Francis Manapul is one of the Comic Con Portugal guest artists. He’s an award winning comic book writer and artist living in Toronto, Canada, working for DC Comics. RIBDA interviewed the artist.

What kind of comics did you read when you were a child and a teenager?
As a child I mostly read Superman and Batman comics to improve on my English. I lost touch which comics as a got a bit older but rediscovered them just before high school when Image Comics started up. Their energetic artwork hooked me and I’ve been a comic reader ever since.

Besides super-heroes genre, what kind of comics are you interested in?
I’m a big fan of crime noir. I think my enjoyment of it is due to the fact that it’s so different from what I do aesthetically. I also enjoy sci-fi and westerns.

Which writers and illustrators do you considered were/are your major influences?
A lot of the Image creators were a major influence on getting me into art, like Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld. As a teen I also steadily consumed art from Mike Mignola, Joe Madureira, Humberto Ramos, and Mike Wieringo. As for writers, I was a huge Mark Waid fan, as well as Kurt Busiek. Of course one of my major inspiration for becoming a writer and artist was Frank Miller and Jeff Smith.

Tell us about your early works published at Slave Labor Graphics and Image (1998)?
Ah, I believe it was called Love and Tights. My friend J. Torres wrote a short story in it and he gave me an opportunity to draw my first published work.

You started your professional career at Top Cow. How did you start working on comic books?
I hounded them at conventions, constantly showing them my portfolio. At that time, I started working on a book called Monster Fighters with J. Torres which was published by Image Comics. I believe having something previously published and my pestering them led to a job! Frank Mastromauro was working on putting together some mini comics produced by Top Cow for some toy cars. He gave me my first paid gig, and helped get my foot into their door and lead to my work on Witchblade.

Are there any differences in your drawings if you are the one that is going to ink them or if someone else is going to do it?
Absolutely. I’ve been inking my own work for a long time now, and can’t imagine it being inked by someone else. I feel that a lot of the personality of my art comes from how I use inks and watercolors. That said, I’m a fan of many inkers in the industry that I’d love to work with, but I’d probably end up penciling differently. Not because I mean to, but it’s a completely different medium so you have to adjust.

How did you start working with Brian Buccellato and how did your work relation evolve over the years?
Brian and I started working together on Witchblade. He was coloring my work, but he also became one of my best friends. When I got an opportunity to write The Flash there was no one I trusted more to work with and go on this journey with Barry Allen!

When you are also writing a comic book, how that influences the way you draw it?
It doesn’t affect the way I draw, but rather the pacing of my stories and the layouts of the pages. I’m able to take more liberties with the storytelling and allow the art to tell a lot of the story.

Tell us about Broken Hollow.
I can’t say much about it, but it will be my first creator owned work, and will also be Brian and I’s reunion!

In what are you working right now? Can you tell us about your future plans?
Currently I’m writing and illustrating Trinity. After that the plan is to work on Aquaman Earth 1 which I’ll also be writing and illustrating. Broken Hollow should begin around then as well.