Jorge Lacera, imitating artWhile some of us may be delighted by the biggest and the most popular in the world of comics, we all realize that for every popular book, writer or artist there has to be a beginning. While there are many ways to success with each story finding its own route, there is one attribute that can be found in each one: talent. Up & Coming is a regular feature at Newsarama.com that seeks out the next generation of comic creators and profiles them today.
Artist Jorge Lucera might be a fresh face for comics, but in the realm of video games he’s part of one of the biggest things going: BioShock. Lucera currently works as a concept/storyboard artist for the video game publisher 2K Boston, the publisher behind Bioshock. Born in Miami, Jorge says his early days were spent on “a steady diet of comics, cartoons and muppets.” That’s all three of the main geek food groups, right?
Newsarama: Jorge, thanks for talking to us. Before we jump into comics, let’s talk about your current job at 2K Boston working for the studio that made BioShock. How’d your job as a storyboard/concept artist there come about?
The Hulk by LaceraJorge Lucera: I began working in the small consumer product/animation division of a major greeting card company, I did a variety of work from character designs to pitching tv show concepts. Eventually my work caught the attention of some peeps over at 2k Boston where I was hired as their in house storyboard artist.
NRAMA: How are video games & comics similar -- and how are they different?
JL: Two word answer: Word balloons.
But really video games and storyboards differ in a variety of ways, but the biggest is end result. In comics the art itself is the finished product, a storyboard is the first step in a process. That fact changes the way you approach the work. Also storyboards are told through time, either by pitching the boards or by sequencing them in an animatic, timing plays a big role. In comics you set the pace.
NRAMA: When you’re not doing video games, you’re looking to break into comics. Do you have any upcoming comic work planned?
JL: Not really, although I am actively pursuing a few leads after NYC Comic-con.
I got very interested in working in the comics scene a few years ago.
Lacera's SheenaI would argue that comics industry is the only place where innovation in storytelling and genre is actively encouraged. And I would attribute that to the amazing amount and variety of talent that the comics industry attracts.
Also it's starting to become a more level playing field where independent creators and larger companies are all vying for talent. It's exciting to know that so much vibrant talent is being used to tell good stories in a variety of genres, I mean it's gotta be a good thing when guys like Joss Whedon can do a Buffy comic then turn around and work on a tv show for Fox right?
NRAMA: Do you have a dream project you'd like to work on?
JL: Dream projects I have many, most are creator owed things I've been kicking around such as the The Speqtors, a story I've been working on with my lovely novelist fiancee Megan, about a family of supernatural ghost hunters (kind of like Ghostbusters meets Royal Tenenbaums)
NRAMA: Wow, I’d buy that. [laughs]
JL: Another would be the Black Panther. I love the character and have (what I think) is an interesting idea I haven't seen addressed in his book.
Then there's the adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's Pickman's model set in a modern day art school...like I said many.
NRAMA: Your mind’s a’brewing. Did you just appear out of nowhere with all this talent or did you spend some time at an art school?
Thor, by LaceraJL: I went to Ringling School of Art and Design and majored in Illustration. It's a program that focuses a good deal on fundamental drawing and painting and at the time geared towards editorial Illustration. It was such a unique experience (the school is located in Sarasota, Florida on the west coast) but to be honest I feel could have gotten more out of the school, the faculty and the resources there.
Let that be a lesson to all of you art school bound peeps: milk it for all it's worth don't be afraid to ask questions and engage your teachers. Take no prisoners!
NRAMA: One last one Jorge - how early did you decide to be an artist?
JL: I actually always knew growing up I'd end up drawing for a living. But specifically there was a moment in elementary school where I got introduced to a mighty combination: Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil and Marvel Comics trading cards. Once I realized guys made a living drawing that stuff I was hooked.