A better translation (I hope)

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A better translation (I hope)

Postby Guillermo » Sat Jun 09, 2007 9:21 pm

There is a link to a translation of the spanish interview done to mr. Davis in a thread done by Ilke. The web translator is so horrible that I've spend some time fixing it a bit for myself, im not a pro of translations, but hey, its hard to do it worse than the web translators..:)
Here it is:

Was year 1987 when I first read a comic of Alan Davis for the first time.Then it was not more for me than a good history with a fabulous drawing. Today it is an art piece. It was number 569 of Detective Comics, which in Spain was published in the first numbers of the second volume of the collection of Batman from Ediciones Zinco, a history in which the Joker brainwashes Catwoman and turns the feline against Batman and the Robin.
Twenty years after reading that number, I know that Alan Davis is a genius of the industry of comic, a brilliant sketcher and a very appreciable scriptwriter.
Alan Davis, born in 1956, has been already three decades in the business of cómic. He began working in the United Kingdom, with personages like Judge Dredd or Capitán Britania.
There he meet with another genius, Alan Moore (author of V of Vendetta or Watchmen), from whom he does not keep very good memory. “The things were bad and I followed ahead”, is limited to say about him.

- What differences it has between your work in the United Kingdom and the United States? Did you had greater freedom in your first years or now that you are a star in this world?
- A comparison cannot be done because the industry was very different when I began to work in cómics. In those days, the narration of history was it everything and the illustrated art was not valued.

He gave the jump to the United States to work in Batman and the Outsiders, of DC Comics. In this publishing house he had problems at the time of making Batman: Year Two, and left this argument arc splitted into half.
“I do not have patience with the people whom it is not possible to be trusted. I attempt to always act like a professional and if others do not do it, simply I follow ahead. I do not lose my time with policies and liabilities-aggressive trivialities. I am better writing and drawing cómics”, he says about those problems.

- Years later you made Mortal Circle (a kind of sequel of Year Two with such characters). Was a form to complete your vision of history?
- I love (the work of) Mike Barr (scriptwriter as much of Year Two as of Mortal Circle). He requested to me that it drew Mortal Circle and I accepted. Unfortunately, the same incompetence that ended my presence in Year Two interfered again and the book paid to it.


He moved later to Marvel Comics, the great competitor of DC, where he began drawing Excalibur, and ended up working in the most emblematic series: X-Men, the Avengers, the 4 Fantastic ones…

- Excalibur was worth a Eisner Prize to you. Do you miss those characters?
- In some aspects yes, but any creator will say to you that the personages who are successful are so important, or perhaps less important, than the others with which you have worked. The works that the hearing judges as
sharpshooting are only one part of the carpet of a whole career.

- Do you prefer the tone more comedian of Excalibur or the most dramatic of series like X-Men or Batman?
- Both. But I do not see because any series has to have strictly only a tone.

And a surprise. Alan Davis is not today reader of cómics. “When I have time to read I use it in reading novels. I find inaccessible many modern comics because I have myself lost in the continuity. And histories are so extended throughout so many numbers that I lose interest”, confesses.

The continuity, that danger which all reader of cómics faces when a number of a collection is lost, is one of the things which more seems to bother to Alan Davis, who doesn't doubt in saying that works far better
in histories that do not consider that continuity, like the Nail (for DC, on a universe that has not known Superman), Fantastic Four, or The End (for Marvel, miniseries that is being published in the United States and therefore, unpublished still in Spain, about the end of the Fantastic Four).

“The continuity is an authentic annoyance. But I like many of the classic designs of the characters. I believe that the attempts to modernize the characters usually derive in clumsy creations or unnecessarily disordered ones. I prefer the simplicity and the elegance”, affirms.


- I love your narrative style, the way how you explain history with the drawing. I imagine it is not as simple as it sounds… How do you get it?
- I could try to give you an answer, but, having thinking much on this throughout the years, the certain thing is that I do not have idea of what happens through my mind when I am working. I attempt to submerge in history and I leave the art to happens, that is to say, I never put the art over history. A pile of decisions are instinctive, the things you feel as correct or no.

- Now you are sketcher and scriptwriter. There are any other artists with whom you would like to work?
- I have not stopped myself to think about it. I always concentrate myself in the work that I have in hand although I would consider to work with other creators if on it depends the project and the character.
Even when I am working together with another artist, I spend the 90 percent of my time working alone, so history and characters are the most crucial elements of any work.

- I suppose that, like other artists, you have influences. Who you liked when you were only a reader?
- Neal Adams, Frank Bellamy, Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, Nestor Redondo, Jesus Blasco, Jim Aparo, Wally Wood, John M Burns, John Buscema… To mention only a few.

- How is the normal process of Alan Davis at the time of drawing a page?
- I do not have a consistent approach. I judge the pages generally considering if the dialogue or the art takes the weight of history, if the text will fill much space and will reduce the impact of the art, the same about the number of squares. But aside from that, I concentrate myself in the characterization and the narration of history.

- What advice you would give to an amateur artist?
- Dont believe the promotion and mythology of the drawing and the narration of histories.
(I guess the translation of mr.Davis from english to spanish and then back to english made this translation to not have much sense, sorry).
Anyone who works hard can make a good work. It needs time, but, if you adore it, the work itself is the own reward.

- What do you enjoy more, drawing male or female characters?
- Neither. The objective with both sexes is to cause that the characters become credible at the same time that you incorporate the classic stereotypes of the heroes and the most up-to-date image of a pretty body.

