Ema Lupacchino is a relative newcomer to the comic book industry, but she has already made her mark. With over 100 issue credits to her name, she has already worked on a lot of iconic comic characters including Thor, Vampirella and Lois Lane. Since issue #30 of Supergirl she has been the series’ regular illustrator. We got a chance to talk with her about her work on the title, designing battle armours, and choosing the right colour of nail polish.
Graphic Policy: How did you get the chance to draw this iconic character?
Ema Lupacchino: From what I remember, It happened in just three seconds – Eddie Berganza asked me if I’d have liked to work on Supergirl and I said “YES”. I was really happy when he named “Supergirl” as the title I could have been working on, I love this character.
GP: Supergirl is fairly iconic in terms of her costume and her design, What do you do to put your own personal touch on this character?
EL: What I think is that the costume is not really important in order to define a character – the key is the attitude I give to her. I feel this responsibility every time I have to feature a specific character with the acting, the gesture, the expressions – it’s what describes him or her the most, the costume is just an outfit. This is what I try to give to her, a very specific temper and attitude. It can be a look, a way to move, a feeling. I want her to be as “real” as possible.
GP: Along with Wonder Woman, Supergirl is one of two major DC Comics heroes who are both very strong and very feminine. How do you find the balance between the two?
EL: Easily – she’s very feminine outside, in her movements, her make up, the way she smiles, these kind of things. And she’s strong in both her head and heart. Of course she’s Kryptonian and she’s got some extraordinary superpowers, she’s almost invincible, but the real force is in her will. The hardest part of my work is to communicate all this with drawings … I hope I’m doing it well :)
GP: In the most recent issue (#36), Kara is wearing Supergirl-blue nail polish, which is a nice touch for the character. Did you have any input into that?
EL: YES! It was me, I confess! I love blue nails, and since it’s more modern that the classic red one I thought it could be a smart way to show she’s living our timeline.
GP: Also in the most recent issue Kara is thrown into some Kryptonian battle armor, which looked pretty amazing. What were your inspirations for the design?
EL: I was inspired by some pretty amazing concepts, mostly by Japanese illustrators I really love, like Terada for example. Japanese are the best at conceiving sci-fi technologies and I wanted to give a sense of futuristic tech on her armor, in order to help her feel light and comfortable at the same time.
GP: The series has generally been a mix between Earth based stories and outer-space cosmic stories. Is there a setting between the two that you prefer?
EL: Space, of course! On Earth, as our real world, nothing extraordinary really happens – but out there in the space, extraordinary things can be discovered: futuristic technologies, new worlds and races that are very exciting to draw.
GP: Speaking of outer space based stories, the world which you designed for the Crucible is pretty complex and amazing, between the different environments and an awesome looking space station. How much input did you get into the design of the planet?
EL: The idea of the Crucible as a bracelet orbiting on two twin stars was written in the script, and I think it’s a very cool idea. I spent a lot thinking about how to design it. You know, there were many factors to consider out there – the balance it should have with the stars’ orbit, the dimension, the details, the dimension of the ships outside. At the beginning I was working on some preliminary studies that didn’t really give the sense of its size, so I asked my friend Emiliano Santalucia to help me in figuring out what wasn’t really working with it. So he suggested to me to draw a huge diameter bracelet in which we can barely see where it ends over the stars. That worked perfectly, thanks Emil!
GP: Are there any superhero characters that you would like to get a chance to draw that you haven’t already?
EL: Good questions, I have TONS! :D I really wouldn’t mind to draw Catwoman or Wonder Woman one day.