Wednesday, September 6, 2017

STGCC 2017: An Interview with Mirka Andolfo - Female Heroes Can be Sexy Too!

Italian artist Mirka Andolfo has a vast experience working with indie comic book publishers like BOOM!, Dynamite and Zenescope, as well created her own cheeky angel-devil romance title called "Sacro/ Profano". Recently, she worked on DC Comics' series "DC Bombshells" as well as "Wonder Woman".

From her portfolio, it is evident that Mirka Andolfo draws influences heavily from manga, with a penchant for drawing women in cute-sexy poses. What is most eye-catching about her drawings is how she manages to add wonderful facial expression and movement to the figures, with hair or items of clothing flowing in sync with the character's action, as if she manages to catch them in a second's freeze frame.

Mirka Andolfo is a guest at this year's STGCC and this will be her visiting this part of the world. Red Dot Diva managed to catch hold of her for a quick interview before this week's convention.

Red Dot Diva: When you first started out doing art as a career, did you have a mentor, and what important things did you learn from this person?
Mirka: After my graduation, I started attending a comic school in Naples (my hometown). After one year of study, I had the chance to have a little work as colourist for a comic, and then I started a career as colorist, working on international properties like “The Kite Runner” (my first “important” job), then “Mickey Mouse”, “Geronimo Stilton”, “Ice Age”, “Adventure Time”, and some French and American comics.

To be honest I never had a mentor. I was inspired by many great Italian artists, and some of them became friends of mine, and gave me a lot of valuable advice.

Red Dot Diva: Through the years, how did you build your own style of artwork? Was it a conscious effort or something that just happen to evolve over time?
Mirka: I’m not sure about what’s my style of artwork: I continue experimenting and seeking, I think that this is the most interesting part of an artwork. When I was a child, like many Italian people of my generation, I was mainly influenced by manga, and also by “W.I.T.C.H.” and “Sky Doll”, two comics that changed the world of European comics. Starting from that, I continued evolving my own style, but that wasn’t such a conscious route. I simply mixed up what I did like, and… well, I continue doing that!

Red Dot Diva: For those who are not familiar with your work, tell us a bit more about "Sacro/ Profano". What inspired you to create those characters and self-publish?
Mirka: At the time, I wasn’t yet a professional artist, I was a colourist. And during my free time, I started doodling those two funny characters: a beautiful and innocent angel, and a nasty and ugly devil. As a joke, I started drawing a couple of pages. Then, my boyfriend told me to show them to people, and I opened a Facebook page. After three or four pages, an indie publisher (Edizioni Dentiblù) contacted me, and we signed an agreement for a book, that then was published also in other countries.

Red Dot Diva: What are the best and worst parts of being a comic creator?
Mirka: The best is quite simple: I can’t imagine my life without drawing, and someone pays me to do what I love. The worst is that you don’t have regular schedule, nor have a say on holidays. If you have a deadline, you have to reach that. But to be honest, I can’t complain: it’s a beautiful work. Hard, but beautiful.

Red Dot Diva: Recently, there have been furore over certain artists depiction of female characters in comic book covers. In your opinion, where is the line drawn between "appropriately sexy" and misogynistic/ sexist in terms of comic book art?
Mirka: That’s a difficult question. For instance, I love to draw beautiful girls looking very very sexy, but I don’t think that is misogynistic or sexist, of course. I think that the sexist view on comic book is present only in the Fifties/ Sixties, with the stereotype of the girl who always needs to be saved by the hero. But today, it’s different. Often, the girl is the hero. Maybe she’s sexy, too, but… who cares?
Red Dot Diva:A very good point indeed! Heroines can be sexy too!

Red Dot Diva: Who are some of the female comic creators/ artists whom you admire and why?
Mirka: The first one is Barbara Canepa. She was my idol when I was young, and she is also a friend of mine, now. She started as artist and colourist, and became one of the most important creators (together with Alessandro Barbucci) in Europe, and now she’s also editor of a wonderful collection for a French publisher.

Then, there are some artists I love – as artist and as person – like Emanuela Lupacchino and Sara Pichelli, both of them are Italian great artists who have reached the top of American comics.
Then, there are several other artists, creators and colourists (women and men, of course) that I do adore. It’s a very long list…

Red Dot Diva: You do beautiful work in the DC Comics Bombshells series. Who is your favourite character in that series and why?
Mirka: No doubts: Harley Quinn. Harley is my favourite comic book character ever, and she was the first Bombshells character I drew when I started working on the series. She’s crazy, funny and beautiful. Love her.

Red Dot Diva: How has it been like working with writer Shea Fontana on the ongoing Wonder Woman series?
Mirka: It was great. I already had a wonderful experience on Wonder Woman with Greg Rucka (he rocks!), and I was curious to work with Shea, because she has a very different style and background compared to Greg. I had a second great experience with Shea. She is wonderful. And I have to admit that I’m proud that DC chose me for the first issues of the new arc of the character.

Red Dot Diva: Did you watch the "Wonder Woman" movie? What do you feel about it?
Mirka: Oh, yes, I did. I was quite sad, because I was invited to the première in Hollywood, but I couldn’t go there (because of a commitment accepted earlier). So, I saw that in my little Italian city, Turin. But that was great, in any case. I did enjoy a lot, and I think that Gal Gadot is a perfect Diana.

Red Dot Diva: What you most excited to see or experience during your trip here?
Mirka: Is “everything” a good answer? It’s my first time ever in Asia, and I’m so curious about everything… The food, the nature, the city itself… And I’m curious to meet some new readers from a country so far from my usual life.

To be honest, I can’t wait to arrive in Singapore!
Red Dot Diva: We can't wait to meet you too!

STGCC will be a great chance for aspiring artists and fans to meet Mirka Andolfo, and get a few art pieces of your own from her. Do make sure you are able to meet her at her Walk of Fame times on Sat 1 - 2 PM and Sun 12 - 1 PM. Also, don't miss the "Heroines at the Frontline" panel on Sat 3 - 3:45 PM, featuring other female comic book guests, moderated by Red Dot Diva's friend, Sarah Coldheart!

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