Joe Querio is a newcomer to the Mignolaverse, but you wouldn’t know it. He’s got skill to spare and lent his talents to the sweeping new story in “B.P.R.D Hell on Earth” #122-123 called “The Broken Equation.”
I sat down with Joe to talk about his influences in creating this massive story, what it was like to work in a world he loved, and where things are headed next for “B.P.R.D.”
Bloody-Disgusting: Let’s talk about issue 122-123 of “B.P.R.D” what was it like to work with Mike Mignola and John Arcudi in contributing to their massive universe? Were their any constraints they put on you as you worked on the pages?
Joe Querio: I’ve been a huge fan of Mignola’s world for a long time now. I was super excited to do it. I couldn’t believe I was doing it as I was drawing the pages. My design sense was already so informed by their world, that I knew what could work and what couldn’t. I didn’t have any constraints at all. I thought of some stuff that couldn’t work, but I didn’t think of that as a constraint. This was some of the most fun stuff I’ve ever got to draw.
BD: What I really enjoyed about your work in the first issue was this incredible sense of scope in your panels. What was your approach to interiors and exteriors and how to you frame them with so much room to breathe?
JQ: Honestly man, I tried to do that. I’m most influenced by the Guy Davis phase of “B.P.R.D.” I want to achieve something huge and I was inspired by the incredible world he created during his time on the series. I would send off the art to Dave Stewart and he’d do his own thing with it. That guy can do no wrong. I couldn’t critique it. His colors were always so exciting. It was so awesome.
I worked with him a couple years ago on a Lobster Johnson short a couple years back. It was only eight pages, but I was so excited to work together again. He can give so much depth to a panel with his color, like the depth your trying to achieve with black and white his colors really take things to the next level.
BD: How did your work on “The Witcher” help you approach the world of “B.P.R.D?”
JQ: Witcher was very complicated for me to work on. It was a huge learning experience and I learnt a lot of what not to do on it. I also learnt how to lay out a page. I tried a lot of stuff in Witcher that I don’t think worked from time to time. Scott Allie really helped me, with things like how to make a page bleed, and how to treat it like a traditional panel. It put me on a schedule and learn what not to do.
It took me some time to get acquainted with the world of “The Witcher” there was a lot going on, and I was a little lost. I’ve loved “B.P.R.D” for a long time now so the world was a lot easier to jump into. I’ve read that comic forever. Guy Davis, James Herren, and Jason Latour informed me so much.
BD: Did that create some pressure coming onto these issues?
JQ: Certainly some pressure from myself because I’m such a huge fan. John, Mike, and Scott are all so great there was nothing from them. They just wanted to make sure I hit my deadlines. I put more pressure on myself because I didn’t want to put out crap into a book I loved so much.
BD: Did you know your issue was going to be part of the new Starting Points initiative at Dark Horse?
JQ: I didn’t know that until after the fact. I had talked to John briefly about this kaiju story. I couldn’t believe it. I grew up watching UltraMan and hearing that was the concept had me so excited.
BD: Some of the creature designs felt very Lovecraftian, and your sources of inspiration must be so varied when it comes to the variety of beasts you created on these pages, where did you draw the biggest inspiration?
JQ: The morphy challenger creature with multiple limbs came from John wanting this mashup of six guys that go through the portal. He told me to imagine a Dark God mashing these men together and then they come out the other side. He gave a lot of good direction on it. That creature went through five different sketches before you get what made it to the issue. I didn’t mind. Each time they asked me to make a change it was only getting better and better from their direction.
John described it as a return of the monster from “The Fly.” John was super excited when I sent him the final design. My strengths lie with drawing weird crap like this. For Kukyo’s sketches of what he saw on the other side of the portal I wanted them to feel just like my pencil sketches. They are pencils and I took a fine pen and went over them, and I purposely made them scribbles.
Getting to work with Mike for the design elements was an honor. We don’t get to see the lower half of one of these monsters in the first issue, but I worked closely with him to develop it for the second.
BD: What’s your approach to working in horror, and who is your favorite horror artist?
JQ: Obviously Mike Mignola, Guy Davis, James Harrren. Horror stuff outside of artists I’m into classic 70’s and 80’s stuff. John Carpenter’s The Thing still stands as one of my favorite horror films of all time. I try to imbue my work with this old Vincent Price type of atmosphere. And now that I’ve worked in the Mignolaverse, I’m just super excited to do more. I’m not the best at drawing straight lines, and it’s just a blast to work in this ravaged world.
Joe has a new series being announced in September and he has some work in sketch blog with the guys from KaBOOM Box. I’ll be in the new collection that they are releasing, I’ve got a four page short I’m proud of in there.
Preview pages courtesy of Comic Book Resources.