John DaCosta is a young, 25-year-old newcomer to the comic book publishing industry. His very first, upcoming, soon to be published comic book series is entitled Metro, a superhero team title, due out soon from Infinity Uprising Studios. He’s already completed the first issue, and he is now hard at work on the second issue in the series!
Metro is not the first comic book series he has drawn, but it is the very first work he has done, that is about to be published!
First Comics News: Hello John, I’ve been taking a look at the web links you provided. Thanks so much for providing those, so I could take a good look at your pencils as well as your ink work and use of color. You seem to have quite a flair for character design!
John DaCosta: Thank you for the compliments; I’m also really impressed by the inker and colorist’s contributions as well. Carlos and Lula have done a fantastic job with the promo poster. I had a good time putting together the Urban, Hot Hand and Force Fire character designs.
1st: Your pencil and ink work on the websites you provided me, certainly show me that, not only do you have the ability to do individual characters but that you also have a flair for drawing teams of characters. This, in my opinion, is something that many artists just do not have the patience for.
I particularly like Olympia’s costume; it’s just very different.
John: Olympia’s got a great look, but not one I can take credit for.
Metro, Olympia and Mourning Star were already designed when I joined the project. I did design Urban, Hot Hand and Force Fire. They were a lot of fun too, and even though they are secondary characters, they will become integral parts of the story. One thing I particularly enjoy is that this isn’t going to be a superhero team, but rather, mainly about a man with super-human powers acknowledging when he needs help.
1st: Can you elaborate on that a little bit? Basically, without giving too much away, do you mind me asking the basic synopsis of the series? And, is it intended as an ongoing series, or as a mini-series? If the latter, how many issues?
John: Without giving too much away, Stavros Metrolopolous was abducted by a hellish race, the Ashe. They manipulated his body to serve as an instrument to destroy the earth. Right now we’re working on the mini-series, but we’re planning an ongoing series following that. The mini-series will primarily deal with him accepting his powers, dealing with who he is and ultimately putting on the costume and becoming Metro.
1st: Mourning Star is another character who just leaps out at me as being very visually interesting. What’s his story?
Him I do not much care to run into, in a dark alley.
He scares me, but I think that is the idea. Smile.
John: Mourning Star is Metro‘s worst nightmare.
Mourning Star is relentless, absurdly powerful, possessed of a blood lust for revenge. He is by far, Metro‘s most powerful adversary, but, at the same time, these two serve as puppets to a much more sinister force.
1st: That last line, ‘these two serve as puppets to a much more sinister force’, rather does intrigue me. Sounds like quite a ride, and I can’t wait till it comes out!
Also, I noticed you spell the character’s name as Mourning Star, with a letter ‘u’ in it. There was a female character called Morning Star, in The Elementals various comics series, many years ago. Did you spell Metro‘s character with a ‘u’ in it to differentiate the character’s name from her, and/-or is your character, literally, ‘in mourning’ over some past loss, causing him some grief? You said he is Metro‘s worst enemy. Does the name Mourning Star tell me what I need to know? In other words, is he blaming Metro for the death of a loved one? Say, am I on to something here? Or, am I chasing a blind ferret into a fence? Smile.
John: You are on to something. The name Mourning Star is used to describe a relentless or supreme evil. Mourning Star definitely has incredible power, and he isn’t afraid to abuse it. The motives of the character are revealed in the first issue, but elaborated on still further, in the second.
1st: I’d like to ask a few questions that some, but not a lot of interviewers seem to ask, in my opinion, for the reason that background info such as this does interest me. Asking where someone came from, in my opinion, can give us details as to who they are today.
Where did you grow up, and were you a comics fan or collector at an early age?
John: I started collecting when I was 12 or 13, which happened to be right when Image Comics was just formed. It was great because I could follow a new universe of characters from the beginning and not be left out. I kind of lost touch with comics until just recently, as drawing them is really the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. Obviously, I have a day job, and for right now drawing for Metro is only a part-time deal. I still try to meet industry standard deadlines, roughly a page every day.
Here’s a link to the Metro art gallery:
Not everything there is something I drew, but there are still quite a few samples of my work up there.
Portal Comics, of which I contributed to, also have a wonderful book coming out. I believe it is entitled BOTS, and all of the proceeds are going to be donated to the American Autism Society.
