Updated: Jul 19, 2021
(Interview by Ben Wan)
SuperHouse Exclusive! We had the pleasure of interviewing DC Comics artist Álvaro Martínez Bueno, who’s worked on DC Rebirth titles like Detective Comics and Justice League Dark. We talked about his career, the daunting task of doing Detective Comics Rebirth in drawing the whole Bat Family, and how he got to participate in the milestone issue, Detective Comics No. 1000!
Big thanks to Álvaro for answering our questions during this time! Let's start from the beginning. What got you interested in becoming an artist? Since I was little, I remember one single passion: drawing. My earliest memories are related to making comics, even if I was not able to understand that there was a profession related to it. I was so young that it is difficult for me to say when… My mother keeps some “comics” that I did when I was 4 or 5 years old. So it must have been at that age. What led to you working for DC Comics? My first opportunity in the world of comics was given to me by Valiant in 2013, with a collaboration in the comics of Harbinger and Archer & Armstrong. After this first job I made a leap to Marvel, with whom I worked on pencilling Iron Man Annual, Ultimate Comics X-Men, and Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men over that year. My arrival to DC Comics was in 2014 and I started doing some fill-ins and pages in series like Aquaman, Convergence: Booster Gold, Grayson, Robin War or Teen Titans.
Who are your major inspirations? As a child, my greatest inspirations were Herge, John Byrne, Alan Davis, Bill Sinkiewicz, George Perez and [Frank] Miller, among others. Later, when I became a professional artist, the work from other artists became an inspiration to me: Carlos Pacheco, Shirow, Jaime Hernández, Otomo, Jeff smith. Nowadays, I look at Frank Quitely, Daniel Warren Johnston, Coipel, Pepe Larraz, Tim Sale, Sean Murphy ... but I´d say ten different names tomorrow, and then another ten the day after.. Who are your favorite characters to work on? Without a doubt, Wonder Woman. I find her figure very inspiring. She conveys to me, somehow, good feelings, which definitely helps me to draw every single panel in which she appears.
We became familiar with you through the Detective Comics Rebirth comics, which has a ton of caped heroes. Was it daunting to have to illustrate, what seems like, the entire Bat family? Definitely, it is challenging as many characters appear in every page, and each of them has its own particularities, character design, etc. However, I have always worked on group series, so I have some practice on drawing several characters at the same time. In that sense, it amuses me. In this regard, drawing the Batfamily poses a major challenge: many people have drawn its members and, therefore, there are many amazing interpretations of each of them. In my opinion, the most difficult part is giving your version and being able to contribute somehow, to add something new and interesting for the reader. The balance is difficult: you must do your contribution, but at the same time there are already too many amazing versions and that makes you be cautious… It is complicated. You've collaborated with James Tynion IV on that Detective Comics run as well as Justice League Dark. Share with us a bit of your collaboration process and how it works. We generally work through our editors; although Tynion and I are one of those cases where, fortunately, writer and artist connect perfectly. He tends to focus on the prosaic part and not so much on the graphic one, and my skills are all the other way around, so I would say that we supplement each other very well. How was it like to be asked to contribute to the milestone issue Detective Comics 1000? It was totally unexpected, a once in a lifetime chance to fulfill one of my greatest dreams. I was really thankful. I could feel the full force of the big responsibility that was given to me, together with fear and an enormous emotion, but above all, it was a great privilege for me. Is there any character you'd like to tackle that you haven't had a chance to work on yet? FLASH. I would love to be able to draw one of my favorite characters sometime. What are your favorite Batman stories (including both comics and adaptations)? Batman Year One, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman Mask of the Phantasm, Mad Love, Gotham Central…
Is there anything you'd like to promote / plug, such as your Instagram page, for fans to see more of your work or learn more about you? I have recently created a website: www.alvaromartinezcomic.com. Although it is currently only available in Spanish, it will soon be available in English. There is a lot of material with curiosities, etc. Also, I recently started my Instagram journey. You can follow me @alvaromartinezbueno_comic/