The publishing tour de force Magnetic Press has an impressive library of work that boasts some of the most imaginative storylines and creators. Among those titles is the visually stunning and moving graphic work Doomboy by Tony Sandoval (artist on Image Comics The Legend Of LutherStrode #6, Penciler/Inker IDW Publishing 30 Days of Night: Spreading the Disease#3,4,5, artist/writer Heavy Metal Magazine #200703-Vol. 31, no. 2 ) Culled from the mind and heart of Mr. Sandoval puling both writing and artistic duties, Doomboy tells the tale of a lonely teen who taps into the power of creation through music. Visceral, spirit filled and affecting, the work taps into a kind of creative honesty that represents a style of storytelling that is both refreshing and captivating. Mr. Sandoval took a break from his muse to share a bit about the book and his creative process.
Mark Turner: This is an incredible piece of work Mr. Sandoval. Doomboy feels very much like a narrative pulled from personal experiences. How much of the story reflects events that have transpired in your life?
Tony Sandoval: Actually many things in the book came from personal experience. Especially the feeling I tried to capture with the local gigs and the instance of trying to catch the last bus we since we lived in a small town near by the city. These adventures I had I usually did this with my brother. As a matter of fact, the main character, Doomboy, looks very much like he did at that time.
MT: When reading Doomboy, I was under the impression that there are echoes of you reflected in the title character. Would you say that this facet helps to lend the story such an intimate/personal feel?
TS: Yes, of course all my characters have something of me in them, but ultimately I like to think they are all different. I think the fact that a little of me is in each of them helps me to tell connect to the moments that I am hoping to create, to achieve the mood in the story I would like to tell.
MT: Your artwork on Doomboy possess a certain kind of airy/dream-like quality to it that also seemed to convey (to some degree) a kind of innocence as well. In terms of your line work, was this intentional for this story or is the look of the book more representative of your stylistic signature?
TS: With the art on Doomboy, I was trying to be the most minimal as possible with the drawings. I felt that with this approach I could concentrate more on crafting the tone and mechanics of the story. Ultimately, I don’t know if I achieved it in the end, but I felt comfortable doing it. To tell the truth, my drawing has been changing and moving in that direction over time, but with this project, it is something that just seemed to happen naturally. It is something I cannot explain, it just happened.
MT: Doomboy is actually a short story that you created and expanded upon. At the time of the short stories inception, did you have any plans on expanding the narrative to something longer, or was it always meant to exists on its own merits? How difficult was it to find the larger story beyond the initial one you had created?
TS: Actually, deciding to do the project as a graphic novel happened in a natural way. When I had the idea, I really examined how best to realize the concept. I asked myself if I would like to do my comic as a little film, but in this case I wanted it to have more of a documentary feel. You know, something like behind the music. I really wanted to show and capture the atmosphere off stage, where people talk about Doomboy. That is why I made the creative decision to have Mina telling part of the story, then we have other voices sharing other things and Doomboy as well giving these glimpses out of the spotlight. I had never tried anything like that before in terms of approach. It was fun, but it also proved to be a difficult task to manage the different voices.
MT: Music seems to be very important to you. In the story, it seems to have a kind of magic to it. When you are creating/working do you listen to music? How much does it influence your art overall (not just on this book)?
TS: Oh yes, I listen to music almost all the time! I can’t avoid it’s influence, it does deeply affect my stories and drawings. I do believe music is a kind of magic.
MT: Would you say you grew up with a love for comics? What would you cite as some of your influences for creativity?
TS: Yes, I loved comics ever since I can remember! When I first tried to create a comic as a kid, it gave me a sense of felling at home. Eventually, as I grew older, I started reading other things, but I find I always try to get everything into comics and music. I’ve also tried photography and written some tales as a novel. With my brother and some friends we did some experimenting by creating short horror films for fun, but I always return to comics and it feels good.
MT: Creatively, what comes first for you, the images or the words, when crafting a story? From an artistic standpoint, do you consider yourself an artist/writer or writer/artist?
TS: I would say I consider myself a visual dude. So, for me, images mostly come first. I’ve never really considered myself a writer, so it is a funny consideration for me to say I am an artist/ writer, but getting the point is like this.
MT: Can you talk a bit about how you created the contrast between Doomboy‘s everyday world and that of his imagination/dreams/mystical experiences?
TS: Like I had mentioned before, for me, I think it comes very naturally. This kind of wonderful dreaming scapes…I confess, I am a bit like this in real life. Quite often I have to create the mood and the atmosphere in my work space. For Doomboy, my workspace and personal space were one and the same. It was in a small flat in the 10th district in Paris, at a small table. So, to get me into the proper head space, I plugged the computer into speakers and played atmospheric music all the weekend. Everything I needed to keep me from having to go out was there at the flat. This helped me to immerse myself and concentrate on the passage I was drawing and writing at the same time. So, this and a few beers helped me in the process.
Doomboy is TM & © 2015 Tony Sandoval. All rights reserved.
Doomboy is published by Magnetic Press.
This article is © 2015 Mark Turner.