Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interview with Andrés Accorsi

Andrés Accorsi at the Comiqueando stand at Crack Bang Boom

I first met Andrés Accorsi when presented 365 Comics por Año (365 Comics per Year), his recently released blog-turned-book, in Lobos. We met again at conferences and book presentations, where he would always give me advice about comics. Andrés has been involved in the comics scene for the past three decades and has experienced the changes and developments in the field. He has managed to make a living off comics, a testament to his resourcefulness and creativity. The following interview tracks his experiences from the 1980’s to the early 2000’s.

Claire Denton-Spalding: What activities related to comics have you been doing in the past 20 years?

Andrés Accorsi: I started publishing a fanzine, a small photocopied magazine, before computers and Photoshop. It was called Comiqueando and started in 1986. I was only eighteen at the time, with no notions about anything except for a few comics I had read. Most of the fanzines used to come out quarterly, but Comiqueando managed to get out monthly. It ran for eleven issues, which was quite a lot for a non-professional publication. We had a very small staff composed of brother Diego, Rafael de Iglesia, and myself.

Once we got the fanzine running, we started to make a name for ourselves in the small fan market that existed back then. Comics had a large market, but it didn’t have a large fandom. People read comics, but they didn’t gather around comics, didn’t talk about comics, and didn’t express their love for comics. Fandom was still underground. Comiqueando was part of that small fandom and gathered respect and attention. That opened the doors for me to begin contributing to Skorpio, a comics magazine published since 1974. In 1987 it was a magazine in decline. Fierro came out in 1984 and had sent Skorpio to the background. It wasn’t the glorious magazine of the early years. I contributed at first to the letters page. There were no letters because they hadn’t published any for the past seven years, so I had to come up with fake letters for the first few issues that I answered myself. Then the fans started sending real fan mail and I started answering real questions. I started adding up more pages to the text section. I wrote short articles, news about comics around the world, and interviews. By the time I left Skorpio in 1991, the text section was kind of important within the magazine.

CDS: How did you make the text section so important and relevant?

AA: I tried to tune in with the audience and give them fresh, interesting and thought provoking information. It was the late 80’s, revolutions were happening in the comics world, and the Argentineans were outside of that. There wasn’t a lot of information, the Internet didn’t exist. It wasn’t as frequent as it is now to talk about comics being written or drawn in other continents. The information I wrote about opened up new worlds to the readers of Skorpio.

CDS: Were the readers able to access these comics you were writing about?

AA: Some of the comics were being published in Spain, but very few importers brought these comics to Argentina at expensive prices. Some of the stuff I commented on was impossible to get.

The text section in Skorpio grew, and when I left in 1991, it was one of the most important parts of the magazine. If the editor decided to cut down on the text in favor of a comic, the readers would demand more text. The same happened when I was working for Perfil, the publishing company that purchased the rights to publish DC comics back in 1990. In 1991, they launched a DC comics line consisting of Batman, Superman, Justice League, and the Flash. I was the translator for the four titles. The series ran for five years and were very popular. That’s where I became well known inside the comics fandom, because many people bought the DC comics I translated.

I tried to give the characters an Argentinean voice. I figured the creators gave the characters a New York voice when writing dialogue. When people from elsewhere in Latin America complained because of the use of words that only people from Buenos Aires used, I replied that the original creators used words that many people in New Zealand, Scotland, or Ireland would never get because they were the slang from New York. It was around that time I got in contact with the real creators of the books when I travelled to the San Diego Comics Convention for the first time. They gave me their phone numbers and said, “Whenever you are stuck in a translation or when we mention things you don’t know, just call us and ask.” It was very helpful because I could provide the readers with a reference. It was the pre-internet era, you couldn’t Google up whomever they mentioned. It was appreciated by most of the fans. Some of them wanted a neutral translation that they were used to on the cartoons on TV with no localisms or slang.

