Posted April 9, 2014 by Antonio Lukban in Comics

KOMIKS INTERVIEW: Steve Gan, Julius Gopez & Jomar Bulda

Guardians of the Galaxy is set to hit the big screens in the Philippines on August  2014. And with Chris Pratt taking on the lead role of Star-Lord in the movie, Steve Gan has been brought to the attention of many Filipino comic book enthusiasts as the co-creator of the character. We were able to spend time with Steve Gan when he visited Druid’s Keep last April 3, 2014 and asked him about the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Movie, Star-Lord, how he got in to comics, his work on and fondness of Panday and his other works from 70’s-80’s, current dream project, and Steve reveals something exclusively to Flipgeeks when he shared about his influences and favorite characters. Along with Steve Gan is an upcoming Filipino artist Julius Gopez (Dragon Lance, Team 7, Young Romance, and Red Hood and The Outlaws ) and recently featured sketch card artist Jomar Bulda

[Check out our KOMIKS INTERVIEW with Jomar Bulda]

On Guardians of the Galaxy Movie and Star-Lord
FLIPGEEKS: Star-Lord will be coming out as the main character for the movie – Guardians of the Galaxy, how do you feel about that as you co-created that character? Did you see this happening?
STEVE GAN:  I was very surprised. I did not expect the character to be part of a movie after all these years. This came to me as a shock but I am glad about it. Back then I was just focused on making the drawing look good.
FG: How did you go about in drawing Star-Lord for the first time? Was there a particular inspiration in mind? Did you want him to look like a certain person?
SG:  No actual person served as an inspiration for Star-Lord. At that time when I receive scripts, what I had in mind was to make it look good and to meet my deadlines. Steve Englehart (you see there were two Steves working together [laughs]) on his script had a concept and that’s what I worked with in the comic.  At that time, I considered myself to be very slow in drawing and I only had three weeks to work on it in time for me to be able to send it via the courier. But I think it turned out really well.
On How He Started
FG:  When did you start drawing? When you did, did you actually see yourself doing this for a long time? SG: Drawing has been my fondness since I was young, hilig ko na talaga. But then there was a time that I got distracted and stopped drawing. Until I met a friend in college, Frank Reyes, who was also fond of comics, somehow he influenced me to draw again. I was taking up architecture then since there were no courses for comic illustration. But with Frank we worked with illustrations.

FG: How did you get into the international scene?
SG:  Tony de Zuniga was my agent back then. He was the one giving me the work. The first script he gave me was Dragon Seed. It was follow by Ka-Zar, Then Dracula, Skull the Slayer, Star-Lord, Conan the Barbarian. I don’t prefer drawing super heroes really. I prefer to draw humans in action that’s why Conan was something I enjoyed working on.

FG: Who is your favorite actor to play as Panday?
SG: Fernando Poe Jr. of course!

FG: How about Jericho Rosales or Bong Revilla?
SG: Jericho is a bit thin while Bong is not that tall. FPJ is perfect for the role. It seems like it was actually made for him.


His Dream Project and Favorite Works
FG: Hypothetically speaking, if you were allowed to work on any project or create a new character who would it be?
SG: [thinks hard] I would still like to work on Panday. If I get to speak with Carlo J. Caparas [Panday writer/creator], I would have a proposal for him.

FG: What would that proposal be?
SG: I would like to have a modern age Panday. I would probably change his costume though as the one he is using is more of a farmer’s costume than a blacksmith. I think the boots only came into the picture when FPJ requested for them in the movie.

FG:  Both in your local and foreign works, what were your favorite among them?
SG: [laughs] Locally, obviously it is Panday.
FG: [laughs] Aside from Panday?
SG: I liked working on Pieta then Sampan Lady. It was fun working on Sampan Lady as it was full of action at sea. Then there was Mekanizmo which was action too.

FG:  In the foreign scene?
SG: Conan and Ka-Zar. I really prefer drawing those type of comics where characters would show a lot of movement and action in a jungle setting.

FG: If you were asked to draw a super hero, who would it be?
SG: [pauses] I don’t like Iron-Man as he is too stiff. It has to be Spider-man. Spider-man has a lot of movements. I was actually reading Spider-man back in the day.  You see I got my name from there. My real name is Santos Gan. And I thought that Santos was too common back in the day. So I decided to use a pen name which I got from the artists of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko.


