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MN : Do you like zombies? Are you of fan of that genre? Based on your work for Blackest Night, it seems like you have a real understanding of The Undead.
JP: Oh, I love zombies! I’ve been a fan ever since I was a kid and watched George Romero’s movies. When I have a chance, I always watch some old zombie movies. I watch some new stuff, too, like The Walking Dead TV series. I’m a huge fan of the comic series, as well.
MN : In Blackest Night, the majority of the Black Lanterns were based on your designs. How difficult was it to come up with these "undead" versions of so many characters from the DC Universe?
JP : In the beginning, I had the first five or six Black Lanterns designs that Ethan Van Sciver had originally created for the series which I used as my templates. They gave me a basic idea of what I could and could not do in terms of design. The most challenging thing for me was to come up with cool designs for characters that no one had seen in the last 10-15 years. The sense of design back then was way different. To make them interesting today was really cool but challenging. I’m a declared geek, collector, and fan, so I knew the history of many of these characters already, so I didn’t even wait for references to start to working on their new designs.
MN : Looking back, which Black Lantern character designs were you happiest with? And are there any designs you look at now and wish you would have done differently?
JP : My favorites are hands-down the Black Lantern Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Kilowog, and The Question. What would I do differently? I can’t even look at them now! There were times I had to design ten Black Lanterns a day, so honestly I prefer to let the work speak for itself, and feel no regrets. Of course, “if” I started to think about changing some of them I’d probably come up with a couple dozen.
MN : There is a lot of anticipation for this summer’s Green Lantern movie. Based on the all the promos and trailers that you’ve seen, what do you think of everything we’ve seen so far? How excited are you to see the movie?
JP : I think the movie is going to be great! I’ve seen a little more than most people have seen, and it blew me away! The design work alone on the movie is gorgeous! I can’t wait to see all alien Green Lanterns interacting and OA is going to be awesome! I always liked Green Lantern, but honestly, until some years ago, I wasn’t really a huge fan, but now, C’mon! Blame it on Geoff! He turned Hal Jordan into a character that I actually care about, not to mention the whole Green Lantern Corps. and all the other Corps! I can’t wait to see the movie! Period!
MN : Besides Green -- because everyone usually picks Green -- what color lantern is your favorite in the spectrum, and who is your favorite out of all the new lanterns?
JP : Honestly, I like all the new Corps. Each of them has interesting and compelling characters. Sinestro is my favorite Non-Green Lantern Corps. character. He’s a great villain with complex agendas. Besides that, he used to be a hero which makes everything else that much more interesting. Not to mention his relationship with Hal Jordan and the Guardians. Also, I love Larfleeze, mostly because he’s ruthless and fun. Another favorite is Indigo-1. She’s powerful, regal, and mysterious. I want to be able to properly read all that gibberish that Geoff writes when they talk! NOK!
MN : Brightest Day is really heating up especially now that we're heading into the Aquawar! Can you tell us a little about your experience on the series? Which characters are you having the most fun with?
JP : Brightest Day has been a crazy ride for me since Day One! In the middle of Blackest Night, we knew that Brightest Day was going to happen and started to redesign the main characters. So we were basically working on two series at the same time! Crazy, huh? My partner-in-crime on Brightest Day was my dear friend and star-artist, Ivan Reis. We are responsible for the sequences where Aquaman and Deadman appear throughout the story. Ivan does the breakdowns of each page and I do finishes, which is basically drawing using ink. Since Brightest Day is a bi-weekly series things have been so hectic. And there’s still more craziness to come! Following Aquaman’s quest throughout the series has been great! The story that Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi have created is really an amazing revitalization of a great character! I can’t wait to see what happens next!
MN : A comic series is always a product of many people but Brightest Day has an entire team of folks working on the series. What's it like to work with and ensemble of creators to make one exciting, coherent story?
JP : It’s been a wild ride! It really was a blast working on these series with my co-workers and friends, editors Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman, and writers Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi. All the creators on Brightest Day are awesome! The writers, pencillers and inkers are all top-notch! Especially someone who has the great responsible for bringing it all together, the ubber-colorist, Peter Steirgerwald. It is truly a joy to hold a finished issue!
