NYCC: Kane is Able - Guevara talks "Solomon Kane"

Dark Horse is known for its seminal Conan series, and the company recently acquired the comics rights for some of Conan creator Robert E. Howard's other work. Scott Allie was originally slated to act as editor for a new series about Howard's character, Solomon Kane, but after some research, Allie decided to try his hand at writing the series instead. When CBR last spoke to Allie, the artist for "Solomon Kane" had yet to be chosen, but we now know the series is being penciled by Mario Guevara. CBR News caught up with Guevara to get his insight on "Solomon Kane."

At the character's most basic level, Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane is a 17th Century Puritan who wanders the Earth vanquishing evil. "Solomon Kane is a rough guy who's obsessed with justice, but instead of preaching from the bible like other Puritans, Kane uses guns and knives to right wrongs," Guevara said. "He is responsible for taking care of everybody, as God wills, and the ones that aren't disposed to good, the generally evil beings, he just eliminates them. He is smart and physically strong, but above all, he uses his two hands, the weapons at his side, and his conviction."

Guevara has long been a fan of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane: as a child growing up in Mexico, Guevara used to read "Conan" novels and comic books, many of which featured Solomon Kane backup stories featuring art by the likes of Al Williamson, Carmine Infantino, Tony De Zuniga and Jorge Zaffino. Guevara's long list of influences also includes Gene Colan, Joe Kubert, John Buscema, Alex Toth, Barry Winsor-Smith, Rafael Gallur, George B. Bridgman, Ernest Thompson Seton, Druillet, Mucka, Bilibin, Schille, Herman, George Bess, Moebius and Saturnino Herran.

Guevara first showed up on Dark Horse's radar after sending some of his work to editor Chris Warner. "Chris told me that he liked them, and that I should keep sending samples," Guevara said. Eventually, "Solomon Kane" editor Philip Simon contacted the artist, and the rest is history.

Guevara was already familiar with Scott Allie's work when he learned Allie would be writing the series, having read and enjoyed Allie's "Book of the Dead," "Book of Witchcraft" and some of his Lovecraft stories. "Now that I know that Scott will be in charge of writing 'Solomon Kane,' I think it's great," Guevara said. Guevara is also excited to be collaborating with "badass guys" like Dave Stewart, John Cassaday and Joe Kubert - Stewart is the colorist for "Solomon Kane," Cassaday is the cover artist, and Kubert is producing the alternate cover for issue #1.

Guevara had read some of Howard's original Solomon Kane stories, including "Rattle of Bones," but the artist said that when it came to developing the look for "Solomon Kane's" titular character, little research was required. "When Dark Horse asked me to send in Solomon Kane samples, I was able to draw him immediately, remembering the pictures that I saw as a child," Guevara said. Jeffrey Jones produced some seminal "Solomon Kane" artwork for an illustrated edition of Howard's original stories called "Red Shadows," and was cited by Guevara as an inspiration for his take on the character.

Unlike Conan, "Solomon Kane's" 17th century setting is an actual historical era, and one which Guevara has extensively researched. "I am still doing research," Guevara said. "I have been collecting art books on the New England colonial period for a while."

Guevara's favorite comic projects feature leads who are both heroic and realistically proportioned. "I have to keep them credible, give them an appearance that they could exist in reality and everyday life on the streets," Guevara said. "I don't believe I could ever draw Superman, Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four, unless I could make some changes, make them more credible."

"Solomon Kane" isn't the only project on Guevara's horizon. "I'm working on a short story for Heavy Metal with Ben Schwartz scripting, with ECV Press," Guevara said. And Guevara and writer Sean Fahey are finishing up a graphic novel called "The Mother Lode," chronicling the last battle of the American Civil War. "The battle was fought over a month after Lee surrendered, and the make up of the forces was unique. The Union forces included Apache volunteers and Black soldiers, and the Confederate forces included Mexican irregulars. It's an interesting bit of American history, with our own twist. Our goal is to find a publisher for that book very soon."

June is Robert E. Howard month at MySpace Dark Horse Presents, where readers will get their first look at Dark Horse's new Solomon Kane in an 8-page preview featuring art by Guevara. Look for the first issue of "Solomon Kane" to hit stands this September.

Guevara asked to dedicate this interview to the memory of his friend Alfredo Alcala.

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