Marcos Martin is one of the few modern cartoonists whose work I unconditionally follow. Although his art style is compelling and stripped of pretentions, it is Martin's emphasis on storytelling that sets him apart from his contemporaries. From his first major breakthrough with Batgirl: Year One to his current Spider-Man arcs, Martin's increasing facility with the form can only be a result of careful study and dedication. It's no accident that his art has grown more confident and his narrative solutions seem profoundly thought out. In speaking with him, Martin revealed a sincere passion for his craft and the thinking that goes behind it. We discussed his humble beginnings and artistic revelations as well as going through a number of his past works.
Interview with Marcos Martin
Read the interview over at the original site for The Beat.
Interview Extras
This is a page from Martin's comic book "Strange Stories" that he did when he was 17 back in High School.
A cover for a "Best of Marvel" Anthology in Spain, not an ink line in sight.
Another early effort working at Comics Forum in Spain, where he commonly employed his "highly contrasted pencils" technique.
This is the cover and a page from a comic book project called "Houdini" at Forum that never happened. The story was by Martin's good friend, David Muñoz, who went on to become a successful screenwriter, co-writing Guillermo Del Toro's "The Devil's Backbone" among many others.
Here are some of his influences:
Mafalda is a comic phenomenon in Spain and South America, created by Quino.
Early Fantastic Four comics had a nice blend of the natural with the hyper-dynamism. The combination, brought to life by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, made comic fans out of Martin and his older sister. The fashion nods helped.
French cartoonist, Yves Chaland, another influence during Martin's formative years.
One of David Mazzucchelli's many perennials, his collaboration with Frank Miller on "Daredevil: Born Again".
Minetaro Mochizuki's "Dragon Head" inspired Martin through his work on Breach.
Joker: Last Laugh #2, Dec. '01, written by Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty, inked by Alvaro Lopez. Martin's early style was coming to an end during this time, although you can still see solid figure work and composition.
In a last minute deadline crunch, Martin helped Javier Pulido bring this mini series toa close: Robin Year One written by Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty in '01.
Martin's first major work was Batgirl Year One in 2003, written by Dixon & Beatty.
Alvaro Lopez (inks) and Javier Rodriguez (colors) helped Martin in giving the art a vibrant and streamlined look.
Breach # 8. Oct. '05, written by Bob Harras and inked by Alvaro Lopez. Perhaps an underrated title, Martin was developing a strong and clear storytelling sensibility during his run.
From the "My Mutant Heart" anthology title, April '06, "How Love Works" features a Doop story written by Peter Milligan, color collaboration with illustrator Muntsa Vicente. This marks one of Martin's earliest attempts to ink his own work.
From Dr. Strange: The Oath #1, Dec. '06, written by Brian K. Vaughn. The art team of martin/Lopez/Rodriguez has a nice consistency throughout all of Martin's projects.
Nightmare, the classic Dr. Strange villain, in Dr. Strange: The Oath #3, Feb. '07.
From the Amazing Spider-Man #578, Jan. '09, written by Mark Waid. During his run on Spider-Man titles, Martin has mostly inked his own work which gives the work a subtle, organic look. Javier Rodriguez remains as the colorist.
From Captain America Comics #1, June '09, written by James Robinson, colored by Rodriguez. Also an example of Martin incorporating his own hand lettered sound effects.
From Captain America #50, July '09. You would assume that this was Martin's first outing as a writer, but the ambiguous credit must be given to his editor Tom Breevort. Colors by Marcos Martin with assists from Muntsa Vicente.
From the Amazing Spider-Man #600, Martin's collaboration with Spider-Man's co-creator Stan Lee. Adding Stan Lee himself as a character was Martin's idea, as was the final page's guest star.
Here's a double page spread for an upcoming issue of the Amazing Spider-Man, written by Dan Slott.
Many thanks to Marcos Martin for the photo and additional scans.
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