MN : I know you are from Sao Paulo, Brazil. What was your first exposure to American comics?
JP : I started reading comics when I was only four years old. American classic comics such as Prince Valiant, The Phantom, Terry &The Pirates, Flash Gordon, X-9 -- all my grandfather’s fault! He was both a fan and collector. After that, I fell in Love with the super-hero genre reading Batman, Brave & the Bold, Teen Titans, X-Men, Thor, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Fist and so many others. I’m a child of the 70’s. All such great stuff!
MN : How do comics differ in Brazil from American comics?
JP : Right now the Brazilian Market is totally different than the American. It’s growing a lot and focusing on different types of publications like original graphic novels and anthologies as well as many, many great fanzines and self-published comics. The Brazilian market has always been a rich one. During the 80’s, I read a bunch of stuff like original graphic novels and horror/sci-fi comics produced in Brazil by talented artists such as Watson Portela, Mozart Couto, Rodolfo Zalla, Eugenio Collonese, Flávio Colin, E.C. Nickel, Marc Campos, Joe Bennett, and Mike Deodato.
MN : Are there any popular comics or characters in the Brazilian comics market that are unknown in the U.S.?
JP : There are so many amazing series, graphic novels, and anthologies by stellar artists like Fabio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Danilo Beyruth, Rafael Grampa, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Coutinho, and so many others.
MN : The American comic industry has had an influx of a lot of great South American artists over the last few years. Are there artists that come to mind that have yet to be discovered by the American audience and who you thing could be the next big thing?
JP : DANILO BEYRUTH! He’s the creator of NECRONAUTA (Deathnaut). Check out his blog www.evilking.net. and you’ll see what I’m talking about!
MN : Superman, Batman, Spider-Man. These are iconic characters in the United States/ Is their popularity just as big in South America?
JP : Oh, yeah! They are just as popular! I think of them more like world-icons.
MN : If you could be a sidekick for one hero, which one would you pick to be a sidekick for and why?
JP : Uh, sidekick? Never thought about that. Seriously?! Ok, Wonder Woman! Do I really need to say anything else?
MN : Tell us what you are going to be doing at C2E2 this year?
JP : I’ll have a table at Artist Alley, and I hope to talk to friends, fans, do commissions, etc, etc. Besides that, I’ll be attending the Brightest Day panel with my friends Ivan Reis and DC Comics Executive-Editor Eddie Berganza. I’ll be also signing at the DC Booth at some point. That’s what I know so far!
MN : I'm going to do a few "Speed Round" questions. I think fans would like some behind the scenes insight into their favorite creators. Han Solo or Indiana Jones?
JP : Indiana Jones.
MN : Hal, John, Kyle, or Guy?
JP : Kyle Rayner! C’mon! He’s a comic book artist turned Green Lantern!
MN : The Flintstones or The Jetsons?
JP : The Flintstones.
MN : Cold beer or fine wine?
JP : Neither! Juices and smoothies!
MN : Pizza or Sushi?
JP : You got me there. I can’t decide. These are two of my all-time favorite foods!
MN : Final question. If you were on a desert island and could only bring one comic, what would you bring and why?
JP : You keep asking difficult questions, man! Honestly, just off of the top of my head I’d have to say Crisis on Infinite Earths: Absolute Edition! This series influenced me in many ways. For starters, it’s a Marv Wolfman/George Perez book! It was the first time readers could really feel the scope of a world crisis in a comic and also see how the super heroes reacted to it. Besides that, for me it was really an art class by George Perez! It’s a book I’ve never got tired of reading!
MN : Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me, Joe! Looking forward to hanging with you at C2E2!
If you want to know more about Brazilian superstar artist, Joe Prado, please stop by his website at http://joeprado2010.deviantart.com/ or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/joe_prado.
If you want to hear more about one of the hottest series of the year, stop by and see Joe at the Brightest Day panel! And when Joe’s not at a panel or signing at the DC Comics booth, he’ll be talking with fans and sketching at his table in Artist Alley. If you're going to be visiting C2E2 this year, shamble on over to see Joe. I wouldn’t be caught dead roaming Artist Alley without seeing him!