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So if you’re illustrating Superman, steadily, for over a year, what would be your next project?
If you answered “X-Men” or some such top ten series, then that’d be the logical answer.
But if you answered “Adam Strange,” then you’d be artist Pascal Ferry, a man of passion and man who follows his passions. Illustrating the new “Adam Strange” mini series, on which writer Andy Diggle spoke yesterday, is Ferry and he took some time to talk to CBR News about his involvement with “Strange,” as part of CBR’s spotlight on fresh DC Comics series.
“When ‘Action Comics’ finished Eddie Berganza asked me what I wanted to do next,” explains Ferry. “A project with Joe Kelly was unfortunately rejected so I had to choose (or at least try to) other stuff. I always liked Adam Strange – the mixture between sci-fi & mystery, the nostalgic feeling, the rockets on his back…the fin. Drawing this guy meant the fun of drawing weird backgrounds, robots, spaceships…you know… the good stuff!”
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Fans have commented on the tweaked look of Adam Strange- the character now has a helmet, for example, as opposed to the skin-tight spandex “head covering” he wore before. “It’s my design. Just one of them, because as we go along in the series we will see some more outfits. I wanted to do something current and fresh, and at the same time something that doesn’t forget how the character was. I never wanted to obliterate the old look absolutely, nor did I want to do a comic with just a classic taste. Adam has to have a modern style. Or at least what I can give him.”
In updating Adam’s look, Ferry went to a variety of creative sources for inspiration, but they may not be the common ones you’d expect. “I´m trying not to fall into the typical ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Shirow,’ ‘Kishiro,’ ‘Evangelion’ stuff,” he reveals. “I think that this kind of reference has been used too much lately. I love all of them, but I want to try to something new. I’m looking at a lot of painters; Boklin, Keller, Mucha, Caspar Friedrich…I want to do a really fun and weird mixture of things. Or at least I try [laughs]!”
Having worked on Superman in various series over the last few years, Ferry learned to draw the fantastic and compares that experience with “Adam Strange,” saying, “Well working on Superman was one of the greatest projects that one artist can dream of doing. But at the same time, it’s a tough load of work. People seem to want a realistic approach toward the character and don’t like cartoonish, half realistic, or what a lot of critics say ‘Manga’ and to me, there’s no one-way to draw him. But working with Joe Kelly was an incredible experience, and I’m proud of our work there.
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“The difference? Superman depends (or at least it was the case when I drew him) on the others books that he’s featured in, and sometime the crossovers are unavoidable. ‘Adam’ is an 8 issues maxi series…all for me! (Well With Andy and Dave and Richard and…you know). ‘Adam’ is closer to what I would want to do in my future; concrete projects with one start and one very defined end. Maybe more near the European concept…as usual, only time will tell.
“Right now I’m doing my own inking, and putting greys by computer, giving the drawing the illumination that I visualise for every scene. It’s something very different than what I did in Superman. Now I have more control over the final product.. Eddie and Dan trusted me when I asked for this different approach…I always will be grateful for that trust! Dave McCaig is doing very cool work over the grey providing a lot of nuances and new details.”
Most fans haven’t heard or read much about Ferry, so the artist is happy to explain which artists influenced his unique art style. “Well my area of influences are a mixture of different cultures. European, American , Japanese- I think that’s like all artists currently working in comics. My first love in comics was Franquin, Mezieres, especially and Moebius, who impacted me greatly. Schuitten, Chaland, Steve Ditko, whose work made we want to draw superheroes. Buscema, Garcia Lopez , Kirby (of course!),Wayne Boring, And Spanish pencilers like Carlos Gimenez, Beá, Font, Albert Rué….
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“I started to draw comics after reading older Mexican Superman books from Novaro. But the moment I fell in love with comics was after reading Spider-Man: it was one of the most shocking experiences of my childhood!”
While Ferry is a man of few words, as English is not his first language, he does have some kind words to say about writer Andy Diggle. “Andy is a gentleman, very kind and cooperative. I’m lucky to be working with him. He will be big, bigger than he is now! He’s very good at visualizing the action scenes and also very credible with the dialogue. The tension in all his work is very real and very compelling, which makes it fun to draw.”
Getting back to the drawing board, Ferry says thank you to fans that have supported him and adds, “I hope that you and the readers can see my best work in America on ‘Adam Strange,’ as well as a fast paced and powerful story that will help to re-launch the character and other DC concepts. After ‘Adam,’ I’ll be working with one (if not my number one) of my favourite writers with one of my favourite characters- it’s a dream come true!”