Hector Collazo has inked many titles for Marvel and here he talks about his work with Scott McDaniel on the Fall From Grace, Tree of Knowledge and Elektra limited series.
Kuljit Mithra: Can you give a brief account of how you first got interested in comics and how you started your career? Any special training schools?
Hector Collazo: Wow... That's a big question. To start, I'd always been interested in comics. As a kid I had a pretty major collection going and had always been a fan of the X-Men, Captain America and of course, Daredevil. I used to spend a lot of time drawing my own DD adventures on sheets of typing paper! I had always had a natural art ability and so as I got older I eventually ended up going to the H.S. of Art and Design and from there participating in an intership program with Marvel they were offering at the time. I used my time as an intern at Marvel to learn as much as I could about comic art and the fundamentals of storytelling. I really learned a lot.
Mithra: What titles other than Daredevil have you worked on?
Collazo: I'll be honest, I've done work in more comics than I have even tried to keep track of. It really has run the gamet from just a few pages to entire issues. And since I've been involved in comics on and off since 1986, I've worked on everything from Alpha Flight To X-Men.
Mithra: Your stint on Daredevil started with the Fall From Grace arc by Dan Chichester and Scott McDaniel. From an interview I had with McDaniel a few years ago, he mentioned that he was trying to find a new style for his art. Were you brought in try out some new ways of inking? He has said that he was experimenting with line and graphic representations of his pencils in issue 319. Why did you eventually go with the graphic style?
Collazo: I had already been experimenting with a heavy graphic style of inking. Mike Mignola and Frank Miller were big influences on me. Truth be told, it was Pat Garrahy, Glenn Herdling and Ralph Macchio that thought our styles would mesh into something pretty special. After Scott and myself started working together, the look of the book just took off!
Mithra: Were there any worries that the ink would overpower the pencils and just make the pages seem to be too dark?
Collazo: I don't think there were any worries about that at all. We were working toward something very specific. Ralph gave us a lot of leeway to work on the look of the title. I think we felt, the darker the better...!!!
Mithra: What specific tools did you use?
Collazo: I have to be honest... I'd use Pen, Brush, Magic Marker, Crayon... Whatever would give me the look we were going for.
Mithra: I'm sure there were critics who said you and McDaniel were just copying Frank Miller's style on Sin City. Any comments on that?
Collazo: I think at first there was a bit of sampling of the "Sin City Look" but I think we moved through it and went on to create our own specific style.
Mithra: What did you think of the new armoured costume?
Collazo: I always thought it looked really cool but didn't quite understand why a man-without-fear would care to wear armour.
Mithra: Had you been a big DD fan before your inking stint?
Collazo: Are you kidding me..? Daredevil was one of my favourite characters of all time..! I was on Cloud Nine when I was offered the book. Then added with the idea that we were going in an entirely new direction with the book was really a dream come true.
Mithra: You worked on Fall From Grace, and then Tree of Knowledge. After that you did the Elektra:Root of Evil limited series. Was there a plan in place for you, Dan Chichester and Scott McDaniel to come back to Daredevil after the Elektra limited series?
Collazo: We had all gone into the Elektra series knowing we were going to go on our separate ways after that project. I had originaly wanted to return to the book but the new editor wanted to try going another direction with Daredevil.
Mithra: What comics work did you do after Elektra?
Collazo: After Elektra was done, I shuffled off back into the trenches of Marvel working on various projects. I can't really say I knew what was going on with Daredevil. It seemed to just become an obscure title lost among the comic shelves.
Mithra: Is this particular way of inking more time consuming? You had help from Harry Candelario, Michael Avon Oeming and Rich Rankin on some of your DD issues.
Collazo: Not at all, if anything, the heavy graphic style was a faster way to work. It's either black or white. There were no "grays" to worry about. But there were scheduling concerns and as much as I hated to, I had to give some up to my fellow contemporaries in order to keep the book moving smoothly.
Mithra: How do you think your inking style progressed from FFG to ToL to E:RoE?
Collazo: I think during FFG, I began to see the pages exactly how McDaniel envisioned them and when we'd talk it was almosy uncanny that we'd be in total agreement about how specific things should be handled. When we got to E:ROE, I was totally comfortable with my line work and was definitly in sync with the look we'd created.
Mithra: Which one were you most happiest with?
Collazo: Of all of the Daredevil work we'd done, I'd personally have to say it was issue #325. I think it all worked for me. From the pencils to the coloring it all gelled to become the best looking issue I'd worked on.
Mithra: And finally, what are you currently working on, and what other projects will we see in the future from you?
Collazo: Right now I'm doing a good deal of work with DC Comics. Ironically, I just finished an issue of Nightwing with Scott McDaniel and look forward to working on a few more projects with him in the upcoming future. As for the rest, I'm working on a personal project due out soon. It's pretty top-secret. So much so that not even my close friends know what I've got up my sleeve...!!!
(c) Kuljit Mithra 1999
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear
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