We were constantly pushing the editor for more text sections, interviews with artists I met while travelling to the States, and news. As we came up with new text sections, the readers responded very positively. In 1994, we came up with the idea of creating an only text magazine about comics and cartoons. Perfil rejected our proposal, so we decided to publish it ourselves. My brother and I invested our hard earned savings, got a loan from our parents, and started publishing Comiqueando as a magazine. It was sold at newsstands and the very incipient market of comics stores. At that time, there weren’t many comics stores.

CDS: Why were there so few comics stores at that time?

AA: The comics market was in the early stages of development. Also, there wasn’t an important fan movement. Fans bought comics at newsstands and didn’t get in contact with other fans. There were no conventions. It was a very early stage of fandom. After Comiqueando came out, comics stores became a growing phenomenon, especially between 1997 and 1999. Those were three years of a very rapid expansion that left us in 2000 with 175 comics stores all around the country. Of course, in 2002 we only had 45 comics stores because of the crisis and the devaluation of the peso. It was a market that was dependent on importation and ignored what was being produced in the country. They put Argentine comics on the back shelves. When the 2001 crisis hit, the comics market turned out to be a bubble. The comics imported from abroad were excessively cheap. When they weren’t excessively cheap, the comics stores couldn’t afford them and collapsed. We ended up with only 45 stores in business.

CDS: How did those 45 comics stores stay in business?

AA: There were a few customers that didn’t care how much comics cost. Many artists worked for international companies and made dollars. During the 90’s, as the Argentine publishing industry was in decline, many artists began getting work from French, Italian, and American publishers. They were spending pesos, but making Euros or dollars. They were some of the consumers that bought comics in the comics shops. The stores also began selling toys, collectable cards, t-shirts that also kept them in business. Other stores opened up more space for Argentine comics.

CDS: What were you doing during the 2001 Crisis?

AA: When the devaluation came, I had to close my publishing company Comiqueando Press that published Comiqueando and a few select comic projects. I was out of work and out of money for a couple of months. Then I started renting comics. I compiled a database of my comics and those of eight friends and borrowed a small space in my father’s factory. It wasn’t a success, but it kept me stable. I began this at a time when buying comics was a luxury, because they weren’t affordable anymore. Prices had gone up four times because of the devaluation of the peso. People wanted to read the new comics, but couldn’t afford to buy them.

I did this until I got a job as an editorial coordinator from Thalos, a new publishing company, in late 2003. I oversaw several projects, negotiated rights with foreign companies, and planned projects with local artists. The company had two or three years of a good output. I stayed there 18 months and quit in March 2005.

CDS: What projects did you work on after quitting Thalos?

AA: After I quit Thalos, I got a proposal from Domus to re-launch Comiqueando as a magazine. A couple of years later, Domus decided to focus on books and not magazines, so we found a new publisher—Freakshow. Freakshow publishes Comiqueando and its sister magazine Komikku. Freakshow widened up the scope of the old Comiqueando staff. When we opened Komikku, we had to get a new bunch of contributors, younger guys that were into anime and manga. I learned a lot from editing their articles.

Transcribed and edited by Claire Denton-Spalding

Monday, June 20, 2011

Long Live Crack Bang Boom!

Crack Bang Boom was so tiring that, when I got back to Buenos Aires, I didn’t leave my house for two days. From the Thursday when Crack Bang Boom began to the Sunday when it ended, I attended lectures, socialized, and browsed comics for about eight hours per day. My experiences were so plentiful, that I am only going to write about certain aspects of the conference. Because of that, this post may seem like I’ve glued a bunch of random events together. (Photo of random people and the booths at CBB.)

Unlike in Lobos, I found a place to stay ahead of time and booked accommodations in a hostel with Rosty, Paz, and Lucila. Travelling as a group worked out well because we all had different goals for the conference. My goal was to buy an obscene amount of comics and meet new people, while they hunted for autographs and pictures. Rosty and Paz brought many comics from home to get the signatures of the creators attending the conference. Outside of the conference, we did the mandatory Rosario tourism, visiting Che’s house (marked only by a red sign) and getting yelled at by a right-winger, taking the elevator to the top of the Monumento de la Bandera, and walking around the city. (Photo of me, Lucila, Paz, and Rosty in front of a drawing by Gustavo Sala)

