New STARFIRE 'Naive, Smart ... Realistic & Crazy' Says Artist

Starfire art
Credit: DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

As Starfire gets a new direction this month from writing team Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, she also gets a look from artist Emanuela Lupacchino.

Starfire #1 takes Kory out of the superhero world and puts her in Key West, as she attempts to get to know "regular earthlings," as the writing team told Newsarama.

And Lupacchino is also giving Kory a new look, working from Conner's design, but concentrating on what she calls making the character "sexy but not just because of her body. She's much more than that."

Lupacchino is an Italian artist who broke into comics in Europe, and soon after started working with Marvel and DC on titles like X-Factor and Supergirl. Newsarama talked to the artist, and got some previews of her work, about her unusual background, her approach to the comic's title character, and what readers can expect from Starfire.

Credit: DC Comics

Newsarama: Emma, I read that you worked on an Italian series before you got hired on Marvel's X-Factor, which moved you into American comics. You've done a lot of work since then, but what was your background before comics?

Emanuela Lupacchino: My background is a bit weird. I used to work in a research lab, I'm a biotechnologist and my job was mainly based on working on microorganisms and DNA until six years ago.

Nrama: Whoa, that's a little different from the usual road to comics. What happened six years ago to change things?

Lupacchino: I realized that I loved art much more and tried to do it for life. I went to a school for three years where I learned how to draw comic books. When I started the first lesson, I suddenly realized that I was way far happier working on art than doing research.

Nrama: Let's talk about the look you've developed for your art. How would describe your style?

Lupacchino: I think that I draw in a very classic way. I love working on the details, expressions, gestures - I spend a lot of time with that.

Credit: DC Comics

Nrama: Do you have any artists that you consider influences?

Lupacchino: My influences are many, but the most important authors for me are the ones that I always have close to me on my table while I work: Dave Stevens, Garcia Lopez, Kevin Nowlan, Ryan Sook and Adam Hughes.

But tons of other authors really inspire me with their work. These are just the ones I can't live without.

Credit: DC Comics

Nrama: You'll be launching the new Starfire book June 10. How would you describe the comic?

Lupacchino: When I first read the script of Starfire it was like a surprise to me! I didn't expected anything of that I was reading. It's a new world, a new way to describe a superhero, and it's both extremely realistic and crazy.

Credit: DC Comics

They live in a proper city, on earth, with real people, but everything that happens in the story is unusual. Everything is unexpected. Starfire is a lot of fun and drama and action. It's pure entertainment and the story is not predictable. Every time you turn a page, you get amazed with the next one!

I'm trying to take care of each new character, because all of them are really important in the story — even if they're not primary characters, they lead a specific part of the story and they way they look and the way they act is crucial.

Nrama: What about Starfire herself? What's your visual approach to the character?

Credit: DC Comics

Lupacchino: I want her to be naive and smart at the same time. She's capable of great things because she's got some amazing powers, but we're not focused on her powers or her ability. we're focused on her living her life while a lot of things happen. So I want her to be the most real possible, with real feelings. And I want her to be sexy but not just because of her body. She's much more than that.

Nrama: Can you describe techniques you use to create the art for Starfire? Are you using mostly digital for your work on the book?

Credit: DC Comics

Lupacchino: I work digitally and traditional. I go digital for everything that is the layout part.

I use 3D to make buildings, vehicles and all those environments that are familiar in the book (like the police station, her trailer, Sheriff's car). I think this is important to keep as coherent as I can the places they live.

Then I work with the Cintiq all the layouts. It's a faster way to set up the page — you can shrink or enlarge panels, flip them and move the grid as you like. It's a creative process and doing it digitally, it gives you the opportunity to try several options very quickly.

Once the layout is ready to go, I work traditionally on paper with pencils. The most precious tool I own is the electric eraser, to work on tiny corrections on the pencil. When I work on covers, I ink them too. So I use the blue pencil instead of the traditional one to make a preliminary artwork and then I go with the ink.

Nrama: As we finish the interview, Emma, are there any last thoughts you want to share with readers about Starfire?

Lupacchino: I think that Starfire is a lot of fun. Characters and environments are so well defined that you will love them at first sight. She doesn't belong to planet Earth but she's more human than us. And the more you'll pay attention to every single detail while you read the book, the more you'll have fun!

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