I’m always on the lookout for new and innovative comics and the creators who make them possible, and this year has already been a great one for creator Jorge Corona. His work on Goners with writer Jacob Semahn, and his work as both writer and artist on Feathers, two uniquely wonderful series, caught my attention very quickly. So, when I had the opportunity to chat with Jorge about his work and background I jumped at the chance. The creator talks about his introduction to the medium, his inspiration as an artist, and his current and future projects.
Outright Geekery: Tell us about yourself? How did you get into comics? What some of your all-time favorite comics? Your favorite creators?
Jorge Corona: Well, I think I got into comics through animation. You see, while I was growing up in Venezuela comics weren’t really a big thing, just the comic strips that came at the back of the newspaper, although those did introduced me to the Phantom, and I still freaking love that character. But as a kid I was really into cartoons, I grew up watching shows like Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Batman: The Animated Series, and stuff like that; loved to draw all of those guys but I could never make them move, so it wasn’t really the same. It was on a family trip that I came across a magazine stand in a grocery store and saw that they had these picture books with stories about Batman and all those characters I loved. It was love at first sight and, after that, I have never looked back.
I think trying to narrow down my favorite comics is probably the hardest think you can ask me, haha. But there are definitely characters that have stayed with me and creators that have either come up with them or worked on stories about them. Batman, Hellboy and all the BPRD universe, Blacksad, Corto Maltes, to name a few are some of the characters I still get excited every time I find new stories to read. As for creators, Mignola is obviously on that list, along with Bruce Timm, Guy Davis, Eric Canete, Skottie Young, Tim Sale, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. I don’t know, admiration and inspiration comes from many different sources nowadays, and with the increasing number of fantastic creators and artist hitting the shelves, that list keeps getting bigger.
OG: How did you get your start in the comics industry? What is, in your opinion, the most rewarding aspect of your work?
JC: My start came along the time I was going to Savannah College of Art and Design for a MFA in Sequential Art, there I met almost all of the people I’m lucky to work with now. It was through another student that I was introduced to Alex Antone, editor at DC who gave me my first gig with pencils for a Justice League Beyond story with the first appearance of the Flash Beyond character. It was an amazing opportunity, not only because it was my first time working in comics professionally, but because I was working with characters and a universe I grew up watching in the animated shows by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. After that I was lucky to get involved with projects like Teen Titans GO!, Goners, and now working on my own title with Feathers.
I think, what keeps surprising me and motivating me to work in this medium, besides the fact that I’m fulfilling several childhood dreams here, is the reaction and the enthusiasm of people about these stories. And I know that’s very cliché to say but, there was a moment in last year’s Denver Comic Con where I had my head down on the drawing pad, working on a commission, and I looked up and saw this girl cosplaying as Danica, the Flash Beyond character I helped design, and I can’t tell you how amazing that felt. Derek Fridolfs, who wrote the character, was also there at that Con so we got to share that freak out moment, it was pretty cool. There’s something about kids coming up to your table, all excited because I draw the characters that they love, and they just want to share that with you, I was there once. And now, with Goners and Feathers out, all the support and awesome comments we’re getting on twitter and stuff like that; people excited about the stories, living them along with us. I can’t be thankful enough for that, and I think is what keeps most of us passionate about our work.
OG: We loved the first issue of Feathers. Tell our readers about it?
JC: Feathers is a dark fantasy story about a very mysterious boy named Poe and the first friend he ever makes, called Bianca. Poe is a boy covered completely in black feathers who lives in the streets of the Maze, and Bianca is the daughter of a wealthy family of the White City. The story centers on the first time these kids meet and how, through their eyes, mysteries and true natures will come to light and reshape the world they live in.
It’s a tale of friendship and self-discovery. Even though they come from completely opposite lives, they have both been overprotected and sheltered kids, this will pull them together, but at the same time, they have both very different ways of viewing the world. In the process they will meet new friends, as well as some dark characters.
There’s a lot of duality in this book and you’ll see it reflected in the characters as well as in the world itself, there’s a lot of division and you’ll find counterparts to almost every point made, but nothing is ever that black and white.
Feathers is an all-ages book, trying to have exactly that, something for all ages. There are themes beyond the adventure of the two kids that deal with problems, well, bigger than them, and it has been fun to play around with how to show it with the innocence, and sometimes naivety, of a kid’s mind.