FG: That’s very interesting to hear. Thank you for sharing that. Is it safe to think that Steve Ditko was your favorite artist then and your main work influence?
SG: He is one of the many. I also liked Joe Kubert [Steve sees Tarzan book by Joe Kubert and points to it]. That’s also a project I would like to work on. My work is also influenced by Harold Foster, Alex Raymond, Frank Frazetta and Al Williamson. Locally, Francisco Coching, Nestor Redondo and Nestor Leonidez are my favorites.
FG: Thank you very Steve. We are hoping to see your works once more.
SG: Thank you also.


Flipgeeks: Hi Julius, congratulations on your work on Red Hood and the Outlaws. Am I correct to say that Dragon Lance is your first published work?
JULIUS GOPEZ: Yes, It is. I previously worked as an animator before that. But in comics Dragon Lance was the first and then Team 7 and the most Recent one Red Hood and the Outlaws.

FG:  Who is your favorite Red Hood and the Outlaws character?
JG: Arsenal, among the characters for me he was the most human, he has a past and it was fun drawing his gadgets too. He is also very realistic.

FG:  When did you start your love for comics? What were you reading then?
JG:  I was very young. I can’t remember how old exactly. I would read works by Mar Santana and Sonny Trinidad. My favorite was Athos by Sonny Trinidad. That was the time I started to be conscious with the anatomy in drawing. I wanted to draw characters with huge muscles but still have the correct anatomy.

FG: When did you start drawing then? And when did you decide that you would like to be a comic artist?
JG:  I think I was 5 years old. I started to work on the human anatomy, focusing on the muscles.  When I saw the local comics,  that’s when I thought that I would want to draw comics.

FG: Did you work on any local comics? What were they?
JG: I did very few, about 2 or 3. One was a love story and another was a horror story, I can’t remember the titles.

FG: Given a chance would you like to work on local comics again? On which one?
JG: Yes, I would like to. I think I would like to work on Panday, maybe Julio Valente even, Stories about the farmers and haciendas.

FG: What is your dream project? If you could work on any character which character would it be?
JG: I want to work for Marvel and DC again. Marvel Character [thinks]

[Jomar Bulda joins in the conversation]

JOMAR BULDA: Wolverine!!!
JG: I agree. It has to be Wolverine. If someone asks me to draw a marvel character, automatically I draw Wolverine by instinct.

FG: Hi Jomar, so you would prefer Wolverine also?
JB:  Wolverine or Hulk.
JG: Wolverine still. He has that human element even if he has healing powers. Unlike other characters like Superman, you could see with Wolverine that he feels the pain. It takes him a long time to heal also not like Superman
JB: Superman you just put him out in the sun, he’s well. “I-daing mo lang parang isda, ok na” [Just hang him out to dry like dried fish, he’ll be better]. With Wolverine you can see his struggle.
JG: Superman is boring because no one can match up to him. Unlike, Wolverine he knows that he can still die.

FG: How about in DC Comics? Which character would you like to illustrate?
JG: YES! BATMAN! He has no super powers and he is very prone to injury and death. I prefer characters that have the human element about them. What I like most about Batman is that he is very smart and the villains that he fights are crazy. He has to fight crazy characters because he is a smart guy otherwise they will all be easily defeated by him.

FG: If you were to draw a comic with your own story, what would it be about?
JG: I would like to have a comic about the Philippines in the 1800’s, the time of Jose Rizal when people were very courteous. People were very respectful and they would say “po” and “opo”. Women were conservative and would faint if their legs would slip out of their dresses. When people read it, people would know it was the historical Philippines. Works that are similar to that of Francisco Coching.

FG: What is your next project? What will your fans be expecting from Julius Gopez?
JG: My agent is currently in discussions with Dynamite Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics. Hopefully, I could get in Star Wars. Star Wars has a variety of characters. So that will be very interesting to draw. I’d also like to work on Conan. But nothing is final.

FG: How about working for IDW (Publishing)? Maybe G.I Joe?
JG: I’d love that. I enjoyed watching the cartoons when I was a kid. That would be a dream come true.

FG: How about you Jomar? What will can your fans expect from Jomar Bulda?
JB: I am coming up with local komiks E-Juan as an artist, The Great Armor Wars (writer) and Neox(writer) for the Komikon.

(Interview was conducted in casual Filipino and translated into English and flow was arranged for reading purposes)

Antonio Lukban