Interview with Rafael De Latorre (March 2023)

The artist talks about his early work at Marvel, the WOMAN WITHOUT FEAR mini, working with Chip Zdarsky and sharing art duty on the current DAREDEVIL title with Marco Checchetto.

Kuljit Mithra: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Before we talk about Daredevil, I wanted to first discuss your work on BLACK WIDOW. I think that's where I was first introduced to your art. The thing I remember most was how you were able to convey motion, pushing the reader like they are watching anime. Is it safe to say there's an influence, or is there any other media or artists that have shaped your work?

Rafael De Latorre: Thanks Kuljit! One of the first superhero comics I remember reading was SPIDER-MAN. Then when I started studying drawing my main influences were the 90’s Image Comics like GEN 13, WILDCATS and SPAWN. But soon after that I started watching animes like RUROUNI KENSHIN, COWBOY BEBOP and EVANGELION. That blew my mind and had an immense impact in my work. I even studied animation for a while. So there’s definitely anime influence in my work. BLACK WIDOW was my first project working with Marvel. The scripts were full of great action sequences, so I tried to make it as dynamic as I could. Also, loved working with Kelly Thompson, Jordie Bellaire's colors were so amazing, the entire team was fantastic.

Mithra: What is the comics community like in Brazil? Is there a lot of work from the USA, or is there a big industry in the country?

De Latorre: I wouldn’t say we have a big industry here yet, but we do have a lot of creators doing some amazing comics. A lot of it is still through independent publishing though. I think that comics from the USA and mangas are still the biggest part of the market. We also have some amazing comic conventions like CCXP and FIQ, that I hope will help to introduce a lot of new talented creators.

Mithra: During the Devil's Reign story, you drew the DAREDEVIL: WOMAN WITHOUT FEAR mini series. How did you get involved? Had the BLACK WIDOW series already ended and editorial thought you'd be a good fit? What interested you in the story?

De Latorre: I had just finished my work on BLACK WIDOW and I was talking about other projects with Marvel when they offered me to draw the WOMAN WITHOUT FEAR mini series. Daredevil and Elektra are some of my favorite Marvel characters ever and it was written by Chip Zdarsky, so how can you say “no” to that, right? Also, it was so cool to grab my copy of THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR as reference to draw some of the flashbacks in that story. On top of that, I was very fortunate to work again with a fantastic team, with Federico Blee amazing colors and stunning Chris Bachalo’s covers.

Mithra: What was it like for you artistically to draw this version of Elektra as Daredevil? Was it difficult to put your own style on Marco Checchetto's design work for the costume and even her hair?

De Latorre: Marco’s designs are absolutely fantastic! I always loved working with characters designs, and his versions and the way he draws the characters are so inspiring.

Mithra: How about the Kraven fights, it seems like it must have been fun to draw so many sparring sequences?

De Latorre: Yes, definitely. Before Marvel I haven’t done much superhero comics, so it was a bit challenging to work on the action sequences. I remember flipping through BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL and a bunch of comics and movie fights for inspiration. Also, I’ve been really lucky to work with such talented writers, that makes my job so much easier.

Mithra: Before the new DAREDEVIL volume came out, I had interviewed writer Chip Zdarsky, who praised your work on the WOMAN WITHOUT FEAR mini and he was hoping you could come onto the new #1. Was it a case of finding time in your schedule, or convincing you about the upcoming story and doing split art duties with Checchetto?

De Latorre: It was just about fitting the schedule. Working on DAREDEVIL is a dream come true for me. Splitting the art duties with Checchetto is quite intimidating but also inspiring. I absolutely love to work with Chip. His scripts are fantastic, it’s as much fun to draw the action as the quiet scenes he writes. His feedbacks and notes to the layouts are incredibly helpful and always improve the storytelling.

Mithra: Are you drawing "traditionally" with pencil/ink on boards, or on a computer/tablet? Do you prefer to ink your own work?

De Latorre: Lately I’ve been working 100% on the computer. I usually use Clip Studio on a Cintiq and sometimes Procreate on the iPad Pro, specially for the layouts. I enjoy to work traditionally too and intend to do some work on paper, but I’m still have to get more used to it. I prefer to ink my own work because It allows me to experiment more with the shadows and textures, and because my pencils are too loose and rough. But I also had a great experience doing only pencils on DAREDEVIL #7, with Elisabetta D’Amico on inks. I had worked with Elisabetta on a Black Widow issue before and her inks are fantastic.

Mithra: Thank you again for your time. I'm not sure if you can say how long you'll continue on DAREDEVIL, but is there anything else you are working on that you'd like to mention that your fans should look out for? Thanks again, I appreciate it.

De Latorre: I’m not sure about how long I’ll continue on DAREDEVIL and I still don’t have any confirmed projects after that yet. I have a creator-owned book with writer Rafael Scavone called HAILSTONE, that it’s available digitally from ComiXology Originals and it’s going to be published from Dark Horse in June this year, I think. Thanks, Kuljit!

(c) 2023 Kuljit Mithra & Rafael De Latorre
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

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