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Profile: Mihailo Vukelic

::: Artist(s) Name:::
Mihailo Vukelic

::: Publisher::: (self-published?)

::: Website:::

::: 1 ::: Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? What’s your favorite color? When did you first realize you were an artist? Did you draw as a kid? Color outside the lines?

I grew up in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. At 11 I moved to the U.S. with my family. My favorite color is sepia. I realized I was an artist around 3 or 4, I have memories of those early attempts at transcribing my waking reality onto paper. I never liked coloring books and did not understand kids who colored pre-made pictures. And, philosophically, I suppose I always colored outside the lines and still do.

::: 2 ::: What comic book genres interest you the most? Who is your favorite comic book artist and/or writer? How have they influenced your work

It would be fair to say that Sci-fi is my favorite genre. In a matter of speaking, science fiction is mythology of and for our times. The same archetypes that exist in the great classics and mythologies of the world continue to resonate in the sci-fi format, the main difference being that we are currently conquering other frontiers and magic has been supplanted by science.

Never-the-less, the same universal issues remain as in the Odyssey, Gilgamesh and the Upanishads. Alan Moore is probably my favorite writer, more for the mastery of the English language and narrative virtuosity than concept and originality.

My single favorite comic is Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. My favorite artist was and always will be Moebius and his fantastical Harzack series still influences my work. In fact I am about to sart a sci-fi epic named Wrom in the Blossom and its inception owes much to Moebius’ work, at least visually if not lyrically.

::: 3 ::: How did you get involved in comics? What was your first comic?
The first time I got involved in comics was 1993 when I published a couple of comics on my own called Battle Axis. It was a highly conceptualized but immaturely executed two-issue run about a post-apocalyptic/superhero world where "bad guys" and "good guys" were not what they appeared and political agendas had more to do with their identities than values and principles. I self-published it under Intrepid Comics. In 1994 I illustrated a couple of sci-fi issues for a short run called Enchanted Worlds and it was for an indy publisher named Blackmore.

::: 4 ::: What is your favorite story you’ve ever drawn? Favorite character?
I’ve only published nine comics altogether, including the five-issue mini series that’s currently out. It’s called Back to Brooklyn and it is a Sopranos-like crime drama replete with seedy characters, mobsters, hookers and corrupt cops. So far it’s been my favorite story but I hope to do more in the near future.

Back to Brooklyn was co-written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Garth Ennis. Jimmy is co-creator of Painkiller Jane (comic, tv series) and Garth has written things like Preacher and worked on the most successful Punisher series in Marvel’s history. They are both world-class and I am honored to have worked with them.

::: 5 ::: How did you come up with the concept for Worm in the Blossom? Who is your favorite character?
Worm in the Blossom, if all goes well, will be my writing debut as a serious comic creator as well as a lengthy sci-fi epic. By lenghty I mean 10 volumes but that’s up in the air until actual publication time. I am currently co-writing it with another author and hope to have something published by next year.

Most of the illustrations you see here are from Worm in the Blossom. It has a story arc and concept that has NEVER been used in any sci-fi format before and yet it retains the major characteristics of an epic. It is heavily influenced by 19th century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I will talk about it in much more detail, including the philosophical infrastructure of the story, upon publication.

::: 6 ::: What was the hardest part of creating your comic book? What hardware (computer, scanner, printer, etc) do you use? What software?
The hardest part of working on Back to Brooklyn was creating a gritty sense of realism that included real locations and credible "New York" characters. Also, with an ensemble of "real" characters, remaining consistent with the many faces and body types is challenging. If I worked a simpler style, e.g., manga, it would be only a matter of establishing a facial and morphological typology for each character.

I chose a more naturalistic style with it all the problems. It took me a couple of issues to nail down and polish my style. Many say that what I have done for Back to Brooklyn stands apart visually. I regard this entire project as "working out the bugs" in a sense. It’s a good primer for the next project.

As far as hardware goes I use a Dell workstation, an HP printer and a Mustek scanner (10×15 bed). I also have a sizable wacom tablet without which I wouldn’t even attempt to work in Photoshop. Most of everything I do has been touched by Photoshop CS in some way and I use Studio 3dmax a lot.

::: 7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist? How do you promote your book/website/comic? What’s the best and worst parts of being a full time, working artist?
The business side of being an artist is tricky. In the gallery system it is the gallery owners who take care of most business issues and for a while I had an agent. Now I’m self-promoting on-line and I’ve started making appearances at conventions. The best part of being a full time working artist is the continuous maintenance of the "zone." I have to remain creative and on the edge regardless of my mood. The downside is an uncertain income.

::: 8 ::: Has the Internet helped your career as an artist? If so, how?
The Internet has helped insofar as I’ve received a requisite amount of attention from bloggers and critics for my Back to Brooklyn work. It has definitely put me on the "map" internationally, albeit, in a very small corner of the map… I am currently wroking on a new website so there is little in the way of self-promotion directly. I also maintain an account on deviantart so there is no shortage of input from fans and fellow artists.

::: 9 ::: What is one stereotype about comic book writers/artists that is absolutely wrong?
That we are all pathetically needy egomaniacs who ONLY recreate the world after our own fashion.

::: 10 ::: What one stereotype is dead on?
That we are all pathetically needy egomaniacs who AT TIMES recreate the world after our own fashion.