WYRD was one of my favorite comics of 2019, so I was eager to talk to the creators of the miniseries. I had a wonderful chat with Curt Pires about writing the book in April. Now I’m pleased to present my interview with Antonio Fuso, the artist of WYRD, whose linework gave the comic an edge that perfectly encapsulates the dark, disheveled life of Pitor Wyrd. Read what Antonio Fuso said about the extra work an artist has to do on creator-owned titles, his collaborations with Curt Pires and colorist Stefano Simeone, and what to expect from him in the future.
What kinds of decisions go into choosing whether to draw a licensed comic or a creator-owned series?
Working on a creator-owned series is a “full package” experience. You not only have to deal with drawing the thing but also with how to sell the book in the best way, how to promote it, designing covers that stand out on shelves, creating an attractive design, choosing a letterer, contacting the artists who will draw variant covers, promoting it on social networks, and so on. Normally many of those things are dealt with by the publishers, but not on a creator-owned title. It helps to better understand the market you work in so you know what’s involved.
What made WYRD specifically a project you wanted to be a part of?
When Curt first told me about WYRD he said, “Think of John Constantine meeting James Bond”. I couldn’t say no!
How can a comic book writer keep you excited by the material as an artist?
By telling me that the characters, logo and cover design will be totally up to me, as well as the colorist.
Your linework has a very jagged look to it, with characters who appear to have seen more of the world than they cared to. Why do you think your art developed into that style versus something cleaner?
Well, I think my psychotherapist can answer this question better. Obviously it also depends on my artistic influences. I always preferred expressionism to photographic realism.
Does the art style an illustrator develops say something not just about them as an artist, but as a human being?
Not on a conscious level but, again, I’ll pass you my therapist’s email!
Did you appreciate that the opening pages were silent in several issues of WYRD, letting the art stand on its own?
I appreciated Curt’s script. The fact that opening pages were silent doesn’t mean there was not a script. Maybe a few years ago I would have answered otherwise, something like, “Hey, look at me! Who needs a writer!” But I think I’ve put that sort of ego aside. Though I’m still annoyed by critics who spend hundreds of words to analyze the script of a comic while relegating the artistic component to the last two lines. They’re both very important parts of making comics and should be treated as such.
Did you enjoy getting to draw different characters and environments in each issue of WYRD?
Yes, a lot. I tend to get bored very easily as an artist.
I love the bold, distinctive colors in WYRD. How did you and Stefano land on the style?
Stefano and I share the same studio in Rome. Since I’ve had the opportunity to choose my own colorist, I have always chosen him. We’ve worked on several projects together over the past few years so no one knows me better than he does. Sharing the same space makes it easier for us to communicate with each other and has helped us achieve perfect synergy.
Did you play a role in the development of the short stories featuring Wyrd included in the collection?
I chose Martoz as the artist of the backup story in Issue 2. I love his style, he’s great!
What can we expect from you in the future? More WYRD or new projects?
I’m working on several projects at the moment, one of which is a new creator-owned series with Curt. We also have exciting news about WYRD, so stay tuned!
Matt Chats is an interview series featuring discussions with creators or players in comics, diving deep into industry, process, and creative topics. Find its author, Matt O’Keefe, on Twitter and Tumblr. Email him with questions, comments, complaints, or whatever else is on your mind at firstname.lastname@example.org.