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Panels and Pages #4 – An Interview With Aaron Felizmenio

Let me begin this blog entry with a little prophecy: this guy will soon make it big in the international comics scene.

That may sound like a huge statement but seriously, that’s what I think about him. At 20 years old, he may be one of the youngest Bayan Knights members yet its no exaggeration or sarcasm on my part when I say he’s one of the best.  His artworks seriously show tons of potential it isn’t hard to imagine it on a Marvel or a DC comicbook someday.

Get to know  Gwapoman creator Aaron Felizmenio, who writes and draws the title, in our 4th edition of the Panels and Pages interview series.

Mark Rosario: To begin with, why don’t you tell us a bit about some comics you’ve done in the past.

Aaron Felizmenio: I think the first one was last year, year 2008! It’s title was Lolita with August Martinez, if I remember the name right, and Gilbert Monsanto! I inked Sir Gilbert’s lines and it was so fun to do! Every line made me feel awesome! It was my first project and it was so memorable because I’m a big fan of Sir Gilbert!

I don’t remember the second one but as I recall, it was under August Martinez again and it was penciled by Kathryn Lewis and colored by Omi Remalante. I believe it was cancelled, but then again, I get to meet another awesome artist, Omi, now head of our studio!

The rest, I don’t recall, I believe they were also cancelled because of the budget but I have something with Sniper Comics. If I get some time to do them, we might make it to Wizard New York Con and Boston Comic Con!

MR: How would you describe your artstyle and who do you consider as your main influences?

AF: My major influence is Gilbert Monsanto and Ron Garney! It’s my foundation style. My anatomy relies on them! I’m still learning though, I have a lot of flaws! Then I tried to imitate Leinil Yu’s technique after I heard that he’s the same college as mine. Haha! But I sort of failed so I decided to imitate Leinil’s influences instead. Namely: Whilce, Mignola, Adam Hughes, Travis, Jim Lee, and Kevin Nowlan. I am still failing by the way, hahahaha!

But now there is Dustin Nguyen and wow, he really is amazing. He has a strong Mignola influence and I like it. I mean, I love it. Because of their influences, my style became so dark and gritty. Crime-Noir Batman story-telling style is my love!

My only influence in inking is Richard Friend! I always ask him questions about inking and it sure helped a lot! Although, I don’t like inking my own pencils because they change a lot. And I don’t like redrawing my own work!

MR: You’ve recently released Gwapoman 2000 #1 at the Metro Comic Con. How do you feel about the overall positive feedback to it?

AF: I was overjoyed! It was also sold out! I don’t know if the amount of books that I sold was enough to say that I got the interest of the people but I have read some reviews and I only disappointed them on the drawing style. I posted a preview and they didn’t say anything negative about it, I should’ve known earlier! But anyway, my target is to reach the high contrast feel. Mignola-ish with a bit of my style to show enough dramatic storytelling. It lacks some details, I admit but I guess it has enough details to tell the story.

I don’t think I’ll be adjusting my style for more grit on the second issue. Consistency is something for artists. Yes, artists’ styles evolve but they have to maintain the consistency. I’ll just improve on the details for the second issue. So for the people who want to see grittier Gwapoman, see you on book 2! But you still have to pick up book 1, which will have 4 issues. So 4 issues of Funk- Noir.

Other than that, they enjoyed my writing and storytelling! It makes me feel awesome. It was actually unexpected because I don’t know that I can write well. Haha!

MR: Speaking of that issue, you have DC superstar Rafael Albuquerque as your cover artist. That’s so surreal! How did that become possible?

AF: There’s a funny story behind this! I sent e-mails to 18 professional artists abroad asking for a cover! I told them I could not afford the price because I have no money and I’m an indie comicbook artist. So there, most of them declined, some of them didn’t reply, 1 of them told me that he’ll give it a shot if he had the time and one of them said yes.

The artists declined because of their exclusive contract, some were busy and some just sent me with commission rates which I can’t afford. But Rafael, who told me that he was also an indie artist before agreed because he knows how indie comicbook artists work! Imagine that! So after a week I jumped for joy because I received something spectacular! It’s in color actually! So there you have it.

