In December, Aquaman gets a new direction and new creative team, as Kelley Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha kick off their run on issue #43. And according to Rocha, the partnership with DeConnick is not only the best collaboration he’s had, but he thinks the resulting artwork on Aquaman is also his best.
This week, readers of titles from DC will get a five-page preview of the Rocha’s first issue. The new direction for Aquaman will spin out of the conclusion of the “Drowned Earth” event. And according to the preview, Aquaman will be far from home and unaware of his powers or history when the new direction begins.
Newsarama talked to Rocha about his artistic background, what it’s been like working with Kelly Sue DeConnick, and what else we can expect as he begins drawing Aquaman.
Newsarama: Robson, what is your history of how you got involved in drawing comic books? How did you start knowing about comic books, and what made you want to start drawing them?
Robson Rocha: I’ve always loved to draw. The first memory that comes to my mind from my childhood is from when I was drawing. It was always very natural.
I watched a lot of cartoons on the TV. I don’t remember exactly when, but I remember my older brother getting home with several X-Men and Spider-Man comics — sorry DC! — and I was instantly enthralled by comics. Ever since, I’ve always read them and bought them every chance I had.
But it was only in my teenage years that I found out there was an agency here in Brazil booking artists for American publishers. I managed to get in touch with said agency, and after a long, long, very long time doing tests, I was assigned, through Joe Prado, to my first job for DC Comics. And I’ve been working with them to this day.
Nrama: How did you develop your style? Did you attend any type of art school?
Rocha: I am self-taught, never had any kind of formal instruction. I try to channel in my drawings everything that I would like to see in print, but 99% of times I feel very fussy about my work [haha.] Sad but true.
Nrama: Who would you say are your influences?
Rocha: John Buscema, Lewis Larosa, Adam Hughes, Alexander Lozano, Rey Macutay...it’s hard to name everyone. There are countless names. I always find a new artist that, one way or another, ends up influencing me.
Nrama: What is the greatest challenge in drawing a character like Aquaman?
Rocha: I think every page is a challenge, but especially making him look believable.
Nrama: OK, then what is the most visually satisfying part of drawing Aquaman?
Rocha: Ohhh the creatures!!! I am such a big fan of drawing monsters, fantastic beings, all those mythological visuals...I’m simply loving it!
Nrama: Let’s talk about your partnership with Kelly Sue DeConnick on this title. How has it been working with her as a writer?
Rocha: No shadow of a doubt this is my best writer/artist partnership. Kelly Sue is simply fantastic!
When we started the project, I thought it was incredibly sensitive of her to ask me what I would like to draw. Damn, that was commendable! I felt she really wanted us to have a great experience in doing this project. Seriously, I am lost for words to praise the excellent work she’s doing and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.
Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell fans about your experience drawing Aquaman or what readers can expect from the comic book?
Rocha: Man, this is my best work, indubitably. I am having a really great time with it, and hopefully I can pass on to the readers all the grandeur of the story Kelly Sue is doing for Aquaman.