Just a few short weeks ago CBR News spoke with artist Simone Bianchi about his career and his recent moves into the American market. An established artist in his home country of Italy, it’s only recently that he’s made moves in to the American market through work for DC on books like “Green Lantern” and “Batman.” This rising start in the American comics scene saw his star power rise exponentially recently when he signed an exclusive contract with Marvel Comics, as announced Saturday during the New York Comic-Con. Earlier this week CBR News sat down with Bianchi for another interview to see how this exclusive affects his current projects and what this all means for him.
Allright, the answer to my first question may be obvious, but it’s gotta be asked. Why sign an exclusive with an American comics publisher?
I grew up and loved superheroes book since I was a little “uncomparable pain in the ass”kid. I started tracing and copying Spiderman, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Batman and Superman way far before learning how to write and read. I’ve been loving this genre ever since– I just can’t help it– and I’ve been told USA was the perfect place for that– the country where superhero comic books were born and raised wealthy and prosperous.
I really hope the rumors were true…
Talk about the benefits you’ll feel as a result of this signing.
I was asked about signing an exclusive a few times already from both DC and Marvel, but I always thought it was too soon. I don’t want to lock up myself up and keep the freedom of doing different things for different companies at the same time. But right after “Green Lantern” # 6, I felt that the time has come for making this big step and I’ve realized that the benefits would have been way many more than the constraints. Money wise, too, obviously. It’s no secret that working under a contract (no matter which company) pays better than working as a freelancer.
See, that’s the thing: There is, especially in Italy and in Europe, this conviction that an artist should not be too interested in business, negotiation and stuff like that, and they should stay focused solely on creative or spiritual matters. But I do think that trying to improve your rates doesn’t take away anything from your talents– as long as you have any, of course.
It’s not a sin; it’s just part of the job.
OK, so right after “Green Lantern” #6 hit, you were approached by Marvel with a proposal, right?
Right, sometime early January. From that day on, it began a back and forth negotiations process between Marvel and DC that lasted something like three weeks. It’s been crazy– e-mails, calls from both sides, and endless talks with my family, my art dealer and best friend Sal Abbinanti and so on. As Sal says, it’s a good problem to have, but still it’s been, let’s say, nicely tough and confusing.
Just for you guys to understand the way I felt back in those days I quote a line from one of my e-mails to Dan DiDio. “Trust me Dan, though I am a crazy egomaniac and love all this mess and interest around me, I can’t wait for all this smoke to be completely clear and for getting back to work quietly, easily and with 100% of my full energy. That’s the only thing that ,in the end, really matters to me!”
Even these days I still have, in a certain way, to shake off that feeling and be able, again, to focus only on my drawing board work, as many hours a day as possible as I use to do right before all this begun.
But trust me, I will!
So, there was actually a fierce bidding war between DC and Marvel for your talents. What ultimately got you to sign with Marvel over DC?
Before ansewring this, please, let me tell the readers something that really matters a lot to me.
First of all, I’ll keep doing a cover a month for DC (with all the chance in the world the ongoing “Green Lantern” series). I couldn’t be any happier with how DC took care of me and treated me during this past year and a half. They’ve been amazingly nice, serious, professional and reliable about everything. They kept their promises, giving me the chance to work with some of the best writers in the business and expose my name to American fans for the first time, leaving me all the creative freedom in this world, and most importantly, turning my working relationship in something more. I am proud to call my editor Peter Tomasi a friend before anything else. But sometimes the heart goes one way and business another. Learning how to handle this, I guess, is a sign of balance and strength rather than weakness.
As for the practical reasons behind my choice, I would say I am definitely more familiar with Marvel characters than DC, due to the fact that here in Italy we have had a better and wider exposure to them. The support and promotion that the Italian and European division of Marvel (under the trademark of Panini Comics) could provide me here was an important factor in my final decison.
Allright, but how does this exclusive affect your ongoing work in Italy?
I won’t be publishing my own book here for the two years of the contract. Hopefully, I’ll survive all this.
Will you still be allowed to do creator owned work in Europe? And if you are, will Marvel get first look opportunities to publish your European work in the States?
I hope they will, but we didn’t talk about it yet. And plus, I still have to write and draw the third and last book of my trylogy “Ego Sum.”
Any idea where you’ll end up at Marvel? Have you been assigned a book yet?
Yes, but I can’t talk about it just yet. Stay tuned and when they do announce it, you’ll flip out!
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