Artist Jorge Molina is known for his work Batman, Star Wars, The Avengers and X-Men. After 15 years as a professional, Molina has launched a crowdfunding campaign for his first art book, Zurdo – The Art of Jorge Molina. In a Comicon exclusive, Molina discussed the meaning of “zurdo,” the advantages of being a digital artist instead using traditional pencils and his work in video games.
Tom Smithyman: Why name your art book Zurdo? What is the significance of that?
Jorge Molina: Zurdo means “lefty” in Spanish, and I’m a lefty myself. It’s a trait I share with my mother as she’s a lefty also. As a kid I was always intrigued by “why” I’m left-handed when almost everyone I knew was right-handed. My mom would tell me stories of how in her childhood left-handed people were forced to turn to use the right hand and being left was seen as a “bad” thing. So in a way it’s a name to embrace that left side as something special rather than something shameful or wrong.
Smithyman: Zurdo celebrates your 15 years as a professional artist. Is it hard for you to believe that you’ve been in the business a decade and a half already?
Molina: Yes, in a way it feels like yesterday when I first started. I don’t see myself as a veteran in any way, on the contrary. On the other hand, it’s really interesting to me how much my artwork has evolved through all these years, and that’s the reason I wanted to do this book, to see my evolution in a compilation of 120 pages. If anything, it should be a testimony of how an artist can change.
Smithyman: The book will be packed with amazing artwork featuring iconic characters like Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men. I know they are all your babies, but do you have a favorite or two?
Molina: Batman and the X-Men are really special to me. They were the foundation of my passion for comics. As a kid It was all about He-Man and TMNT, but in my teens is when I got into comics, Batman and the X-Men were crucial for me to become a comic book artist.
Smithyman: You are primarily a digital artist now. How and why did you make the transition from pencils to digital. Is there anything you miss about pencils and markers?
Molina: I’ve worked both digital and traditional all my career, and I think it’s just part of my workflow when I need to get things done. I’ve never been a fully traditional artist, and I have enormous respect for the artist who don’t need a computer.
I admit I’m in love with digital more nowadays, the endless possibilities and the fact you can test so much without repercussions is amazing to me. Today I enjoy digital, but tomorrow I can fall in love with traditional again. To me it’s more about trying to enjoying the process and learn something new, even if that process can be tormenting at times, whether it’s digital or traditional.
Smithyman: You recently announced that you are drawing a short story of Batman as a monster slayer. How did that tale come about, when will we see it, and what took so long for it to see the light of day?
Molina: As I mentioned, I have a soft spot for Batman, and if it were up to me I would draw Batman till the day I die. “Batman Monster Hunter” is the concept I pitched to DC right before I started my Batman run on issue #118.
I had some time before doing Batman #118 and I decided to put this pitch together and do five pages with full color to show the editors what I had in mind. The idea was to set a style, mood and have a general structure of how this Batman book would differ from others. So I had this young lithe Batman full of confidence and somewhat arrogant but naive in a sci fi-gothic Gotham where there is no day, only night. Batman would be this monster slayer detective who would later face himself as he realized he’s become the monster now. All this set in a visual tone like Vampire Hunter D and Castlevania with some world building like The Witcher and Hellboy, and that was the pitch.
I showed this pitch to my editor, and he liked it but we were already set for me to start on Batman #118, so we left my story on hold. It was until last year that they asked me if I wanted to do my story for Batman Black and White and do an eight-pager with my concept. I always asked them if there was any writer who would be willing to collaborate on this and that’s when Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly stepped in and took this to a whole other level with their writing skills. Now we have eight incredible action-packed pages of this Batman concept I had, with the idea that if enough people like it we could turn it into a standalone thing. So this July you can check it out in Batman: The Brave and The Bold #3.
And I might include those five test colored pages I did on this artbook along with the pitch!
Smithyman: You’ve done a lot of work in video games and other media as well as comics. Do you have a favorite media, or is work just work?
Molina: My two main passions are comics and video games, so I stick with those. I always try to work on things that I feel connected to on a personal level, I think you can tell when an artist enjoys what they do with their art, even if sometimes you have to be a pro and do a good work regardless. But if there is a chance to do what you love every single day, that’s a blessing.
This year I’ve been taking a break from comics and been focusing on doing concept art. Right now I’m working on the Perfect Dark video game and I’m loving it. Creatively it such a different experience where you have more time to explore and throw things at the wall. Plus it’s very cool to see your creations come to life in a video game and then play it. I’m a hardcore gamer so this experience is very special to me.
Smithyman: We know that the comic gods can be cruel. Let’s say that they are jealous of your work and force you to only draw one character for the rest of your career. Who is it and why?
Molina: lol BATMAN ALL DAY and that wouldn’t be cruel at all.
Smithyman: Thanks for taking the time to talk. I’m looking forward to backing Zurdo!
Artist Jorge Molina is known for his work Batman, Star Wars, The Avengers and X-Men. After 15 years as aCOMICONRead More