Interview with Jesus Aburtov (December 2023)

The colorist on DAREDEVIL talks about working on the title with Aaron Kuder, and also the challenges of using the color "red" when related to DD. Many thanks to him for this opportunity!

Kuljit Mithra: Thank you for doing this interview and welcome aboard DAREDEVIL! Since you are Marvel exclusive, was this a case of editorial finding you a new project, or did you ask to join the new art team with Aaron Kuder?

Jesus Aburtov: Thank you for your questions!!! It was a decision by the editorial team.

Mithra: DAREDEVIL is known for having some great art teams, so I was wondering if you felt any pressure following Matt Wilson's colors over Marco Checchetto?

Aburtov: Yes of course! They make an awesome art team and did an incredible job! I researched their run and also I researched and dug into Aaron's art to see how could I go further in coloring it. I was pretty nervous, because it was a big change in the art style, and I know DD has a very exigent fan base.

Mithra: One thing I've noticed from the first four issues is your use of light sources. The bulbs in the hallways, light coming through windows, and also fire. The palette you're using is bright and the light is creating depth on what would normally be complete solid colors. Was this something you are purposely trying, considering many colorists on DD in the past have kept it dark.

Aburtov: Well, I was very doubtful about changing the color style or going with my usual coloring style. Then I thought that my editors chose me because of what I'd been doing for other books for sooo long time, if they wanted another coloring style they would choose another colorist. I did my best in the time I had and was expecting a lot of corrections.

Mithra: I also wanted to ask about your use of reds. Obviously with DD's costume, you've got the red which looks great combined with the light I mentioned before. It really pops off the page. You're also using reds in the backgrounds of many of the splash pages (and double splashs too). The red background with the red costume really does make it seem more violent or dangerous.

Aburtov: Yeah, it is hard to manage reds. I'm always looking to make it not too noisy. You know, too much red, can cause a headache. But sometimes it's like I have no choice because it is the radar FX because is how Matt "sees". And, I think it is one of the books that red should be important, because of the mood of the book, and the main character.

Mithra: Did you experiment with which red to use for DD's costume? What made you decide on the one you're using?

Aburtov: Yeah! I use to name "red ketchup" and "red tootsie". First is aiming to orange, and second to magenta. So, DD uses Red Ketchup, but if it is the only red element in the dark environment, it goes saturated "basic red", nor ketchup nor tootsie. If the environment is warm, like fire surrounding him, then I chose tootsie, to make a little contrast.

Mithra: When there are different artists on DAREDEVIL, do you change up any of the things you'd normally do? I've noticed on Farid Karami and German Peralta's art, the colors are slightly darker. Or is that just different inkers with a thicker line creating an impression of darker colors?

Aburtov: Oh, that's because they add gray tones to his art. So, that's black ink adding to the color ink at the end. Sometimes, when there is a chance, I select some areas to change those grays to another color, or in case the art was digitally generated, I ask the artist to send me his file in layers. So I can play a little and change those grays, FX, or halftone screens to another color.

Mithra: Are you working closely with Saladin Ahmed and Aaron Kuder for any input or discussion about color choices, or are you mainly working with editorial when you receive the pages?

Aburtov: Yeah! We are on the same email list so I can see when Aaron is sending pages, sometimes he adds references or notes of what was in his mind. When pages are colored, I send them and everybody is welcome to comment. I'm very open to making adjustments and corrections when there is time.

Mithra: Thank you again for doing the interview. What other titles are you currently coloring for Marvel, so readers can check out your work there?

Aburtov: Thank you again Kuljit for considering me for this interview! I loved answering each question! And thank you very much for your support. It means a lot for us, the artists and editors involved in this book. I'm right now working on "Fantastic Four" and "Black Panther".

(c) 2023 Kuljit Mithra & Jesus Aburtov
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

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