Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Diva Catches Up With David Mack About "Captain America" and His Kickstarter Project!

Marvel superhero action movie "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (currently showing in theatres) has been getting two thumbs up from a majority of comic book and pop-culture lovers internationally. Its engaging story-telling, energetic action sequences, sheer screen presence of its actors and that bromance (So.Much.Feels!) made the cinematic experience thoroughly enjoyable, even for comic book noobs.

Once the end title credits began to roll, the eye-catching animation and artwork caught many by surprise. Most of you are already aware of the identity of the artistic talent of the drawings used for the very snazzy credit sequence. But for those who may have been curious about the personality behind the striking images, wonder no more.

The artist involved in those few delightful minutes is none other than David Mack - creator of a comic book series called "Kabuki", who is also a New York Times #1 best-selling author/ artist ("Daredevil: End of Days" with Brian Michael Bendis, Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz and Alex Maleev), and whose innovative artwork have graced many comic covers including his run on Marvel's "Daredevil", Archaia's "Immortals: Gods And Heroes", Dark Horse's Buffy series "Willow" and Black Mask Studios' "Occupy Comics", to be released later this year.

It has been many months since Red Dot Diva has caught up personally with DMack. The last she hung out with him was at his NYCC 2013 artist alley booth, where the bicepstuous DMack was being as gracious to his fans as ever.

DMack at STGCC 2013, Singapore

So, it was lovely to get some juicy updates from the man himself about his involvement in the title sequences for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" as well as an exciting Kickstarter project called "MUSE" - which will be fully funded before you can say Quicksilver.

Red Dot Diva: You helped create Main On End Titles artwork and sequence for “Captain America: Winter Soldier”. How was the pitch made to you like? Was there some kind of a script or boundaries you had to adhere to?
David: I had met Erin Sarofsky when we were both speakers in Barcelona at OFFFest design event last June. She gave me a call last November with news that the directors invited her to pitch a few concepts from her design studio for them to choose for the titles. She invited me to send her a pitch with my art and designs so that she could include them when showcasing the designs for the directors and Marvel Film board to choose from. We knew there were other design studios and many other pitches being offered too. She told me the only boundaries were that these needed to not look anything like any of the previous Marvel titles or credits.

Red Dot Diva: While working with Sarofsky for the end titles, did you venture into something new artistically? What was the overall experience like?
David: Erin Sarofsky and I were both on the same page about what kind of look we had in mind. The movie was a kind of political intrigue thriller, so we discussed the idea of black and white bold shapes from our first phone call. We both cited the bold designs of Saul Bass as an inspiration for it. And I also mentioned the graphic dynamic designs of Jim Steranko's "S.H.I.E.L.D." and "Captain America". 

For me, the overall experience was new artistically, because the sequence was set to music, and had to be timed to a rhythm and length of time, and to the credit names. I was also working with a team of animators that would make my work move three dimensionally after I drew it, and I flew to Sarofsky design studio in Chicago to spend a week drawing right there, where we could pin up all the frames on the wall and shape the movement and details of the rhythm. But it also reminded me of how I did designs in college as a Graphic Design major. It was very fun, going back to big bold black and white shapes and hand drawing them. I was also reminded of my early black and white comic book work. In fact, I had do to the initial pitch drawings so quickly, that I had to draw several of them on a long plane ride to a Pacific island on Thanksgiving day. And the rest of them I did on the beach. The speed in which I had to draw helped fuel a very natural fun style that echoed my earlier drawings.

Red Dot Diva: How differently did you have to imagine the title sequence to be, knowing that it will be animated? Compared to let’s say, drawing for a graphic novel page sequence.
David: Well, a page of story in a comic book is completely different, because it has to work as an entire page. In addition, all the images on it not only has to work sequentially on its own, but also all at once as an entire composition that the reader can see at one time. I didn't view this project as a comic page at all. This was actually much, much simpler in that regard. I did many, many, drawings and ideas, and then Sarofsky and I talked about how they may fit together. She added type to them, rearranged order and just played with them to shape it. It was actually much more playful and fun and intuitive, and abstract, than compositing a comic book page.

