[Roughly translated: “Maropati, In Memorium, Vincenzo Cavallaro, Vincenzo Cordiano, Fallen on January 6th, 1923 in the defense of popular and Socialist administration against Fascism.”
94 years ago today, my grandfather and great-uncle, Paolo and Vincenzo Cavallaro, respectively, and their cousin Vincenzo Cordiano, were involved in a shootout on the streets of Maropati, in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. It was during the Feast of the Epiphany in 1923, the year Mussolini’s Fascists became an official political party, emboldening thugs and “deadenders” throughout a country that was still suffering from the effects of World War 1.
My grandfather’s family, along with much of the countryside, were Socialist Party supporters, while their adversaries had pledged themselves to the new Fascist Party. The mood in the country was tense, and seemingly, it didn’t take much to ignite passions.
I used this family story as the basis for my 2009 graphic novel, PARADE (WITH FIREWORKS), published by Image Comics. PARADE earned me a Will Eisner Comics Industry Award-nomination for “Best Limited Series”, and it still stands as one of the books I’m most proud of: not only for my own accomplishment, but for the bravery of my ancestors in the face of emerging tyranny.
Here’s a video about PARADE created (what feels like a million years ago) by Bradley Hatfield. The “two issue” format referred to at the end of the interview was how the story first appeared in print, but I later remastered and expanded it while creating the trade paperback version.
I was 8 years old in 1977, and I still vividly remember seeing Star Wars with my mom. It changed my life. I was already a fan of Adam West’s BATMAN, George Reeves’ SUPERMAN, THE LONE RANGER, STAR TREK, LOST IN SPACE. So, perhaps a future in comics and animation was inevitable. But STAR WARS nearly obliterated all those others in my imagination and gave me heroes unlike the rest, not the least of which was Carrie Fisher’s PRINCESS LEIA “I don’t need rescuing” ORGANA. Thanks, and farewell.
VULCAN’S CELESTIAL SUPPLY SHOP has a simple style, and I’m trying to keep the looseness and energy of the layouts, so I’ve skipped penciling and I’m inking right on top of the roughs. It’s digital, so it’s not the high wire act of going straight to ink on paper, but there’s still a learning curve. Maybe it’s psychological to some degree. But practically speaking, if you go in scribbling and roughing in shapes, then you’re effectively penciling, which would defeat the purpose. I find you do have to focus differently so that you’re putting down “final” looking line work. At first pages were taking forever as I was feeling out the particulars of the style, but I’m getting faster and looser.
Here’s what I’m up to at New York Comic Con 2016:
I’ll mostly be guesting at the National Cartoonists Society booth #2058 where I’ll have copies of VULCAN’S CELESTIAL SUPPLY SHOP for sale. I’m also doing a quick signing at the First Second Books booth #2239 along with author Adam Rapp, where we’ll have a limited number of advance copies of DECELERATE BLUE, our new graphic novel due out this winter.
Table times are: National Cartoonists Society booth #2058:
Thurs 10/6: 1-4pm
Fri-Sat 10/7 & 10/8: 4-7pm
Sun 10/19: 10am-1pm
First Second Books booth #2239:
Sat 10/8: 12:30pm-1pm
I always have a hard time starting work on a new book. I’ve always had to spin my tires for a while before building up any momentum. I’d say on average, I’ve done the first 10-15 pages of any of my graphic novels somewhere between 3-5 times EACH. At that point, I usually figure out what I’m doing, and then I’m drawing a few pages a day. But that period of trying to find the style has at times been infuriating.
Finally starting interior work on VULCAN’S CELESTIAL SUPPLY SHOP. I told myself, “Self, you know what these first 10 pages are going to be like. Remain calm and just do it over.” True to form, I did the first page around three times yesterday and once today, and I think I’ve got it.
One page inked, 185 more to go.
I can finally say, officially, that I’ve started working on my next graphic novel, a solo effort called VULCAN’S CELESTIAL SUPPLY SHOP: THE HOUND OF HADES, for First Second Books. I’m lucky enough to get a relatively steady stream of freelance work, but it’s not often that I get to work on my own creation for one of my favorite publishers with an actual budget attached. To be honest, I kinda can’t believe it.
Here’s some promotional artwork and a bit of text from Kieran Shiach’s article at the COMICS ALLIANCE website:
Stock Up On Your Magical Items at
VULCAN’S CELESTIAL SUPPLY SHOP by Mike Cavallaro
by Kieran ShiachSeptember 2, 2016 9:30 AM “If you ever wondered where magical beings went to get the very latest in mystical gear, it turns out there’s a one-stop shop for all of their supernatural needs.
In 2018, cartoonist Mike Cavallaro will take readers inside Vulcan’s Celestial Supply Shop to explore the lives of the staff who work there, and to see what happens when they realize they have to stop an adventurer succeeding with his quest.
Vulcan’s Celestial Supply Shop: The Hounds of Hades follows Nico, Buck, and Lula, who work diligently for the titular store — but when Beowulf’s great-grandson Eowolf comes in looking to stock up for his quest to slay Cerberus, the staff at Vulcan’s realize they need to stop him from inadvertently unleashing hordes of dead souls back into the living realm.
The characters of Vulcan’s Celestial Supply Shop have existed in a number of forms over the years, including within the page of British all-ages anthology The Phoenix, and in self-published single issue comics. Vulcan’s Celestial Supply Shop: The Hounds of Hades marks the first original graphic novel in the series.”