We noticed some Galctus art by Giorgio Comolo making the rounds on social media, and liked the look of it — like many European illustrators (the kind who helped build Heavy Metal), Comolo has a superhuman flair for detail. Look into his portfolio a little further and you’ll find him applying that talent to mashups, homages, and reimaginings that would make any comics obsessive smile. Comolo doesn’t draw comics — he doesn’t tell stories using panels in sequence — but he creates art based on comics stories and related material, such as H.P. Lovecraft and H.R. Giger. We asked him to explain himself.
HEAVY METAL: We’ve seen your work primarily online. Can you give us some information about how you got started?
GIORGIO COMOLO: I was born in 1961. Since I was a child, drawing has always been my passion and after graduating from an artistic high school I worked a few years in advertising. In parallel, I have always cultivated a passion for comics, starting out by drawing illustrations of science fiction and superheroes. After finding an agent to promote my work abroad, I got a good response, especially in the USA. So I decided that I would devote my life to drawing.
I have never drawn or published comics, therefore I have few publications. I did a cover of Graphic Classics with Cthulhu, various works in Jack Kirby Collector magazine and illustrations for Savage Dragon. In 2017 I had the honor of being selected among the 100 top artists for Kirby 100, a volume published by TwoMorrows Publishing for the centenary of the birth of King Kirby.
My business takes place mainly on private commissions, so in recent years the presence on the web has taken on great importance, and I have a website (giorgiocomolo.it), Facebook (@giorgiocomolo) and Instagram (@giorgiocomolo) pages curated by my staff.
My other great passions are jazz music, which I always listen to while I work, and mountain biking.
What artists have influenced you?
Of course the greatest influence was Jack Kirby, especially for the technologies and the dynamism of the scenes. Then Moebius, Gimenez and Giger for their incredible visionary talent. In the superhero field Steranko, Colan, Buscema, Romita Sr & Jr, Gil Kane, but I could mention many others.
Growing up in Italy, how were you able to see artists of Metal Hurlant/Heavy Metal? Were Caza, Moebius, Gimenez, etc. published in Italian or did you buy Metal Hurlant?
Metal Hurlant was published in Italy in the early ’80s and so I got to know these amazing authors, to whom I would add Corben. Then there were other Italian magazines that published their stories, such as L’Eternauta.
Regarding characters — you clearly have an affinity for Galactus. What do you like about him as a subject?
The first Marvel comic that I read, in 1973, was the second part of Kirby’s Galactus trilogy, a true milestone in comic book history. So it made a real impression! I believe that Galactus is the character that most represents the Kirbyan cosmic grandeur, the most revolutionary side of his work. His ability to graphically depict ideas that, for others, were vague and nebulous, was extraordinary.
You do cover recreations that are really variations on the original, and even when you’re mimicking another artist’s style it clearly has the Comolo touch. What is your strategy in doing a cover recreation, and why do you enjoy them?
Thank you for the compliment! It’s one of my favorite things to do. Most are based on Kirby’s covers or double splash pages. I like the idea of making “pictorially” his unique style and trying to give a sort of three-dimensionality to the scenes.
I also did several reinterpretations changing the position of the characters compared to the original, especially Spider-Man covers drawn by Romita Sr. Here the challenge is to try to identify with the style of the artist, creating an alternative version of the original.
You’ve done a series of “fine art” illustrations that show superheroes through the lens of famous museum art (Dali, de Chirico, Picasso). How did you come up with this idea and what are your favorites? Do you have any more you’re working on?
Quotations of famous works of art have always existed. I started in 2006 with two paintings by Giorgio De Chirico: “Ettore and Andromaca” (Spiderman & Gwen) and “The Disquieting Muses” (Fantastic Four). Then, in the following years, I made others as private commissions (Frazetta’s Death Dealer as Galactus, an Escher version of Predator, a Durer version of Batman). From here the italian association “La Nona Arte” (The Ninth Art), that brings together the greatest fans of comics in Italy, had the idea of the Fine Art Portfolio. It was a nice challenge that gave me great satisfaction, especially the exhibition of the originals at Comic Cons in Turin and Naples in 2017.
It’s very difficult to find suitable artworks, but I don’t rule out new works in the future. My favorite Portfolio drawings are Dalì-Cap America & Red Skull and Giger-Hela.
We’ve seen single (beautiful) images, do you plan to do any stories, either written by you or working with a writer?
I’ve never been interested in writing or drawing stories because, honestly, I don’t think I have the skills. I prefer to stick to illustrations!
What are your future plans or upcoming events? Will we see you at any Comic Cons in the US?
First I should conquer the fear of flying! In any case, I am not very fond of fairs (I am particularly shy!) and I have done very few in Italy. My goal is to be able to publish more than in the past, maybe for some Italian or foreign publishing company, even Heavy Metal.