Marco Checchetto has been drawing rave reviews for his Punisher work. He's got a gritty style that really works well with Frank Castle. He was kind enough to share some insight into what's made him one of the most revered pencillers at present. Here's my interview with the esteemed Marco...where there's a more personal and endearing touch than I first anticipated. This is the most emotional interview I've did with a creator.
CBNAH: What got you into comics and drawing/sketching as a career?
MC: My first comicbook, when I was 7 or 8 years-old, was a big book with stories of Thor, Fantastic Four, Asterix and Spider-Man. Spidey shocked me. I started drawing everyday and I said to my parents and friends: “One day, in the future, I’ll be the artist of Spider-Man”!!! I had very clear ideas before becoming a professional artist and it was this love for Spider-Man that helped me decide to start this career. I started with small projects, advertising and comics for small publishers. My real professional debut was with the cover of PSM - Playstation Magazine (USA edition).
CBNAH: How did you break into the field and were your family supportive of your dreams?
MC: My parents supported me a lot, but, as it should be, with a bit of fear. They didn’t know the world of comics. They hoped for me a career such as a doctor or lawyer. I lost my mother one week before the publication of my first important comic in Italy. It’s something that haunts me. My father passed away a couple of months ago, but at least he was able to get some satisfaction, as he saw my dreams become reality. I owe a great deal to my parents and I will never stop telling them “Thank you, I love you!”.
CBNAH: What were your favorite memories from the books you did?
MC: I never forgot, obviously, the day when Marvel (editor: Stephen Wacker) asked me to draw some issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. I remember every single emotion and every single line I drew on the first page.
CBNAH: I loved your Punisher work, so how was it working on that book?
MC: This is another period in my career that I’ll never forget. I really loved to work with Greg Rucka, Matt, Steve and Ellie on this series.
I loved every panel we did together. The writer and the penciler sometimes don’t speak to each other during the story development but I had a lot of feedback with Greg. We worked together for almost 2 years and it was wonderful. Greg is a fantastic writer, professional and a very kind person. Greg gave me the opportunity to grow as a storyteller. I’ll miss working with him on Punisher.
CBNAH: Some of your artistic influences?
MC: I’ve got a lot of artistic influences. Two artists in particular were very important for me. John Romita Jr. and Rick Leonardi. So, guys, if you read this interview, thanks a lot for your work… it's gorgeous. I read all of my script and I start working on the page with a little layout on a post-it. Now I’m working digitally with a Cintiq tablet. The method is the same as the classic method like paper and ink… so, I layout, add pencils, inks and after that I put the grey scale.
CBNAH: Favorite character to draw?
MC: Spider-Man. I’m boring I know. Haha. I like to draw beautiful stories, so the character is not important.
CBNAH: What's your favorite thing about being an artist for a living?
MC: The freedom to manage my time. I work when I want without having set times. Another thing is the idea that I get paid to have fun. Maybe I should not say this last thing? Haha
CBNAH: Best advice you ever got?
MC: "This page is bullshit, do it again!" (My brother Massimo)
CBNAH: How has the digital age/internet impacted on comics for you and your work?
MC: The Internet has given me the chance to work with Marvel. It has globalized the world of comics. The social networks allow me to get immediate feedback from readers and talk with a lot of writers and artists. Personally I try to reply to all as soon as possible. If someone has taken the time to write on my wall because he liked my last comic, I think it is nice to answer to him. I don’t like talking about myself on socials. This is why on my wall you can’t see many pictures of me and my family, for example. I love my privacy.
CBNAH: What would you like to see happen to the industry over the next two years?
MC: I’d love to see people read more comic books.
CBNAH: Did the language barrier ever prove too stressful?
MC: Oh man, yes!!! When I started working with Marvel I didn’t speak a single word of English. I‘m a guy who talks a lot and jokes a lot and it’s stressful not to be able to approach people with my 100% humor.
CBNAH: If you weren't doing art, what would you be doing?
MC: I'd be Indiana Jones. ☺
CBNAH: Dream book you'd like to work on and with whom?
MC: Spider-Man obviously. There are a lot of writers with whom I work. I'd like to do something with Mark Millar one day. I love his stories and his writing. 'Ultimates' is a masterpiece.
CBNAH: Advice for upcoming writers and artists?
MC: Be modest, professional and devourers of comics, books, movies and video-games.