A huge success for his first graphic novel with the publisher Hollow Press.
First thought when getting at Lucca Comics and Games was to run at the Hollow Press‘ stand to get a copy of The Rust Kingdom, the new work by Spugna released back in September during the Treviso Comic Book Festival, before anything else. I was right in rushing, as the comic was sold out the following days. Now, the book is in my hands in all its glory: 176 fully colored pages that are just begging me to devour them with my eyes just like some of the characters get devoured in the graphic novel.
Finding the author, and finding him free has been no simple task. I managed to take him away from a few people talking with him and ask him a couple questions.
MF: Thank you for your time, Spugna. Back in September, you published The Rust Kingdom under Hollow Press. What can you tell us about it?
S: This is my second graphic novel, a goresome, violent adventure. It’s basically a post-apocalyptic fantasy story, this is way I found Hollow Press to be the best publisher for it. I wanted to create something that was purely fictional and purely violent and knowing the taste of the publisher in stories, I found myself at home.
MF: The way the story is presented allows for a perfect fusion between the many drawings and the few words. Who has influenced you the most in this?
S: I have always loved action comics, or rather comics that blend together comics and graphic novels, stylistically. One of the first comics that influenced me deeply is Mesmo Delivery by Rafael Grampà, it was a very minimalistic story told with very few words and a lot of action, an aestethic type of action that can only be properly represented through comics. This is what made me think about how nice it is to show this type of action in comics, it’s aways been my idea to narrate a story this way. One Piece is also another influence! I don’t read many mangas, but I always enjoyed One Piece. I still read it from time to time. It’s been very influential in studying dynamics and action sequences, and a lot of stuff inspired by manda has been included in this book. Superheroes and American authors with a very dynamic style have also been an influence.
MF: Talking about your drawing style, who has influenced you the most?
S: Jacovitti, Segar, Crumb, Cattivik, Oda and a lot of other italian underground works and authors like Alberto Ponticelly and Ratigher, as well as Americans, like the already mentioned Grampà. They’re authors with a very unique style, dirty and cartoonish. These authors belong to these two styles.
MF: Your graphic novel did great at the Treviso Comic Book Festival and here at Lucca Comics and Games, where it’s sold out. Now, does your hand hurt due to all the sketching?
S: Luckily no! I’m quite fast in sketching, unlike when I’m home, where I take some time. Doing this is a sort of duty, but also a big pleasure so I never get to the point my hand hurts.
MF: Speaking about your future, will you work again with Hollow Press? Or will you do something completely different?
S: Yes and yes. I will continue working with Hollow Press for sure, as I can work together with them on certain themes. They also have a very distinct style which resontes with me quite a bit. I also have other things in the works, but cannot say more at the moment.
(thanks to Francesco De Meo)