First Comics News: Why do you think Hammer Films have decided to get into comics?
Ronilson Freire: This symbiosis between cinema and comics is not new. Most of the heroes of comics, at some point, have inspired films and blockbuster TV series. This practice was very common in the 50, 60 and 70. I think that the popularity of the series sparked an inverse effect from 90’s Publishers realized that adapt the characters of great success in film and TV for comic diversify and increase the reading public. This experience can be seen successfully in most medium and large publishers like Titan Comics, which has in its catalog success of series like Penny Dreadful, Dracula, Doctor Who, Minions and many others. Bring comics classic characters Hammer that populate the imagination of several generations was a wonderful initiative and that will captivate a new generation of readers and aficionados of horror film and its classic characters.
1st: Do you get to work with anyone from Hammer Films?
Ronilson: At first this is the first Hammer of the project in partnership with Titan, so the only decision was to choose the artist with the design and style that fit the project. It was curious how I was chosen to illustrate the series. From the start Peter Milligan wanted something dark, to send to the atmosphere of the old movies of Hammer. Until then my only job in Europe had been an issue of Doctor Who. I was hired in a hurry to replace Daniel Indro in the art of editing 14 that he was overworked. Of the 11 pages that I should just draw fazedo any issue. This animated Paulo Teles, my agent to send my portfolio in the hope we get more jobs. Months later we were contacted to design the Mummy. Coincidentally samples that surprised the Hammer and Milligan were two pages of an authorial horror project I’m doing for an independent publisher in Brazil.
1st: Who is the human vessel for Nebetah and what characteristics does your art bring out in her?
Ronilson: Angel is our heroine in the series, if we can call it that, after all there is no room for heroes in the Hammer! As I said before, the idea is to make the reader delve into the shadowy world of old movies from producer. From the beginning I was told to make sketches of the characters and more realistic and human beings. Seeking inspiration in German expressionism when drawing pages Mummy, abusing more dramatic frameworks and gloomy scenarios. Angel and Nebetah are the essence of it.
1st: How do you make a Mummy scary?
Ronilson: That was a question much discussed between me, the editor and screenwriter. We did not want the classic image of a man wrapped in bandages. The idea was that skin and tissue to merge. Busco make the reader stop for a moment to observe this detail in my drawings and ask yourself, “Wow, that’s creepy !!! I smell thousands of years these pages! “We had the same care when designing the outlines of Amith, a demigod crocodile. An important character in the series. The classic image was just the horror of Hammer films. We decided to escape from that stereotype of the pictures found in the history books. Our Amith is misshapen and putrid!
1st: Did you do any research on Egypt for your drawings?
Ronilson: The research is important in a story with historical elements. I’ve always been in love with Egyptian culture. I have a Hank and Oros eye tattooed on the arms! I felt comfortable in this project and research work became more pleasurable. Even so I try not follow strictly those references. Always seek a more futuristic aesthetics when designing the clothes, but without losing the original features.
1st: Would you like to draw any other Hammer Horror monsters in a comic?
Ronilson: I’m hoping that this is just the first project with the Hammer and I can participate again! I’d love to draw the Prince of Darkness, Dracula! Incorporate Christopher Lee caractarísticas in the drawings would be wonderful!
1st: How do you interact with the writer Peter Milligan?
Ronilson: In fact this interaction is discreet. All this work is done by my agent, Paulo Teles, the Glass House Graphics. Because of the distance between Brazil and England and the tight deadlines, I try to worry only with the production of the page. I get directions and what to do. So we do not lose too much time and maximize production. It is an organized system so that everything works.
1st: When you worked on Justice Inc. how did you bring out his tough hard side in your art?
Ronilson: Working with a professional of Mark Waid level is wonderful. His scripts are simple and straightforward, very well written. I had all the freedom to make some changes to facilitate my work. I think this is what characterizes a well-written script, the freedom to interact with the writer. This does not mean that I have changed what was written and the course of history. But I added or removed tables if he found necessary and with the approval of Waid. Justice Inc was the second series written by him I drew. The first was the Green Hornet, which drew almost a year.
1st: Did you have fun drawing the iconic Doctor Who?
Ronilson: Although it was a short experience, only one edition, I felt honored. Draw the character of the older TV series history is amazing!
1st: In “Swords of Sorrow: Miss Fury & Lady Rawhide” do you feel you achieved a combination of their sexuality with their heroic side?
Ronilson: The crossover with these characters was a quick experience in Dynamite. My exclusive contract was coming to an end and there was no time for me to work in more extensive projects as was the Green Hornet and Justice Inc. Still, it was pleasant to draw a character from the golden age as Miss Fury while a character the new generation, such as Purgatory, which was also part of the story. Fury, Rawhide and Purgatory are the sensuality synthesis in the comics heroines and I always wanted to work on projects where the protagonists were girls. Unfortunately I do not consider this one of my best works, I had little time for research and was not in a good phase.
1st: How do you go about drawing a comic book page?
Ronilson: I usually work on more than one project at the same time for different publishers, so I’m always more than one page on the drawing board. Currently, in addition to Titan, I’m working for a US independent publisher, another of Canada and a third of Brazil! Most often use a different style in each project. It’s crazy! But it helps me not get bored. Travelling in different stories gives me the impression of always starting something new every day. I often use a variety of materials for effects and varying textures in my designs. Pens and brushes are part of this diverse arsenal.
1st: What Hammer monster are you most like?
Ronilson: Dracula Christopher Lee is my favorite. The way he gave life to the character has no parallel in the history of cinema. The pale face and bloodshot eyes of the character peopled my mind throughout my childhood and adolescence.
1st: Are you a fan of the old Hammer Horror films, if so do you have any favorites?
Ronilson: In the 80’s the Hammer films were shown on a TV channel in Brazil in the early morning hours of Friday. I was anxious all week waiting for this moment. I was really in love with movies and horror comics. I was only 10 years old, but I was born in a family where art was taken seriously and that gave me a free pass to stay awake in the morning and see these films. Some were marked in my soul, as “The Brides of Dracula,” “Dracula – Prince of Darkness”, “Vampire Circus” and many others.
1st: Any words for all the fans of your art?
Ronilson: I would like to thank the caring how my work is received by fans around the world. I get excited and appreciative emails from some fans in Brazil, the United States and Europe. And messages through social networks. Thank you very much!!!!