terça-feira, 17 de maio de 2011

A Victorian Mindset: Interview with Rick Geary

He is the owner of a very distinctive drawing style and a peculiar taste for Victorian settings. A fan of the Gothic literature from the XIX century, his books are a intriguing fusion of sweet, fluffy character designs and heavy, dramatic plots. With a variety of works that include comics adaptations of Poe, Dickens, Brönte or Doyle and the illustrated covers of mainstream magazines, Rick Geary is one of the most talented illustrators of North America.

Octavio Aragão: You have a career in the Comics Industry and as editorial illustrator. Which is your favorite and which one is the "harder" to accomplish?

Rick Geary:
I enjoy doing both comics and editorial art about equally because each presents its own set of challenges. I'd say that editorial is harder in the conceptual stage and easier in the execution, while comics are just the opposite.

OA: You have produced a lot of comics works related to the Victorian era, such as adaptations of literary works of Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Alan Poe, or versions of the "famous crimes" of the period. What is so appealing in the XIX century pieces that inspires you so much?

RG: I've always been fascinated by the Victorian mindset, which hid its roiling passions beneath a cloak of propriety and reserve. It was really very kinky. During that time, the sensational press was just getting started, and people couldn't get enough of the grisly details of murder cases. In addition, I just enjoy the trappings of the period, the railroads and carriages, the clothing, furniture and nicknacks.

OA: The interaction of your drawing style and the gothic subjects are very unusual, transcending the traditional "gore" illustrations we are used to see in this kind of books (just came to mind the Berni Wrightson's version of Frankenstein as opposed to your rendition of Poe's stories). What assured you that your style was perfect for this kind of story - instead of a more juvenile narrative - and how was the acceptance of your first work proposal in this area?

 RG: I tend to avoid the direct representations of gore and violence. Not that I'm squeamish about such stuff, but my sense of the humor has always leaned toward the indirect and incidental. Plus the Victorian era was long enough ago to provide the detachment that makes a whimsical approach possible. The first stories I did in this vein were looked upon with doubt by some publishers. I'm not sure that my style was "perfect" for them, but it's that kind of narrative I was drawn to.

OA: You have an Art degree but also on Film too. How does it influence your work as illustrator?

RG: I originally wanted to be a filmmaker, but eventually realized that I'm not a collaborative person. I'm much more comfortable as a solitary worker at my drawing board, and the graphic story medium gives me the ultimate control of the material. Still, I count certain film-makers as important influences on my work: Bunuel, Kurosawa, Welles, Hitchcock.

OA: Last question: There are a lot of writers today that - in a way or another - fits with the "gothic" feeling, like Umberto Eco (The Name of The Rose), José Saramago (Memorial do Convento) or Arturo Pérez-Reverte (The Dumas Club). Any future plans to deal with contemporary literature?

RG: I think that the detached and whimsical approach of my Victorian stories would probably not work for the adaptation of present-day authors. Still, there are certain 20th century writers I'd like to adapt (like Nathaniel West), but with them you run into copyright problems.

Thanks and best regards,

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