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STGCC Aftermath: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Without a doubt, the highlight of my time at the Singapore Toy, Games and Comic Convention 2010 (STGCC) was getting to meet Giuseppe Camuncoli, the regular artist for Daken: Dark Wolverine and Hellblazer. Also known as Cammo, he totally blew away my preconceptions about pencillers and came across as one of the most intelligent and savvy people in the industry. In addition to that, he’s also ridiculously hot, if that’s what floats your boat.

Cammo was supposed to have been one of two artists on a Marvel panel on Friday along with Invincible Iron Man artist Salvador Larroca, but Sal was held back due to a snow storm in Europe. Fortunately for the moderator (yours truly), Cammo has an excellent command of English (and French as well, as we found out later) in addition to his native Italian. Though we had only met that morning at the lobby of the Pan Pacific Hotel, the man said I could field as many questions as I wanted, and so I did. Then, the following day, I had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Cammo and interrogate him a little more. The following will be a mash-up of both these wonderful encounters.

Seeing that Cammo was mainly there as part of the Marvel contingent, I got him to share more about his work on Daken and what his creative process was like for defining the character.

When asked about the working relationship between himself and co-writers Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu, Cammo admitted that he didn’t really know what the system between the two writers was, but “Marjorie always signs off on the scripts”. He said he appreciated the free reign they gave him to bring Daken’s unique features to the fore, such as giving Daken a more Asian look, “He is supposed to be half-Japanese after all”, complete with having smaller eyes as well as a leaner physique. Cammo also pointed out the great and extremely integral job that editor Jeanine Schaefer was doing to ensure that the books were at their best each month. He noted that the idea of giving Daken an obi and a sash was Schaefer’s suggestion, building up on the idea that Daken would want to wear traditional Japanese combat gear – i.e. a ninja keikogi, instead of spandex constumes.

Cammo revealed that he took great pains to portray Daken as being lithe and lanky compared to his father Wolverine who was more buff and shorter. He also pointed out that the younger mutant has an impeccable sense of style and revealed that there are times when he as the artist provided the inspiration for the various outfits worn by Daken. For example, the hat worn by the character in Miami in issue #2 was a Cammo suggestion. Ultimately, though, the understanding was that Daken was not your typical superhero, running around in costume. In fact, throughout all the issues of the new title Daken: Dark Wolverine (of which there were 3 as at STGCC), Daken is almost never seen in his new costume, and always in an outfit which evokes confidence and sensuality.

I also got him to share a little more on the little art techniques he brought to Daken: Dark Wolverine and Cammo mentioned how, once again in issue #2 where Daken meets Mystique in a Miami hotel, he decided Daken was intentionally trying to seduce Mystique and though the point-of-view had shifted from Daken to Mystique, Cammo ensured that Daken took up half the panel anyway. Furthermore, he chose to portray only Daken’s chest, to leave no room for doubt that is was pure animal attraction between the two.

Daken, the artist explained as he showed off his keen thought process, uses his sexuality as part of his arsenal. It is not just his pheromone manipulation ability that is the weapon, but Daken himself for whom sex is crucial to manipulating people for his own ends. Cammo pointed out he enjoyed drawing such a character, because Daken is not a classic Marvel character by far – he is someone who’s complicated and elegant at the same time. In fact, noted the Italian, Daken resembles John Constantine in certain ways which makes it extra fun to draw both characters simultaneously.

Finally, we spoke more about his dreams for the future. He revealed that he is considering branching out into writing, having worked with some of the industry’s best and brightest and learnt the craft from them. Of course, nothing’s in the pipeline yet, but he would love to start with writing short stories and then go from there.

One article like this just doesn’t do justice to such an amazing person so you can find another interview with him here.

Here’s wishing you all the best in 2011, Cammo, and I sincerely hope you make the trip down to Singapore again for STGCC!

Peter Lin

His teenage years spent nursing a giant man-crush on Steve Rogers, the first Captain America, Peter naturally found himself drawn to many other heroes who depicted strong, manly qualities, including the honour-bound warrior Worf, first Klingon in Starfleet, and the muscular rock hard abs of The Thing.

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