Praying for a Full Moon

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Last month, Mico Suayan replaced David Finch as the new artist on Moon Knight, joining Charlie Huston for the continuation of the novelist-turned-comic-writer’s spectacular run.

Once he made it into the door at Marvel Comics and the editors there were looking for a project that fit him, Suayan, located in the Philippines and good friend of New Avengers penciller Leinil Yu, almost couldn’t believe he was about to sub for the departing Finch.

With his second issue almost out, Mico gives us the lowdown on illustrating Mark Spector.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Working for Marvel is something many artists hope to accomplish at some point during their careers, but you get to work with a big name writer right from the start. Could you be any happier?

MICO SUAYAN: You have no idea how surprising it is for me to get a gig like this. First, I’m a nobody in the comic book business, and then all of a sudden Marvel gave me this truly surreal assignment. Joe Quesada was kind enough to trust me.

BF: As an extra treat, you got to draw the Punisher in your first issue. Did it take you a lot of effort to get Frank Castle’s look down?

MS: Not really. I pretty much already knew what to do with him from the start. I mean, he’s the Punisher! Everybody knows him. I gave him a very rough, chiselled look to make him more interesting and bad ass.

BF: What about Moon Knight? How do you approach drawing the character?

MS: I pretty much based Moon Knight with what David Finch has done. I mean he’s integral to the success of this book and it will not make sense in changing what’s been done. The only changes I think I have made for the character is to his alter ego Marc Spector. I made him less of a "pretty boy" and more weathered to show the stuff he has been through.

BF: Overall, Charlie Huston’s writing on Moon Knight demands the art establishes a very specific mood—lots of blacks and shadows. Do you consider these elements as part of your artistic strengths?

MS: Yes indeed. It’s one of my strengths in drawing. That’s why I really enjoy working on the book. And I really LOVE what Charlie is doing with the character.

BF: Did you find it hard to step in David Finch’s footsteps?

MS: VERY. I mean David Finch is one of my heroes in the comic book biz and when I found out about the job they were going to give me, it felt like I was in a trance. I used to look at David’s work on comic book shops, and especially Moon Knight. So, as I already said, it’s all very surreal on my part.

BF: When I look at your art, I see a style that has similarities with that of Bernie Wrightson, Richard Corben, and some of Timothy Truman’s. Was their work inspirational to you?

MS: To tell you the truth, I actually haven’t seen some of their work. I’m familiar with Wrightson’s work and I see some similarities in mine.

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BF: That said, since you’re from the Philippines, did any of the country’s star artists working in the US comics industry (Leinil Yu, Whilce Portacio, etc.) give you any advice?

MS: It was actually Leinil Yu who gave me a push in pursuing my career at Marvel. I was a little hesitant at first because I had a great job as a storyboard artist in this advertising company. I was working with great people. It was fun. And accepting work from Marvel means leaving them all. So, I was facing a dilemma during those times and I asked Leinil for advice. He told me "working for Marvel is like winning the lottery".

With that in mind, I made my decision to work for Marvel. Its not about the money though, comics is my first passion and working for them is like the Mt. Everest of any comic book artist.

BF: How did you land at the House of Ideas, and how did you end op working on Moon Knight specifically?

MS: Well it started with me sending stuff to Joe Quesada in his e-mail. I wasn’t sure if it was right because I knew then that applying for a job at Marvel through e-mail would not be entertained. But I was desperate back then, I had no job and was itching for a break. So that’s what I did.

It took months though before Joe e-mailed me back and I already had found that job back then as a storyboard artist. So, when he finally e-mailed me back he told me he liked my work and introduced me to Chris Allo, the great talent coordinator at the company. Then Nick Lowe gave me an assignment, but when his Axel Alonso saw the work I was doing, he e-mailed me and said he wanted me to join the Moon Knight team.

I thought it was a joke because my friends at work were very into practical jokes, but it wasn’t after all! [Laughs]

BF: You’re currently on Moon Knight to conclude the Midnight Sun story arc. Are you onboard beyond that as well?

MS: I’m not sure yet. But we’ll see. I would love to do a x-men or daredevil gig for them!

Moon Knight #10, Mico’s second issue, goes on sale next Wednesday, May 16.

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