Sometimes, just being the fan of a television series pays off.
For artist Mark Dos Santos, he was burning through DVDs of the Eureka television series, enjoying the TV show, when he got a call from BOOM! Studios asking if he would like to tell stories about the Eureka characters.
"I was in the middle of watching the second season when I was asked to work on the book so I became very excited," Dos Santos said. "Most of my TV watching is done at my desk while I work. I need background noise or I'll go CooCoo for Coco Puffs! But Eureka is one of the few shows I actually watch in the comfort of my living room. Once I finished the third season, I went back and re-watched it again. I think I've watched all three seasons at least 3 times at this point. So yes, I am a fan."
Trained at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Dos Santos is fairly new on the comic book scene. His first project was an eight-page story in Cthulhu Tales, which he landed after showing his portfolio to BOOM! co-founder Ross Richie at a convention in Los Angeles. After finishing up the Fall of Cthulhu Godwar mini-series, Dos Santos started on Eureka: Dormant Gene.
The artist said he's been drawing since he was a kid, spending every Saturday morning in front of the TV with his coffee, toast, pencil and paper (and yes, Dos Santos confirmed, he did drink coffee as a kid).
"I attended commercial art classes in high school, and once I was done with the Army, I enrolled the in the Joe Kubert School in New Jersey where I studied animation," Dos Santos said. "Don't ask me why I took animation at a comic book school, but it was cool, because at the end of the day I would go to my friends who were taking the comic classes and ask them what they were learning in their classes. I learned a lot just from seeing what they were doing."
The artist's work on the Eureka mini-series isn't as realistic as most comics based on television shows, instead paying homage to his time learning animation in school.
"I am trained as an animator and I've been told I have a very fun, light, and optimistic style, which I like to think for Eureka, it lends itself well," he said. "In the third issue, I did get to play around with different styles though. The third issue is being told by Phillip, who is a very creative kid. He see's the world a little differently, so as he's telling the story I jump around to different styles to fit what's going on. A little Kirby, a little Mignola, some Dave Stevens. Don't know if I pulled it off, but it was a lot of fun."
The mini-series focuses on Zoe, Sheriff Carter's daughter, and Gene, Lupo's cousin, Dos Santos said, explaining the premise of the mini-series.
"Gene is a new character created for this story, and he's got a mad crush on Zoe. He creates a formula that changes him from a geek to a stud. It's very Nutty Professor," he laughed. "Of course there are complications with the formula and things go bad. The cool thing is that Jonathan Davis, the writer, has the first three issues being told by a different character so you get to see certain scenes told from different points of view like Rashomon."
The artist said his favorite character to draw in the series is Carter. "Yes, he's the obvious answer since he's the hero of the show, but seriously, Colin Ferguson has such a great face. He's got your typical hero features, 6'2", blue eyes, square jaw. He could totally be Steve Rogers for the Captain America movie," he said. "But then he puts on that perplexed look, which on the show is a lot, and you totally buy it. I love drawing that expression."
And the character who's the biggest challenge?
"Zoe, without a doubt," Dos Santos said. "Jordon Hinson is very pretty and has a very distinct look. This series takes place in between seasons 1 and 2. Zoe went through some changes in her look and style so I'm trying to balance that in the way I draw her. In the first issue I gave her bangs and had her wearing an outfit she would have been wearing in the first season. In the second issue I changed her hair to look more like it does in the second season as well as her outfits. I have to work very hard to get her to look just right. I'd like to think I pull it off more often than not."
Another challenge is making sure the high school looks realistic. "I don't want it to look like Zoe and Gene are the only kids attending Tesla High," he said. "I try and draw as many kids into the panels as I can."
Dos Santos said overall, he just tries to make the scenes look like they could all take place within the television show, because he knows what it's like to be a fan of Eureka and how important the characters are to the people who love the show.
"I hope to do the show justice," he said. "As a fan, I try to incorporate little things into the backgrounds that are actually in the show so my fellow Eureka lovers can look at each page and go, yeah, this could have been an episode."