Red Dot Diva: When you watch movies, do you personally take note of title sequences? Which ones are particularly memorable to you and why?
David: Yes, I'm very conscious of these. I cited Saul Bass and Maurice Binder as film title artists that were influential on the end titles we did for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier". Saul Bass is a legend in this regard, from Hitchcock to Kubrick to Scorsese films. And also the artist behind the incredible titles for "Se7en" and "Mimic". I love the opening titles from "Napolean Dynamite", James Gunn's "Super",  and the end titles on "Dr. Strangelove". The title sequence can set the tone for how you are going to view the film at the beginning, and then they can contextualize the film that you just watched when they are at the end... which was our consideration in this particular event.



Red Dot Diva: Tell us more about the Kickstarter for your deluxe art book "MUSE". How did that idea come about?
David: You may have heard that I had a few gallery exhibits last year of my artwork. Century Guild Gallery was organizing these art exhibits on different dates and at different locations like Chicago and Los Angeles. The exhibitions have also included artwork by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Clive Barker and Dave McKean. Century Guild wanted to create a book of my art work that they are exhibiting and selling through their galleries. These are primarily figure drawings in brush and ink of humans and cats. They have created a very popular book of their art works of Clive Barker and backed it through a Kickstarter, a method of funding which had proved successful for them. So the gallery chose to offer my new art book on their Kickstarter as well. We have decided to call the book MUSE (verb/noun), and more details can be seen on the Kickstarter page.

Red Dot Diva: If the Kickstarter "MUSE" project is successfully funded, would you intend to compile a similar one for the animal/ cat lovers out there?
David: Incredibly, the Kickstarter has met the initial goal within the first four days! Then, the gallery decided to offer a stretch goal to make the book twice the initial size. At this moment, it looks like it is just about to hit that goal. Which means everyone will get twice as much book for the same initial price. 

One of my cat drawings is being offered on a T-shirt which you can get with the book or independent of the book. I do like to draw cats! My understanding is that if the new stretch goal is met, the gallery may be offering an additional book of my brush drawings and paintings of cats as a separate book in addition to this one. This may... perhaps... possibly be happening... but it has not been announced. And here's a little scoop, if that indeed happens, the additional mini cat book, a companion to MUSE... may just be possibly called... MEWS. But none of this is currently official. The gallery will announce something when the current stretch goal is met and we will see what they will offer next. This just may very well be a brainstorm of mine, but I do think it sounds kind of cool.

Red Dot Diva: Meow. Excellent. We shall wait for more good Mews! ;)

Red Dot Diva: Recently, you have done variant covers for a few titles like Kelly Sue DeConnick’s “Pretty Deadly”, “Kick-Ass 3”, Marvel + Wizard World’s “Wolverine and the X-Men #1”. Do you intend to head more into the area of exhibiting your non-comic book related art in the future? Or is there some kind of balance you intend to strike between the two.
David: I like to do a lot of different things. I've currently been doing a variety of work on some other films that include writing, consulting, design, and more. I will be doing a lot more writing in various projects. I am working on shepherding the "Kabuki" story to the screen. I will continue to exhibit my drawings and paintings in galleries. And I have my autobiographical comic stories in the works, like the one shown in this link.

Red Dot Diva: So what's next for you comic wise?
David: This year is the big 20th anniversary of "Kabuki", so there will be  lots of "Kabuki" things brewing this year! Do look out for my announcements, which I will be making on my Facebook page.


Sure seems like there is a whole lot of exciting DMack stuff in store for fans - both old and new!

If you have yet to watch "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", Red Dot Diva says you Must Not leave right after the movie ends! Not only are there those bonus scenes, you simply cannot miss taking in the end credit sequence by David Mack and Sarofsky and appreciate how brilliant it was.

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Follow David Mack on:
Twitter - https://twitter.com/@davidmackkabuki
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Mack/21231086294

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If you are interested in a quick review of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", check out Red Dot Diva's friend movie review blog called A Persistent Vision.
Vernon's movie review of the movie can be found here!

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