TFAW Interviews: MASKS’ Alex Ross

by Jeff

via The Blog From Another World

oct120985 TFAW Interviews: MASKS' Alex RossOne of the most exciting things about Dynamite’s upcoming series Masks is Alex Ross’s return to full interior art for the debut issue! Not only will readers be able to enjoy the Green Hornet, Kato, The Shadow, The Spider, and Zorro together in one book, but they’ll see them fully painted by one of comics’ most talented artists.

We were able to get Ross to step away from his easel for a few moments to answer our questions as part of our Behind the Masks series! Read on to learn more about his role in Masks going forward, what drew him to the series, and how he stays inspired. What’s your personal relationship to the pulp heroes of Masks?

Alex Ross: I’ve been familiar with a lot of the early radio show characters like The Shadow since I was a child, and also of the artwork that illustrated characters like these from various history books on comics and fantasy. I’m always intrigued with the idea of who came first, and that somehow there’s a special importance to characters that are the first embodiment of what we embrace as the superhero today. You’re painting the entirety of issue #1; what will your role be in Masks going forward?

AR: Aside from contributing to the main story framework, into which Chris has integrated most of my suggestions, I will continue to do covers and designs where needed. What are your favorite, and least favorite, aspects of doing interior work?

sep120970 TFAW Interviews: MASKS' Alex RossAR: I really enjoy getting immersed in a story, but the workload can be very daunting. Consider that a cover illustration is one big composition, focusing on either a single element or a group of elements, whereas a storytelling page has multiple compositions within it, and often a lot of research needs to go into background detail and other elements. These are the necessary parts of telling a story, but they can sometimes be intimidating, so there’s a love/hate relationship I have with doing interiors. Was there a particular character you were especially excited to work on?

AR: The Shadow was the most appealing to me because of his uniqueness of facial structure. To me it’s fascinating that the first colorful character that launched all superheroes after him has anything but what we could consider idealistic features as the majority do today. I thought it would be an important part of my history to have illustrated him in a full story. Your schedule keeps you incredibly busy; how do you stay inspired?

AR: I’m lucky to be able to work with comic characters in the first place, because all of these fantastic elements have no other reason to exist than to inspire and seem like fun. There are always compositional things I’ve never attempted yet that I have to learn about, and there’s always more I can do to progress as a painter. I don’t always change up what I do, but I have a chance with each new composition to advance somewhere and certainly try out things that I can learn from others. What does Dynamite offer you that other publishers haven’t?

AR: I’ve had a strong, easygoing involvement and relationship with them that gives me a voice in what they do with the various properties the company has, as well as very strong oversight in all the books I’m working on, from initial layouts to final color art and lettering. It’s important to be able to see the job through to the furthest extent possible, and it’s nice to know they can allow me that input. Do you have a “bucket list” of characters you want to paint during your lifetime?

AR: I do in a way, but I’ve also hit more than I ever expected to. I keep thinking that the number of characters I’d like to touch upon are coming to a close, but then some other property that I have a fascination with pops up. It’s not so much that I can provide a list, just that I’m often surprised by the opportunities that I’ve been fortunate enough to have come my way. To date, I’ve worked with almost every fantasy property that affected me from my entire life.

Our thanks again to Ross for the insightful interview! Make sure to pre-order your copies of Masks #1 and #2 today!

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Are you excited for Masks? What classic pulp heroes are you hoping to see?

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