This week we sit down and talk to the one and only M.A. Garcias. If you like comics, and we’re sure you do, you’ll want to take a peek at M.A. Garcias is up to click here.
What was your reason for getting into comics? That is, how did you end up involved in comics?
I’ve read comics all my life (I think I may have read comics before anything else) and I’ve been drawing comics since I was 8 years old, and I just never stopped. Many kids draw, they just stop doing it, but I was stubborn like that. As a kid it was the perfect outlet for my creativity: they were cheap and fast to do (they were back then, anyway) and you could tell any story you came up without worrying about resources. Later during my teenage years, I jumped into the whole nerd package: fantasy/sci-fi books and movies, then role-playing games, and eventually I became a video game developer so I always kept in touch with my inner geek. And I was lucky to be always surrounded by people who supported my efforts in pursuing my comic projects even when they weren’t that good. And even though I’ve always been interested in all sorts of narrative experiences (books and movies mainly) comics was my first love, as a reader and as a creator. And when a few years ago I decided to become a full-time artist for a while, it’s comics I picked.
Who would you say is your comic book inspiration as a writer? As an artist?
I’d say I matured as a comic’s reader during the 90s so many of my comic writing references come from that time, especially the Vertigo people such as Grant Morrison, Kurt Busiek or Brian Azzarello. But most of my influences as a writer come not from comics but from movies, especially writers/directors such as Martin Scorsese, the Coen brothers, or my all-time favorite Dabid Lynch. If you check my graphic novel, it’s basically a mashup of all those references.
As an artist, I started out imitating superhero artists I loved from back in the 80s, George Perez and Alan Davis were my favorites back then. Later on, I’ve drawn more inspiration from movies, especially American classics, and also classical art, I love everything from the Renaissance to the Spanish and Dutch masters or the 1600s. I consider myself very eclectic in my taste, and I think that gets reflected in my art.
Before comics, what did you do? If you’re still doing it, what are you doing?
Well, comics was the first thing I did, but in the end, life took me on a different path. Back then I never really thought about getting into comics as a job, so I ended up getting an engineering degree, and that eventually led to becoming a full-time video game developer, which has been my day job for the last 14 years. After all this time, and losing interest in the games themselves, I’m in the process of transitioning to a full-time career in comics.
What was your first work in comics like?
My first serious project was a fantasy/adventure comic titled The Rain Song, with a writer friend (who has later become a comic book shop owner in my hometown). I did it while I was in college, and no one really thought I could pull it off, including myself. But in the end we got it done, and even though it has very limited circulation it convinced me that I actually had a chance, and made me realize some people liked what I did.
How many years have you been working in comics?
Drawing comics, since I was 8, but counting The Rain Song as my first serious project, the project started in 1992 and was published in 1995, so yeah, at least 25 years.
Tell me a little bit about your work. Where does it draw inspiration from? Where do you come up with your ideas?
Since I am an independent creator and don’t have to stick to any editorial demands, I can basically tell anything I like, so the projects I choose (written by me or not) come usually from what interests me. My 15-years in the making Orphans series (6 issues and ongoing) is a tribute to my homeland, the island of Mallorca (Spain) and all its history and folklore, while my graphic novel A Pool of Filth in Hell was more of a catharsis of experiences from my youth, and The Rain Song was completely in sync with my nerd interests. So really, they’ve been mostly about what the stories were about, and what I felt more like telling.
Who have you worked alongside in the industry?
Mostly with friends who were also writers and artists, but haven’t really made many contacts in the industry, and for the most part it’s been a solo experience.
Growing up, who is your favorite character or team? Who is it now?
Back in the 80s, the New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Perez were my absolute favorite, and still have a special place in my heart. These days I have more diverse tastes and like books such as The Wicked and The Divine, Saga or Black Hammer, but I love all things, Batman. But my personal favorite right now is Squirrel Girl, the series by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, which is a pure joy.
Do you have any advice for a new writer or artist who is just getting into the business?
Love what you do, because you’ll have to work on it for a long time before you’re good enough to get to make money off it. And most importantly, keep doing it, for it’s the only way to improve. There are just too many people creating comics these days and they’re all fighting for a relatively small market, so you have to get attention to yourself doing something that only you can do. So find your voice and keep getting better.
Where do you see your work taking you?
I hope I’ll be able to become to a full-time author soon enough, that will allow me to take up more work, tell more and better stories, and improve faster. And hopefully get in touch with writers that will write better scripts for me to tell.
What are you up too next?
I’m preparing this project for several publishers, let’s see who will be the lucky one. It’s a crazy story about secret agents and conspiracies, with some social commentary, and set in Barcelona, where I live.
Where do you see the direction of the comic industry heading in 20 years?
I’m a bit pessimistic because I see the industry is not betting on new talent as much as monetizing on existing properties. Making comics is not as expensive as making movies or TV, and yet everything looks like it’s getting a bit old like I’ve seen it all before. I hope a new revolution comes over, like the British creators taking over the American industry in the 90s, or the way Manga has been influencing European comics for decades now. I’m afraid comics are becoming more popular for its possibilities to develop projects that later will become movies, TV shows or video games, rather than the comic art itself, which would be a shame. I’m in comics for what comics are, but I’m feeling many people are still looking at them as the little brother to the big entertainment media.
How can people get a hold of you?
I’m in all social networks with the same name and handle, magarciascomics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and on YouTube as M.A. Garcias Comics. Anyone interested to contact me for a creative collaboration can also contact me through all those networks or by email, also [email protected]
Where can we buy and/or see your work?
Best way is my Issue page: http://issuu.com/magarcias and also looking for my first collection of “Orphans” and my graphic novel “A Pool of Filth in Hell” in both Amazon and Comixology.
Any last words for the industry?
The future of comics is knocking at your door with fresh ideas, please give them a chance to get their voices heard and their stories told. Every new thing was ground-breaking and alternative at some point, don’t lose the chance to be the one who starts the next big revolution of comics, learn to recognize it, encourage boldness and creativity. Give them a chance and the audience will respond. Be bold.
A little history…
M.A. Garcias (Palma de Mallorca, 1975) has been drawing comics since age 8. Although M.A. Garcias makes a living as a game programmer, he spends his free time writing blogs, public speaking and his passion, storytelling, especially with pictures. Self-taught cartoonist, he has done everything as an independent author and editor. He was a member of the group The Elitist and editor of the homonym fanzine (1996), artist in fantasy/adventure comic book The Rain Song (1995) written by Jaume Albertí, full author of a murder/mystery graphic novel, A Pool of Shit in Hell (Lulu.com, Comixology, 2013). He’s the artist and co-creator of Orphans since 2002. Finally, M.A. Garcias lives in the Gracia district of Barcelona with his wife.