MR: I’ve been itching to ask you this for the longest time: Why Gwapoman? What’s up with the ridiculous name? Haha!

AF: BOOK 2! You have to read it! But I’ve put some clues on the first book. I’m not putting anything without a reason! I love reasons. Reason is my middle name. I’ve plotted the whole thing up, thanks to my secret co-writer-creator Sean Andrew Cura! In the second book, we will tackle Gwapoman’s origin and more! I don’t want to talk about it anymore because I can also spoil the second issue of book 1. I’m a big Geoff Johns fan, by the way. I actually plotted the first 6 books, I just have to write the script and illustrate it. It takes time and I need all the help that I need! I’m sorry for not giving a straight answer but it will spoil the fun!

MR: I think I’ll buy that. Haha! Anyway, I already know the answer for this next question but for the sake of some blog readers (if we have any), I’ll still ask this: What’s your dream project and why?

AF: To work under DC Comics specifically, to be the artist for a Robin or a Green Lantern title! Man, I love those characters. Either penciling or inking, I have no problem with that as long as I get accepted. Haha! But in general, I’d like to draw comicbooks for a living. I’m already done with drawing comicbooks for my smiles! Hahaha! It’s a long shot but, there’s no harm in trying!

MR: Lastly, Bayan Knights will soon be turning one year. You’re one of the founding members. Has that, in any way, helped you become a better artist?

AF: I didn’t know that I was one of the founding members! But, I remember that I sent Sir Gilbert a stupid message regarding Gwapoman’s inclusion for the project without any details. I had to message him privately regarding Gwapoman’s details when I noticed that Gwapoman wasn’t on the plot yet! Hahahaha!

A better artist? Of course! They’re not just creators, they’re also artists! The biggest thing that they did was inspiring me! Making me feel welcome. Making me one of them! Respecting each other! Sharing ideas, technique and materials was also a big help! They’re also critiques who points out the strong points and weak points of my artwork. That’s how they helped, there are still some but I still need to recall them! They are tiny details but they really are a big help to me. Inspiring is part of believing, and believing is part of learning!

MR: This has been fun. Thanks for your time, Aaron. Good luck to your comic works – and to your school, of course! I heard you love school and you’re a good student… Haha!

AF: I just love school because I get my allowance, haha! Thanks to you too, Markus! It’s fun to be interviewed, it’s my first time and I’m really flattered! Thank you too for your time!

MR: Welcome, man! :D

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9 Responses to “Panels and Pages #4 – An Interview With Aaron Felizmenio”

  1. Renie says:

    Aaron, bumalik ka naiwan mo free poster mo! Hahahaha!

  2. Edz Rizo says:

    Hinihintay kong ma-interbyu rin ako tulad nito. Para sikat. Hahahaha. :P

  3. Mark Rosario says:

    @ Renie, kunin daw nya next time! Hahah..

    @ Edz Rizo, oo ba! Tapusin ko lang yung mga nasa lineup ko ha. Nasa “next” list ka na :D

  4. EuROPA777 says:

    really cool & nice read.
    bilib din ako dyan k aaron!

  5. Mark Rosario says:

    @ EuROPA777, thank you for that!

  6. Hazel says:

    magaling nga talaga tong si aaron! idol!

  7. Mark Rosario says:

    @ Hazel, sinabi mo. I’m really looking forward to see what this kid can do a few years from now say 2 or 3 years, perhaps. He’d surely be one of the best we have around :)

  8. Myke08 says:

    Adik yan si Aaron…ADIK!

    Adik sa pag-dro-drowing!

    Adik sa kakasihap ng cough syrup!

    Adik din yan sa Colet’s Buko pie (kahit di na hiwain)

    at adik din yan sa tulog (di naman tumaba-taba)

    Isa kang adik na tunay na comicbook artis parekoy!


  9. Mark Rosario says:

    @ Myke08, astig talaga yan si Aaron. Hope to see more comics from him.. at wala pa kong Gwapoman #1! Waaa!

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