Despite being a relative newcomer, Andrea Sorrentino has accomplished a lot in his young career. Sorrentino has captivated readers with his breathtaking work in the pages of I, Vampire, he was named as a IGN’s Best Comic Artist of 2012 and, most recently, he was handpicked by Jeff Lemire to take over art duties on Green Arrow. It goes without saying that 2012 was a great year for Sorrentino, and 2013 looks as if it will be even better as both he and Jeff Lemire turn their sights on revamping the Emerald Archer.
Despite his busy schedule, I was fortunate enough to get a chance to talk to the talented Andrea Sorrentino about a number of topics including his plans for Green Arrow, the admiration he has for his fans, leaving I, Vampire and much, much more!
Sorrentino: Well, I’d say I’m mainly a dark-oriented comic artist and illustrator. I’ve a classical background. I graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts here in Italy, but I’ve always had a passion for comics and the desire to tell stories. My early professional work consisted of artwork for horror roleplaying games books. It caught the eye of Shannon Eric Denton (at the time, editor at Wildstorm) who asked me to do some cover art on an upcoming X-Files30 Days of Night crossover. From that moment on, I’ve worked on the God of War graphic novel and then I jumped on the New 52 wagon with I, Vampire, and now Green Arrow.
Art wise, I know I’ve been often been compared to the Jae Lee style and I’d lie if I said that he hasn’t been one of my first inspirational figures. Truth is that I have read a lot and been influenced by several other ‘moody’ artists who’s work that I like Mike Mignola, Frank Miller and Jock and some more figurative ones like Bryan Hitch and many others. I also like to think that I’m putting a lot of myself in my works too, and I hope this is showing in my work
RCB: What is it like working with critically acclaimed writers like Joshua Hale Fialkov and Jeff Lemire, and how does your creative process differ between working with either writer?
Sorrentino: Oh, I’m a lucky man! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the legndary Marv Wolfman, then the beyond-amazing Joshua Hale Fialkov on I, Vampire and now Jeff Lemire, who has been one of my favorite writers since the very first issue of Sweet Tooth! About my comic process, it didn’t change much in my way of working from I,Vampire to Green Arrow. When Jeff proposed that I join him on the series, he specifically asked for me to be myself. There’re some little differences, as Jeff tends to use a bit more panels per page than Josh. In I, Vampire the main goal in some scenes was to find the right horror mood for every scene, for Green Arrow it’s more about letting the peoples feel the street-level kind of action this title deserves.
RCB: English isn’t your first language, but you are rather fluent. Has there ever been a language barrier that complicated your work?
Sorrentino: Me “rather fluent”? You must be joking! I’m good enough to send love back to my fans on twitter (and, thank God, to understand the scripts) but, apart of this I feel like it’s a real disaster! I remember that we’ve had a misunderstanding with the cover of I,Vampire#9 where editor Matt Idelson kept asking me to give Andrew bigger jaws, and I was making his claws bigger instead! Apart of this little funny episode, I’m lucky enough that my knowledge of the English language has given me a chance to work and communicate with the writers and editors without problems. Maybe I’ll not be the most talkative artist you’ll find at an American comic book convention, but at least I haven’t had that many problems with my work!
Sorrentino: I think it’s the fact that it is, story and art wise, a bit different from the other books on the shelves. Working on a less ‘mainstream’ series gives you the chance to try some stuff that is usually not permitted in higher profile books like Batman or Justice League, and this usually results in some more original art approaches or some very unexpected plot twists that you couldn’t ever find in, let’s say, Superman. Also, the fact that my teammates Josh and Maiolo (on the colors) are a couple of geniuses helped a lot!
RCB: Diehard I, Vampire fans were crushed when news broke that you would no longer be doing the interiors for I, Vampire. How does it feel to know that so many people appreciated your hard work on that series?
Sorrentino: Well, it’s great, really. The love that fans showed for what we did on I,Vampire was touching. It’s great because I’m that kind of guy that pours myself into a project. I work really hard for fix every little thing I that don’t like and I try to always give my best to the readers. So, watching all the love coming back was really amazing. I couldn’t have worked on 15 issues in a row without all this fan support.
RCB: How did you land the Green Arrow art job? Were you handpicked or did it fall into your lap?
Sorrentino: I was in the middle of I,Vampire #14 when Jeff Lemire contacted me on Twitter telling me that he had this great idea for Green Arrow and asked me if I was interested to join him on the title for a long run. I was a bit sad with the idea of leaving I,Vampire but, after 15 issues in a row, I really felt I needed a new challenge. And I was already lucky that editor Chris Conroy gave me the chance to continue to work on the I,Vampire covers (from issue #17), so I’m not missing Andrew & Mary too much.
RCB: What can fans expect from Green Arrow when you and Jeff Lemire take over on issue #17?
Sorrentino: Jeff has worked a lot in order to build a big, solid and incredible mythology for Oliver Queen. I’ve read the first two issues of his run and we’ve talked a lot about the long-term plan he has for this book. All I can say is that, as comic fan, I’m excited by what we have in store for you guys. By my part, I’m working hard to give the art the street-level look that Jeff wants for this series. I’ve almost finished Green Arrow #18 and I can tell that it’s one of the best books of my career.
Sorrentino: Unfortunately, due the publication problems that DC has had in Italy in last decades, I haven’t been able to read enough Green Arrow to say that I’ve been grown with it (like I have with Batman, for example). My Oliver Queen experience, before the gig, consisted mainly with Green Arrow: Year One, a book that I loved. Now I’ve read the full run of the New 52 ,but apart of this, I’m trying to keep my knowledge on the character to a minimum. It could sound weird, but I really want to try to avoid any outside influence from other great Green Arrow artists that have drawn Ollie before me. I totally trust in Jeff’s ideas and I want to try to give fans something they’ve never seen (visually speaking) for the Emerald Archer.
RCB: Your partner in crime on Green Arrow is Eisner nominated writer Jeff Lemire. What does Lemire bring to the table for your darker, street level version of the character?
Sorrentino: Well, Jeff is amazing, as an artist, a writer and as a man. Apart of the great story he’s crafting, he’s bringing lots of creative ideas about the layouts and the entire approach to the story. I really can’t wait for February to be here, as I’m really curious to know what readers will think of what we’ve put together!
RCB: Everybody loves to have original art from his or her favorite artist. Are you the type of comic book artist who takes commissions or are you simply too busy? If you do take commissions, how would somebody go about contacting you?
Sorrentino: As the things are now, with the Green Arrow gig and the covers for both Green Arrow and I,Vampire, I don’t really have much time for sketch commissions. I’d love to have the chance to do them, because I know it’s a cool thing for fans and I’d like to payback the love that they have shown me. I promise that I’ll put an announcement of my website when my schedule opens up a bit!
Green Arrow #17 hits stores Feburary 6th and if you wish to stay as up to date as possible on all of Andrea Sorrentino’s work then be sure to visit his official website. We also encourage fans of Andrea Sorrentino to follow him on Twitter @And_Sorrentino.
Corey Fryia is RCB’s Associate Editor and an aspiring comic book creator. You can follow him on Twitter @coreyfryia