One of the most exciting parts of the conference was meeting new people and going out to dinner. On the first night of the conference, I tagged along with a group of invited guests and met a bunch of Brazilian illustrators. Apparently, Brazil doesn’t have a large domestic comic market. One girl passed around a sketchbook and asked each artist to draw a penis. It was quite a treat to see some of my favorite artists’ rendition of the male member. I also got to know quite a few illustrators from Rosario that were so friendly and interesting that I am planning to return in September to interview them. On Saturday night, the Lobos crew (Fran López, Federico Reggiani, Fabian Zalazar, Angel Mosquito, Hernán Cañellas, and Max Aguirre) came to the conference and we went out for pizza and beer. We got lost a few times, talked on Walkie Talkies, and during dinner they judged the comics I bought. At the end of the night, they told me that they thought of me as a daughter, which was the best compliment I have ever received.

Throughout the conference, I attended a steady stream of talks by Enrique Breccia, C.B. Cebulski, and Salvador Sanz, a presentation of the comic Dos Estaciones by Federico Reggiani and Rodrigo Terranova and another panel remembering Carlos Trillo. I won’t write about all of the panels, but will instead focus on Dos Estaciones and Enrique Breccia’s lecture. Many Argentine authors publish abroad and advise aspiring comics creators advice on how to appeal to those audiences. Federico Reggiani (in the photo, holding the mic), in his presentation of Dos Estaciones, talked about creating a comic for Argentine audiences that focused on specifically Argentine issues. After a few days of focus on foreign comics, it was nice to hear someone talking about the need for comics with Argentine themes. Enrique Breccia also discussed working for Europe and said that not publishing in Argentina was heartbreaking. He was interviewed for a little while, and then accepted questions from the audience. Most of the questions were either about Oesterheld or his father, Alberto Breccia, a topic that, not surprisingly, is very annoying to answer when everyone compares his (very distinct) work to that of his father’s. (When beginning to publish in Europe, he used pseudonyms so that his work wouldn’t be compared to his father’s.) Given the nature of these questions, his responses were short, but interesting. I usually don’t ask questions during lectures (my Spanish accent is even more unintelligible when shouted), but decided to ask him something when I realized that all the other questions people asked were repetitive and uninteresting. I asked him what his daily schedule was like. Apparently, Breccia lives the romantic and frugal life of a modern cowboy. He wakes up at 5:30 a.m., rides his horses, draws, eats lunch, and goes out and rides some more.

Crack Bang Boom was exhausting and exhilarating, the perfect mix of rampant comic consumption, socializing, and education. Hopefully, Rosario will host another conference next year, but unfortunately, it all depends on Rosario’s political situation after the elections later in the year. Cultural events like this one are very much dependent on the municipal government’s support. When the government changes, so do its priorities. So, fingers crossed for Rosario and Argentine comics. Long live Crack Bang Boom!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Marvel in Rosario

C.B. Cebulski presenting, Andrés Accorsi translating

For much of my stay in Argentina, I have been thinking about how my Fulbright could end up resulting in a future career. I would love to do something with comics, but since I don’t draw and I’m not creative enough to write, I really don’t know what else to do. And then I met C.B. Cebulski, an editor at Marvel Comics, and one of the invited guests at Crack Bang Boom. On the first day of the conference, he spoke about the job of an editor at Marvel and how he chooses teams of writers, artists, inkers, and colorists to create stories. Because he also came to review portfolios, he also talked a bit about that process. I really liked his speech, so I approached him later to talk. I told him about my Fulbright project and asked him if I could observe the portfolio review. Surprisingly, he said yes!

On Saturday, I met with him and learned more about superhero comics than I had in the past four years. Out of hundreds of submissions, C.B. picked a handful. Some of the chosen artists already had careers as comics artists, while others were right out of the Universidad de Palermo’s comics program. He started the review by asking the interviewee about their history drawing comics, then would critique their art and tell them what they could improve upon. At the end of the interview, he said he would send them some sample scripts that they could draw. One of the most frequent critiques C.B. gave was about character presentation. A few illustrators had cropped characters in odd ways, cutting off elbows or feet. Others hadn't introduced a new character with a full body shot. He also critiqued the presentation of fight scenes. In superhero comics, the fight scenes can be long and take up a many pages because it is these scenes that the readers most enjoy. One specific critique C.B. gave was about an X-Men comic with Wolverine. The artist had drawn Wolverine right before and during the fight, but there was no panel where Wolverine was taking out his claws. This, said C.B., was the shot that the readers most look forward to, and shouldn't be overlooked.

Between interviews, C.B. and I talked about Marvel and it’s recent entry into Argentina. Apparently, DC had a monopoly on the market, so Marvel was hesitant to recruit in Argentina. However, Risso invited C.B. to the conference and put into motion a relationship between Argentines and Marvel comics. I also learned that many Argentine writers can’t get published in the USA if their scripts aren’t in English. In France, each publishing house has a translation department for foreign comics. But in the United States, there aren't any. The relationship between Argentine comics creators and the USA is developing, and with my knowledge of both countries, I might be able to facilitate that relationship. My cousin Liam told me that, if I wanted a job in comics, I would have to create one. After talking with C.B. and learning more about the comics field, I think I might be able to do that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Crack Bang Boom Post

Last week I attended Crack Bang Boom, a comics conference in Rosario. The conference lasted for four days and between that and travelling, I am exhausted. For two days, I basically didn't leave my house. And now I am sick. So, post to come soon...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Interview with Lucas Varela, now in English!

So I finally translated the interview with Lucas Varela into English. As you read this, please remember that I have NEVER taken a translation class and that I was an economics major at college. If the translation is choppy and weird, that is probably the reason. I received some help translating the Argentine slang from my friend Santiago.


Claire D-S: How did you start making comics?

Lucas Varela: I started in the underground in the 90’s, before the Internet existed. This moment was the high point of the underground or the independent comics scene. There were a lot of comics. There wasn’t, however, a professional space. It was very difficult to develop professionally because all the magazines and publishers were closing. It was the end of an era. There were only independent magazines. This is when I began Kapop, my self-edited magazine.

CDS: Did someone invite you to participate in the underground movement?

LV: It went like this: a professional youngster went with his portfolio to underground comics events and showed it to the first person who would look at it. I went to one of these events with my amateur, embarrassing comics and people at a magazine called Poco Loco liked my work. I began to publish there immediately. After wandering through various underground magazines, I decided to self-publish a magazine with Robert Barriero, a good friend and writer. The magazine was called Kapop and had a run of six issues. A little bit later, with a more developed hand, I approached Carlos Trillo and began my professional career around 2000.

CDS: How did you meet each other?

LV: We found out that he liked Kapop and went to visit him in his studio one day. Trillo was a really open-minded, easygoing, and friendly. We got along well and subsequently created The Scarlet Horn, our first project together.

CDS: You do illustration, but for what magazines? How many illustrations do you do a week?

LV: I work for an agency with many talented illustrators called “Dutch Uncle” in London. It’s nice working with them because I can avoid interacting with editors and clients. I think this is the best possible option. They mainly give me work from magazines, newspapers like The Guardian, and Gulf Life, a magazine for an airline in the Persian Gulf. Weird things. It’s comfortable working with them.

CDS: What’s the process you go through to receive an order?

LV: They tell me, “I have this to illustrate. You can do it.” Generally, they give me from two weeks to a month to do an illustration. I contently take all that they throw at me. Because they are English, they greatly enjoy the touch of dark humor that I add in my drawings. I think that I am returning a bit of what I learned from English comedians. “Monty Python” was a great influence.

CDS: How did you begin to work with them?

LV: All through email. I got their contact information from Christian Montenegro, an argentine illustrator that worked with them. I wrote them and they didn’t respond for six months. Suddenly, they requested an illustration because they needed something in “comic style.” That’s how I hooked them. The idea of “comic style” is very curious. I don’t think there is a comic style. Comics have so many styles that are so different that it is impossible to bring them together in one. There is something in society’s mindset that the comic has a particular style—happy, dynamic, and colorful. But it’s not like that. Later they saw that I had a wide range of styles and began to give me more work.

CDS: How many offers do you accept per week?

LV: I draw a weekly illustration for the newspaper Financial Times and will do another if I have enough time. There are weeks where I only do the illustration for the Financial Times and nothing else. It depends.

CDS: Can you survive on just a few drawings a week?

LV: I made more money working at Clarín, like a slave, doing layout. Going to work every day from this hour to that hour. But I got tired, I got burnt out. I worked like that for six years. I really wanted to draw. The thing I took away from working at a newspaper was the practice and the speed that you get from working like that. You have to resolve everything immediately.

CDS: What is the publishing process like for comics?

LV: Publishing is very complicated. Especially here because the editors are very dishonest. They don’t pay you or report earnings. You have to be careful to avoid the crooks. I published with a few like Moebius that, if they are a small publishing company, are pretty cool. One of the valued I look for when I work with a small publishing company are good vibes. They published Matabicho. But my previous book, Estupefacto, was published by a fraudulent company that never reported my earnings. It was a disaster. It ended up on sale. In Spain, Paolo Pinocchio was just published by the publishing house Dibbuks. They are pretty serious and generate much trust. They had previously published The Coronel’s Heritage, the Spanish name for The Gustavino Syndrome [the Argentine title]. I hope that they do well with the book. Then there’s the Fierro. It’s good to publish in the Fierro. The comics that are published there have a lot of repercussion because the people all over the country see it. They pay a minimal amount, but I take it as one more entrance to publishing comics. We did this with The Gustavino Syndrome. First it was published in the Fierro and then it was published as a book. That’s how you manage to alleviate the huge effort it takes to create a comic.

In Argentina there aren’t many places to publish comics. Generally you manage to assemble a network where you more or less know everyone that publishes, but it’s very limited. Then, internationally I don’t have many doors open. Now you begin the publishing process in the Fierro and afterwards see which publishing companies want to publish the material that’s already been created. There are also the newspapers that very rarely offer space for comics. I published a page in La Nación’s Sunday magazine for one year and then published in Clarin’s Viva magazine for another. But I got burnt out after awhile.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Paintings and Personajes

Lucas Varela, it turns out, is not only an illustrator, but a painter as well. He has been painting for years and, coincidentally, had a gallery show with artist Mariano Vior* the day after our interview. During the interview, he told me that he was a better illustrator than painter, and joked that he purchased six cases of wine to make the audience more partial to the paintings. I imagine that the transition between illustration and painting must be difficult. The creation process is entirely different, transformed by new materials, ways of holding your body, and distinctive methods of telling a story. And then, there’s the question of overlap: do you bring your favorite characters with you to the new medium or do you create new ones? Varela’s paintings featured a fascinating mix of creatures.

Una Aflicción (An affliction)

Bobas en Disputa (Arguing Fools)

The bobas (fools) are a new addition to Varela’s repertoire. Their pained, aggressive positions are terrifying. “The Affliction” is equally frightening. After looking at these paintings, I want to know more about these women. Varela’s ability to arouse the viewer’s curiosity is indicative of his skill as an artist and narrator.

Gusano 1 (Worm 1)

La congoja (The Anguished One), Gusano 2 (Worm 2),

Jóven yaciente (Young person lying down)

Varela brought the worms from his comics to canvas. In an open interview for Fierro magazine, a reader asked, “Why do you draw strange worms everywhere?” Varela responded, “You’ll get to meet these worms that I draw. They are the worms that are going to eat you when you die.”

(A brief aside: I sent the link to "Worm 1" to my sister Grace. She apparently hates worms, and the sight of one vomiting almost made her sick. A few minutes later, I forgot all about our conversation and sent her a comic with worms in it. I am probably the worst older sister ever.)

Sans Jorge (Without George)

Saint George Killing the Dragon (1430-5) by Bernat Martorell

“San Jorge” attracted my attention because I saw “Saint George Killing the Dragon” (1430-5) at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Martorell painting puts the small dragon in an inferior position at the bottom of the painting, focusing all the attention on Saint George in the middle. Varela’s rendition of this classic story, in contrast, shows only the dragon’s death, not the hero or his brave deed, thus the name "Without George." Depicting the gory and solitary death of the dragon causes the viewer to feel connected to the monster and reinvents the story by taking the underdog’s point of view.

Varela and Vior's paintings are exhibited in La Serpa, a gallery on Julián Alvarez 425. As you can probably guess from this post, I highly recommend going.

*Mariano Vior is an incredible artist. I did not write about him in this post, because I wanted to focus on Varela's paintings. But you should check out Vior's blog to see his paintings and drawings.

Pictures taken by Lucas Varela


I am, at this moment, attempting to translate the interview with Lucas Varela into English. Hopefully, I will emerge with my life and ability to speak English intact.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Interview with Lucas Varela

Lucas Varela, in front of a few of the many bookshelves he has filled with comics

As I’ve mentioned quite a few times on this blog, Lucas Varela is one of my favorite artists. I read “Paolo Pinocchio” in the Fierro when I was studying abroad here in 2009 and Estupefacto was one of the first comics I bought when I returned this year. So, although we now know each other, I was pretty excited for the interview.

In terms of interview questions, I am still trying to find the perfect set that reveal the daily decisions artists face. I have five pages of questions ranging from basic (where do you live?) to personal questions (are you married?). Leading up to the interview, I was a bit nervous because it was my second interview, but then Lucas handed me a beer and I realized we were just going to have a conversation…a taped conversation.

Lucas began the interview by claiming that he didn’t talk much, but the interview ended up lasting almost two hours. Although I have almost finished a full transcription of this interview, I won’t be posting all of it just yet. And I am going to leave the interviews in Spanish. Transcribing is a soul-sucking job, so translation to English would probably kill me. During the interview, we covered multiple topics including his childhood, plans for retirement, upcoming trip to France, and life goals. The excerpts from the interview below deal with Varela’s involvement in the comics underground in the 90’s, his work as an illustrator, and his experiences with publishing.

Anyway, this is part of the beginning of the interview.

CDS: ¿Cómo empezaste a hacer comics?

LV: Comencé en el under, en los años 90, cuando no había Internet todavía. Ese momento era el auge de las revistas under o independientes de historieta. Había una cantidad enorme. Lo que no había era espacio profesional. Era muy difícil desarrollarse profesionalmente porque estaban cerrando todas las revistas y editoriales. Estaba terminando una época. Solo había revistas independientes. Ahí es cuando comencé con mi emprendimiento autoeditado, llamado Kapop.

CDS: ¿Cómo fue tu ingreso en el movimiento under?

LV: Fue así: el profesional jovenzuelo iba con su carpeta a los eventos de revistas under y la mostraba al primero que podía. Yo fui a uno de esos eventos con mis historietas amateur muy feas, que hoy me da vergüenza mostrar, y a los de una revista que se llamaba "Poco Loco" les gustó mi trabajo. En seguida empecé a publicar ahí. Después de deambular en varias revistas under, decidimos hacer nuestra propia revista junto a Roberto Barreiro, un gran amigo y guionista. La revista se llamó Kapop y tuvo una extensión de seis números. Un poco más tarde, ya con la mano más ágil, me acerqué a Carlos Trillo y ahí comencé mi carrera más profesional, alrededor del 2000.

CDS: ¿Y ustedes, como se conocieron?

LV: Nos enteramos de que a él le gustaba la revista Kapop y un día fuimos a visitarlo a su estudio. Trillo era una persona muy abierta, muy fácil de tratar, muy ameno. Así que pegamos buena onda y enseguida empezamos hacer nuestro primer proyecto llamado "El Cuerno Escarlata".

CDS: Haces ilustración, pero ¿para cuales revistas y cuantas ilustraciones hacés por semana?

