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The Outhouse Interview: Alex Maleev

Written by Royal Nonesuch on Monday, May 02 2011 and posted in Features

Eisner-winning artist Alex Maleev takes a seat in The Outhouse to talk about Moon Knight and Scarlet!

Alex Maleev first came to prominence when working as the artist on Marvel's Daredevil with writer Brian Michael Bendis.  His distinctive, noir-tinged artwork made him a comic book star almost immediately.  He and Bendis have become one of the great creative duos in modern comics.  Currently, he is collaborating with Bendis on the creator-owned Scarlet as well as the new Moon Knight ongoing. 

The Outhouse (OH):  In terms of visual style, what can we expect from your Moon Knight run?  What are you looking forward to most with the character?  In what ways do you expect Moon Knight will challenge you as an artist?

Alex Maleev (AM): Trying to break out of the comfort zone I have been in for a while. Moon Knight is not as polished as Scarlet and it's not relying on visual references as much. There's a lot more creativity involved and there would probably be more imperfections. Whatever the final result is, it will make some people happy and others grumpy.

That being said, I am doing it as a personal challenge. I have been looking forward to a project like this where I can try some new tricks.

OH: Moon Knight and Scarlet will both be coming out at the same time.  Are youInternal3 approaching the material in the same way?  In what way are you doing things differently?

AM: Both will stay true to their respective styles and it's not much of a hassle. Any artist should be able to transform its styles, like a good actor can play various roles.

OH:  Scarlet takes place in Portland, Oregon, while the Marvel superhero books take place mostly in New York City.  What kind of research do you do to attain that specificity in your artwork?

AM: Moon Knight takes place in LA. Scarlet's Portland is easy, I have lived there for 3 years, I know the city well. Plus right before we started on Scarlet, I went to PDX and both Brian and I went on a location scout. I took 750 photos.

OH:  Scarlet looks completely different from almost every other book on the stands today.  How did you develop the style of visual storytelling in that book?

AM: I color it myself, that is the big difference. I think of the scenes in colors not black and white. It's as pure as my art can be.

OH:  You're obviously very comfortable working on urban crime environments in comics.  Do you feel like you have to change the way you think about storytelling when you're working on something like The Avengers, Illuminati, or your covers on Nova?

AM:  Not really. I do prefer the urban heroes though. Not crazy about spaceship environments. I am a man of the street even though there are days when I don’t leave my apartment.

scarletOH:  What are the tools you use the most in your art right now, in terms of pencils, pens, brushes, paints, computer programs, etc.?

AM:  Pen and ink to sketch stuff and then it gets beamed up to my Mac. It's the usual suspect afterwards, the Wacom tablet and Photoshop.

OH:  What creators (in comics and out) are inspiring you right now?

AM: I don’t look at other people’s art too much, but it looks like I do have somebody's comic book on my table right now. It's Volunteer by Sevestre and Springer.

OH:  What did you learn from the experience of working on the motion comics Spider-Woman and N that you can apply to your art or how you think about art?

AM: Never take on too much work during the summer.

OH:  How has your collaboration with Brian Michael Bendis, whom you've worked with on several projects, changed and developed over the years?  Are the two of you working differently on Moon Knight from the way you normally do things?

AM:  Nope. Same all process. He writes for me, I draw for him and Marvel sends us a check. Splendid.

OH:  Looking over your artwork at Marvel, how would you say your style hasSpiderWoman_01_Cover evolved over the years?

AM: I hope it has gotten better. I am more confident with the media, to the point where I can freely experiment. I am not a great fan of artists who stick to their guns for eternity. I personally get bored with the same ol' style. That's why Moon Knight took an art detour.

OH:  What effect has moving from Bulgaria had on your work?  Does changing your environment cause you to see things differently that affect your art?

AM:  Boy, I don't remember, it was long time ago.

OH:  Artists are never really "satisfied" with their work, but at what point do you know when a piece of artwork is ready to be published and seen by an audience?

AM: When you get the email from the editor asking for the files. That sure helps make my mind.

OH:  Lastly, is there anything else you'd like everyone to know about Moon Knight or anything else you're working on now?  Are there any websites or blogs people can visit where they can learn more about what you're up to?

AM: I frequent the Bendis board where people can catch me off guard usually. I rarely tweet, however I do enjoy reading other people's random thoughts but I don’t indulge in boring them with mine.

Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch

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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch

As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.


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