One particular skill that I have always envied and been amazed by from young is ones ability to create and illustrate pieces of artwork. It started with my love of Spiderman comics as a child, followed by a life long love for graffiti beginning in my teen years, to my love of walking around the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in absolute wonder, looking upon masterpieces that all came in one form or the other from the hand of man. It amazes me to this day. Maybe it’s because I don’t have the ability to draw a straight line or perfect circle that I can appreciate the skill and ability it requires to produce these pieces. Hey, have I mentioned that I make great eggs?
In all seriousness, it is with that sense of awe, admiration and respect that I recently sat down with George Amaru, long time creator, illustrator and all around amazing artist to talk about all things comics.
Hi George, how are you? Welcome to Popblerd!
I’m well. Thanks for having me.
Please, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, I’m a freelance illustrator, mainly for small-press comics, but I also do private commission for portraits and the like. I live in NH with my wife and two sons and when I’m not drawing or spending time with my family, I moonlight as a Martial Arts instructor.
When did your love for comic books begin?
My love for comics started very young. I became a huge Superman fan at about three or so, thanks to the Christopher Reeve films. My earliest exposure to comics themselves was through the mini-comics that came with the Super Powers figures and it just grew from there.
Growing up, what were your favorites? Have they remained so into adulthood?
For me, it’s always been Superman. I became very familiar with the rest of the DCU by extension, so I’ve always been a bit of a “DC guy,” though I like a lot of Marvel’s stuff as well. My top three superheroes would probably be Superman, Spider-Man and Batman.
Artistically, who has influenced you the most throughout the years?
That’s a tough one, since there are so many great creators out there. The ones that I looked to the most when I was first starting were Dan Jurgens and Tom Grummett. Today they remain on my list, along with Curt Swan, Ed Benes, Ivan Reis and Alex Ross, among others.
How have digital comics and modern technology impacted the industry?
One of the biggest impacts that digital media has had on the industry, in my opinion, is the way they’ve made it easier for artists to work and for new talent to break into the industry. Gone are the days when artboards need to be mailed in to the editor and then on to the inker, etc. We can now send scans via email/FTP and send our work on in minutes, rather than days. Also, digital publishing lowers the costs of entry for new talent trying to self-publish their work and the use of an online portfolio and social media like Facebook and Twitter, make it very easy to get your work out there and let people know about it. Someday, I think we’ll see a huge shift in sales as well, but I don’t think we’re there just yet.
It seems as though comic book culture is steadily growing more and more popular, (big budget films, ComicCon attendance & popularity). Has that popularity translated into more units being actually sold, or are the conventions and filmmakers the big winners?
The sales seem to show that while the TV & movie adaptations are making the characters and their merchandise popular, it’s not necessarily bringing people to the comic shops. Perhaps there are little bumps here and there, but I don’t know how many long-term readers are coming aboard.
In years past, comics were thought of as something that really only young boys read. Who do you think makes up the lion’s share of the fan base today?
In the industry, people are constantly talking about the “graying” of the comic fan-base. While many of us who got in as kids and teenagers are still reading, we don’t seem to be getting a lot of new, younger readers. We’ll see if DC’s “New 52” changes that at all.
What do you see in store for the future of the comic book industry?
I see movies and TV continuing to be major influences and outlets for the characters. I think we’ll continue to see an expansion of their presence in online games and other media. I think the advent of digital comics will help bring in new readers and keep current readers who are concerned with price, as the digital editions are often less expensive. Right now, I don’t think paper comics are going anywhere, but I think in the future you will see a shift to monthly comics going almost exclusively digital, with print being reserved for graphic novels and trades. I think that is still several years off, though. You may also see an increase in the amount, quality and popularity of independent titles, as creators learn to take advantage of digital technology and build a very interactive fan community, making their comics more of an experience than something that is just read.
What are you working on currently?
Right now, I’m serving as editor and lead artist on the “Havoc 21” anthology for Wolfman Productions. I’ve also just launched a Kickstarter project, for my creator-owned title, “Legacy of the Falcon.” If the campaign is successful, the first issue will debut in the spring, with a new issue coming out at least every quarter, though I’d like to be bi-monthly if possible.
OK, for the next 3 questions I need you to answer with the first thing that pops into your head.
1)Best film ever adapted from a comic.
Batman Begins. If you need an adaptation of a specific story, then probably Watchmen.
2)If you could have 1 super power, or be 1 super hero, who or what would it be?
I usually cheat on this question and say that I’d want the ability to absorb other powers like Peter or Sylar from “Heroes.” If I could be any superhero it would of course be Superman.
3) Worst, meanest villain ever.
Darkseid. There are many who could battle it out for this title, but ‘Seid is a cruel dictator with the power of a god who just wants to infect the entire universe with “Anti-life.” That’s not someone I’d want to mess with.
Thanks so much George for spending some time with us. How can we check out what you’re up to and follow what you’re doing?
Thanks again for the opportunity.
You can find me at my website, www.georgeamaru.com or my Facebook Comic-Con page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/118025278218878/ or you can follow me on Twitter @LegacyFalcon.
If you’re interested in the Legacy of the Falcon Kickstarter page, it can be found here: