Filipino comics artist Carlo Pagulayan talks about working on DC’s Deathstroke & more
by rick olivares
Last Sunday, August 14, Filipino comic book artists Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, and Stephen Segovia signed copies of their latest works at Comic Odyssey inside FullyBooked at Bonifacio Global City.
All three artists had new first issues for DC Comics Rebirth line with Pagulayan and Paz tag-teaming on “Deathstroke" while Segovia pencilled "Action Comics".
The new comics under the “rebirth” line cannot be more apt for both Pagulayan and Segovia who worked the publisher’s “Convergence” event that was soundly panned by fans and critics alike. “I think I live in a cave,” said Pagulayan. “Maybe because I am so busy with my work and making deadlines that I have no time for anything else let alone listen to feedback. Even if it was the story that was criticized, it also hurt because I worked on it and I know the writer personally.”
That all seems forgotten now as the publisher’s line-wide “re-boot”called “Rebirth” (the second time they are using that tag) has garnered rave reviews for its seemingly back to the basics and “nostalgia” approach. The comic “Deathstroke” is about Slade Wilson, the world’s most dangerous assassin and mercenary who was introduced in the pages of "The Teen Titans" back in the 1980s. Pagulayan and Paz are tending to the art chores and bringing to life the prose of acclaimed writer Christopher Priest.
“With ‘Deathstroke’, my interaction with the writer is discussing how I envision the action scenes and the designs for certain characters,” described Pagulayan of the work process. The veteran artist who hails from Batangas is probably best known for his work on the “Planet Hulk” storyline on the “Incredible Hulk” title for DC’s chief competitor, Marvel Comics.
Pagulayan is signed up for five issues of “Deathstroke” — issues 1 and 2 and Nos. 6-8. “The book is on a bi-monthly schedule right now and I am okay with that. If it were monthly I will be unable to get them out on time. So after the second issue, another artist will take over and both Jason and I return by the sixth issue. Beyond the eighth issue, I don’t know what’s next."
Several dozen fans braved Sunday’s inclement weather for the signing (while some 50 other fans left their copies to be signed by the Filipino artists). Comic Odyssey reported that their entire orders for 100 copies of “Deathstroke” sold out.
“I still cannot believe that people like my work,” said Pagulayan. “I think it is natural for artists not to like their work. After the work comes out, I see the mistakes and look at how I can improve it. On the other hand, I was just like everyone else. As a kid, I only got hand-me-downs as I had no money to buy comics. When I started earning my own money, that’s when I bought my comics. Like other fans, I talked and lived and breathed comics.”
“Now it’s a job,” he laughed switching gears. “It’s a livelihood now. It gets stressful and tiring with the deadlines and the revisions but ultimately, it is satisfying. Plus, I remain a fan who still reads comics — when I am not busy. I try to get the works of some artists who I follow — Sara Pichelli (working on the Miles Morales “Spider-Man”) and Frank Cho (who is famous for his comic strip “Liberty Meadows” but is now working on the covers for “Wonder Woman”). So I alternate between artist-mode and fan-mode especially when I attend comic conventions in the United States.”
“Two years ago, I met Todd McFarlane (who became a fan favorite for his work on Spider-Man and his own character, Spawn, and his McFarlane Toys that became famous for their lifelike and intricate designs),” recalled Pagulayan. “I must have spent a long time in his booth getting his autograph, picture, and asking for a sketch. That was fun.”
“So if it is the same experience for the fans here then it makes me happy too.”