Gerardo Gambone interview by Anthony Andujar Jr 11/3/23
Interviewee: Gerardo Gambone
Interviewer: Anthony Andujar Jr
Q1. What started you on the path and medium of comics? Why is comics the medium that speaks to you?
GG: It was certainly my parents, who led me into this fantastic world as a child. My father has always been a fan of Dylan Dog, a famous Italian comic book by Sergio Bonelli Editore, while my mother has always had a passion for drawing; she was the one who transmitted me the desire to communicate through my lines. Comics for me are the most popular and infallible form of storytelling, allowing to bring to life worlds, scenarios, and characters that no other medium is able to create so vividly and with such immediacy.
Q2 What were some of your influences that impacted your journey into comics?
GG: The answer to this question I believe unites many of the comic book artists of my generation. I can say that I am a digital native, I am 21 years old, so my influences come not only from the world of comics, but also from manga, animation (not only Japanese), cinema, and any other kind of external artistic impulse. It would be really difficult to list all my major influences, because, also thanks to social media and the Internet, every day I discover new artists and realities, which certainly somehow influence, even if unconsciously, my way of doing comics. I can definitely say that there are works and artists that I never stop admiring, such as, for example, on the Japanese front, to name a few, the works of the Japanese animation studio TRIGGER (and in the past GAINAX), such as Gurren Lagann, FLCL or Kill la Kill, or films like Akira and Otomo’s art in general, or other animation works like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo or Avatar: The Last Airbender Legend of Aang or Korra, on the Western front. While talking about comics, among the artists I recently follow and love the most I can think of Stuart Immonen, Pepe Larraz, Chris Samnee, Dan Mora, or Vincenzo Federici… but they are just the tip of the iceberg. I think the best way to keep one’s art fresh and continue to make progress is to keep as up-to-date as possible on what art and entertainment has to offer today, to be curious and interested in everything to keep creativity and the desire to improve alive.
Q3. What led to you working on Vampirella vs The Superpowers? What is it about Vampirella as a character that attracted you to the project?
GG: I had the pleasure and honor of working with Pasquale Qualano on the saga “Vampirella vs The Superpowers,” and in part it was also a stroke of luck. In fact, to make up for the production schedule I was called in for a Fill-in on the series, and it was a fantastic experience for me to work with Pasquale on such an iconic character that I had been following for a long time! Vampirella is a fantastic character, disarmingly beautiful and it’s always so much fun to have her act in the panels, she’s a real badass who definitely knows her way around and doesn’t let anything stop her, she tackles everything with a grin of sarcasm and a hint of sensuality that I adore and try as much as I can to convey in the pages.
Q4. What was the process like working with Dan Abnett and the rest of the creative team? What was your process when illustrating the pages that you were assigned to work on?
GG: As I mentioned before, working with Pasquale was great. Pasquale is a friend and he was formerly a teacher of mine in art school, so it was a great satisfaction for me to be able to engage with him in the creation of the comic. Dan Abnett’s scripts are perfect, everything is balanced and the pages are extremely smooth and easy to imagine. I enjoyed much of the work he did together with Alessandro Ranaldi on “Vampirella vs Red Sonja” last year, so being able to work with him was an honor.
Q5. You’ve worked on other projects such as Zorro, and Lady Zorro to name a few, what is it like venturing the world of Vampirella along with golden age superhero characters that sets it apart from other worlds that you’ve dabbled in as an illustrator thus far?
GG: It’s true, until that point I had never worked on a full-blown superhero comic book, Zorro and Lady Zorro, as heroic as they are, can be called adventure comics, but of course, I’ve been reading superhero comics since I was a kid and I was looking forward to being able to make one. Also, even though I had never worked with superheroes before, I have worked with Vampire characters before, such as Dracula on “Monster Tag Team” published by American Mythology Productions, so the manners of Vampirella were not entirely new to me! As for my process for making the pages… obviously in this kind of production, especially when you’re called for a fill-in, everything is fast, you have to be precise and calculating, there’s no time to waste, so I tried to make everything to the best of my ability without leaving anything behind by basing myself on the character designs Pasquale had already made and trying to make my own imprint that stayed faithful to the tone of the project.
Q6. When illustrating comics, what are some of the challenges that come with crafting in this medium? And what were some of the challenges when illustrating your pages for Vampirella vs The Superpowers?
GG: I think I answered part of the question above. The biggest challenges in these kinds of productions are the fast and hectic schedules, the desire to still make something to the best of your potential, for the readers, and also for yourself. In this particular case then, to work on a series in progress, I tried to stay true to what Pasquale had done before me, and also stylistically we compared each other a lot to reach a compromise that would not make the gap between one of my pages and one of his weigh heavily. On this, Ellie Wright, the colorist, also lent a great hand with her colors that accentuated the Noir atmosphere and blended the styles.
Q7. As an illustrator, what is your process when constructing pages from the scripts that you’re assigned?
GG: As soon as I get a script, I read the whole thing right away, straight off the bat, both to get an overview of the story, but honestly, as a comic book fan, also just out of pure curiosity. After that, if necessary, and if time permits, I sketch quick designs to get familiar with the characters. Having done that I proceed to make layouts, page by page, sometimes more, sometimes less detailed, and after the editor’s approval, I start inking right away, without going through the penciling stage, both to make the process faster, but mostly to make my line in ink more instinctive and less stiff.
Q8. What are your fave moments that you’ve illustrated for Vampirella and The Superpowers?
GG: As a fan of Noir movies, I loved drawing the scenes in which Agents Delaney and Sabitzer are lurking in cars and going incognito. But at the same time, I find that the whole tone of the script was intentionally very cinematic, so I felt these hard-boiled vibes throughout the comic. Certainly, the scenes where Vampirella is getting ready and putting on makeup to go out were also quite fun- it’s always nice to draw a femme fatale like her!
Q9. Are there any plans in working on more Vampirella stories in addition to other Dynamite characters?
GG: Unfortunately, that question is not mine to answer hahaha! Obviously, I would love to be able to work on Vampirella again, she’s a character I love, but it’s Dynamite we have to rely on and hope for the best! I hope my work on Vampirella has been appreciated, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll return to her pages!
Q10. Are there any projects in the pipeline that readers should keep an eye out for? And where can readers find and follow your work?
GG: For now I have a couple of different projects in the works, so I don’t think I can say much about them except that one of them will have to do with a vampire again, while the other is something new I’m working on with a colleague I’ve collaborated with before. That’s all I can tell you, except that it’s a MEGA BUSY time, as it always is anyway! You can certainly keep track of what I am doing if you are interested, from my Instagram profile @gambone_art (where I honestly post some nonsense as well) and from my Twitter profile @gambone_art (again). I am not very active on social media but I am trying to improve! In the meantime you can find my previous comics in the catalog of American Mythology Productions, and in the future… who knows!