Phil, as you said in the introduction, Metro will be my first published work. I’m developing another project as well which is a 120-page graphic novel that will hopefully find a publishing house after its completion.
1st: One suggestion I would have, John, is that you show it to Canada’s Speakeasy Comics firm, which I know you are already familiar with. They publish a plethora of high-quality, full-color comic book titles already, and I’d be betting they’d be eager to expand. Are you able to share, at this early time, the basic synopsis of what the graphic novel is about? And is it with the same or related characters?
John: What I can share is that it’s not going to be a superhero title, although there are super-powered individuals. It’s an original concept with original characters set in the future of Tokyo. I had the pleasure of meeting Adam and Liz Fortier and Chris Stone this summer actually, at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. Great team of people and I have nothing but respect for them. Adam seemed genuinely open to meeting me and giving me advice after showing them a few samples.
1st: John, where were you born, and where did you grow up and go to school?
John: As far as school goes, I never finished college but I studied at the largest community college in the South East, Central Piedmont. I took as many art classes as possible. In my humble opinion, figure drawing and nature are my strongest and favorite subjects, and more technical wok as in fantasy cityscapes and machinery are a close second.
1st: being that I am Canadian, forgive me, but….where exactly is Piedmont?
John: North Carolina is split into 3 regions, Mountain (west) the Piedmont (central) and the Coastal Plains (east). I live in South Charlotte, near the state border.
1st: Thanks. Who were some of your comic book influences in terms of artists, series, other sources, and how did this affect your own artistic style, if at all? Indeed, how did you develop your craft?
John: I started drawing comics the moment I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
1st: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creators — you may perhaps know this, they were Canadian, from Toronto, I believe. I remember seeing the very earliest black and white Canadian versions of those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics in the early 1980’s while I was working in a comics store in Toronto, before they hit the big time, and really only later took off, spawning a motion picture, and a ton of imitators, like the Mutant Black Belt Hamsters and so on.
I understand that the very earliest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were printed very inexpensively. And they were literally delivered, at first, to various Toronto area comic book stores, by the creators themselves, making personal deliveries. I confess I am somewhat surprised, yet delighted, to hear that a Canadian comics creation actually inspired an American comic book artist to start drawing! I’m not sure that happens too often. You knew I had to sneak that in there, didn’t you? Smile.
What was it about those nefarious Turtles that inspired you to become an artist?
John: I was in fourth grade when they, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, came out. I always had a fascination with heroes, Batman and Spider-Man. It’s funny, I found a photo of myself when I was no more than 2 years old, holding old Batman and Robin action figures. In seventh grade, a friend introduced me to Image comics. It was all downhill from there. I grabbed every copy I could get my hands on. It was fresh and new to me. My top picks were Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Todd McFarlane and Whilce Portacio. From then on, all I’ve ever wanted to do was draw comics. I still enjoyed my fair share of Spider-Man, X-Men and Batman, but these guys stood out to me.
1st: It makes sense. Marvel and DC Comics were what I grew up on, in addition to so many others. Wonderful stuff. I’ve been following so many of their titles steadily and without a break, for several decades. And of course, the newer ‘universes’ of the so-called independents such as Image Comics and so many other companies as well.
Were your parents and family supportive of your drawings?
John: They supported my comics cravings for several years. My parents were always supportive of my hobbies, and they helped me find ways to build a skill through various classes and school.
Of course, my biggest source of support and inspiration comes from my wonderful wife and my baby boy. My wife, Lindsay, gives me every ounce of support possible, 110%.
I mentioned finding a picture of myself with Batman action figures, and I look at my son running around with Batman and Spider-Man figures all day long. I’m training him young; he’s almost 2.
1st: How old were you when you first picked up a pencil and started drawing?
DaCosta : Gee, I don’t know, 7 or 8. It kept building up year after year as I got more serious about making comics.
1st: when I was a kid, I used to draw my own comics with my own created characters, color them with crayons and colored pencils, staple them together and have “instant classics.” Ha,ha. Not really It’s like, Hey, I can do this. There ya go, and. hey, what happened?!
I wonder, at what point did you decide you wanted to work in the comic book industry, and what are your preferred genres to work in, in comics?
John: When I started collecting comics was right around the same time I wanted to draw them. I’m impartial to hero books, but the other project I’m working on is a cross-genre book, heroes, evil forces, conspiracy, stealth and Cyber punk.
