Friday, March 18, 2011

my interview with Michael Zulli

It’s been two decades plus since your first big title with Steven Murphy: Puma Blues.
Is it available?

The books are not easily available—Ebay, perhaps.
The last 6 issues are not included in the two collected editions, by the way.

Do you ever think of revisiting this title?

Yes, Steven and I have discussed this, conclusion being, the time has to be right for both of us.
Knowing what we know now, we could do some real justice to the material. The two of us did the entire book by ourselves, under heavy deadlines. It’s just a matter of time and place…as all things are.

Your work on Sandman informed the comic world, such delicate line choices and use of color, it made a huge impact on this particular reader. Cutting out the inker middleman, your pencils made it right on to the page. How did you prepare for this, or did you?

Doing some of the Steve Bissette Taboo stories, I taught myself how to incorporate word balloons in black in the pencils –so it didn’t look just stuck on the page. For The Wake I had to submit two test pages to DC to prove that I could pull this off…Neil has these test pages framed at home.

You were a co-creator of Hob Gadling, one of the most intriguing characters in Sandman. I wonder, if you could meet any of the characters in the Sandman universe, who?

It’s always been Hob that I would love to sit down with.

What would you talk about?

Anything and everything… I’d probably ask him, what was it really really like back in the old days.
I’ve got this theory worked up on how he kept his teeth. Surely they were knocked out more than a few times in those several hundred years--- he was a soldier, he was in fights…I think maybe they just grew back after a couple of weeks, regenerating on some level—maybe he drank milk for calcium... Of course, Death is sustaining his life, so maybe she was taking care of him and his teeth, as they do magically seem to come back.

(At this point, I ask Michael what he thought about the bigger format of the Absolute Sandman volumes, since I know he likes to work big, he doesn’t like to feel cramped… He tell me he has not seen The Wake in this size. I pull mine off the bookshelf--- he proceeds to show me so many little tip-of-the-hat hidden details, I am in heaven listening. I tell him that Destruction is my favorite of the Endless characters.)

Destruction wasn’t modeled after anyone really, he’s got a dog that tells him he’s an asshole and he cooks his own food, mostly not very well. I really identify with him. He turns his back on the whole thing.

I have always drawn Delirium a little… scary. She could take anyone down. If you’ve ever experienced true delirium, it is madness. It is not a place you go to and come back from unchanged. You have to understand this madness to draw it. Her pupils were pinpoints, hollow-eyed pinpoints.

(*Kitty here again, see if you can find the Bridge of Sighs in The Wake…I am ready to re-read this with new eyeballs)

You just did a piece for Neverwear, an illustration of Neil’s
In Relig Oran what were your thoughts while in the process?

I simply tried to reach the emotional core of Neil’s poem.

Your latest project, The Fracture of the Universal Boy, is clocking in at over two hundred pages. It is now being crowd-funded on Kickstarter, with forty some hours to go.
Will this the only way to get the book? (GET IT HERE)

Bless everyone who has supported us so far—
It will be available via Amazon and Diamond after the initial run, but buying it through Kickstarter for the next hours or Eidolion Fine Arts will be where you get the special extras, the signed books, the limited edition prints---
It's just some more bang for your buck…

***(click here for the Kickstarter link, where you can get these special extras...)

You have hinted that this will be first in a trilogy.
Can you tell me about the plans for the second/third books?

I talk a little about it in my blog ...
The first book, The Fracture of the Universal Boy is the beginning of the end of a twenty year time frame.
The second book will be a transition between the past and the future.
The third book will be brand new territory for me.
It now has a title

What’s your dream job?

My dream job? I’m doing it.
I would however, like to see the finish of the Sweeney Todd project that Neil and I started years ago…again, it’s the coordination of available time…

Can you tell me some of the best advice you yourself got on your way up?

A teacher of mine in high school saw me as having some potential. He told me basically, don’t even think about doing art for a living unless I loved it more than anything else in the whole world.

One thing I have learned, if you are thinking about money, if it comes into your head while you are working, it’s almost impossible to not start to tailor the work for the public sale/consumption, rather than staying true to the reason you are doing it.
Unless you are very lucky, you must try to avoid thinking ahead of yourself. Be present when you are working on whatever is your discipline. Being present at all times is vital.

Tomorrow night is the opening of the group show at Gallery Nucleus Michael Zulli, Barron Storey, Kent Williams and more…
Come out and support the arts---


spacedlaw said...

Wonderful art!

Marjorie said...

Fascinating interview (I can't wait for the book)