As a new Lucifer series launches this week from Vertigo, brothers Max and Sebastián Fiumara are incorporating a variety of styles for the title that follows three storylines set in different realms.
Lucifer, which is part of Vertigo’s “Sandman Universe” roll-out of new titles, picks up the title character’s story as he has hit rock bottom, trapped in a strange prison dimension that looks like the small town from a horror movie. But the series also follows other characters in other realms, each with their own artistic feel by the Fiumara brothers.
The Argentinian artists often work individually on comic book interiors, although they’ve collaborated on projects in the past, including Dark Horse’s Abe Sapien. But they united for Lucifer, working with writer Dan Watter and colorist Dave McCaig.
Newsarama talked to the pair of artists to find out more about their work on Lucifer.
Newsarama: Max and Seba, how did you get involved with this project?
Max Fiumara: We were introduced to the project by the new DC Vertigo team. I’ve worked with Amedeo Turturro, one of the Lucifer editors, before, and we wanted to do something else together again. He talked to me and Seba about a couple of projects, and this one was just impossible to say no to since we both had spent our teenage years reading Vertigo books and dreaming about the chance to work on one of them. Lucifer was that chance!
Nrama: How would you describe your style overall and how that style is utilized as you’re drawing the world of Lucifer?
Sebastián Fiumara:Max and I gave a lot of thought to our style when approaching this book.
From the beginning, we were sure we wanted to try something different from what we’ve been doing before, and we didn’t want to limit ourselves with only one way of doing things. We wanted to take advantage of the diversity of the book, really focusing on how to play with the storytelling elements that Lucifer presents.
For example, each issue tells three stories that are connected, each focusing on different worlds or realms. There’s this village where Lucifer is lost; another more grounded, real world where we’ll follow this new character John Decker; and a third special sequence that is kind of little bits of a puzzle that will be revealed through the issues. We wanted to embrace each of these parts in different ways and try to adjust our styles to that.
To highlight this third puzzle scene, we decided to flip arts. So in issue #1 Max takes care of the majority of the book while I do these two pages of the puzzle scene. And in issue #2, it is the other way around.
Nrama: Are there any tactics in particular that you used in the art that help create the mood in Lucifer?
Seba: We definitely try ways of embracing the different moods we found in the story. I think we try to find our visual spirit for each mood first, as reference or inspiration and then move forward with that in mind.
There are issues that are more horror driven, others more focus on characters’ drama. And there is some dark comedy too. We try to adapt to that in style and also in storytelling, in the way we display the panels on the page, or the way we break panels … how we play with the camera and shots. And even with the way we ink the pages, sometimes more clean linear and sometimes more violent and rough, sometimes more delicate and smooth with washes.
It’s all about how we feel the scenes we want to tell.
Nrama: In what circumstances will we see Lucifer in the first issue, and how did that inform the way you’re drawing him?
Max: We start off by finding Luci blinded and trapped in this kind of prison, a weird place, by people he doesn't know, and he’s trying to dig his way out. Also we can see that he’s not in control and basically falling apart. This is not the way we used to see Lucifer, so that gave us a guide to do something very different with his design — he’s grown a long beard and hair, and he looks fragile, unkempt and skinny.
Nrama: What other characters and settings did you get to draw for Lucifer, and can you describe your approach to them? Any favorites or characters who were challenges?
Max: Dan has created an amazing cast of characters for the book. There are a couple that I can’t talk about, but all of them are real fun to play with on the pages.
I can say that we’ll meet some witches and they have an awesome background. We designed them from scratch, adding some weird elements to them such as rat tails. They are my favorite ones, as well as the shadowy clowns made of pure darkness that we’ll see in issue #1.
One of the new settings is this place were Luci is trapped. We see a cool looking village, unknown to him. We decided to make it look a bit stranger than usual by bending some architectural rules. We want the reader to feel that they can have a hint of the place but not to understand it all. We want to show some fragile lines for buildings, which are in some way incoherent parts of a crazy puzzle.
Nrama: How has it been working with Dan Watters, Dave McCaig and the team on Lucifer?
Seba: It has been a great experience, really. When we started to talk about this project with Dan and [editor] Amedeo [Turturro], we instantly felt very much in sync with them and their ideas for the book. We talked about comic books, music, painters, etcetera, as our inspiration guides, and it seemed like we all were talking the same language.
Amedeo brought Dave McCaig in, and we can’t be happier with what he is doing with the colors. He came in later to this project but he is definitely in sync with the world we all want to build and he is making it feel more rich and grand.
The entire process is very collaborative, from Dan to Amedeo, [editor] Molly [Mahan] and [assistant editor] Maggie [Howell], to the incredibly talented letterer, Steve Wands. Every step is reviewed by all parts of the team, and we give notes to each other back and forth and try to make the book the best it can be.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell readers about your work on Lucifer?
Seba: The making of Lucifer is a very creative process for all of us. We hope readers are engaged with this book as much as we are, and enjoy the diversity of the characters and story as we do.