Ema Lupacchino is slowly taking the comics art scene by storm. She is making her own mark on some classic heroes, and she is back for her second interview with us, after joining us before to discuss Supergirl. This time she talks about her new ongoing gig for Starfire from DC Comics, whose first issue debuted last Wednesday.
Graphic Policy: Starfire is getting her own series for the first time with you as the series regular artist. What challenges are there for a character that is so common to so many but has never had to hold her own series before
Ema Lupacchino: We’ve got many challenges here – the most important one to me was to make Kori looking beautiful but not oversexualized as she used to be drawn sometimes. I tried to make her confident and naive. Then we’ve got to build an all new world around her – the city she’s living in, the new characters and the narration that is a bit different from a mainstream superhero book.
GP: What is it like working with Amanda and Jimmy?
EL: They’re both sweet. This my first time working with them and I feel totally comfortable with the structure of the story and the script. Having a good feeling with the writers is a very important thing and they’re so clear and precise that is not so difficult to emphasize with the emotions and atmosphere that they suggest for each character in each scene.
GP: In our previous interview about Supergirl we discussed some of the personal touches that you put on the character’s appearance to make her more feminine. What have you done for Starfire?
EL: Kori’s beautiful and sexy but I tried to push this feeling away from her head. It’s like she’s so beautiful and attractive but she actually doesn’t know that. This way she’s not conditioned by her appeal, she’s just natural and her being natural is sexy itself. It’s not something induced by impossible or forced poses of her body screaming “Look how sexy I am!”, neither caused by the size of her breasts. It’s the way she acts, smiles or looks at you. People that pass by should be attracted by the scent of her skin. I want this to be my personal touch on her :)
GP: How much did you have to do with the redesign of her costume, and what motivated the new look?
EL: The new costume was entirely designed by Amanda Conner before I started the book, so I just put it on her as it was. I think it’s a smart look for her costume, and more comfortable for her new life.
GP: Have you been to Key West?
EL: I’ve never been to Key West *sigh* ! It’s a WONDERFUL place and I definitively want to see it one day. I love all the tropical places and the exotic atmosphere, so it’s like a party for me drawing Kori living in Key West. You feel like you’re on vacation all the time!
GP: Key West is a pretty common place to live for all the places that Starfire has been to before. Are we going to see some more exotic locations like outer space?
EL: You’re going to see A LOT in general, not only in terms of places :) but yes. You’ll see more beautiful and exotic places (that really exist!).
GP: The series has a more humorous tone than some other series featuring superheroes. How do you capture this in the drawing?
EL: I don’t know. It just comes natural to me. I’m really focused on the attitude and expressions of the characters – I study emotions and gesture a lot on actors and animated movies so I just try to catch the right expression or pose in a specific scene.
I think I know how to handle emotions more than anything else in a comic book but just because it’s spontaneous and I don’t have to think about it so much. Humor is led by a thin movement or expression and if you fail that, the whole scene loses the right tone.
GP: Starfire’s past in the new 52 is complicated as her time with the Teen Titans is not what it once was. Are there any of the former Titans that you would like to see show up here and get a chance to draw? I think for instance that your take on Wonder Girl would be interesting.
EL: Wonder Girl would be interesting, as much as Beast Boy and Raven. They’re both very interesting characters to see in Key West!
GP: How do you decide on the idea for the cover when you draw both the cover and the inner artwork? What works best to capture the idea of what is inside?
EL: Generally the cover shows what a reader will find in the story. So yes, that’s the way we work on the cover. The editor gives me some information about the main plot for a specific issue and we build the cover illustration around what can be the most important scene of the story. Variant covers can escape this rule and sometimes they have nothing to do at all with the story. When you work on the cover you have to give some information about the story without spoiling it too much.