LV: Trabajo para una agencia de ilustradores muy buena que se llama "Dutch Uncle" que está en Londres. Es buenísimo trabajar para ellos porque me evito hablar con editores y clientes. Creo que es el modo ideal. Ellos me pasan trabajos sobre todo para el mundo editorial. Revistas, diarios como The Guardian, para Gulf Life, que es una revista para una compañía aérea del Golfo Persico. Cosas rarísimas. Es cómodo trabajar con ellos.

CDS: ¿Cómo es el proceso de recibir un pedido?

LV: [Me dicen] “Lo podés hacer. Tengo esto para ilustrar.” Generalmente me dan de una semana a dos días para hacerlo. Yo contentísimo agarro todo lo que me tiran. Al parecer los clientes ingleses se divierten mucho con la pizca de humor negro que agrego en mis dibujos. Yo creo que estoy devolviendo lo que me enseñaron los cómicos ingleses "Monthy Python", gran influencia para mi.

CDS: ¿Cómo empezaste a trabajar con ellos?

LV: Todo por mail. Me pasó el contacto un dibujante argentino que trabaja con ellos que se llama Cristian Montenegro. Les escribí y no me llamaron por seis meses. Luego, de golpe me pidieron un dibujo porque necesitaban un estilo comic. Por ahí los enganché. Esto del estilo comic es muy curioso. Yo creo que no hay un estilo comic. El comic tiene tantos estilos y tan diferentes que es imposible unificarlo. Hay algo en el imaginario social que el comic tiene un estilo particular, como alegre, dinámico y colorido. Pero no es así. Después vieron que yo tenía un amplio abanico de estilos y posibilidades y empezaron a darme más trabajos.

CDS: ¿Cuántos pedidos aceptas cada semana?

LV: Hago una sección fija para el diario Financial Times cada semana y después hago alguna que otra más con tiempo. Hay semanas que solo hago el dibujo para Financial Times y no otra cosa. Depende.

CDS: ¿Puedes sobrevivir viviendo así?

LV: Ganaba más plata trabajando en Clarín, de esclavo, haciendo infografías. Yendo a la redacción todos los días, de tal hora a tal hora. Pero me cansé, me quemé la cabeza. Yo quería dibujar. Estuve seis años así. Lo que rescato de trabajar en un periódico es la práctica y la velocidad que te da. Allí hay que resolver todo inmediatamente.

CDS: ¿Cómo es el proceso de publicar historietas?

LV: Es muy complicado publicar. Sobre todo acá, porque los editores son muy deshonestos. No te pagan, no te rinden. Hay que tener cuidado con los chantas. Yo publiqué con algunos como Moebuis que, si bien es una editorial muy pequeña, son muy copados. Y uno de los valores que rescato cuando me comprometo con un editor chico es la buena onda. Ellos me editaron Matabicho. Pero Estupefacto, el libro anterior, lo editó un editor muy pirata que nunca rindió cuentas. Un desastre. Terminó en las mesas de saldo. Ahora en España acaba de salir el libro de Paolo Pinocchio, con la editorial Dibbuks, que es bastante seria y me genera mucha confianza. Ellos ya habían editado "La Herencia del Coronel", que es el nombre en España de "El Síndrome Guastavino". Espero que les vaya bien con el libro.

Después está la Fierro. Está bueno editar en la Fierro. Tiene mucha repercusión todo lo que allí sale. La gente de todo el país lo ve. Pagan lo mínimo, pero lo tomo como una entrada más de la historieta. Con Gustavino hicimos eso. Primero salió en Fierro y después salió en libro. Así se va amortizando un poco el enorme esfuerzo que es hacer una historieta.

En la Argentina no hay muchas lugares para publicar historietas. Generalmente se arma un circuito donde más o menos se conocen todos, pero es muy limitado. Después, internacionalmente no tengo muchas puertas abiertas. Por ahora el proceso es publicar en el Fierro y después ver que editores quieren publicar el material ya hecho. También están los diarios, que muy de vez en cuando ofrecen un espacio. Yo publiqué durante un año una página en la revista dominical de La Nación y después un año en la revista Viva de Clarín. Pero se me va quemando la cabeza después de un tiempo.