(Above: A page from Chapter 3 of Hero House, pencilled by Mike Dimayuga. As we do these interviews with the creative team, you’ll see this page go from pencils to finished product. Neat, huh?)
Things are really moving here at Hero House HQ (HHHQ?), with less than two weeks to go till Comic-Con and the book’s physical debut! Tonight I’m kicking off a series of short interviews with the book’s creative team, and we start with the man who’s the bedrock of the book: Mike Dimayuga! (Forgive the obvious email interview, by the way – we’re all busy people!)
1) How did you first become a fan of comics?
As a kid, my friends and cousins would tell me about the adventures of the X-Men or Superman. I was always entertained and the tales intrigued me. When I was old enough to have an allowance, I started buying my own comics. I used to watch a lot of cartoons.
2) How did you start drawing?
In kindergarten class, we would draw and color fruit. I seemed to excel at drawing apples, bananas and oranges. Later, my sisters discovered me copying the Snoopy and Woodstock print on my blanket and doing a good job of it. When i started collecting comics I started copying the art, and as I grew up, I’d fill up my notebooks with doodles and sketches rather than actual notes. It just grew from there.
3) I’ve already told the story of how I found you, but when I reached out to you, what made you decide to take the Hero House assignment?
Well, shortly before we met, I had just completed a short 8 page story for a small publisher. I felt I was finally ready to do something longer, maybe a 12-pager or even a full 22-page issue. Gradually work my way to the deeper end of the pool, as it were. So when a certain Justin Aclin e-mails me he wants me to do a FOUR ISSUE book, i was flabbergasted. I had just learned to drive a car and already someone wanted to have me compete in the Indy 500. I read the script, and really, really liked the story. and I agreed to do the book shortly after.
4) What was the hardest thing you had to do for Hero House?
Since I was a complete newb when I started the book, I had to learn on the job. Laying out the page, while telling a story, while keeping in mind what you can realistically do was very difficult. Another element I had difficulty were the backgrounds and the props since I wanted to ground the super character and situations in reality.
5) What was your favorite thing to draw?
My favorite to draw was probably the final page. I worked on the book for 3-4 years and I was very satisfying to see it completed. By then i think I’d grown and improved, it was gratifying to see the culmination of all that hard work. Also fun was animale’s various animal forms. Ihad fun doing the research.
6) Which of the characters were your favorite to design?
It’s a toss up between Nate Hedges and Brutal. Nate because I liked having him “act” and show different kinds of emotions and Brutal brutal because I’m very proud of the design I gave him. I felt it was really close to what Justin had in mind. He has this huge presence that he dominates every panel he’s in.
7) What’s next for you?
well, the issue of Hack/Slash I did just came out (number 23). Currently, I’m finishing up a 40+ page book with [Hack/Slash creator] Tim Seeley. In July, I’m going to see what projects I can drum up in the San Diego Comic-Con. After that? I don’t know, we’ll see. I know I want to eventually do my own stuff.
8) Anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to say Hero House was fun to work on. It was a blast designing the characters and the whole HH universe. I learned so much from just doing the book. by the time it ended, I felt I was a better artist than when I started. [Editor’s Note: He totally is.]