A couple of months ago, I went to the Fan Expo to connect with my inner geek. I came across a graphic artist from Toronto who’s art-work really caught my eye. I reached out to him after the show as I was interested in buying some of his pieces. I also asked if he could answer a few questions for my blog. So here it is! My first “interview” with Marco D’Alfonso.
Tell me about yourself (Name, Location, Education etc…)
My name is Marco D’Alfonso. I was born, raised and currently live in the Greater Toronto Area. I took a course in Digital Media Arts at Seneca @ York, but I would say the most I got out of that program was the internship/co-op at Bright Anvil Studios. Bright Anvil was an illustration studio that a lot of the great comic artists in Toronto got their start. At Bright Anvil I learned the dedication and hard work it takes to really make it as an artist. It was also the first time I really clicked and built friendships with other artists who were into the same stuff as I was, and exposed me to new great things that helped me become the artist I am today.
Summer just ended, so I have to ask: The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers? And why? [SPOILER ALERT]
Wow! I sort of enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises, but going into it I knew it would never match up to The Dark Knight. There were some cool things, but a lot of stuff I didn’t like. I liked Catwoman she was a good addition, I liked Bane and his creepy voice and Gary Oldman was good as usual.
What I didn’t like was just how neatly wrapped it all was. I really didn’t like how Bane put Batman in the pit attempting to torture him while giving him a TV, a chance to heal his wounds, and a possible way to escape. Everyone knew it was a matter of time until Batman returned to Gotham and beat some ass, so everything else seemed like a pointless exercise. And how he got back into Gotham? No one really knows…he just kind of showed up.
The fight scenes also seemed very basic. I know they were going for a more realistic kind of hand-to-hand combat. But you have a guy in a bat suit running around, just go for it, make it as badass as you can. It would have made the whole movie worthwhile if Batman had died in the end but alas, he appeared at the same restaurant as crybaby Alfred. On top of it all at they seemed to throw in the whole Robin aspect. Like I said too neatly wrapped for me.
The Avengers on the other hand was a good fun movie. It didn’t take itself too seriously, there were jokes sprinkled in, really fun action, awesome special effects and it left me wanting more! Sorry I didn’t mean to go off on Dark Knight Rises, but I guess I liked The Avengers more.
Your art work seems to have two general themes: (1) Mash-ups between two characters from two different superhero or cartoon universes. (2) Unusual and funny scenarios for our favourite superheroes and cartoons. Where did these themes derive from?
Wow! That exactly sums up all of my work. Mashing up characters from two different universes always appealed to me, even as a kid. It’s kind of stupid but I remember at a really early age I was thrilled to see Mr. T appear on Alvin and the Chipmunks, I can even remember the greatest moment of my life at one point was when the Flintstones met the Jetsons. Even on the playground at school I can remember having debates and toy fights with He-Man vs. Transformers.
Another thing that was huge for me was Amalgam Comics in the 90’s when DC and Marvel Characters fused together; I didn’t think comics could get any better. It just always seemed fun to me to have universes meet, and if you have the imagination why not just put it out there.
I also do like putting comic characters and pop culture characters in stupid situations, really just to amuse myself. As long as I can remember I’ve been doodling silly crap to amuse my friends and myself and I guess the only thing that has changed is I post them online now. A lot of the fan art and pin ups you see online are Batman brooding on a building someplace, Spider-Man swinging somewhere, or a hot babe bent over something. Some of the pictures are really pretty but it gets to be a bit much. You have to have fun sometimes. Why not draw something ridiculous?
Deadpool seems to be a re-occurring character in your artwork. Are you a huge fan of Deadpool? If so, what is it about him that you like so much?
I guess my obsession with Deadpool started with a trading card I got from the Jim Lee X-Men card set in the early 90’s. It just looked so cool to me I started buying all the Deadpool stuff I could find. I always thought he looked cool, but I really took a liking to the character when the Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness series came out. It added a lot of dimension to the character, he was funny, sincere, twisted and tortured. I had also never seen art cooler than Ed McGuinness’, it was just so fresh and no one else drew like him. For a very long time those 10 issues of Deadpool by Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness were my favorite comics ever and my most prized possessions.
The reason I took to drawing Deadpool so much is because he is just a really fun character and you can draw him doing any range of scenarios from serious bad-ass type things or something completely stupid. If you have the imagination you can draw him doing almost anything and it wouldn’t seem out of character.
I see hip-hop influences in some pieces (see above). What is it about the hip-hop culture that you find interesting to draw influence from?
I’ve always loved hip hop, comics and cartoons for as long as I can remember. So to fuse them for me just seemed to make sense. A lot of the rappers personas are so over the top and ridiculous they match those of comic characters. To me having Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne teaming up in Otis, or Mo Money Mo problems just made sense because to some raps, it is just about having way too much money and having fun. While some rappers have so much bravado they could damn well be super villains. To me it’s all pop culture and it’s all fair game.
The Avengers / Beastie Boys pic does need some explaining, there is no real character reasons or parallels to have the Avengers mashed with the Beastie Boys. The reason for this piece is that when I was sitting in my car waiting for the box office to open for the Avengers movie, I found out about the untimely passing of Adam Yauch. I did this piece as a tribute.
What’s next for Marco D’Alfonso?
What’s next? I don’t really know. I do a lot of behind the scenes stuff for toys and video games, and various other things so I assume I’ll be doing more of that. I’d really like to do a comic or comic covers for Marvel or Image some day if I can trick them into letting me in. It’s always been a dream of mine to have my name in movie credits so that will always be a goal too, to be involved in movie production in some capacity. But I think no matter what I’ll always find time to draw and post personal pieces that hopefully make people smile.
That’s it! Thanks to Marco for answering my questions. To check out some more of his work, visit his:
To get in touch with him, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some more of his great work: