Monday, December 20, 2010

Interview with Stephen DeStefano

Today I propose you an interesting interview with the comic and cartoon author Stephen DeStefano.

Hi Stephen! Have you ever read a Disney comic? Do you remember what was the first Disney comic you've ever read?

Hi Simone! I don't remember the first Disney comic I ever read, but I'm pretty sure it was a Paul Murry MICKEY MOUSE comic book. I remember being fascinated by the colors. I loved that Mickey's pants were magenta, instead of a true red.

How did you find job in Disney? How have you collaborated with it?

I was contacted by an editor named David Seidman, who was part of the new DISNEY COMICS publishing group. This had to be around 1990 or so. He was looking for new artists to draw the Disney characters, and I lobbied hard to draw Mickey, because I love the character so.

What's your favorite Disney comic ever and also your favorite artist?

I love Floyd Gottfredson's MICKEY MOUSE, but I also adore Carl Bark's DONALD and SCROOGE comics. I really, really like Romano Scarpa's and Daan Jippes' work as well.

Your first 2 Disney stories were also the first two of another great author, Michael Gilbert. Do you know him personally? How is to work with this author?

I did not know Michael personally, and have never met him. He was enjoyable to work with though. His stories were extremely fanciful.

In a pair of stories, you've drawn the professors Ecks, Doublex. What do you think about these characters?

I love those characters, if only because they were created by the great Floyd Gottfredson! It was a pleasure drawing them, although I think in one of the stories I drew them in, they were combined into one single character with two different heads!

Always about “The Perils of Mickey”, in this story you've drawn Mickey and co. Into a 1930s style (I think your drawings were very good). Was it difficult to draw that way?

Not difficult at all. It was a pleasure to draw Mickey in that style. My favorite look for Mickey is probably the style Gottfredson was drawing him in post World War II, but I think the "pie-eyed" Mickey is terrific as well. Perhaps the best of the Mickey continuities were during the "pie-eye"

In your “A Phantom Blot Bedtime Story” and in another one, it appears The Phantom Brat, Blot's daughter.
Can you explain this charachter who Gerstein calls “apocriphal”.

I wasn't in on the creation of the Blot's daughter, other than designing her look for that issue. I only recall being handed a script for that issue, and being thrilled to get to draw the Phantom Blot, who's one of my favorite comics characters.

In “The Sorcerer's Apprentice”, you've re-drawn a part of famous Fantasia. How have you draw it? Did you watch the movie many times?

I don't recall watching the movie many many times, as I'm not sure it was even released on video at that point. I do recall listening to the soundtrack over and over, to establish a sense of rhythm and drama in my story. I loved that job! One of my proudest moments at Disney Comics.

There is a story, called “Mickey Mouse – Mobster?” who you've drawn and Martin's inked (?), but it hasn't been published yet. Michael Gilbert, the story writer, told me that “Basically Mickey gets framed for a bank robbery by Pete, winds up in jail, escapes and clears his name.”, would you like to add something? About drawings?

That was the very first Mickey story I ever drew, intended for the first issue of Disney Comics' MICKEY MOUSE COMICS #1. Actually, it never was inked, it only exists in pencil form. And frankly, I'm glad it was never published, as it gave me an opportunity to learn to the draw the character (and get paid for it) without having some very bad and embarrassing drawing published, and in the eye of the public!

It exists a giveaway called "The Perils of Mickey”, published by Nabisco, that contained three ol' Gottfredson stories drawn in 2 pages. Have you drawn those? Explain your relation with “The Perils of Mickey” campaign.

A good friend of mine named John Loter was the lead character artist for Disney Merchandise back around the time I was drawing Mickey comics, and he asked me to get involved in the creation of a licensing style guide called "The Perils of Mickey". I submitted some ideas and concepts, and many of them were used, although none as final art. And I didn't do any comics for Nabisco, although I did draw a "Perils of Mickey" comic book story, originally printed in DISNEY DIGEST, here in the United States.

What do you think about the Disney (classic and modern) animation?

I'm a huge fan of classic Disney animation. Some of my favorite feature films were made by Disney. I'm not a big fan of the modern Disney animation, although I haven't seen very much of it, to be fair.

If I don't mistake, you did something as animator. Can you explain your animation works?

Shortly after drawing 12 issues of MICKEY MOUSE COMICS, I was offered a job working on the REN AND STIMPY SHOW, in Los Angeles. That was the first job I ever had in animation. Since then, I've worked on such diverse shows as BATMAN, SUPERMAN and THE VENTURE BROTHERS.

What do you think about “The Runaway Brain”? Did you work about it?

"Runaway Brain" is great! Very handsome, exciting cartoon. I only drew development sketches for it, I never actually worked on the production. An extremely talented director named Chris Bailey asked me to work on the short, based on the work I'd done on Mickey Mouse Comics.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on storyboards for Disney TV Animation, on a show called KICK BUTTOWSKI. I'm also drawing SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS comic books, as well as drawing the second volume of my graphic novel (Volume one was published this past September) called LUCKY IN LOVE.

Where do you work? (home, office...)

I work in my home, in an office I have for myself.

What instruments do you use to work?

I mainly work on computer these days, on a Wacom Cintiq. However, when I draw my graphic novel, I am working on paper with pencil, pen and ink.

What is, in you opinion, the situation of the comics in America now and what will it be by 20 years?

There's some very good comics work currently being published in the United States, by terrific talents like Dan Clowes and David Mazzucchelli. I can't tell where the business or artform will be in 20 years, but I hope I'm still part of it!

              That's all Folks! Good Luck, Stephen! Next time! Thank you for following us also this time!

Simone Cavazzuti

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