OG: What are some of the inspirations that influenced Feathers?
JC: Feathers started as a short story idea based heavily on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Since that it has changed and expanded a lot, but that sense of fairy tale stayed with it. I’m a big fan od adventure stories, so there’s a lot of that structure there too, as well as some superhero tropes, couldn’t run away too far from that, haha. But besides all that, there’s also a lot of real life conflicts that I thought would be interesting to deal with in a setting like this. The great thing of using kids as the main characters, is that there’s a inherit notion of discovery with everything they experience, It’s a new world for the reader and a child’s point of view is perfect for them to tag along.
OG: What can we expect see in Feathers down the road? Is it possible we will see another mini-series, or maybe an ongoing series?
JC: Feathers is a world that will constantly expand, and if all goes well, there are ideas for two more arcs after this one. I do have an ending in mind for Poe and Bianca, but it will take a bit to get there. This first arc will leave this world exposed, and there are resolutions at the end, but there will also be a few mysteries open to be resolved later on. As for ongoing, this world has many corners and dark edges, so there’s always opportunities to go exploring those paths, probably more in spin off types of books, if we ever get to that.
We really depend on our readers and their support, and for as long as they allow me, I’ll keep telling the story of Poe and Bianca.
OG: Looking at your artwork, I get the impression that your style may have been influenced by Hellboy creator, Mike Mignola. Can you tell us about what influenced your art style?
JC: That was an easy one! Mignola is one of may favorite creators of all time, not only do I find his art style fascinating, but also his world building. His work has definitely been one of the biggest influences in my own. But like I said before, a lot of what I look is also animation, and there’s a lot of that in the way I draw too. I love the expression and the movement in animation, everything from the concept work to the final product, and I try to bring a little bit of that to my pages.
I’m also a huge fan of art styles that take a bit of abstraction and conceptualization, that have a personality behind them. So when I look at comic creators, those who have managed to get that across with their work are the ones I find myself gravitating to.
OG: Let’s talk about Goners. We have been loving it here at Outright Geekery. Tell us about Goners and what it’s about?
JC: Thanks! Goners has been an amazing project I’ve managed to work with. It caters to a lot of my other childhood interest and I’ve loved every minute of it. Goners is the story of the Latimers, a family of paranormal hunters who have been in the business for many generations. This time, we’re centering on the youngest members of the family and how, in one night, their whole world has been shattered, forcing them to run for survival while trying to figure out who’s behind the impending demised of their bloodline, and maybe, if they survive, taking their place as the new protectors of our world.
OG: How is it to work with Jacob Semahn? When we interviewed Jacob, he said that once he saw your portfolio at the NYCC and knew you were the artist for Goners. Did Jacob already have a concept for Goners, or was it a more of collaborative process?
JC: Jacob, I’ve come to discover, is my long lost brain twin. I met him at NYCC and a little bit after that the contacted me about this project he had. He sent me the script for the first issue of Goners and I loved it. By that point we were both kind of testing water with each other and I sent him my impressions and directions I saw the book going visually, surprisingly we were both on the same page right off the bat. At that point I had no idea if Jake had an actual vision of how the book would look, but the more we talked about it the more we realized we were visualizing it the same way. Jake definitely had the whole story idea plotted out and I loved everything about it, so for that part I mostly followed lead. If I ever saw a different way of showing something on the page I would bring it to him and he has been always receptive about it. Visually he does the same, I tackle the book as I see it and when he has a different view point or some notes we work together to change them. It has really been a wonderful collaboration where we respect and admire each other’s craft, personally we have no respect for each other… but hey, that’s friendship.
OG: What can we expect from Goners #4 and beyond?
JC: Expect for things to change from running away to face head on. The Latimers have been the victims for the most part of the story so far, forcing them to run way, but now the table will turn and they’ll be in the offensive, Time to get some answers, and it will get messy in the process.
OG: Any upcoming projects you want to our readers to know about?
JC: There are a few smaller projects I’m currently working on as well as a few stories I want to flesh out and see where they take me. For now, we just got green light for a second Goners run later this year, so expect those Latimers back with more shenanigans; and hopefully working on those other arcs for Feathers too, really excited to take this story to the end.