1st: now, that sounds interesting. It’s got everything. Folks, stop wasting your money elsewhere and buy this. Everything you want is right there. Save the extra money and, you know. live a little! So this is something different again, as with Metro. Me, I’m also delighted to see some resurgence in westerns, as well, in comic books. I’ve been supporting a lot of those. There are literally hundreds of titles out there regularly, all genres. Too many superheroes, not enough of anything else. It’s changing slowly, though. Speakeasy Comics, for example. Lots of titles and nary a superhero between all of them. Variety is, indeed, the spice of life. But I admit, I buy a ton of Marvel and DC hero books, too. Where would I be without my monthly doses of Avengers, Daredevil, Batman and Outsiders?
John: I can’t say enough good things about the diversity of Speakeasy. While I can see your point regarding too many super books out there, I believe that putting a spin and breaking the mold of the traditional hero is what will set us on a different playground than say, the Hulk or Superman.
1st: I like both, even after all these years. Superhero stuff is fine, fun stuff. I eat it up. But yes, diversity is necessary as well. And that’s why I seek out and buy comics, also, in different genres. Will Metro be in color or in black and white? I support both types in spending sprees. And I like them for different reasons. I don’t prefer one over the other. A well-done comic book is a well-done comic book. Is the graphic novel the project that is the cross-genre production?
John: The cross-genre book is the same as the graphic novel I mentioned. I’m planning a 120 pager, but knowing me, it’ll go well over that. I’m writing, drawing, inking, coloring, and lettering it. Metro will be a full color title, I think there are just too many possibilities to take advantage of with the use of color.
1st: How did the initial concept of Metro, published by Infinity Uprising, come about? Was it the product of the writer, the artist, or a joint collaboration? And, how did this comic book company come together? Where are they published out of, and how many titles will there be, initially? Sometimes it seems like a new company would have the wisdom of Solomon to start small and expand slowly. But then again, some companies start big, and thrive!
John: Metro is the brainchild of Doug Bryan, who’s also the head of Infinity Uprising. He’s got ideas built on ideas and a few more to boot! Metro is part of an enormous universe of characters and there are a few titles already out and more on the way. He entrusted the writing of the Metro series to Adrian Wilkins. Adrian is a talent, to say the least, and he’s developed an amazing story!
1st: What’s Metro about, and is it set in the present?
John: Metro is a man who is quite possibly the most powerful being on the planet. He’s also destined to destroy it. One of the themes of Metro is destiny contested.
1st: Meaning, he’s destined, or fated, to destroy the world, but he’s fighting that destiny? And he is the….hero of the book or the main character? If so, I can see a little bit as to why, perhaps, if I’m on the right wavelength here, how everything’s not exactly……black and white in this book, in terms of who the heroes and the villains are.
Which, if so, really, strikes me as a lot more interesting than a lot of the ‘status quo’ comics out there, from various companies, where heroes and villains in many cases are clearly-defined. When’s it coming out? And, has it been solicited in the Previews catalog as yet?
John: The mini-series is going to cover a lot, and explore a lot of issues. Metro is destined to destroy the earth. He can fight against what he is, but he’d rather go out and meet a few ladies.
1st: He’s got his priorities straight.
John: He’s not just fighting against what he’s supposed to be, but also fighting against becoming a hero. He’s very wealthy, and he’d much rather enjoy his money than saving the world.
1st: Money and women. This guy’s got it all. Bruce Wayne should be like that when he’s on vacation. Yeah. Sounds like he’s got it tough alright. Poor guy. Smile.
John: You are definitely on the right track as far as bending the lines of black and white. Metro will be released this winter. We haven’t let the word out through Previews yet, but we’re definitely going to spread the word on all things related to Metro in the coming weeks. In regards to Adrian, he’s a writer for Infinity Uprising. He’s not affiliated with Speakeasy Comics yet, but he’s got a project of his own that I think would make a great home there. Right now, he’s writing Metro, his project, and a few others for some other small press comics companies out there.
Support your local Uprising!
1st: John, it’s been a really great pleasure chatting with you; a lot of fun for me. And, I will be standing in line for Metro, when it is hot off the presses! Don’t be surprised to get a Letter of Comment on the first issue, mailed from The Great White North!