The Shield character designs by Marco RudyWe continue our in depth look at DC's new Red Circle line with Marco Rudy and his take on the Shield, which debuts in September.
Newsarama: Marco, you live in Brazil, how did you break into comics in America?
Marco Rudy: I'm from Mozambique, in Africa. Currently I am living in Brazil. Long story short, I broke in through the internet and Deviantart. Back in 2005 I opened a Devart account. There I met an American writer, Grant Chastain and he invited me to join the Ronin Studios forums and work with him on a project called Corrective Measures. I did the 1st issue and almost immediately after that, I began talking with Howard Wong about this "drunk Super Hero" idea he had for a mini-series and we went on and off with it until Howard started talking with Image Comics' Jim Valentino and Kris Simon... eventually After The Cape came out, sold out, made me a very happy child! From that everything happened, very slowly. I did not get any jobs whatsoever for a while.
After I met Rafael Albuquerque and joined his studio, I got to meet and work with some great artists including Mateus Santolouco, Cris Peter, Edu Medeiros as well as Rafael, himself. I finally learned the art of inking and got my first inking jobs with BOOM! on the covers of Zombie Tales and Cthulhu Tales. I had a lot of learning to do, and meeting the right people helped. I met people like Eddie Berganza, Ivan Brandon, Brazilian superstars Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá and Rafael Grampá. The wheels started to turn and I met more new people connected to the comic-book world. They had different opportunities for me, which eventually landed me at DC, with Final Crisis last year. Since then it’s been a blast! I've worked with a personal favorite writer, Greg Rucka on Final Crisis: Resist; and another writer that became a personal favorite after NY: Mech, Ivan Brandon. Ivan and I worked on Final Crisis: Escape. Now, I'm the ongoing artist for The Shield series.
NRAMA: As you said, this is your first on-going assignment for DC, how did you get the job?
MR: Well, while working on Final Crisis: Resist I got word that Greg Rucka's co-writer, Eric Trautmann was really enjoying my art and would like to work with me later, should the opportunity arise. Things went on and I got signed to draw the Final Crisis: Escape series with writer Ivan Brandon, which I loved! It gave me a unique opportunity to go crazy with story-telling in a very cryptic and weird storyline. I really enjoyed working with Ivan on that one. Eric was kinda “pulling the strings” so to speak to have me on board for either JSA vs. Kobra or The Shield, and I was approached by editors at DC offering The Shield as my first on-going project at DC. I turned them down at first, since I wanted to finish Escape, but in the end there was no way to finish my take on Escape in time... and I took The Shield. And that’s that.
NRAMA: Had you been a fan of the Shield prior to getting the assignment?
MR: Aside from knowing that somehow he inspired Captain America... no.
NRAMA: Rachel Gluckstern is your editor on the series, what did she tell you he wanted from the series?
MR: She basically told me “Glad to have you on board Marco. Have Fun!!”...and eventually she told me "...Pages Marco...Pages...we need 'em, please pick up the pace!!"
NRAMA: Irv Novick did the character designs for the Shield. How much freedom do you have with the design on the Shield in the monthly comic?
MR: When I was invited to join the team for The Shield, I asked if I could tamper with the costume a bit. I knew there had been newer version of the Shield as well as the classic golden age Shield. I just felt that, with the tone of this book being more real-world-military oriented, there could be a way to make the suit look super-heroic, still have the main idea, colors, but have a different "vibe" to it, more real-world. Most people tend to cling to classic versions of heroes and discard any new attempts at renewing the character's costumes, but in this case I just hope this comes out as a cool "new-age" version of the suit. I'm kinda handling it as if it was "Venom's symbiote" but a high tech one, you can see it in the "transformation", and how it works. My first design had no white boots and gloves, but for the final version I included them.
NRAMA: Aside from the costume, how are you going to differentiate the Shield from Captain America?
MR: Well their powers speak for themselves and one thing I'm definitely approaching, even in storytelling, is the idea that this guy is a soldier in a high-tech suit. Sometimes we don’t even see him fully "transformed", just the parts he needs to do his thing. Although the costumes share the same idea, even a similar color pallet, they ARE different. The idea is to make him act, as I said, as a soldier in a suit. He is not in an armored-high-tech suite like Iron Man or Steel, it’s a much more slick thing. I would love to draw a scene with both characters though.
NRAMA: What type of reference material do you get for the Shield’s stories?
MR: Rambo movies. Yeah, really, Rambo movies. Especially the 2nd and the 3rd ones. Eric Trautmann provides me with lots of Army references and I search for them as much as possible, for boots, vehicles, locations, etc, everything comes from real-life stuff, like the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Burma, for instance. I also use LOTS of movie reference, not just Rambo. Heck I use "Cowboy Bebop" for a reference, so… yeah, I use lots of different reference sources.
NRAMA: Finally, and to end on a bit of a tease, in your first story arc, the Shield goes to Bialya, home of Black Adam. Visually how do you represent Bialya?
MR: Well I'm using a combination of source material. I gathered some from Bialya and Khandaq, and mixing that with what I gathered from both Iraq and Afghanistan, such as locations, villages, and people. That's where Rambo 3 comes in handy... I also add in some Africa slums and villages to the mix so what you see; in the end is pretty much a salad with all those ingredients. Let's hope it comes to a decent taste altogether.Related: Tom Derenick on HangmanBrandon Jerwa on Inferno Eric Trautmann on The Shield Inking the Web: Talking to Hilary Barta Scott McDaniel: Hefting the Shield John Rozum: Keeping the Hangman at Bay