This week on our interview feature Multiversity Comics Presents, we have one of our favorite artists and a rising star in the industry: Francis Manapul. Manapul is perhaps best known for his recent work on Adventure Comics with Geoff Johns, who evidently liked him so much he decided to take him over to the Barry Allen Flash title. His work on that title looks like will quickly make him one of the biggest names in the industry as his work is on par with some of the great names who have drawn that title.
Hope you enjoy this, and if you haven’t yet make sure you check out Manapul’s work. It really is quite incredible.
How did you get started in comics and, more specifically, at DC?
FM: I got my first work published in a book called Love in Tights which was written by J. Torres for SLG. This lead to us working on Monster Fighters Inc. for Image comics and eventually to Top Cow. I had been in contact with DC for quite a bit before I actually began working for them but I took some time off to work on a french graphic novel (Sept Guerrieres, and Iron and the Maiden. Once I was ready they welcomed me with open arms and started work in the Legion.
How did you become Geoff Johns’ new go-to guy for artwork, and what’s it like work with him? Any dirt on him you can share? Besides his complete and utter obsession with slurpees, which he shares on Twitter constantly.
FM: After working on the Legion, I had a few meetings and conversations with Dan about what I should work on next. I had a wishlist of writers I wanted to work with and Geoff was at the absolute top of that list. To my surprise he wanted to work with me too. From there it was just a matter of figuring out what that would be, which lead us to Adventure Comics. Dirt? I don’t know about that he couldn’t be more of a perfect collaborator! And his love of cereal and slurpees assures me we are on the same wavelength!
What’s it like to work on two of the most revered titles in DC history? Are you excited about working on the Flash, even with the fan base being a particularly rabid and critical one?
FM: I’m absolutely ecstatic to be working on the Flash! But it was very bittersweet as Geoff and I had to leave our run on Adventure Comics sooner than I had hoped. We really fell in love with that book so it wasn’t easy. However the opportunity The Flash presents for us is quite exciting and he’s been a character I’ve been itching to draw. And to be able to do it with Geoff is a double score! And one! There’s a lot that we want to do and many ways I want to portray his speed. There’s going to be some adjustment period I’m sure for the readers who have grown accustomed to Ethans amazing art since we’re quite different artist. But I look forward to bringing in a different audience but hope the current readers hang around to at least check it out.
If every speedster in the DCU lined up and raced like they were in NASCAR, who would win? And now that we’ve mentioned the idea, what are the chances we’ll be seeing an issue or two revolving around this in the future? We only would need a story credit.
FM: um…Barry with Wally just a hair behind! I really wanted to say Wally but you know.. Barry is the source. As for story credit, don’t worry about that kinda stuff we’ll never see this story happen! hah!
After moving from Top Cow to DC, was it hard drawing clothing on your characters again? I could imagine it would be quite the change for an artist.Continued below
FM: Actually I found it quite the opposite. I drew more clothing at Top Cow than I did at DC. Main reason is that even though the DC characters I’ve tackled have costumes on they are pretty form fitting so they might as well be naked. LOL. It’s quite a misconception how books were visually portrayed at Top Cow. When I was working on Witchblade since it was a police crime drama, there were more civilian clothing than I was used too. I didn’t think I’d be clamoring to draw tights as much as I did after that run. It was strange because prior to working at Top Cow as an aspiring comic book artist all of my samples portrayed heroes in tights. When I started working at Top Cow I had to learn how to portray drapery quite fast. So it was a very valuable experience in learning how to portray real world scenarios.
Is there any chance to seeing some original material or perhaps an art book in the future?
FM: Actually I did put out a hardcover art book this past summer. I haven’t made them available on line yet but once I get a bit of a breather they’ll be up. I have a few original ideas kicking around in my head that some of my friends and I are working on, but again due to my schedule it’s just a matter of not having enough time.
What is the single weirdest thing anyone has ever asked you to sketch at a con? Any other bizarre non-sketch related requests?
FM: There was a guy that had a sketchbook theme of portraying “camel toe”. I politely declined to contribute.
Blue Jays, Raptors or Maple Leafs?
FM: Raptors. I loves me some Basketball.
Were you at all disappointed by the death of Hobo Darkseid? (in case you don’t know, Hobo Darkseid is Matt Fraction’s Twitter account told from the perspective of a version of Darkseid, only if he lived behind a dumpster and constantly discussed representations of Anti-Life in pop culture)
FM: Never heard of it but it sounds funny as hell!
If you could imagine yourself as a superhero (or villain, we’re not here to judge) who would you be most like? Have you ever drawn yourself as him (or her…once again, not here to judge)? No lying.
FM: I’d love to have Nighcrawlers powers. Only without being blue. More like the guys from Jumper. I love to travel I just hate the commute. Plus it’s not an earth changing power so noone will expect me to save world or anything. I kinda draw things that I know. So a lot of times the main characters that I draw have some sort of ties to me, in terms of what I wear or how I do my hair. Conner Kent is a perfect example of that. I really related to the character and his relationship with his dog so quite a few of the things he wears is straight from my closet.
Who would win in a fight, a taco or a grilled cheese? Better yet, any way we could get a quick sketch depicting this epic battle?
FM: I dont know.. a Taco since it has more ingredients? As for a sketch? I wouldn’t hold my breath for it!