Discover Anthony’s art on Instagram!
We continue our interview series with one of L.A.’s finest comic book artists of the younger generation.
Anthony Carranza’s works are a striking blend of old and new, vintage and sci-fi, past and future.
We talk to Anthony about his art and his publishing house Shape Comics and discuss the process of creating a comic book universe!
1. Anthony, you and Breyden Boyd launched a publishing company and you guys are building your own comic book universe at Shape Comics — congrats on that! What was your journey like to establishing a publishing company?
Thank you so much!
It is crazy how fast we have grown in such a short time, we really owe a lot of this to our amazing fan base.
As far as the journey, wow! I’m working with friends on a common goal.
Creative independence has been so fulfilling. I owe Boyd, Carson and Tom some of the happiest moments in my life so far, and the fact that all of this was accidental makes it all the more like destiny!
It really started in a random discussion amongst friends… Boyd needed some help due to his unforeseen autoimmune disease diagnosis that sidelined his drawing and me wanting to push further into the world of comics. Since, we have launched 3 titles, 3 books and many more to come!
2. It looks like you’re on a mission of creating a comic book universe within Shape Comics. That sounds exciting! What does that process look like? How do you start?
I think every comic book creator works towards that big and intertwined universe, thanks to the success and popularity of the Avengers.
It’s tough really, because you want to be different, to stand out and push the envelope!
We have two independent “worlds” at Shape Comics – my own (The Calico Kid, Sonic Saturn, Ivy Estrella, and more) and Boyd’s (Shape-Man, Omega, Surge, to name a few from his plethora of characters).
We complement each other well and we can’t wait to present them all to the world!
3. How do you come up with character designs? Do you first illustrate them and then work on their origin story or do those two go hand in hand?
Character design is an art in itself.
If it were a movie, you’d be in charge of make-up, hair, wardrobe and scripting all in one!
To answer your question, the two go hand in hand but one or the other happens first.
Sometimes you draw a cool character and need to write them a cool origin story, or perhaps you get a great idea and need to bring it to life with an illustration.
Everyone has a different process and there isn’t a correct way to do it over the other.
Sonic Saturn and Shape-Man were created as an illustration first… Whereas the Calico Kid and Ivy Estrella started as origin stories.
View this post on Instagram
4. Your art is a fusion of futurism, art pop, surrealism and vintage. A lot of pieces also reminisce westerns while others include the Atomic Age motifs. How did you develop such a unique artistic expression?
I also have very fond memories of watching westerns with my great-grandfather.
I have always been fascinated by the vintage design of the mid-century.
Growing up in a small town Arizona as a kid with a big imagination, I always imagined myself in the streets of a wild west town, as a soldier storming the beaches of Normandy, or as an astronaut exploring an unknown planet of the cosmos.
It’s poetic really; I did not grow up with much but I built a world out of it. I guess it chalks up to me being an old soul.
View this post on Instagram
5. You also seem to be into horror art, but we noticed that you sometimes blend it with dark humor. What inspires that?
I am a big fan of Mel Brooks, but I also love John Carpenter… They both live rent-free in my mind.
View this post on Instagram
6. Does the process of drawing horror and vintage-inspired works differ from creating other types of art? And if it does, how?
I don’t think any creative process differs from another. And I wouldn’t call my work vintage-inspired but rather the recreation of the style as I am attempting to capture the aesthetic in its entirety.
7. Do you usually do the sketching and then have someone do the inks and colors or do you own the whole process?
I am a very hands-on creative, 99.9% of the time I am doing all of the illustration work.
8. The Shape Comics’ motto is “Shaping the future of comics.” What’s the future of this art form and what kind of impact would you like to make on it?
The way I see it, there were 8 ages of comics: The Platinum Age, The Golden Age, The Atomic Age, The Silver Age, The Bronze Age, The Copper Age, The Plastic Age, and finally The Pixel Age.
At Shape Comics, we are shaping the future ushering in our Diamond Age — new characters with key issues, plots and unique storylines that are an ode to comics’ heyday!
@shapecomics.co Welcome to Shape Comics! #shapecomics #shapeman #comic #retro #marvel #dc ♬ original sound – Shape Comics
9. Can you tell us what’s next in store for you and Shape Comics?
Our next project is finishing the Shape-Man trilogy, which I will be illustrating while Boyd writes it. Tom Morrow and I are also working on the Trilogy for Sonic Saturn! Oh, and the long-awaited horror series Television Man (wink) is also on the way!
Thank you for doing this interview with BIOWARS, Anthony! It was so good to welcome you to BIOCOSMOS. See you soon!
If you’re interested in getting to know other comic book artists, check out these interviews with Sean Damien Hill, Chrigel Farner, Lucius Cross, and Gonçalo Lopes. You can also take a look at artist profiles, including Jack Kirby and Jim Lee.