With this week's release of the Multiversity Guidebook, Grant Morrison has supplemented his already mind-bending epic story with a map to the DC Multiverse, as well as a couple more stories the costumed characters who populate its many worlds.
This time around, readers got to see the chibi JLA of Earth 42 meet the Batman of Earth 17 (with art by Marcus To), while another Guidebook story (drawn by Paulo Siqueira) showed Kamandi and his friends , as well as the Olympian gods.
In this latest installment of our series of interviews vivisecting Multiversity with the artists behind each world, we talked to To and Siqueira about their work on this week's Guidebook.
Newsarama: Marcus, how did you get involved in this project, and what did you think of the opportunity when you first learned of it?
Marcus To: I was first contacted by the editor, Rickey Purdin, who I have known for some time to help out on the book just before the Christmas holidays. He explained to me what was expected, as well as a little bit about the story they were working on.
To be honest, none of it made sense: "You mean chibi Batman and Atomic Batman have to go up against multi Silvanas?" I thought he was talking gibberish, but I was really excited cause I knew that working on a Grant Morrison script would be a great opportunity and his stories always have these fun twists about them that make you want to find out how it's all gonna end.
Nrama: Paulo, how about you? How did you get involved, and what did you think of the project?
Paulo Siqueira: I was invited by the series editor, Rickey Purdin. We've worked together on Earth 2: World's End. At that point, I was drawing issue#11, and then I was surprised by an email from Rickey with a bunch of exciting notes about the Multiversity Guidebook, and I accepted the job in a heartbeat. (Thank you so, so much, Rickey! You rock!)
At first I didn't know the characters that would appear on the story or not, or who would write it, and then I discovered that Kamandi would be in it, and that Grant himself would write it! First off, I love Kirby's creations, and I was especially floored by what Ryan Sook did with the character on Wednesday Comics. From that point on, my goal was to deliver my best work ever!
Nrama: You guys have really different styles, and you were defining very different worlds in this Guidebook. Marcus, why do you think you were chosen for the Earth 42 story??
To: I think that my style works really well with the chibi characters from Earth 42. I love drawing fun, youthful characters. I also I got to draw the Marvel Family a bit so that was fun too.
Nrama: Did you have a design process for the characters at all? A plan for how they'd look?
To: I don't think I went in with any real plan for the world, a lot of it was set up already with what Rafael Albuquerque and Ivan Reis did. All I tried to do was make the scenes look as cool as I could and the rest took care of itself.
Nrama: Paulo, why do you think you were chosen for the Kamandi section of the story in particular?
Siqueira: I was drafted from Earth 2: World's End for this job, so I guess Rickey likes my artwork. Maybe he saw the same flavor in my work as Ryan Sook's — and other artists better than me were busy or something! I honestly don't know.
Despite the huge reference work I had to do, which was tons of fun, I was very comfortable drawing the story, and had a blast.
Nrama: So you used a lot of reference work? Did you have to do a lot of research on the Kamandi characters?
Siqueira: Kamandi was published in Brazil (where I was born, and live) way before I was born. So I didn't have that much knowledge about the character. Of course, I knew who Kamandi was and his looks, and some of the cast of the series. I did some research, and also Rickey got me tons of references. And when I finished reading and researching... well, Kirby was a genius! His idea of the very last boy on Earth was great! And still is! That only elevated even more my admiration for him and his creations.
Nrama: I can tell you were approaching this new Kamandi story with the art from the old Kamandi stories in mind, but with a more modern sensibility. What were you hoping to achieve in the look of the story?
Siqueira: I always had in mind something echoing the Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider movies. Or movies such as these, that show a lot of different environments.
Besides that, Grant is very descriptive, and explains really well what he wants on each page. So my biggest effort was to translate to the visuals every detail that he asked.
Nrama: Besides translating Grant's wishes, was there anything else about drawing this world that was a particular challenge for you, as you created it on the page?
Siqueira: The setting is not a fantasy world or something like that. It's our world, but on a desolated future. So I got plenty of references to work with.
Now, honestly, my biggest challenge was to come up with a way to represent the metallic skin of one of the characters. I know that this was done over and over again on comics, so I wanted to come up with something new, and that fit my artistic style. I did an extensive research on this, in order to come up with something visually attractive. And I was very happy with the results!
Nrama: What about you, Marcus? What was the biggest challenge for you to accomplish visually as you drew the world of the chibi characters? And how did you attempt to meet that challenge?
To: I think the biggest challenge was to get it all done in time. As with many projects, complications arise and time grows short and we try to do the best we can with the time allotted. Working with a writer and colorist I've never worked with before is also a challenge because I find you only start getting a groove with your creative partners after a few issues.
But I have to say that being able to have my name along with those guys [who've been drawing Multiversity with Grant] is a great honor, and that's really what made me want to be a part of this project.