Here's an interview of Paul by Jon Ellis, taken from the Popimage site.
Despite his musical talents, Paul Gulacy grew to become one of the mediums finer pencillers. Most widely known for his work on Master of Kung-Fu and Batman, Gulacy is currently showing his expert draughtsmanship on DC's latest Elseworlds miniseries, Green Lantern: Dragon Lord. I caught up with Paul via e-mail, and asked him his thoughts on that Green Lantern miniseries, music, kung fu, and... Jesus.
First off, I saw the B&W cover to DRAGON LORD # 1, and I gotta ask. Is your signature supposed to look like the Jesus fish symbol?
Not a chance. I've got the wrath of god enough in my life without steaming him anymore. However, I do have intentions on illustrating the new testament someday.
Is this one of those projects you always keep in the back of your head, or have you actually gone ahead and made any plans or leeway as to the project?
[Regarding The New Testament,] I'll be collaborating with Peter Wallace who has written several books on the subject. We'll probably start it next year.
How about your new Green Lantern series?
No. A Green Lantern job was offered to Doug and I by Andy Helfer after we wrapped up the Batman "terror" series. We had a limited time frame to get it done. I didn't want a story that took place in ancient china, I was leaning towards a gladiator in ancient Rome which I always wanted to do way before the movie but I got out-voted. Another reason is that we're going to Marvel to bring back Master of Kung-Fu, and I didn't want to get burned out on martial arts. Dragonlord is not about that, but there's plenty in there.
Speaking of DRAGON LORD, what can you tell us about the series?
It has the flavour of the old Raymond Chow/golden harvest kung fu movies. Our hero is a peasant living in ancient china who receives the lantern much to his reluctance to do so. He's assigned to save his people and a lovely woman and her son from an evil emperor. Lot's of martial arts, lots of action, but it boils down to how the lantern has an effect on each other's relationship's with one another all told in a 3-part mini-series.
Will Jong Li have any characteristics reminiscent to the Master of Kung-Fu?
You'll just have to find out. I may have him resemble Jackie Chan or Chow Yun Fat. He may look like Shang Chi or Jet Li or even Stan Lee. You gotta buy the book.
As interesting as the 'Budo Stan' would be, I'll lean more towards the masters of wire-fu. When did your interest in the martial arts first begin?
When I first saw the James Bond movies as a kid.
Your LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT story has come to an end, how did you like returning to do a Batman story?
That was a lot of Batman back to back beginning with "outlaws". Something like 288 pages, but I love the character and hope to do more. But right now, we need to take a break from him for a while. It was great to have my favorite gangster aboard; Jimmy Palmiotti.
In your work are you more drawn to action/adventure works and more down to earth characters? Your bibliography seems to revolve around characters with a more human side. Do they hold any specific draw for you?
Down to earth characters in an action/adventure environment. It's Fundamental storytelling. The ability to relate and get into the heart and soul of this person or thing while over-coming adversity. Iron giant is a good example. Applying universal truths.
Are there any other genres you'd like to explore? Characters, or titles?
I'm pretty content and fortunate the way things are going. In the past couple of years, I've gone from star wars to Batman to westerns to green lantern, then a Sci-fi thing and back to Shang Chi--I have no complaints or burning desires--maybe an x-men story one day. That might be fun.
As a creator, do you pay attention to 'comic news'? For instance news and journalism sites?
I think it's wonderful, even when it's harsh. Anyone enthusiastic enough and shows a passion for it must be commended. We need it. I read as much as I can get my hands on.
So how does a day in the life of 'Paul Gulacy' work out?
I roll out of bed around 7:00-hit the board at 9:00 and crank out one page a day on average. Run a pile of errands and hit the gym 3 days a week to relieve the stress from living with a wife, two step-daughters and my own girl. It's like female overload around here. Now I know the REAL reason The Flash ran so fast.
Most under appreciated creator currently in the biz?
You know you have it rough when your own mother walks away from your books. Frankly, Doug and I both know that we've produced some of the best stories in the last 20 years. And we hear it from our peers and the legends in the biz, so it's no skin off my teeth. I've been honored both here and abroad and I have a website that has received over 500,000 hits globally - so, it's all good. I get the love.
Speaking of Doug Moench, you two have maintained a long working relationship, when did you two first begin working together?
It began in the offices of Marvel years ago when we were introduced to one another as the new team that will be taking over Master of Kung-Fu. Since that day it turned into a wonderful friendship that's lasted 26 years. He's almost like a brother to me.
Worst fanboy experience?
The first time I cracked open an issue of Wizard.
Proudest body of work?
Kung Fu, all the Batman stuff, Sabre and the James Bond work. I like what Mike Baron and I did on the Grackle series also.
Any advice to those eager young creators trying to make it in the Biz today?
Anticipate the worst that could possibly happen in such a wacky business. Don't come in thinking you're the man, because you're not. You have to work and invest your time in finding your niche and the rewards will come.
What's your dream project? Any creative you want, any characters, any company, no restrictions, what do you do?
It's the job that Doug and I will be working on after Green Lantern, and that's a creator-owned series that took me several years to develop. It's a sci-fi adventure series called S.C.I. SPY. D.C.'s Vertigo line will publish it and I can't wait to get started. Doug fleshed out my storyline and it is nails. It's gonna be very exciting.
What can you tell us about the series? This being your first work for a Vertigo title will you be going in planning on taking advantage of the liberties the line will allow?
At this point, we want to let the readers know that we are embarking on a new series that is nothing like you've ever seen before. No one has done this kind of story to my knowledge. It took me years to dream it up until it hit me in the center of my forehead like a white-hot flash one day. Very few people are privy to it and the ones who did read Doug's script were completely dazzled. That's all I can say right now.
Comics code, we want to get rid of it, you in?
Overall, I'm in. But I don't want to walk into a comic book store with my 12 year-old daughter and run into a stack of porn in the doorway.
You've just been given a chance to rework the industry, starting with the major publishers and distribution companies, what do you do, what DO you do?
One thing I DON'T want to do, or feel obligated to do is promote my own books. The publisher is responsible for that, not their freelancers. When they know they have a hot title, it's pertinent that they get the word out. That's show biz. It serves their own best interest and their stockholders to do so. I'd also fire all of the inept, rude little idiots that assist editors.
Across the board, all the guys that I've spoken to in regards to this kind of question have answered the same: "more chicks with big racks and a little less make up."
Seriously, let me just say this- not long ago, my daughter who is in the sixth grade had to do a show and tell assignment for her class. She chose my profession and I coached her a little and she took in a few comics of mine. She made a big hit, the kids all clamored around her afterwards and the response was: "Wow, these are cool! Where do you get these? Can I buy these from you?" I think that should tell you what the industry needs.
You'd think that those days would be over by now, is this really such a common occurrence, even now?
The marketing to that age group is totally non-existent. They might be learning about comics through a cousin or older brother or even their parents, but it's not enough. Publishers and store owners are financially strapped to advertise. It's not like ford who could tell us about their new truck. I think Spawn was the last big draw for that age group. What bothers me is that there are probably more people interested in knitting, yachting and stamp collecting than they are in reading comics. We need to get the word out and we need to appease the older readers who are keeping us afloat right now. The Spider-man movie will help.
Let's hope so. Thanks to Paul for the taking the time to participate in this interview. For current projects, prints, posters and original art visit Paul's website at www.Gulacy.com.
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