The hope and idea of the Issues with Perspective feature is to provide a more in depth look at the creators who makes comics and their process/influences/environment behind the making of the issues/series. I am terrible at naming things (take the podcast Pages and Panels, holy shit I hate that name) but the thought is that you will get a better perspective of the issue/series by learning more about the process and the actual creator who made it (Issues with Perspective, get it? Nah). I hope with this feature readers will get a further look into the books they love and the amazing people who make them.
For the next installment of Issues with Perspective I was super stoked to be able to talk to the creator Weston Notestine about his series Verdugo. The series is about "a demon killer that only wants to ride his motorcycle and chop up demon goblins with his axe." Its that plus equal parts awesome and absurd fun. Weston creates a distinct fun comic experience in a short concise experience. Brutal action, sharp design and absurd humor, Verdugo was such a great experience I had to do an Issues with Perspective with Weston.
I would like to give a huge thanks for Weston taking the time to talk about Verdugo. Check out the interview below and be sure to check out issues one and two of Verdugo available for purchase now!
Weston Notestine and Verdugo
Who is Verdugo ?
Verdugo is created by me, Weston!
What is Verdugo ?
Verdugo is my series about a goblin slayer. He rides a motorcycle and has a lust for violence, and a grudge against goblins.
Why should readers get Verdugo ?
I think readers should get it because it is fun! I want it to be something you can sit down with, read it in one sitting, and walk away feeling like you just went down Fury Road.
When/Where/How can readers get Verdugo ?
I’m currently selling it here!
What was a normal workday/drawing session like for you when working?
I have a day job 8-5, so after I would get off work I would immediately start drawing. I do really loose page layouts in my sketchbook, then go straight to penciling. I like to finish all of the penciling before I start inking. I would try to pencil or ink 3-4 pages a night, working until around midnight or 1am. On weekends I wake up early and work all day! Whenever I start something it’s hard for me to leave it without being finished, as in I can’t just ink half a page, it has to be fully completed before I walk away.
What is your work space like while working on comics?
I have my own work nook which is off to the side of my living room. It’s great because I while I feel like it’s important to have my own “work space,” I don’t like to be isolated. I can hear/see the tv if my partner is watching something, or if I wanted to put on a movie while I work it’s enough background noise for me to enjoy yet not feel distracted. In my work space I have a huge ikea desk that my computer is on, two book shelves, my drawing desk, and cat tree.
What are the tools/applications/ you used most in the creation of Verdugo ? What medium are you working in?
I used strathmore 200 series sequential paper for the pages. I pencil out everything with blue pencil, then ink it with the pentel pocket brush. I color everything in photoshop. If there was an angel of a motorcycle or something that is hard to find reference for, I use google SketchUp to find a close enough model. I find it to be extremely helpful and speeds up a lot of drawing.
What is the situation that gets the most productivity out of you?
I get a lot of inspiration from music, especially metal. To me metal music has so much energy, emotion, and expression. It’s all about being in the moment. When I listen to a record I really like I take all of that energy and divert it drawing. Good productivity isn’t something I can ever plan on, it just happens organically. When I start drawing I could work for 8 hours straight.
What media have you been engaged with during the creation of the Verdugo series(music/movies/books/games) that helped the creation process or that you just happened to be into at that time?
Listening to music usually puts me in an exciting/inspirational mood. However when actually drawing I would just listen to whatever my partner was playing on tv (usually Law & Order SVU). When I wasn’t listening to whatever background noise was going on, I would listen to podcast, mainly Forever Midnight, Lore, and your podcast, Pages & Panels!
For readers who enjoy Verdugo what else would you suggest to them that they might enjoy that has a similar tone/style/message of your work?
I get a lot of inspiration from Space Riders, Head Lopper, Prison Pit, The Humans, the old EC comics, Hellboy, and Rumble. I just read The Wrenchies and it is GREAT. I think that I’m young enough that a lot of my inspiration comes from the creators that are out there right now, which is exciting because there is a lot of amazing new comics coming out all the time.
I love the overall look of the book. The color palette and the fading on the pages, the design of the cover with the price tag sticker. For something that creators often overlook, how did you decide on the design of the book and what did you do to create the overall aesthetic of the issue?
I think that comes from taking a lot of design classes in college. My designer teacher was packaging director for Ralph Lauren Polo, so how he taught us involved looking at your work as a whole. I like to be in control of the tiny details that usually go unnoticed because I think it adds to having a complete realized aesthetic. Take for example Hip Hop Family Tree. The whole design of that book makes you all the more submersed in the story he is telling.
The issue is short, sweet, brutal and awesome. As someone beginning to create comics how important is getting something like this issue done? What did you learn from making it that you will take into the second issue?
Getting a book out is the best thing you can do for yourself. It doesn’t matter what it is about, as long as it is 100% you and what you love. The amount of feedback and support you will get from it will give you so much confidence you’ll feel like a comics champ. What I took from the first issue is to make the second one longer, and make it more brutal!
I love the design of Verdugo the character, how did it come about? Has it altered since you initially began?
I was trying to figure out what I could make a comic about and I was told “draw what you like and let the story write itself around it.” I was drawing some skulls and then changed the face up to look like a mask and the rest kind of came naturally! At first I made Verdugo super bulk, but I decided to make his frame a bit smaller and weird.
I love just being dropped into a world and experiencing moments and settings. You really get just a glimpse of Verdugo and the world/characters. How much world have you built and the characters in it?
It is writing itself every day! I know there will be more bars, motorcycles, trucks, and monsters. The world isn’t post apocalyptic, but just inherently nasty. It’s like Waterworld meets New Texas(Bravestarr)!
Has there anything that you have found particularly challenging or blocks you hit in the creation process? On the same note what was the most enjoyable part of your creation experience?
I get blocks all of the time. Whenever I get those blocks I just strip the problem down to it’s bare core and I find that it’s always the simplest solution is the best. It helps to take a step back and relax and definitely talk it out with someone. The whole comic was enjoyable. This comic is everything that I love to draw.
I will avoid spoilers but what came first, the name Verdugo or that line?
Hahaha, good question! I get asked a lot about his name, especially how it’s pronounced. A lot of people think it rhymes with vertigo and pronounces it “VER-DI-GO,” but Verdugo is actually a Spanish word that translates to hangman, or executioner. The first time I heard it was in high school when I played the video game Resident Evil 4, and one of the enemies was called “Verudgo”. It always stuck with me as being a badass word.
The last line was actually an afterthought! I originally wanted to end it on the “split” - but then that line popped in my head and knew I had to put it in there.
Best thing you could say about Verdugo ? Why do you love Verdugo ?
Verdugo is bonkers and it’s a thrill. I love it because it’s everything that makes me love being an artist. There will be other things that I won’t enjoy drawing or I’m kind of indifferent towards, but I always approach Verdugo with pure excitement.