Putting The Finishing Touches
Tripwire’s contributing writer Scott Braden talks to The Wrong Earth‘s Juan Castro about working on Ahoy’s series…
Juan Castro, an inker and illustrator from Tijuana, Mexico, has been in the comics industry for over a decade. Comic book fans have seen his work on such titles as Transformers, GI Joe, Halo: Escalation, Arrow, Aquaman, Grayson, Batgirl, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman, The Wrong Earth, and many more. He has been nominated for three Inkwell Awards.
He is as legit as they come.
Castro, who is currently under deadline with various assignments, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us at Tripwire. This is what the comic pro had to say:
Where did you learn how to do what you do? And, when I ask this, I mean beyond you being an amazing inker – how did you become such an incredible storyteller? Did you go to school for this or were you self-taught?
Well, as long as I can remember I’ve had a pencil or brush in my hand. I have family members that are professional classically trained artists, as well as my dad, who didn’t pursue art as a career but it was always his hobby. After high school, I studied at the Cataro Nunez art school here in Mexico, and I’ve picked up a lot along the way from fellow artists.
You have a wonderful working relationship with Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle on The Wrong Earth. Have they become one of your favorite creators to work with?
Oh, for sure, I’ve been fortunate enough to be Jamal’s inker for 8+ years now and it’s been absolutely wonderful. The Wrong Earth-verse is my first time working with Tom, but it’s been a dream. I hope we can keep working together for years to come.
What can you tell us about the secret origin of Dragonfly and Dragonflyman?
You’d have to ask Tom about that…. After some drinks preferably, lol!
Were you surprised with the critical and fan response to your characters and their worlds? Or did you expect it to be a hit?
Honestly, I knew we had something special right from the start, but I did not expect it to be this successful so fast, in the States and internationally. Right before the COVID lockdown a friend was in France on vacation, and the book was all over the BD shops as well! I can’t wait to see what we can do with this franchise and keep watching it grow.
People have mentioned your work on BLACK (and WHITE) as well as The Wrong Earth. Does your purposely take exciting, thought-provoking projects such as these?
I wasn’t fortunate to work on BLACK, but I did on WHITE, its sequel. Jamal is the driving force on that side of picking projects, but we are on the same wavelength for sure. I absolutely enjoy these kinds of projects, it’s very fulfilling.
Tom was good enough to send me a script for the first issue of The Wrong Earth. There is quite a bit of difference between what is written down on paper and what got put on the printed page. How do you, Tom, and Jamal work together? Do you have a process?
It’s a pretty smooth process. Tom works on the script, trusting Jamal to do some changes to compliment the story-telling, and once layouts are agreed on, Jamal finishes up the pencils. Once they’re in my hands, I’ll just give the script another read, sometimes checking with Jamal about some ideas I have for the inks. Other times he includes some notes for me on the pencils. We have communication going on every single page basically—it’s great.
What can you tell us about the much-anticipated sequel to The Wrong Earth. Any surprise you can hint at in regards to Night & Day?
Can’t really say much, but I’m super excited for everyone to read it. Issue 1 alone has such a great ending, it surprised even me when I got the pages—and I had already read the script!
Hollywood has been looking at AHOY’s various projects. Anybody checking out The Wrong Earth?
I’m not in on those conversations at the moment, so I’m not sure, but I would love to see it on screen one day — a quirky series in the vein of Doom Patrol with a sprinkle of The Boys. I think it could be a huge hit.
Of all the things that you, Jamal, and Tom have created for The Wrong Earth, what creation of yours do you like the most?
I’m going to have to say the differences between Dragonfly and Dragonflyman—I love how they’re such twisted versions of each other, everything from body language and facial expressions to the different ink textures I get to put on them… it’s a blast.
You are working on critically acclaimed series. Is there anything else out there in comicdom that you wish you were working on as well?
I’m very fortunate right now to be working on amazing books with amazing people, but yeah, I for sure have some bucket list projects. I would love one day to do a Superman family run with Jamal. I’d love a shot at Swamp Thing to just go crazy on the inks and textures. I also have my illustration work for gallery installations outside of geekdom.
Did you have any say in the ongoing story of Dragonfly and Dragonflyman, or is that all Tom and Jamal?
That’s all on them—the visual aspects of the book is where I get to put in my 2 cents.