- What do you prefer, Marvel or DC?
- Marvel and DC are both businesses, so I try to ignore the faceless commercial organizations and I work with the editor.

- Who is your favorite character and with which one you would like to work in the future?
- I have been lucky enough as to draw or write about most of the characters who I adored as a child, so I do not have any serious longing.

Davis assures that he does not have immediate plans to return to series like Batman or the 4 Fantastic ones, in spite of the good flavor of mouth that has left in the fans of so different characters as those.
His future passes through a new miniseries of ClanDestine, that is due to be published throughout 2007. ClanDestine, published by Marvel in 1994, created by the own Alan Davis, narrates histories of a family of mutants born throughout 800 years, from the time of the crusades to the present time.
Guillermo
 
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Location: Madrid

Postby Alan Davis » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:36 pm

This interview was taped at the Bristol Convention so there it should be easy to confirm the original English. However, the distortions and errors are almost as bad as the interview I did for ‘TwoMorrows Miracleman Companion’ so I have corrected the text as best I can from memory--

Alan Davis, born in 1956, has been in the Comic business for almost three decades. He began working in the United Kingdom. There he meet Alan Moore (author of V of Vendetta or Watchmen). There working relationship ended under a cloud. “Things went bad and I moved on.” is all Davis will say about the situation.

Q-- What were the differences between your work in the United Kingdom and the United States? Did you have greater freedom in your first years or now that you are a star in this world?
A-- A comparison cannot be made because the industry was very different when I began to work in comics. In those days, storytelling was everything and illustrative art was not valued as much as a good story.

Q-- He went to the United States to work in Batman and the Outsiders, of DC Comics. He had problems working on the book and quit halfway through the story arc.
A-- I do not have patience with the people who I don’t feel I can trust. I always attempt to act like a professional and expect the same of others. If they let me down, I move on. I do not waste time with petty politics and passive aggressive nonsense. I would rather spend my time writing and drawing comics.

Q-- Years later you made Full Circle (a sequel of Year Two with such characters). Was a form to complete your vision of history?
A-- I love (the work of) Mike Barr (scriptwriter as much of Year Two as of Full Circle). He asked me to pencil Full Circle and I accepted. Unfortunately, the same incompetence that ended my presence in Year Two interfered again and the book suffered because of it.


Q-- He moved later to Marvel Comics, the great competitor of DC, where he began drawing Excalibur, and ended up working in the most emblematic series: X-Men, the Avengers, the 4 Fantastic ones… Excalibur was worth a Eisner Prize to you. Do you miss those characters?
A-- In some aspects yes, but any creator will tell you that the characters who are successful are as important, or perhaps less important, than others with which they have worked. The comics and characters that receive acclaim are only one part of the tapestry of a whole career.

Q-- Do you prefer the humorous tone of Excalibur or the more dramatic tone of series like X-Men or Batman?
A-- Both. But I do not see why any series has to have only one tone.

Q--And a surprise. Alan Davis is not today reader of comics.
A-- When I have time to read I read novels. I find modern comics inaccessible because I have lost track of the continuity. And stories are often spread across so many issues that I lose interest.

Q-- Continuity is a problem for all readers. Is your concern about continuity the reason you do limited series outside of Continuity like the Nail (for DC, on a universe that has not known Superman), Fantastic Four, or The End
A—Avoiding continuity is one reason but I like many of the classic designs. I believe the attempts to modernize many characters usually result in clumsy or unattractive reworking. I prefer the simplicity and the elegance of the original designs.


Q-- I love your narrative style, the way you tell a story visually. I imagine it is not as simple as it looks… How do you do it?
A-- I could try to give you an answer, but, after giving it much thought over the years, the only thing of which I am certain is that I don’t know what goes on in my head as I’m working. I attempt to submerge my self in the story and I let the art happen, that is to say, I never put the art above the story. Many of my decisions are, the things that ‘feel right’ are right!

Q-- Now you are writer/artist. Are there any other artists with whom you would like to work?
A-- I have not given it any thought. I always concentrate on the work at hand. Although I might consider working with another creator it would depends on the project and character involved. Even when I am working with another creator, I spend 90 percent of my time working alone, so story and characters are the most crucial elements of any job.

Q-- I suppose that, like other artists, you have influences. Who you liked when you were only a reader?
A- Neal Adams, Frank Bellamy, Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, Nestor Redondo, Jesus Blasco, Jim Aparo, Wally Wood, John M Burns, John Buscema… To mention only a few.

Q-- What is the normal process for Alan Davis to draw a page?
A-- I do not have a consistent approach. I judge the pages by whether the dialogue or the art carries the story. Whether the text will take a lot of space and will reduce the impact of the art, or how many panels are needed on a page. But aside from that, I concentrate on characterization and telling the story.

Q-- What advice you would give to an amateur artist?
A-- Don’t believe the hype and mythology about drawing and storytelling. Anyone who works hard can produce good work. It takes time, but, if you love the medium, the work itself is its own reward.

Q-- Which do you enjoy more, drawing male or female characters?
A-- Neither. The objective with both sexes is to make the characters credible at the same time as incorporating the classic heroic stereotypes and the most up-to-date image of a ‘body-beautiful’.

Q-- Which do you prefer, Marvel or DC?
A-- Marvel and DC are both businesses, so I try to ignore the faceless commercial organizations and I work with the editor.

Q-- Who is your favourite character and with which one you would like to work in the future?
A-- I have been lucky enough as to draw or write most of the characters who I loved as a child, so I don’t have any serious longing.
Alan Davis
Creator
 
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