Lightning Round with Michel Fiffe
Fiffe gained wide exposure in 2013 thanks to COPRA, a monthly series he not only created, but self-published as well. It was his take on Suicide Squad but done with an "outlaw" flair. His art is one of the major draws for m, his use of color pencils and watercolors makes for a very unique visual experience.
Despite having small print runs, the book garnered acclaim and a slew of fans. After working on other projects, he recently started a new volume of COPRA over at Image. If you haven't had a chance to check this series out, this is a great time to jump on this series. Alright everyone, lets get into the interview!
RYAN: How did you first get into comics?
MICHEL: It was love at first sight when I was a little kid. It's been a serious habit ever since.
RYAN: You have a very unique/distinct style. Who were some of your favorite creators growing up?
MICHEL: The Kevin Maguire JUSTICE LEAGUE comics and the John Romita Jr. Daredevil material made an impact on me early on. Then I discovered Evan Dorkin's PIRATE CORP$ and LOVE & ROCKETS by the Hernandez Bros as a teenager and that was it. Lights out. Those comics knocked me the fuck out.
RYAN: When did you decide you wanted to do comics for a living?
MICHEL: I must've been 8 or 9. I'm equal parts awestruck and appalled when I hear people "stumbling into" comics, or using it as a stepping stone. Must be nice to be casual about it! This stuff is in my blood.
RYAN: I most recently got into your work with COPRA. There is a clear love for Suicide Squad in the book. Where did this idea for this book first come from?
MICHEL: I wanted to prove that superhero comics -- or rather, genre-based action comics -- have the room to accommodate different styles and approaches, especially if it comes for one creator. COPRA is fundamentally a showcase for my views on how this material should be handled.
RYAN: The book is one of the most entertaining and fun books I've read in a while. One thing that stands out, is the coloring. Did you do color pencils traditionally or digitally?
MICHEL: Mostly it's hand-colored but I do some digital coloring, too. It's a mix: color pencils, watercolors, a little paint. It really depends on what the scene calls for and what tools I have around.
RYAN: Not only are you an amazing artist but an extremely talented writer as well. What do you love most about writing and illustrating?
MICHEL: That's mighty kind of you, Ryan. I have to say that nothing beats the combination of words and art, so the entire process is basically writing. The part I love the most is seeing it start to come together, which is the halfway point for me. The starting point is always a mess I need to organize, and the end result... that's for readers to determine.
RYAN: You started a new volume of COPRA recently, why did you decide to renumber as opposed to continuing the numbering?
MICHEL: There was a two year period where I worked on other titles for different publishers, causing me to put COPRA on hold. When I came back to COPRA, even though the story itself picked up right where I left off, a new #1 made more sense. It marked a big return with a new publisher (Image Comics), plus it made for a more appealing entry point for a new audience. Still kept the legacy numbers on the covers for the eagle-eyed diehards.
RYAN: Are there any projects you're currently working on that you can talk about or tease?
MICHEL: COPRA will dominate my drafting table for a while. I'm working on the next story arc and it's the big payoff after years of building. It's yet to be scheduled, but I'll beat the drum when it's ready to go.
RYAN: What else besides comics do you use for inspiration?
MICHEL: Vintage illustration, Cuban propaganda posters, video game packaging from the 80s & 90s... it's forever changing. The key is to keep inspired no matter what.