama's 9 To Watch in '09 list, Marvel Editor-In-Chief has you as one of 2009's Young Guns – comparing you to Jack Kirby even. Has this recognition changed the way you work or what you plan next?
DA: No, of course it doesn’t change the way I work, but of course it influences your mood, and well, it helps you that you are not doing so bad (I tend to be quite negative with my own work) and it gives me a lot of strength to keep working…
NRAMA: But when you're not working, what to you do to take the stress off?
DA: When I’m not working I go to the movies with my girlfriend, and to have a coffee (cafeterias, a very Spanish thing) with my friends, also, to play tennis and paddle. Also, these days, I’m trying to get better at Guitar Hero!!!